Path towards Enlightenment (915)
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 a fortnight ago, and here are Ayahs 28 and 29 of Surah Dukhan:
“So it was; and We bequeathed them to another people.
“So neither the sky wept for them nor did the earth; nor was granted to them any respite.”
If your remember, a fortnight ago in our preceding episode of “Path towards Enlightenment” we explained to you the Ayahs which say wealth and worldly power cannot protect the disbelievers from Divine wrath, as is evident by the fate suffered by the nations of the past, including the Egyptian tyrant Pharaoh, whose possessions were inherited by others. It means Divine Will prevails over all and everything else, while the wealthy and the powerful become helpless, since material facilities can neither bring security in life nor salvation in afterlife.
The Ayahs that we recited to you now mean to say that God Almighty Who is the Creator and Real Possessor of everything in the universe, bequeaths to others the properties left behind by those struck by Divine wrath, such as the Pharaoh and his courtiers, at whose fate nobody felt grief because they were oppressors who could not be given further respite after the long years of relief that the All-Merciful had granted them as an opportunity to repent and reform, which they never did. Thus, giving respite has certain prerequisites and when persons become immersed in sins without the least thought to repent, then the respite ends.
As for the phrase “neither the sky wept for them nor did the earth”, it is natural for the inhabitants of the earth or the sky to express grief on the death of saintly persons, especially those tragically martyred, and this weeping is real. According to a hadith, when Imam Husain (AS) was cruelly was martyred in Karbala, the heaven wept for him and this grief was reflected in the sky, through a reddening that lasted a long time. Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS), the 6th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny), says: “The heaven wept for Yahya ibn Zakariyya (that is, John the Baptist, who was cruelly martyred by the Jewish tyrant Herod), while for Imam Husain (AS), it was for forty days, and except for these two it did not weep for anyone else.” When the narrator inquired: “How was the weeping of the heaven?” The Imam replied: “An unusual reddening appeared in the sky at sunrise and sunset.”
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
- The terrible fate that befalls tyrants and arrogantly oppressive nations is meant as an admonition for the rest of mankind.
- There is a sort of perception among all creatures, which means the joy and happiness at the destruction of oppressors are not restricted to human beings alone, but are shared by all.
Now let is listen to Ayahs 30, 31, 32, and 33 of this Surah:
“Certainly We delivered the Israelites from a humiliating torment,
“From Pharaoh; indeed he was a tyrant among the profligates.
“Certainly We chose them knowingly above all the nations,
“And We gave them some signs in which there was a manifest test.”
Historical developments are all within Divine control, although human beings have been granted free will to differentiate between good and evil, which means the prosperity or the perdition of every person – and even nations – are based on disposition and conduct. In the days of Moses, the Pharaoh had exceeded all bonds of oppression and transgression, enslaving and tormenting the Israelites, to the extent that newborn males were slaughtered, as part of a plot to exterminate a whole nation. God Almighty thus entrusted Prophet Moses the mission to invite the tyrant to the path of virtue and monotheism, and to ask him to release the Israelites from bondage. When the haughty Egyptian ruler refused and continued his evil ways and crimes against humanity, despite being warned and shown miracles, he, his courtiers and his soldiers were struck by Divine wrath and drowned. As a result, the Israelites were delivered from a humiliating torment and emerged as a prosperous nation blessed with material bounties as well as spiritual favours, because of their obedience to the prophets raised by the One and Only God in their midst.
As Ayah 32 means to say, the ancient Israelites, due to their monotheistic beliefs, were exalted by God over the rest of nations that were immersed in idol-worship and polytheism. God thus tests His servants by the mundane possessions granted to them, and as is evident from this and the next Ayah, He bestowed merit and dignity upon the Israelites of the past, since they deserved them, but as a manifest test which warranted them to be grateful to the All Merciful Lord and be patient in times of affliction. It means, it is part of Divine Law to test different nations with both welfare and hardship to determine their degree of faith, and thus those who fail the test by ignoring God’s favours and indulging in sins, ingratitude, crimes, and terrorism – as the Israelites eventually did – then the wrath of the All-Merciful will surely strike them.
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- A people who obey the Messengers of God will surely be delivered from the yoke of oppressors.
- Arrogance, ignorance, intransigence, and immorality, are among the characteristics of all accursed and destruction-prone nations, whether the ancient Pharaoh or the US of our own times.
- Whatever God grants individuals and nations are means of testing their faith, rather than the means of permanent supremacy over others.
- The ancient Israelites, because of their monotheism and obedience to the prophets, were blessed by God and made to excel over other nations, but when they became immersed in sins, mocked at and even killed the prophets, and committed all types of crimes and racist terrorism, they were struck with Divine wrath.
Now let us listen to Ayahs 34, 35 and 36 of Surah Dukhan:
“Indeed these ones (the polytheists) say,
“‘It will be just our first death, and we shall not be resurrected,
“Bring our fathers back [to life], should you be truthful.’
These Ayahs, following the end of the account of the Pharaoh and the Israelites, refer to the pagan Arabs, pointing out that belief in Resurrection draws a distinction between faith in monotheism and polytheism. It is worthy of note that though the polytheist Arabs had a sort of belief in God Almighty, they did not believe in Resurrection, and would say death is the end of everything. They would try to ridicule Muslims and tell them that if they are truthful, then they should raise their forefathers to life so as to inform them of the happenings in the Hereafter, but if God had revived their dead, the disbelievers would have come up with other excuses. The retarded minds of the idol-worshippers and pagans fail to understand that the Day of Judgment is the final phase of creation to determine that whatever is sown in the transient life of the mortal world will be reaped in afterlife, with either the blazing fire of hell or the bliss of paradise being the ultimate destination.
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- Any wise person may perceive that the life of the mortal world is not in vain, but have a purpose behind.
- The holy Qur’an refers to the views of the disbelievers and answers them in a rational manner, as a method for strengthening the faith of believers.
- Denial of the Hereafter has no reasoning and argument, and is just a claim raised by disbelievers that shows their irrationality.