Path towards Enlightenment (892)
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 19 and 20 of Surah Shura:
“Allah is Gracious to His servants; He provides for whomever He wishes, and He is the All-Strong, the All-Mighty.
“Whoever desires the tillage of the Hereafter, We will enhance for him his tillage, and whoever desires the tillage of the world, We will give it to him, but he will have no share in the Hereafter.”
If you might recall, last week we explained that the holy Qur’an is the criterion for distinction between truth and falsehood, since it is the Revelation of God and source of guidance for all mankind. We also said that no one is aware of the time of the Day of Judgement, whose exact occurrence only the Almighty Creator knows, and this means we should desist from whimsical thoughts and vain desires.
Ayah 19 that we recited to you now indicates that Grace is a Divine attribute which embodies gentleness and consideration. The Arabic word “Lateef” means the Gracious, which is indeed one of the most bounteous attributes of God Almighty, Who provides everyone with their daily sustenance in a manner unbeknown to them. It means Allah is All-Aware of the minutest affairs and is the Omnipotent Lord Who does anything with ease, based on Divine Wisdom and consideration of common good of all creatures.
The next Ayah indicates the value of our deeds depending upon our intentions as well as our long term and short term goals, since all rewards are granted by God Almighty these rewards are proportionate to a person’s intention and choice. Thus, whoever works for the Hereafter, will have his/her share of this world and in afterlife will enjoy Divine Grace. As for those who work merely for the paltry gain of this transient world, they will surely achieve their desires and goals in mortal life, but will have no share in the Hereafter. The holy Qur’an draws a parable, by likening people to farmers, who plough the land and sow the seeds in order to reap the crops. Some of these farmers work for the Hereafter and others for this world. In other words, good deeds are sown in the farmland of a person’s soul and turn into permanent dispositions of mind, and will bear fruits both in this world and in the Hereafter. The person sowing the seeds of good deeds in the farmland of the heart by removing the weeds and impurities from it through cognizance of God Almighty, and irrigating it with the pure water of faith will indeed reap the harvest in the Hereafter.
On the other hand, those who strive solely for success in the material life, will attain it by God’s Grace, but will not have any share in the Hereafter.
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- Divine Grace in worldly life benefits all persons, whether believers or disbelievers, since God does not deprive His creatures from the bounties of life.
- The seekers of the Hereafter will have their share of this world as well, with greater rewards in afterlife, while those solely striving for success in material life will have no share in the Hereafter.
- What is important is the intention and the goal of a deed done, rather than its nature, since many works might appear similar but are done for different goals.
Now let us listen to Ayah 21 of the same Surah:
“Or do they have partners [besides Allah] who have ordained for them a religion which has not been permitted by Allah? Had it not been for the decisive word (of giving respite to the disbelievers), decision would have been made between them; for the wrongdoers there is indeed a painful punishment.”
Human beings are in need of Divine Laws to lead an orderly life, and this Ayah refers to the polytheists who worship a pantheon of deities by refusing to acknowledge the One and Only Creator of the universe. It is thus a warning to all disbelievers, whether polytheists or atheists, against following a school of thought and institution of secular laws that are devoid of legitimacy in the sight of God since He has not permitted them to do so. Such acts are so vicious that had it not been for the respite given by the All-Merciful Lord in this world to reflect, rectify, repent, and reform themselves, the wrongdoers would have immediately been afflicted by Divine punishment, which indeed is the fate of the disbelievers and unrepentant sinners in afterlife. This Ayah may be applied to our own time in which some nations enact laws against Islamic laws and such legislators should know that their wrong act shall entail painful torments.
This Ayah teaches us the following points:
- It is an unpardonable sin to ascribe partners to God or to follow manmade schools of thought and enact laws in contradiction to the Divine laws.
- Any superstition and innovation in the name of religion is oppression of mankind.
- The All-Merciful God has given respite to all, especially the disbelievers and sinners, to reflect upon their misdeeds, rectify their wrongs, repent in the Divine court, and reform themselves through seeking of forgiveness and doing of good.
Here is Ayah 22 of Surah Shura:
“You will see the wrongdoers apprehensive because of what they have earned, while it is about to befall them; but those who have faith and do righteous deeds will be in the gardens of paradise; they will have whatever they wish near their Lord. That is the greatest grace.”
This Ayah is a reference to the Day of Resurrection, which the disbelievers deny because of their lack of faith to perceive it, but it will ultimately occur and become evident to all, when apprehension and fears of it will be in vain, since in afterlife wrong beliefs and vicious deeds will entail nothing other than Hellfire. In other words, the hearts of the disbelievers and sinners are darkened to such an extent by the viciousness of their deeds that they suffer the consequences of their actions both in this world and the Hereafter. In contrast, the true believers who are virtuous will enjoy the bliss of Paradise and granted whatever they wish, as the consequences of Divine bounties more than the rewards of their good deeds.
This Ayah teaches us the following points:
- The faithless persons’ fear at the time of punishment will not avail them, since it is not sincere belief in God and His commandments, but only apprehension of the calamity, when while alive they had ample respite to repent and reform.
- The righteous ones will be granted the eternal bliss of paradise where they will be granted whatever they wish as a consequence of Divine favours for their virtuous deeds.
- Those who stand steadfast to save their faith in the face of adversities by tolerating hardships in observation of their religious rites, will indeed be compensated in the Hereafter.