Path towards Enlightenment (890)
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 are Ayahs 11 and 12 of Surah Shura:.
“The originator of the heavens and the earth, He made for you spouses of your own selves, and mates of the cattle, by which means He multiplies you; nothing is like Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.
“To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth: He expands the provision for whomever He wishes, and tightens it [for whomever He wishes]; indeed He is (fully) aware of all things.’”
If you remember, last Friday we explained to you that real authority belongs to the Almighty Creator alone Who has power over all things, including the revival of the dead to life, and as part of His Infinite Mercy He has granted mankind intellect and free will to determine the path towards Paradise, since these gifts of God should not be misused for mischief and misdeeds that lead to the fires of Hell. We also said Islam, in addition to resolving ideological and ethical issues, provides answers for every human need, compatible with the changing times and the developments of history and civilization.
The Ayahs that we recited to you today are further indication of peerless powers of God the Omnipotent and Omniscient, and mean to say that He is indeed the Creator of everything unprecedented. Although nothing is like God Almighty, there is a link between Him and all things, since nothing is hidden from the All-Hearer and the All-Seer who even knows the thoughts that flash across our minds. At the same time nothing can be likened to God, Who has made for mankind spouses for each other’s comfort as well as procreation in order to ensure continuation of the human race. He has also divided cattle and other creatures into male and female for the same purpose.
It is a matter of regret that some people who claim to be learned claim that God has finished the process of creation and relegated all affairs to human beings, which means He has no role in the world anymore. This misconstrued idea is decisively rejected by the holy Qur’an, whose Ayahs clearly point out that God is the Creator of the universe and its Administrator, without the involvement of any partner or associate.
Ayah 12 means to say that the keys to the heavens and the earth are subject to God’s Omnipotence and each and every person is granted provision as per Divine Decree and Wisdom. In other words it His Divine Will that increases the provision of some people and diminishes that of others, but this does not mean that human beings should stop making any endeavours.
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
- God the Almighty Creator has instituted marriage between male and female, and definitely not between same genders, in order to provide mankind social comfort, peace of mind, tranquility of heart, and the process of procreation to multiply the human race.
- The All-Wise Creator, to Whom nothing can be likened and Who has no peers, and is far too Glorious to have the need of a spouse, partners, or helpers, has also created all other creatures, including cattle, as male and female, for continuation of their species.
- Nothing is hidden from God Who despite granting the gift of intellect to mankind for exercise of free will to discern between truth and falsehood, good and evil, and faith and unbelief, has not left His creatures on their own, but He observes their minutest affairs and administers the whole universe.
- Increase and decrease of sustenance is in accordance with Divine Authority and Wisdom, and is definitely not the sign of God’s Mercy or Wrath, since there are many rich and powerful disbelievers, as well as many poor believers.
Here is Ayah 13 to further to enlighten our souls:
“He has prescribed for you the religion which He had enjoined upon Noah and which We have [also] revealed to you, and which We had enjoined upon Abraham, Moses and Jesus, declaring, ‘Maintain the religion, and do not be divided in it.’ Hard on the polytheists is that to which you (O Prophet of Islam) summon them; Allah chooses for Himself whomever He wishes and He guides to Himself whomever returns penitently.”
This Ayah refers to the unanimity of the missions of all Prophets for preaching to mankind the same single religion based on monotheism, virtue, justice, peace doing good to parents, caring for the needy, and belief in Resurrection, which means Islam is the common name of the messages of the past four great Prophets, i.e. Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, culminating in the universal mission of the Last and Greatest of them, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
The word ‘religion’ is in singular form here, which indicates continuation of the same set of beliefs from Adam till the Prophet of Islam, to whom God Almighty revealed the holy Qur’an as the final Heavenly Scripture perfecting religion and ensuring the compatibility of the timeless wisdom of its contents with all future stages of human progress and development. This Ayah which cautions believers to avoid discord, is also a clear message to the followers of other faiths, such as Judaism, Christianity, etc., that their conversion to Islam will mean their true adherence to the messages of the Prophets they claim to follow, since atheists, and polytheists do not follow any religion, and the call to monotheism is intolerable for all unbelievers.
The Ayah ends on the note that whoever repents and turns to the truth of Islam, the All-Merciful God will surely guide such persons to the Straight Path leading to the bliss of Paradise.
From this Ayah we learn that:
- The fundamentals of the missions of the Prophets were remarkably the same, namely, guiding people towards monotheism, peace, virtue, and justice, by avoiding discord and sins.
- Prophet Noah was the first of the Five Great Messengers and the Last and Greatest of them all with the universal message of Islam is Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
- Discord is the source of deviation from the true religion.
- Those who turn penitently towards God are indeed granted Divine favours.
Now let us listen to or read Ayah 14 as the concluding ayah of this episode:
“They did not divide [into sects] except after the knowledge had come to them, out of envy among themselves; and were it not for a prior decree of your Lord [granting them reprieve] until a specified time decision would have been made between them. Indeed those who were made heirs to the Book after them are surely in grave doubt concerning it.”
Although the Prophets asked their followers to keep their solidarity, people became divided into sects, since the source of most of divisions is envy, wrong doing, and greed. Differences of opinion concerning religious issues were due to arrogance and prejudice prevalent in the Age of Ignorance which, despite the evident truth of Islam, led to denial of the holy Qur’an. The All-Merciful God, however, granted the deniers respite and postponed their torment because of His Omniscience, otherwise these deniers of truth would have met the same dire fate that befell some of the nations of the past.
In other words, with the passing away of a Prophet and the coming of the next one, some, like the Jews, refused to follow Prophet Jesus, and called those who acknowledged him, as deviators. Thus, it is worth noting that the followers of other creeds, such as Jews and Christians, were acquainted with the name and characteristics of the Last and Greatest Prophet, since these were mentioned in the scriptures, yet because of their bias and arrogance they refused to become Muslims. As a result they have failed to comprehend the truth and have remained in doubts and suspicions.
This Ayah teaches us:
- The religion decreed by God Almighty for mankind is the one and the same, and not plurality of faiths.
- The basis of discord is arrogance, ignorance, and bigotry.
- Religious scholars shoulder the task of fostering peace and unity, rather than causing discord.
- God gives respite to the sinners and unbelievers so that they have ample to repent and rectify their wrongs.
- If doubt is natural, the individual will get rid of it through research, but if it stems from obstinacy, it will prevent him from accepting the truth.