Path towards Enlightenment (916)
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 Ayah 37 of Surah Dukhan:
“Are they better, or the people of Tubbaʿ, and those who were before them? We destroyed them; indeed they were guilty.”
If you might recall, last Friday in our explanation of the previous Ayahs of this Surah on the denial of the Hereafter by the polytheists and the atheists, we had said that any wise person may perceive that the life of the mortal world is not in vain, but has a purpose behind, which necessitates Resurrection and Judgement Day as the final phase of creation to determine that whatever is sown in the transient life will be reaped in afterlife, with either the blazing fire of hell or the bliss of paradise being the ultimate destination.
The Ayah that we recited now is in answer to the pagan Arabs’ claim that the Prophet of Islam is not powerful compared to the ancient kings of Yemen, whose title was Tubba and who had developed a thriving civilization with lush green lands and abundance of agricultural produce. God Almighty says that since they indulged in oppression and corruption, they struck by Divine wrath and obliterated, which means, you will a similar fate if you continue to worship idols and indulge in sins.
This Ayah teaches us that:
- Among the methods of the holy Qur’an for guiding mankind through appropriate warnings, is to refer to the events of the past and the fate that befell the tyrants even if they were powerful and built a thriving civilization.
- Certain sins are consequences for infliction of Divine wrath in the transient life of the mortal world itself, with the major punishment reserved for the Hereafter, such as oppression of the people and spread of corruption on earth.
Now let us listen to Ayahs 38 and 39 of this Surah:
“We did not create the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them for play.
“We did not create them except with reason; but most of them do not know.”
These Ayahs present logical arguments for proving Resurrection to the effect that any sensible person may use his intellect to perceive that God Almighty did not create the heavens and the earth and what is between them in vain, but there is Divine Wisdom in the creation of the whole universe. In other words, the purpose behind creating the heavens and the earth is the creation of the best and most perfect of all species, that is the human race, and the purpose behind creating mankind is to raise them up on the Day of Resurrection for due reward or punishment. Otherwise, the creation of the universe would be in vain. This is a firm rebuttal of the flawed perception of the atheists who deny Resurrection and the Day of Judgment, and consider death as the end of everything, while the holy Qur’an views physical death as a bridge towards the far greater world.
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- It is unreasonable to think of death as the end of everything, as the atheists surmise, because of their lack of belief in the infinite bounties of the Almighty Creator that are not confined to the transient life of the mortal world, but continue in the realm of the Hereafter.
- The creation of the universe and the best of all creation, that is the human race, has a clear purpose behind as could be perceived by pondering on the wonders of life, the beauties of nature, and the mysteries of the soul with its inherent qualities of love, compassion, respect, patience, piety, honesty, forbearance, construction, quest for knowledge, protection of the environment, sound and healthy family and social life, and etc., with an innate abhorrence towards lies, corruption, oppression, fraud, destruction, hypocrisy, treason, and the various negative tendencies regarded as sins.
- Among the reasons for denial of Resurrection by the disbelievers and the atheists, is their gross ignorance of the purpose of creation and their failure to properly use their God-given intellect, which is indeed a clear indication of the Divine Power controlling every minute thing in the universe.
Now we listen to Ayahs 40, 41, and 42 of Surah Dukhan:
“Indeed the Day of Judgement is the tryst for them all,
“The day when a friend will not avail a friend in any way, nor will they be helped,
“Except for him on whom Allah has mercy; indeed He is the All-Mighty, the All-Merciful.”
These Ayahs refer to some of the features of Resurrection and the Day of Judgement when everything will be separated from every person, including family and friends, except his/her deeds, unlike the mortal world where people used to help each other, while now the salvation is only through Divine Mercy.
To be more precise, since creation has a purpose behind, it is logical for Resurrection to occur, because the All-Wise Lord does not abandon His creatures after physical death, especially the best of all creation, that is, mankind, which will be gathered all together for due compensation, after being shown whatever deeds, whether good or bad, done by each and every person. There will be no helper on that day of justice except for Divine Mercy, and no wrong shall be done to anyone. Since God’s Mercy surpasses His Wrath, all believers are hopeful of availing it. No matter to what extent bounds have been transgressed, the believers should not be despaired of Divine Mercy. The pious, however, should be in awe of Almighty God at all times without being proud of their good deeds since no one knows whether these deeds have been accepted by God, Who judges on the basis of sincerity of intention. According to the Infallible Imams, for the believers, hope and fear ought to be like the two pans of the balance.
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
- Resurrection, which is called “Youm al-Fasl” in Ayah 40, means it is the Day of Separation from all that a person had possessed in the mortal world, including family and friends, except for the deeds he/she had done.
- All human beings will be gathered in one place on that day, from the first created person to the last one, to witness the deeds they had done that will be presented to them, more accurately than what a computer – this invention of the human brain – can do.
- God the Just and All-Merciful will judge all on the basis of His infinite Mercy, rewarding the virtuous with the bliss of paradise and punishing the disbelievers with the fire of the eternal inferno.
Now let us listen to Ayahs 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, and 50 of Surah Dukhan as the concluding Ayahs of this week’s episode:
“Indeed the tree of Zaqqūm
“Will be the food of the sinful;
“Like molten copper it will boil in the bellies,
“Boiling like boiling water;
“Seize him and drag him to the middle of hell,
“Then pour over his head the punishment of boiling water.’
“‘Taste! Indeed you are the [self-styled] mighty and noble!
“This is indeed what you used to doubt!”
The common supposition of hell is that it burns like the fire of this world, but according to holy Qur’an, those cast into hell are fed amidst the fearsome blaze with a certain food and water, which in fact cause more horrible tormenting. “Zaqqum” indicates a kind of undesirable bitter food for the disbelievers in hell that boils in bellies in the manner of scalding water or boiling oil cutting up intestines, as is indicated in Ayah 45 by the use of the word “muhl” which means any molten or impure metal, such as copper.
The punishment of the people of hell is both physical and psychological. If the former is in the form of boiling material, the latter includes humiliation and derision. They will be told: Taste the consequences of your evil, since you had falsely claimed to be mighty and superior during your mortal life. Ayah 47 commands the angels to seize the unbeliever and drag him forcefully into the midst of fiery blaze of hell, where, as the next Ayah says: pour over his head boiling water that cuts the bodily organs into pieces inwardly and burns them outwardly.
It is said that these Ayahs are a reference to Abu Jahl one of the most intransigent disbelievers of Mecca who used to mock Islam and Prophet, and would say: ‘I possess power and I am held in high esteem in Mecca but neither you nor your God may ever inflict any harm unto me.’ As a consequence for his boastfully blasphemous remarks, he will be held in contempt on the Resurrection Day and it will be said to him derisively: Then taste the torments since you are mighty and held in high esteem.
Ayah 50 means to say that when disbelievers taste the torments, it will be said to them that this is the punishment of which the prophets had warned you about, but you viewed them with doubt and slandered them.
These Ayahs teach us that:
- It is one’s own sins that take the form of intense fire on Resurrection Day, horribly burning both the outward and inward of the disbeliever.
- The punishment in hell will be both physical and psychological.
- The tyrants, who thought they were mighty, powerful, and wealthy, will suffer the consequences of their crimes against humanity and God.
- The All-Merciful Creator never wrongs anyone, and it is only the disbelievers and intransigent sinners who wrong themselves.