Path towards Enlightenment (891)
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 15 Surah Shura:
“So unto this (unity of religion) invite (O Prophet, the people of the Book and others, since they are obdurate), and be steadfast, just as you have been commanded, and do not follow their desires; and say, ‘I believe in whatever Book Allah has sent down. I have been commanded to do justice among you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. Our deeds belong to us and your deeds belong to you. There is no argument between us and you. Allah will assemble us together and toward Him is the destination.’”
If you remember, last Friday explained that the religion decreed by God Almighty for all mankind is the one and the same, while it is arrogance, ignorance, and bigotry that has resulted in plurality of creeds, and in view of this fact prophets were raised throughout the world to foster peace and unity, culminating in the universal faith of Islam preached by Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
Here, in the Ayah that we recited to you now, God commands His Last and Greatest Messenger to invite all people, whether polytheists or the People of the Book such as Jews and Christians, to the universal faith of Islam. The task of the Prophet is to establish harmony amongst people to the extent that they stand firm and steadfast regarding the true religion. The Prophet stands firm on the tenets of his call and does not submit to the unlawful demands of others, since promotion of justice is the consequence of belief in certain values, including shunning of lusts and vain desires, belief in the Day of Resurrection, and receiving recompense befitting one’s deeds.
In other words, the Prophet does not follow the inclinations and vested interests of any groups, whether polytheists or People of the Book, and in order to gather mankind on the platform of unity of faith, he points out to the Christians and Jews of the unanimity of the messages of all the past prophets, which means the holy Qur’an is the culmination of all the previously revealed heavenly scriptures. This means that we are all the creation of Allah, and that every person is responsible for his/her deeds, whose recompense becomes evident on the Day of Resurrection. In this way, the argument is sealed, and there is no cause for dispute or personal enmity. God will gather all mankind together on the Day of Judgement, since to Him is the eventual return.
From this Ayah we learn that:
1. We should be steadfast in our beliefs in Islam, without being inclined to any deviationist tendencies, vain desires, and the pressures of the arrogants.
2. Resistance and insistence on faith is valuable when one is on the right path with certitude of belief, otherwise it would be obduracy, like what the deviators do blindly.
3. Establishment of justice in society is among the goals of Islam, and obviously this is impossible without possessing sovereignty and governance.
4. Discussion and dispute is reasonable and logical till the truth is clarified through research and unbiased investigation.
Now let us listen to Ayah 16 of the same Surah:
“Those who argue concerning Allah, after His call has been answered, their argument stands refuted with their Lord, and upon them shall be [His] wrath, and there is a severe punishment for them.”
Debate means to discuss a point for substantiating its truth or refuting its fallacy. Thus, when a certain belief is substantiated and proven, one is not supposed to desist from following it due to doubts and temptations. This Ayah is a critique of those who enter into senseless debates concerning God and the religion decreed for mankind, since this is tantamount to breaking of the pledge of allegiance to the Lordship of the Almighty Creator that every soul gave before physical birth. Such persons, including those of the People of the Book who, though recognizing the truthfulness of Islam and the Last Prophet, indulge in senseless arguments in an attempt to deny the truth, will be exposed to Divine wrath. Even those who claim to be believers but resort to their limited intellect to say that certain injunctions could have been different will be inviting Divine wrath upon themselves.
From this Ayah we learn that:
1. Senseless arguments are of no avail when the truth has already been clarified through rational debate.
2. Those who perceive the truth but deny it, only bring destruction upon themselves.
Here are Ayahs 17 and 18 of Surah Shura:
“It is Allah who has sent down the Book with the truth and [He has sent down] the Balance. What do you know —maybe the Hour is near!
“Those who do not believe in it (the Day of Judgement) ask [you] to hasten it, but those who have faith are apprehensive of it, and know that it is true. Look! Indeed those who are in doubt about the Hour are surely in extreme error!
These Ayahs mean to say that the One and Only Creator of the universe Who sent the holy Qur’an as the most evident example of Truth to guide mankind, and the Balance to determine right from wrong, knows when the transient world will come to its end and the Resurrection will take place, which means those who mock the believers about these facts, are in extreme error.
In other words, it is Allah Who has revealed the holy Qur’an in truth and has made its laws and injunctions in the most balanced manner. This Ayah focuses on two attributes of the holy Qur’an, that is, the Truth of this Heavenly Scripture and the fact that this Book of timeless wisdom is the Balance for ascertaining the difference right and wrong.
Only God Almighty knows the time of Resurrection, and in reply to the mocking questions posed by the disbelievers about the exact occurrence of that Hour in which they have no belief, the Prophet is asked to say that God Alone is aware of it and it may be close at hand. Such a reply is intended to arouse the conscience of those in error who might still be saved, unless they have strayed too far from the straight path and immersed themselves in total disbelief.
As the next Ayah says the believers are certain of the Day of Resurrection and always stand in awe of the Majesty of God, since they tread the path of virtue and righteousness, in contrast to the disbelievers whose doubts have already doomed their fate, and are dragging them towards the abyss of humility, unless they awaken their conscience to repent and reform themselves.
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
1. The holy Qur’an is the criterion for distinction between truth and falsehood, since it is the Revelation of God and guidance for mankind.
2. No one is aware of the time of the Day of Judgement, which could be near and of whose exact occurrence only the Almighty Creator is aware, and this means we should desist from whimsical thoughts and vain desires.
3. Among the signs of the true believers is to be careful of their words and deeds, because everyone is accountable in the Divine court.