Path towards Enlightenment (909)
Salaam and welcome to another episode of our weekly series titled “Path towards Enlightenment” which is an endeavour to make you and us familiar with an easy and fluent explanation of God’s Final Scripture to all mankind, the holy Qur’an, which was revealed to the Last and Greatest of all Messengers, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
We start from where we left you last week, and here are Ayahs 70, 71, 72, and 73 of Surah Zukhruf:
“Enter paradise, you and your spouses, rejoicing’;
“They will be served around with golden dishes and goblets, and therein will be whatever the souls desire and the eyes delight in, ‘and you will remain in it [forever].’
“That is the paradise you have been given to inherit for what you used to do.
“Therein are abundant fruits for you from which you will eat.’”
If you remember, last Friday in our explanation of the previous Ayahs of this Surah, we had said that on the Day of Resurrection Day, God gives tidings of complete security from any fear, peril and grief to the believers, because of their submission to none other except the Divine Will, which in Islamic terminology means being a Muslim by conviction. It is thus obvious that mere verbal expression of belief is not enough, unless “Islam” is coupled with “Imaan” or faith from the heart that leads to eternal bliss.
The Ayahs that we recited to you now are addressed to the pious believers while admitting them to paradise, along with their spouses in the state of rejoicing, as reward for their obedience to the commandments of God and refrainment from sins during the transient life of the mortal world. It is evident that the company of loyal and virtuous spouses is a source of pleasure for both men and women since they were partners in mundane sorrows and now they may be their partners in happiness in the Hereafter.
The next Ayah means to say that as a Divine reward they will enjoy all kinds of luxurious bounties reserved for them in paradise, such as bowls, dishes, goblets, and jugs of gold, filled with wholesome victuals and pure drinks. In other words, all kinds of bounties that the souls and eyes desire in a healthy manner will be available to the people of paradise – a place where the virtuous will reside forever.
Ayah 72 indicates that paradise is the inheritance for the true believers in recompense for their virtuous life in the mortal world, which means what God has reserved as reward for the faithful, far exceeds the recompense of their deeds, since inheritance usually denotes the gaining of something as share with no pain at all.
The next Ayah refers to the fruits of paradise which are indeed amongst the best Divine bounties, and far tastier than the various fruits of the mortal world. The fruits of paradise are everlasting and the moment one is plucked two more appear in its same place.
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- Loyal and faithful couples will be together in paradise as well, as reward for their fidelity to each other during life.
- Since human nature is attracted towards precious things, the people of paradise will be served in the most precious of objects that are incomparable to what one saw or ever imagined during life in the mortal world.
- The pleasures of the mortal world are limited and transient, while the pleasures of paradise are perpetual and unending.
- Among the delightful bounties of paradise is the existence of a large variety of delicious fruits.
Now let us listen to ayahs 74, 75, and 76 of this Surah:
“Indeed the sinners will remain [forever] in the punishment of hell.
“It will not be lightened for them and they will be despondent in it.
“We did not wrong them, but they themselves were wrongdoers.”
These Ayahs refer to the fate of the disbelievers and the unrepentant sinners. It is worth noting that whenever the Holy Qur’an mentions the bounties promised to the true believers, it usually warns disbelievers of the torments in store for them for their wicked way of life. It is to be noted that disbelievers and unrepentant sinners will taste many a torment in hell without any respite, and this is what they deserve for their own evil, since God the All-Merciful Who has given His creatures a long respite to repent and reform, never wrongs them. As Ayah 76 says, God Almighty reminds the people of hell that He did not wrong them, but they knowingly and deliberately wronged themselves by choosing a wicked way of life despite the long period of respite given to them and the mercy shown to them. On the principle of Divine Justice everything is placed in its proper place, and thanks to God’s boundless Mercy He may forgive anyone He wills except the polytheists. This, however, does not mean that those who will end up in hell had some inborn defect in them. To be more precise, they had indulged in disbelief and committed evil deeds, as per their own free will, when they could well have acknowledged the Power and Sovereignty of the One and Only God to lead a virtuous life by abstaining from disbelief and sins.
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
- Human beings should at all times stay between the awe of God and hope in His Infinite Mercy.
- The Qur’an, while giving tidings to the believers, warns the disbelievers and unrepentant sinners of the consequences of their evil ways.
- God is never unjust to His creatures; it is they who are unjust to themselves.
Now let us listen to Ayahs 77 and 78 of Surah Zukhruf:
“They will call out, ‘O Mālik! (that is, the angel guarding hell), Let your Lord finish us off!’ He will say, ‘Indeed you will stay on.’
“‘We certainly brought you the truth, but most of you were averse to the truth.’”
The condition of the inhabitants of hell is so miserable that they long for death which will never come. In desperation they ask for assistance from anyone. At times they seek help from believers, and at times they beseech those that had led them astray, but to no avail. They, thus plead Malik, the guardian angel of hell, to request God Almighty to end their plight, but it will be of no avail, since the guardian of hell does not do anything by himself, and will tell them stay wherever you are.
As Ayah 78 reminds us, the main reason they have been cast into hell is their own refusal to accept the manifest truth while alive. In fact, they had vehemently denied the truth and persecuted the truthful.
From these Ayahs we learn the following points:
- We should be heedful of our deeds in this world by choosing the right path, so that on the Day of Resurrection we will not regret our actions that lead to hell and from which there is no escape.
- Divine punishment descends once the argument is sealed; so, only those who oppose the truth and become disbelievers, or continue their life of unrepentant sins by refusing to reform themselves, will be cast into hell.
- For the disbelievers no plea for ending their torment will be entertained.
- Accepting the truth and abstaining from sins, is the way towards salvation and the bliss of paradise in the Hereafter.