Path towards Enlightenment (870)
Welcome to our weekly programme “Path towards Enlightenment” in which we present you a fluent and easy-to-understand explanation of God’s Revealed Word, the holy Qur’an.
We continue from where we left you last week, and here are Ayahs 57, 58 and 59 of Surah Ghaffer (or Mo’men):
“Surely the creation of the heavens and the earth is more prodigious than the creation of mankind, but most people do not know.
“The blind one and the seer are not equal, neither are those who have faith and do righteous deeds and the evildoing. Little is the admonition that you take!
“Indeed the Hour is bound to come; there is no doubt in it. But most people do not believe.”
If you might recall, last week we explained the Divine Injunctions to be patient in the face of vicissitudes of life in view of God’s promise which is indeed true, to seek forgiveness for sins from the All-Merciful God Whose doors of Divine Mercy are always open, and to embellish the purified heart with the constant remembrance and glorifying of the Exalted Creator, as gratitude for Divine guidance and favours.
The Ayahs that we recited now refer to the denial of Resurrection by the disbelievers, and mean to say that a glance at the grandeur of the creation of the world of existence points to the fact that we cannot boast ourselves as superior to others. In other words, the One Who is able to create such complex celestial bodies and galaxies and set them on orderly course is certainly capable of raising the dead in their original forms, even if their bones have been turned into dust and scattered everywhere. This is also an answer to the arrogantly ignorant who failed to see the manifest truths, and in their narrow mindedness consider themselves as great, when compared to the grandeur of the world of existence, they are nothing but an insignificant speck.
The next Ayah says that those who neglect in understanding the truths are like the blind; some of them are ignorant to know the facts, while some of those who know refuse to acknowledge the manifest truths. The blind here refers to the ignorant whose eyes are covered by veils of vanity and arrogance thus hindering them from perceiving the truth. On the contrary, the word “seers” in this Ayah is a reference to those who perceive the truth in the light of knowledge and logical arguments. So how could the two groups be equal? Are the righteous believers who do good deeds on a par with the vicious and evil doers? It is obvious that they are not equal. This comparison draws the difference between belief and disbelief, with the believers possessing knowledge of facts that reflect in their good deeds, while the disbelievers indulging in evil deeds – whether out of ignorance or denial of the manifest truth. In other words, the believer sees the grandeur of the Omnipresent Lord in the wonders of creation and power to resurrect, while the disbeliever despite his physical eyes is blind to these manifest realities and in the state of doubt denies the obvious facts.
Ayah 59 means to say that doubts concerning the eventuality of Resurrection are the result of the disbelievers’ mindset that is trapped in materialism and fails to comprehend God the Omnipresent, the Omnipotent, and the Omniscience, Who is too glorious to be perceived by the physical eye. Then God decisively announces that the Day of Resurrection will come and there is no doubt in it no matter if the disbelievers deny. The word “hour” used here is usually used in the sense of a division of time and since the coming of Resurrection and Reckoning of deeds shall be carried out instantly, this word conveys the Divine Message for awakening mankind from slumber. In short, it is vain desires that prevent people from reflection on the Resurrection, which they deny.
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- If we reflect on the greatness and grandeur of the universe, we will never see ourselves as superior, and will not be trapped in arrogance.
- It is ignorance of facts and arrogance that leads people to deny Resurrection.
- Those trapped hopelessly in the perishing material pleasures of the transient world are blind to realities and the delights of spiritual values.
- Resurrection and the Day of Judgement is completely logical and is based on Divine Power, Wisdom, and Justice that requires rewarding of the virtuous and punishment of vicious – although after much mercy has been shown to the misled ones.
Now let us listen to or read Ayah 60 of this Surah:
“Your Lord has said, ‘Call Me, and I will hear you!’ Indeed those who are disdainful of My worship will enter hell in utter humility.”
Here God Almighty asks us to invoke Him despite the fact that He is All-Aware of our needs. The preceding Ayahs included warnings against disbelievers and the vain, but this Ayah gives tidings to the penitents of Divine Bounties and Favours. Here a number of points arise. God Almighty wants believers to invoke Him in their devotions. Answering prayers follows invocation, but we should know that it is a conditional Promise, since solely those prayers are answered that have the required qualifications. As the next part of the Ayah says, those refraining from invoking God Almighty and who do not worship Him, are warned of severe punishment in hell, which is a place for not only the disbelievers and the unrepentant sinners, but also for those who became cognizant of God but neither worshipped Him nor beseeched him for their needs. Of course, God is not in need of our worship or invocations, and the commandment here is for our own benefit.
It is reported that the benefit of invocation was asked by a person who approached Imam Mohammad Baqer (AS), the 5th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). He replied: “There is nothing more excellent that invoking God Almighty in devotions and no one is more detested before God Almighty than one who is too arrogant to invoke him to bestow His blessings and bounties on him.”
It is narrated from the Prophet’s 6th Infallible Heir, Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS) that “there are stations on the Path toward God Almighty whose attainment is solely possible through invocation. If one fails to invoke Him, nothing will be granted to him. Therefore, invoke God Almighty to grant you His Favors, since if you knock at any door and persevere, it will be finally opened to you.”
From this Ayah we learn the following points:
- Beseeching God is a kind of worship and ignoring it is a sign of arrogance and disobedience of God.
- Any kind of disbelief results in misery and the fire of hell in the Hereafter.