Path towards Enlightenment (894)
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 27 and 28 of Surah Shura:
“Were Allah to expand the provision for His servants, they would surely create havoc on the earth; but He sends down in a [precise] measure whatever He wishes. Indeed He is All-Aware, All-Seeing about His servants.
“It is He Who sends down the rain after they have been despondent, and unfolds His mercy, and He is the Guardian, the All-Laudable.”
If you remember, last Friday we said that according to Islam there is no dead-end and the Merciful Lord has left the door of mercy open by giving ample time to repent and reform, which means it is only the most vicious sinners and the intransigent disbelievers who end up in hell because of their refusal to tread the right path. We also said the prerequisite for acceptance of payers and supplications is having faith in God and doing righteous deeds.
The Ayahs that we recited to you now mean to say that whatever God Almighty grants to mankind is in a measured way as per Divine wisdom, since abundant increase of provision, that is, a highly flourishing economy causes people of fickle faith and the faithless to indulge more wantonly in sins, ill-defined pleasures, and wasting of resources. In other words, since Divine bounties are favours, at times deprivations, which are Divine tribulations, could also be called favours, because, as is evident, abundance of provision often leads to exceeding of limits, oppression of others, and sins, resulting in perdition and the destruction of that society or civilization. Thus, measured provision prevents corruption and though abundant provision is a means of trial for the affluent, restriction of provision never saddens the true believers, since they know that their having lesser means is indeed a Divine favour for them for abstinence from vain desires and veering off the right path. History bears witness that most people become negligent of God and rebel against Divine laws when they become rich and feel they have no shortage. Therefore, the All-Aware and All-Seeing Lord grants us provision in subtle and measured way depending on our efforts to earn our livelihood through lawful means, without disturbing the world of nature.
As the next Ayah says, a palpable example in this regard is the rainfall in which human beings have no role. The clouds that pour waters from above symbolize the granting of Divine sustenance. In other words, if it does not rain there will be drought and despondency for mankind because of failure to grow edible crops or quench the thirst through the elixir of life called water. Therefore, the All- Praiseworthy Who is indeed our true Guardian, spreads His mercy through rains. This Ayah means to say that among the signs of Divine bounty is that when we were desperate at the time of famine, He sent down rain to increase our provision through growth of crops and trees bearing fruits. God is indeed our Most Trustworthy Friend Whom we are supposed to obey in gratitude for His favours.
These Ayahs teach us that:
- The All-Wise Creator has provided sustenance in a measured way so as to prevent the spread of corruption and rebellion against Divine favours, as is evident by the scandalous state of affairs of the affluent but decadent societies of our own times.
- Believers are always cognizant of God Almighty, whether in poverty or in abundance, since they know that this is all a Divine trial to determine the degree of faith.
- Rain is among the symbols of Divine mercy sent by the True Guardian and the Sole Refuge for human beings, that is, our Loving Creator.
Now let us listen to Ayah 29 of Surah Shura:
“Among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and whatever creatures He has scattered in them, and He is able to gather them whenever He wishes.”
The entire universe, whether the skies or the earth, are among the signs of Divine manifestation, including the galaxies and the countless stars that astound us, as well as the various species of creatures in the heavens, on the earth, and in the seas, ranging from inanimate objects to plants and animals dispersed all around us. This means the Almighty Creator Who is Omniscient and Omnipotent is the only One worthy of worship and has the power to gather together all creatures whenever He wishes. In other words, the Creator of planets, plants, birds, animals, insects, fishes, and the best of creation, that is, mankind, has not created this marvelous system in vain, but according to a purpose, and He is capable of resurrecting all on the Day of Judgement.
This Ayah teaches us the following points:
- The world which functions according to a precise order is indeed a firm proof of the Oneness of the Almighty Creator, Who has the power to restore to life all and everybody in their original shape and size, even if the bones have become dust and scattered in different directions.
- There are far more numerous creatures that are beyond our imagination, including the celestial angels.
- The spreading and gathering of creatures is done as per the Will of the All-Wise God, while man despite being the most intelligent of all creation has no role in it.
Here we present Ayahs 30 and 31 of the same Surah:
“Whatever affliction that may visit you is because of what your hands have earned, and He excuses many [an offense].
“You cannot thwart [Allah] on the earth, and you do not have besides Allah any guardian or helper.”
Ayah 30 intends to warn us against thinking there is no reward or punishment in this world and people can do whatever they wish. It refers to many acts that are committed on the basis of free will and choice, but without proper discretion, thereby resulting in unfavourable outcomes for the doers in the transient life of this mortal world itself as a form of Divine punishment. For your information, Ayah 41 of Surah Roum says in this regard, “Corruption has spread in land and sea because of the doings of the people’s hands that He may make them taste something of what they have done, so that they may come back.”
Thus, without the least doubt, there exists a connection between a person’s conduct and the vicissitudes of life, which means our problems, are the consequences of some of our vicious deeds rather than all of them, since God Almighty forgives many sins that we commit and have the conscience to repent. This Ayah indicates the All-Merciful nature of the Almighty Creator Who pardons many a sin with one single and sincere repentance. It should, however, not be imagined that whoever is afflicted with hardships is paying for evil deeds. No this is not the case, since this particular Ayah addresses sinners and not the pious persons and the saints, whose sufferings at the hands of oppressors is part of Divine trial and tribulation designed to exalt their status. The Prophets and the Imams, who are Infallible, did not commit any wrong, but were exposed to hardships, sufferings, imprisonment, and martyrdom, all of which they patiently endured for the sake of God Almighty and the success of the Islamic mission.
In continuation, the next Ayah, that is, 31 says that some people think that they can cleverly escape the results of their deeds by deceiving God, without realizing that there is no exit from the all-embracing laws of the Omnipresent and Omnipotent Lord, Who is aware of each and everything, including thoughts that flash across minds. In other words, if the motive behind vicious deeds is to seek protectors and helpers against Divine punishment, the truth is that except for God Almighty, there is no true Protector. Thus, the purpose of this Ayah is to arouse human conscience and encourage obedience to God Almighty by discouraging disobedience, since it is solely God Almighty Who is able to ward off torment and is the only Protector Who grants Succour.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- Many bitter events that persons face in life are the outcome of their own evil deeds, especially in the case of sinners, while for the pious who have done nothing wrong, afflictions are part of a Divine trial to test the degree of their faith, and exalt their status.
- The All-Merciful Lord pardons sins in case of repentance, thus preventing many of the bitter outcomes that might befall.
- Mankind is absolutely powerless before God, the Omnipotent and Omnipresent from Whose authority there is no way of escape.