Path towards Enlightenment (866)
Welcome to your weekly episode of “Path towards Enlightenment” in which we present you an easy-to-understand explanation of the Revealed Words of God Almighty. We start from where we left you last week, and here are ayahs 38, 39 and 40 of the same Surah:
“And he who had faith (in God Almighty from among the courtiers of Pharaoh) said, ‘O my people! Follow me, I will guide you to the way of rectitude.
“O my people! This life of the world is only a [passing] enjoyment, and indeed the Hereafter is the abiding home.
“Whoever commits a misdeed shall not be requited except with its like, but whoever acts righteously, whether male or female, should he be faithful —such shall enter paradise, provided therein without any reckoning.”
If you remember last Friday we explained how the monotheist at the Egyptian court who had concealed his faith in God Almighty, eloquently tried to dissuade the Pharaoh from carrying out his plan to kill Prophet Moses, through presentation of facts and the consequences of such an act. The Pharaoh reluctantly deferred his decision, and to deceive the people and distract their attention, ordered his vizier Hamaan to build a towering structure, which he intended to climb and reach the sky on the assumption of finding the One and Only God whose Messenger was Moses.
Here in the ayahs that we recited to you today, the holy Qur’an sheds further light on the discourse of this believing man, whose words were beginning to expose the Pharaoh as a liar and a tyrant who was merely deceiving the courtiers and the people.
Earlier in his discourse, he had reminded the Egyptians of how Prophet Joseph had reformed and guided this nation centuries before, and now indirectly warning them of the disasters awaiting them in following the Pharaoh, he suggested that they follow him on the Path of the worship of the One and Only God Almighty which he himself has discovered and which leads to Divine blessings.
He pointed to the transient nature of the mortal world, and futility of indulging in passing pleasures by neglecting the permanent abode of the Hereafter. He meant to say: How long will one stay in this transient world, since death finally comes to snuff out life and reduce palaces to ruins. Our everlasting abode is somewhere else, where faith and deeds are jointly effective and merely one of them may not lead to deliverance. The question is not just the transience of this world and the everlastingness of the world to come, but the significant question is the reckoning of deeds.
As ayah 40 means to say, the believing Egyptian, in his well measured words, referred to Divine Justice through which on the one hand sinners will receive their recompense from the All-Merciful Lord in accordance with their misdeeds without any excessive burden, and on the other hand God will bestow boundless bounties upon the believers for their faith and virtuous deeds by permitting them to enter the perpetual bliss of paradise, where there is no reckoning of the blessings. Another important point to note is that there is no discrimination between male or female in the sight of the Almighty Creator.
These ayahs teach us the following points:
- A faithful person always thinks of guiding others and never shuns this duty.
- The mortal world is transient, but the Hereafter is the eternal abode of mankind, which means it is necessary to use the opportunity of life in the best manner for doing good deeds, in order to enjoy rewards in the Hereafter.
- Striving towards perfection and attaining salvation is equal for both men and women, without the least discrimination.
- Faith is not effective without deed just as deed is not useful without faith, therefore we need both of them to attain eternal bliss and salvation.
Now let us listen to or read ayahs 41 and 42 of Surah Ghaffer:
“O my people! [Think,] what makes me invite you to deliverance while you invite me toward the Fire?
“You invite me to defy Allah and to ascribe to Him partners of which I have no knowledge, while I call you to the All-Mighty, the All-Forgiver.”
These ayahs indicate that the monotheist in the court of the Pharaoh couldn’t hide his faith anymore, and finally tore all veils asunder by expressing frankly what was due in the face of the obdurate courtiers who insisted on polytheism and called him to embrace idolatry, as is clear by his words: I invite you to salvation and you invite me to the Fire. As the next ayah says, he reprimanded them further by saying that I call upon you to save yourselves by turning to the One and Only Creator of the universe Who is All-Merciful and All-Forgiving, while you want me to damn myself by disobeying Almighty God and ascribing partners to Him by following the misguided Pharaoh.
From these ayahs we learn the following points:
- We should never be scared of loneliness or being in minority while inviting people to the path of salvation through doing of good deeds and abstinence from sins.
- Salvation and eternal bliss are the results of monotheism and doing righteous deeds, while ascribing partners to God is a passport to hell.
- Polytheism has no logic and reasoning, and is nothing more than superstition and state of ignorance of facts and realities.
- The All-Merciful Allah is ready to forgive sinners and wrongdoers who repent with sincere intention to refrain from misdeeds.