Path towards Enlightenment (889)
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 Last and Final Revealed Word to all humanity, the holy Qur’an.
We continue from where we left you last week, and here is Ayah 7 of Surah Shura.
“Thus (O Prophet) We have revealed to you an Arabic Qur’an that you may warn [the people of] the Mother of the Towns [Mecca] and those around it, and warn [them] of the Day of Gathering, in which there is no doubt, [whereupon] a part [of mankind] will be in Paradise and a part will be in the Blaze.”
If you might recall, last Friday we said the Prophets were sent to convey God’s message in the best possible manner for the guidance of mankind so that people use their intellect for accepting the truth, rather than be forced to admit it.
As is clear by the Ayah that we recited to you now, God Almighty tells His Last and Greatest Messenger, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny), that the language of the Last and Final Heavenly Scripture, that is, the holy Qur’an, is plain but flawless Arabic without any ambiguities or contradiction, since it happens to be the language of the immediate audience, namely, the pagan Arabs of Mecca, who used to take pride in the purity and comprehensiveness of their language. Therefore, the Prophet is commanded to warn the people of Mecca and those living around it about the consequences of their deeds on the Day of Resurrection, of which there is not the least doubt. Mecca is called “Omm al-Qura” or the “Mother of the Towns”, since it houses the holy Ka’ba which was built on the command of God by the Father of the human race, Adam, on the spot that emerged as the first dry place on our planet from underneath the waters that initially covered the entire surface of the Earth. Mecca was also the first town which became dry following the Great Deluge of the days of Prophet Noah.
The Prophet is then commanded to explain about Resurrection or the Day of Gathering as it is called in this Ayah, since on this day all mankind from the very first person created to the very last one that was born, will be assembled in one place to witness the judgement of the deeds done in the transient life of the mortal world and to hear the Divine verdict. As the last part of this Ayah indicates, mankind will be divided into two groups; of which one group will be escorted to Paradise and its eternal bliss as reward for their faith in God and obedience to His commandments; while the other group will be cast into Hell for unbelief, unrepentant sins, disobedience of the commandments of God, and the instructions of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
This Ayah teaches us the following points:
- Although God revealed the holy Qur’an in eloquent Arabic, its timeless wisdom is for the benefit of all humanity, and it doesn’t give preference to any specific race, ethnicity, or language-speakers; that is why there is not even a single Ayah that addresses the audience with the words “O Arab people”; rather it always says “O mankind!” or “O you who have faith!”
- One of the specific features of the holy Qur’an is that unlike the previously revealed scriptures, it has remained remarkably intact as it was revealed to the Prophet and memorized by his companions, to such an extent that it is immune from interpolation and no distortion can ever approach its Divinely-guarded contents.
- None can deny the raising to life of the dead on the Day of Judgement after having witnessed every year the manifestations of resurrection in nature, such as rejuvenation in springtime and withering away of the vegetation in autumn.
- God Almighty is Just and All-Merciful to the extent that rewards for the virtuous are greatly multiplied, while punishment for the wicked is meted out after having shown them much mercy, since it is not reasonable for a person who had denied resurrection when alive to claim rewards on the Day of Resurrection.
Now let us listen to Ayahs 8 and 9 of Surah Shura:
“Had Allah wished, He would have surely made them (all mankind) one (single) community; nevertheless He (has provided them with free will and) admits whomever He wishes into His mercy, and the wrongdoers do not have any guardian or helper.
“Have they taken guardians besides Him? [Say,] ‘It is Allah Who is the Guardian, and He revives the dead, and He has power over all things.”
God Almighty is All-Wise and all His Acts are done wisely, even if human intellect fails to perceive Divine Wisdom. Ayah 8, in continuation of the previous Ayah that specified the division of mankind into two groups on the Day of Resurrection with one blessed with the bliss of Heaven and the other destined for the torments of Hell, means to say that rather than subjecting all human beings to believe in the Right Path, God has granted them the intellect and the free will to discern truth from falsehood in order to choose the straight and unwavering path to Paradise. Thus, whoever, on the basis of his/her free will, obeys God and refrains from sin, is admitted to the realm of Divine Mercy, while those who disobey Divine commandments and indulge in disbelief and sins, despite the ample opportunities they had during life to repent and reform, will be without any helper on the Day of Resurrection and will end up in the fires of Hell in consequence of their own deeds.
The next Ayah questions the choice of the disbelievers in denying God or ascribing partners to Him through worship of idols and the weird imaginations of their warped minds. It reprimands them by saying God the Omnipotent and Omniscient Who has created the universe, revives the dead to life, and has power over all things, is the only Protector; so what makes the disbelievers turn away from their real Guardian!
We learn from these Ayahs the following points:
- Human intellect and free will are definitely gifts of God for determining the path towards Paradise, and should not be misused for mischief and misdeeds that lead to the fires of Hell.
- Atheists, polytheists, and all other unbelievers, actually wrong themselves before wronging others, as they have deviated from God and the right path.
- Actual Authority or Guardianship belongs to the Almighty Creator Alone Who has power over all things, including the revival of the dead to life.
No let us listen to Ayah 10 of this Surah:
“Whatever thing you may differ about, its judgement is with Allah; that is Allah, my Lord; In Him I have put my trust, and to Him I turn penitently.”
This Ayah refers to the fact of differences of opinion among human beings that necessitates determination of the true faith on the basis of the intellect and implementation of Divine Laws, which provide solutions for not only ethical and doctrinal questions, but also for economic, political, and scientific issues. In other words, it is incumbent upon mankind to refer to the Decrees of God Almighty at the time of disputes, through complete trust in Him and turning to Him in humbleness and repentance.
Unfortunately, there are people who pursue carnal desires and vested interests, rather than resolving differences and disputes by referring to God’s Revealed Word the holy Qur’an, along with the practically perfect precedents of the Prophet of Islam and his Immaculate Ahl al-Bayt that are indeed immortal guidelines for all humanity.
This Ayah teaches us the following points:
- Islam, in addition to resolving ideological and ethical issues, provides answers for every human need, compatible with the changing times and developments of history and civilization.
- It is faith in God and complete trust in Him that not only grants peace of mind and tranquility of heart, but saves societies from pitfalls.
- The door of repentance is always open, and opportunities should not be lost turning to God devoutly and sincerely, as taught by the Prophets, the Imams, and the saintly ulema.