Path towards Enlightenment (865)
If you remember, we are discussing surah Ghaffer (or Mo’men) of the holy Qur’an. We continue from we left you last week, and here is ayah 34 of the surah. Let us listen or read:
“Certainly Joseph brought you manifest proofs earlier, but you continued to remain in doubt concerning what he had brought you. When he died, you said, “Allah will never send any prophet after him.” That is how Allah leaves astray those who are profligate, skeptical.”
Last Friday, we said that the true believer at the court of the Pharaoh tried his best to protect the life of Prophet Moses by concealing his own faith in monotheism, and cautioning the Egyptian tyrant: If Moses speaks the truth, then divine wrath might afflict his enemies, like the fate of the nations of the past, which means there will be no escape from it and nobody will be immune and safe from it.
The ayah that we recited to you now continues to highlight the discourse of the true believer who in order to impress the impenetrable heart of Pharaoh and his courtiers, made efforts to cleanse their arrogance and disbelief by presenting his words in a logical manner.
He spoke with precaution in the assembly of the disbelieving people. He asked them to glance at the accounts of ancient peoples and reminded them of the mission of Prophet Joseph in reforming Egypt. He said although Joseph presented many clear proofs for his mission, many of the court officials didn’t believe in him and raised illogical excuses, to the extent that after his death, they wished that God will never send any Prophet to Egypt. They continued their wrong ways of living and entertained doubts about divine commandments; as a consequence of which God deprived them of His Bounties and left them in the mire of error.
This ayah teaches us the following points:
- We should reflect on the events of the past and the ways of the Prophets and the righteous believers, in order to live a sound and healthy life.
- One should also study the terrible fate that befell the nations of the past because of their disobedience of divine commandment and their indulgence in sins and oppression.
- Those who are trapped in doubts and refuse to open their eyes to the manifest realities, are left astray by God.
Now we listen to or read ayah 35 of surah Ghaffer:
“Those who dispute the signs of Allah without any authority that may have come to them — [that is] greatly outrageous to Allah and to those who have faith. That is how Allah seals the heart of every arrogant tyrant.’”
This ayah focuses on those who without producing an intellectual or rational argument, raise groundless disputations to the signs of Allah. Such baseless disputations against the Truth lead to Divine Wrath and the believers also detest such persons, who are in fact trying to extinguish the light of truth by raising the pillars of the rule of falsehood, as the Pharaoh and his courtiers were doing.
Their failure to submit to Truth is mentioned at the end this ayah, saying that thus God Almighty seals the hearts of the wrongdoers and the arrogant to the extent that they become devoid of faith.
The lessons of this ayah are as follows:
- Argument in order to ascertain the truth is welcome, but not senseless disputes and doubts that deprives oneself of reason and logic.
- Those who have faith are always logical and rational in their discourses.
- The hearts of the arrogant and the tyrants are sealed by God to the extent that because of their evil ways, they fail to find the right path.
Now let us listen to or read ayahs 36 and 37 of this surah as the concluding ayahs of this episode:
“And Pharaoh said, ‘O Hamaan! Build me a tower so that I may reach the routes.
“—the routes of the heavens— and take a look at the God of Moses, and indeed I consider him a liar.’ To Pharaoh was thus presented as decorous the evil of his conduct, and he was kept from the way [of Allah], and Pharaoh’s stratagems only led him into ruin.”
Though Pharaoh was impressed by the words of the believing man of his court to desist from slaying Prophet Moses, he was still vain and arrogant and failed to realize the manifest truth. As a consequence he proceeded with his mischievous measures and ordered that a lofty tower be built for ascending to the heavens and finding information about God, whom he imagined was a person sitting in the sky and could be seen.
The Pharaoh had other sinister goals in his mind. He wanted to deceive the Egyptian people who were becoming impressed by the logic of Moses. So by building a huge tower, he wanted to distract the attention of the people, who would now find employment and thank Pharaoh. After completion of such a tower, Pharaoh thought that he would ascend it and then belie Moses’s words about God Almighty by saying he did not find anyone in the skies.
Pharaoh’s plot only further disgraced him, and God made the evil of his deeds decorous for him, and thus the consequence of his vanity and arrogance was that he completely went astray from the Path of Truth.
From these ayahs we learn the following points:
- Truth can never be belied, whatever stratagem the tyrants may try.
- Such stratagems may deceive people in the short run; but in the long run, total defeat is the consequence for the evil doers.
- Tyrannical regimes resort to pomp and pageantry in a bid to mislead the people they rule, but God Almighty makes the plots of the arrogant go awry.
- For the faithful persons and true believers, obstacles are mere trials and tribulations to test the degree of their faith, and they should be steadfast on the right path; since this will lead to ultimate victory as God has promised.