Path towards Enlightenment (867)
Welcome to our weekly episode of “Path towards Enlightenment” in which we present you an easy-to-understand explanation of the Revealed Words of God Almighty. As a happy coincidence with our regular series, we are celebrating today on the 17th of Rabi al-Awwal the blessed birthday of the peerless person to whom God Revealed the holy Qur’an for the guidance of all humanity, that is, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
Let us start from where we left you last week, and here are ayahs 43 and 44 of the Surah Ghaffer (or Momin):
“Undoubtedly, that to which you invite me has no invitation in the world nor in the Hereafter; and indeed our return will be to Allah, and indeed it is the profligates who will be inmates of the Fire.”
“Soon you will remember what I tell you, and I entrust my affair to Allah. Indeed Allah sees best the servants.’”
It was said in the previous episode of this series a fortnight ago that the monotheist official at the court of the Egyptian tyrant, Pharaoh, couldn’t anymore hide his faith, and finally in his defence in absentia of Prophet Moses (peace upon him), he tore all veils by expressing frankly what was due in the face of the obdurate courtiers who insisted on polytheism and called him to embrace idolatry, This is clear by his words: I invite you to salvation and you invite me to the Fire. As you might recall he reprimanded them further by saying that I invite you to save yourselves by turning to the One and Only Creator of the universe Who is All-Merciful and All-Forgiving, while you invite me to damn myself by disobeying Almighty God and ascribing partners to Him by following the misguided Pharaoh.
The ayahs that we recited to you now, in continuation of his bold and courageous remarks in an atmosphere of polytheism he means to say that your invitation to me is worthless since it has no benefit either in the mortal life of this transient world or in afterlife. The return of all human beings is towards the Almighty Creator, Who is the Best Judge and will punish the disbelievers with the fire of hell; so mark my words, I entrust all my affairs to God, without the least fear of you and your tyrannical ruler, since God best judges His creatures.
It is obvious that faith and decisiveness play significant roles in doctrinal issues. We are supposed to substantiate our arguments with convincing reasons in matters concerning commanding good and forbidding evil. Idols may not call people nor do they grant their requests. In other words, the believer at the court of Pharaoh is saying that what the polytheists invite him to, does not grant his requests in this world and the Hereafter, since these idols, crafted by the hands of men, have neither sent messengers to people to call them towards good, nor will they have any power in the Hereafter. These insentient things never engender anything. They do not talk; they have no power, no promise of heaven or hell, and do not hold any tribunal. In short, they neither create problems nor resolve them. Thus, we should know that we shall return to God Almighty on the Resurrection Day. He is the One Who sent Messengers for man’s guidance and He is the One Who shall chastise and reward His servants for their good and evil deeds.
These ayahs teach us the following points:
- We should follow logic and reasoning in matters of faith.
- Deviation brings loss both in this world and in afterlife.
- It is incumbent upon us to rightly discharge our duties without the least fear of anyone, and take refuge with God in the face of the threats of enemies because there is no power over Divine Power.
- We must put our trust in God as he is Aware of each and everything.
Now we listen to ayahs 45 and 46 of the same Surah:
“Then Allah saved him from their evil schemes, while a terrible punishment besieged Pharaoh’s clan:
“The Fire to which they are exposed morning and evening; and on the day when the Hour sets in, Pharaoh’s clan will enter the severest punishment.”
As the believer at the Pharaoh’s court drew a distinction between his monotheism and the polytheism of the Egyptian courtiers, God Almighty saved him from meeting the terrible punishment that would afflict Pharaoh and his clan in the world and in afterlife. The important point is that Divine Grace rendered all the plots of the tyrants ineffective. This is evident by several other ayahs of the holy Qur’an, which exegetes expound to indicate that the believing man got the opportunity to reach Prophet Moses and warn him in time of the plots of the Pharaoh against his life and against the Israelites. When by God’s commandment Moses and his followers safely crossed the Red Sea into Sinai as a result of the miraculous parting of the waters that made passage as dry land, the Pharaoh and his army while pursuing them, were drowned.
After death in a watery grave these disbelievers were exposed to the fire of Divine punishment, as the next ayah says by referring to the period between death and Resurrection, which is called ‘Barzakh’ or purgatory, where people discover whether they deserve paradise or hell. In this period, as the ayah says, the disbelievers and the unrepentant sinners are exposed to the torment every morning and evening. Pharaoh and all those complicit in his crimes against humanity are undergoing this punishment day and night in Barzakh, and on the Day of Resurrection they will be permanently cast into hell.
We learn the following points from these two ayahs:
- It is complete trust in God that saves believers from the plots of the oppressors.
- The enemies who are blind to the admonitions of the believers and do not take any heed, destroy themselves by becoming deserving of Divine punishment.
- The Barzakh is the period between death and resurrection, in which people, whether the virtuous or the vicious, taste a sampling of the rewards or punishments reserved for them on the Day of Judgement.
Here is ayah 47 of surah Ghaffer; let us listen:
“When they argue in the Fire, the weak will say to those who were arrogant, ‘Indeed we used to follow you; so will you avail us against any portion of the Fire?’
This ayah is an account of the conversation among the inhabitants of Hell. They dispute with each other and each of them blames others for their evil fate. However, God judges justly and gives reward or punishment on the basis of absolute justice.
Naturally, the followers and adherents of deviated schools and religions in the world expect their leaders to rescue them or reduce their punishment in the Hereafter. But they are absolutely unable as they are themselves in the Eternal Fire.
This ayah has the following lessons:
- If ties of friendship in life are not based on sincerity and in the way of God, these will bring no permanent benefit and will turn to enmity.
- Problems and shortcomings in life are not an excuse to follow oppressive and corrupt leaders.
- The disbelievers and unrepentant sinners will rue their fate after death by regretting the missed opportunities of rectifying their behaviour and repenting while alive, but it will not be of any help to them.