Path towards Enlightenment (919)
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 7 and 8 of Surah Jathiyah:
“Woe to every sinful liar,”
“Who hears the signs of Allah being recited to him, yet persists disdainfully, as if he had not heard them; so inform him of a painful punishment.”
If you might recall, last Friday in our explanation of the previous Ayahs of this Surah we referred to the wonders of existence as undeniable signs of Divine Wisdom and the Almighty Creator’s Omniscience, which is not limited to the world of nature such as the orderly functioning of the heavenly bodies that ensure the alteration of day and night as well as the seasonal cycle of spring, autumn, winter, summer, and rains, but is also evident in our intricate physical system and the mysteries of the soul. Thus, the signs of guidance are everywhere around us, and those refusing to believe in these manifest signs suffer the consequences.
In continuation, the Ayahs that we recited to you now mean to say that those who mock the manifest signs of Allah and persist in disbelief and sins will be severely punished. The Arabic word “wayla” which in English means “woe to” is used for sinful liars in Ayah 7 and recurs 27 times in the holy Qur’an. It refers to intellectual traitors who make false claims and attribute them to God. It also denotes those who cheat in their business transactions, as well as ideological deviants, such as disbelievers and polytheists, in addition to slanderers and backbiters. According to exegetes “Wayl” is the name of a well in the lowest level of hell into which some of the most intransigent disbelievers will be thrown.
Divine punishment is consistent with the offenses committed, and as is clear by Ayah 8, the one who hears the words of the Prophet but disdainfully ignores the Divine Revelation as if he has heard nothing, will be afflicted by a severe torment. In other words, those who belittle the Ayahs of the holy Qur’an will be severely punished on the Day of Judgement.
These Ayahs teach us that:
- The sinful liars are damned in the sight of God.
- The Words of God Almighty should be communicated to all people, including those immersed in sins and disbelief, in order to awaken their conscience, as well as to make it clear that on the Day of Resurrection they have no excuse at not being informed.
- Arrogance is bad, but is worse when a disbeliever tries to mock God.
Now let us listen to Ayahs 9, 10, and 11 of Surah Jathiyah:
“Should he learn anything about Our signs, he takes them in derision; for such there is a humiliating punishment.”
“Ahead of them is hell and what they have earned will not avail them in any way, nor what they had taken as guardians besides Allah, and there is a great punishment for them.”
“This is a guidance. And as for those who defy the signs of their Lord, for them is a painful punishment due to defilement.”
Ayah 9 mentions another evil trait of the arrogant and begrudging disbelievers, who not only ignore the signs of God Almighty that are manifest all around us, but also react against them through slander and mockery. Thus, a humiliating torment is in store for such people, who include Abu Jahl, the archenemy of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
The next Ayah says hell is the destination of such persons, whose property and wealth will not save them from Divine Wrath for their cardinal sins in worshipping idols and thinking that the deities their minds warped minds had created would save them from punishment on the Day of Resurrection.
Ayah 11 means to say that the Words of God Almighty communicated through the Prophet are guidance for mankind, especially for those heeding them and refraining from disbelief and sins, but for those who defy the Divine signs, a terrible punishment awaits them for their filthy behaviour. The word “rijz” used at the end of this Ayah along with punishment means defilement or filth, and may connote that disbelievers will be punished by polluted and disgusting material.
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- Punishments are proportionate with the sins committed, thus who ridicule the Divine message should await a humiliating punishment.
- Disbelievers and oppressors rely on their wealth, power, and influential friends in this transient life of the mortal world, but on Judgement Day, none of this will save them from Divine wrath, and neither will the deities and idols they worshipped, would avail them.
- Those turning a deaf ear to Divine guidance and deriding the message of the Prophets will face a disgusting and painful punishment – perhaps through polluted and filthy material.
Now let us listen to Ayahs 12 and 13 of this Surah:
“It is Allah who disposed the sea for you[r benefit] so that the ships may sail in it by His command, and that you may seek of His grace, and that you may give thanks.”
“And He has disposed for you[r benefit] whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth; all is from Him. There are indeed signs in that for a people who reflect.”
These Ayahs recount God’s favours to mankind, and means to say that the seas and other natural phenomena, such as the sun, the moon, the wind, the rainfall, forests, deserts, mountains, and underground sources, function under Divine orders, including the ships which we make to sail, so that God’s grace is invoked and gratitude expressed to Him. All wonders of creation indicate the Power, Wisdom, and Oneness of God Almighty Who reminds us that whatever exists in the seas, the heavens, the Earth, and the heavenly bodies have been made subservient for the sustenance and welfare of mankind. In other words, on perceiving the wonders of the world, the wise persons reflect upon these blessings, and express gratitude to the One and Only Creator of the entire universe, so as to strengthen their faith and strive towards perfection.
According to a saying of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny) “An hour spent on thinking is better than sixty years of devotions.”
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
- God has made the entire universe subservient to mankind, so that we use it in a proper manner and express gratitude to Him through contemplation on these great bounties.
- Islam lays emphasis on efforts to earn provision for livelihood.
- Positive meditation is more important than supererogatory acts of devotion.
Now let us listen to Ayah 14 of Surah Jathiyah:
“Say (O Prophet) to the faithful to forgive those who do not expect Allah’s days; that He may [Himself] requite a people for what they used to earn.”
Without the least doubt, faith requires magnanimity, forbearance, and forgiveness. Here we are commanded to forgive, or to leave to Divine discretion those despaired of God’s Mercy and not expecting to be resurrected. Because of their distance from the fundamentals of faith and religious-ethical principles, the disbelievers may suffer from undesirable conducts and attitudes; however, we ought to treat them magnanimously and generously lest they may increase their animosity and further drift away from Truth. Such magnanimity and generosity is intended to improve their conduct and may also make them embrace the true faith. Basically, strictness and persistence in retaliation are of no avail in dealing with the ignorant, but showing magnanimity may serve as a means of awakening and guidance. It should, however, be noted that this is not a general rule, since in a several cases there remains no other alternative save retaliation and punishment.
Another point to note is that all days are Days of Allah; nonetheless, the term “Ayyam-Allah” or Days of Allah” are applied to specific days as the designation indicates their significance. The expression is attested twice in the holy Qur’an, once in this Ayah, and another instance with a broader application in Surah Ibrahim. The “Days of Allah” have been interpreted as the Day of the Rise of the Prophet’s 12th and Last Infallible Heir, Imam Mahdi (AS), to establish the global government of peace and justice; the Day of Death, and the Day of Resurrection.
According to a Hadith “the Days of Allah are the days of His Bounties and those of His Trials by afflictions.” This indicates the significance of the Last Day, the day of Divine Manifest Rule over anyone and anything, and the Day of total administration of justice. To prevent wrongdoers from misusing such magnanimity and forgiveness, the Ayah ends with the words: “that He (God) may requite a people for what they used to earn.”
This Ayah teaches us that:
- The manner of dealing with opponents differs according to conditions, sometimes we have to confront them, while at other times leave them to their own fate.
- Divine punishment or reward is in accordance with one’s deeds.