Path towards Enlightenment (879)
Welcome to our weekly programme "Path towards Enlightenment" in which we present you a fluent and easy-to-understand explanation of the ayahs of God’s Revealed Word to all humanity, the holy Qur’an. We continue from where we left you last week, and here are Ayahs 19 and 20 of Surah Fussilat:
“The day when Allah’s enemies are marched out toward the Fire, and they shall be held in check;
“When they come to it, their hearing will bear witness against them and their sight and their skins concerning what they used to do.”
It was said in the previous episode that the oppressors, unrepentant sinners, and unbelievers, will receive part of their punishment in this world, since unbelief is the sign of blindness, while insistence on unbelief and sins will entail a very terrible end.
The Ayahs that were recited now refer to their punishment in the Hereafter, and mean to say that those who reject the Prophets and persecute them are in fact the enemies of God.
The Arabic verbal form yuza’un used at the end of Ayah 19 meaning “they shall be held in check” indicates that the first ones of the group destined for hell are kept waiting till the last ones of the group have been assembled for being driven into the fires of the eternal inferno. This Ayah is a warning to unbelievers and sinners to repent and reform themselves before death overtakes them and seals their terrible fate.
The All-Merciful Lord is indeed Just and never punishes anyone without manifest proofs of their wrongdoings, as is clear by the next Ayah, which says that once these evil persons are gathered on the brink of hell, their bodily organs, through Divine Command, will bear witness against them. Their ears will testify that they heedless of the voices of guidance which were recurrently heard by them as well as the Ayahs of the holy Qur’an which they used to listen but ignore. Their eyes will say the evil they used to see and how they neglected and trampled facts and realities. Their skins will bear witness that they touched unlawful objects. To be more precise, their ears bear witness to hearing the call of the Prophets, the Saints, and the Righteous to ponder upon and accept the words of truth, which they scoffed at. Their eyes bear witness that they saw many a sign indicating the Presence and Oneness of God Almighty, but they refused to believe, and became atheists or polytheists. Other bodily organs also bear witness against their deeds and sins.
It is worthy of note that there is a vital force within bodily organs and on the Day of Resurrection everything shall attain to perfection. In other words, upon resurrection of the human body in its original form on the Day of Judgment from broken bones and dust, all inward deeds and conducts shall be manifest through Divine Command. This justifies the secret of the manner of bearing testimony by bodily organs against that particular person.
These ayahs teach us that:
- Unbelief and polytheism are actually forms of enmity towards God and His prophets, and such persons will bear the consequences of their sins.
- Although the angels keep precise record of even the minutest deed of every person, the testimony of bodily organs proves that there is no way to escape since these organs being Divine gifts, without which a person is not more than a lump of flesh and bones, will report to God of their misuse.
Now let us listen to or read ayahs 21, 22 and 23 of this Surah:
“They will say to their skins, ‘Why did you bear witness against us?’ They will say, ‘We were given speech by Allah, who gave speech to all things. He created you the first time, and to Him you are being brought back.
“You did not use to conceal yourselves lest your hearing should bear witness against you, or [for that matter] your sight, or your skin, but you thought that Allah did not know most of what you did.
“That misjudgment that you entertained about your Lord ruined you. So you became losers.”
These Ayahs indicate the decisive reply of the bodily organs when asked by the sinners as to why did they testify. It is God, the One and Only Creator Who makes them speak, since the entire universe is the creation of God and each and every creature or object can speak and testify by God’s Will.
As elaborated by the next Ayah on the testimonial role of the ears, the eyes, and the skin against the sinful, it should be noted that nothing is concealed from God and He is aware of all things including the thoughts that flash across our minds. In other words, all the constituent elements of the world can be empowered by the Almighty Creator to speak in order to disclose the inner secrets, since nothing shall be concealed on the Day of Resurrection and everything shall become manifest.
Contrary to the thinking of the unbelievers, God is All-Aware of everything. Furthermore, He is Omniscient and Omnipotent, which means groundless suspicions against the Creator leads the unbelievers to their perdition and they become the ultimate losers. They ought to understand that even the earth that is beneath our feet and whose blessings we enjoy keeps an eye on us and our activities, and so does ‘time’, such as every passing second, minute, hour, and day.
An interesting statement in this regard is produced here from Imam Ali ibn Taleb (AS), the First Divinely-designated Successor of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
He says: “No day passes for the son of Adam unless it tells him: ‘O son of Adam! I am a new day witnessing your deeds; say good words and do righteous good deeds in me so that I bear witness to your good words and deeds on the Day of Resurrection.”
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
- The essence and reality of the human being is the spirit, while the body is just a tool that ought to be properly used for the benefit of the soul, and not to its detriment.
- Thus, on the Day of Resurrection, all bodily organs can speak to bear witness to our deeds with such accuracy that none can deny them.
- Sinners are negligent of the testimony of their organs; that’s why they commit sins and conceal the truth.
- Incorrect belief about God Who is All-Aware, is the source and cause of a person’s loss and destruction.