Path towards Enlightenment (929)
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 24 and 25 of Surah Ahqaaf:
“When they (the disbelievers) saw it as a cloud advancing toward heir valleys, they said, ‘This cloud brings us rain.’ Rather it is what you sought to hasten: a hurricane carrying a painful punishment;
“Destroying everything by its Lord’s command;’ so they became such that nothing could be seen except their dwellings. Thus do We requite the guilty lot.”
If you might recall, last Friday in our explanation of the previous Ayahs of this Surah we said the ancient nation of Aad in southern Arabia had ridiculed Prophet Houd who was raised among them by Almighty Allah in order to guide them towards monotheism and virtue by warning them of the dire consequences of idol-worship and indulgence in sins. Although some believed in him, the majority misled by the arrogant elites of the society, scornfully told him that if he is really truthful, he should show some example of Divine wrath, despite his saying that everything is in the power of Allah and he is only a guide towards Divine mercy. Because of their disobedience the All-Merciful decreed famine and for three years not a single drop of rain fell, in order to teach them a lesson, but the sinners and idol-worshippers did not give up their evil ways.
Thus, as is clear by the Ayahs that we recited to you now, when their sins exceeded all limits, Divine wrath came in the form of a dense cloud, which the idolaters thought was rain, but it turned out to be a terrible hurricane that was an answer to their scornful mocking of the words of guidance. In other words, it was the torment sought desirously and hastily by the arrogantly ignorant disbelievers. While Prophet Houd took away the believers to safety as the wind invigorated their bodies, this same wind struck the disbelievers with such a fury that it destroyed everything in its path. It blew for seven days and nights, and when it subsided, their dead bodies had also disappeared, since the wind pulled them out of their seemingly safe houses that were hewn out of mountains and hurled them all over the wilderness, smashing them to bits. It destroyed everything to the extent that nothing remained but their mountain dwellings in order to serve as a lesson for the coming generations.
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
- Rejection of manifest truth, out of arrogance and ignorance, results in a terrible punishment.
- The forces of nature, such as wind, clouds, rain, fire, mountains, sand dunes, and all other phenomena are controlled by the Almighty Creator Who can make them a blessing for the believers and a punishment for the disbelievers.
- Destruction of seemingly mighty nations because of their indulgence in disbelief and sins is a Divine tradition as could be observed by the ruins of the past civilizations in various lands.
Now we listen to Ayah 26 of this Surah:
“Certainly We had granted them power in respects that We have not granted you, and We had vested them with hearing and sight and hearts. But neither their hearing availed them nor did their sight, nor their hearts, in any way when they used to belie the signs of Allah. So they were besieged by what they used to deride.”
This Ayah is a warning to the polytheists and disbelievers of Mecca who used to mock the Prophet of Islam and deny his universal mission. It means to tell them that the ancient nation of Aad was physically and materially stronger than them, but could not escape Divine wrath for its disobedience of Divine commandments conveyed through Prophet Houd. The Aad could have been saved from destruction had they used their God-given intellect and other facilities to recognize and accept the truth. They didn’t and suffered the consequences, since they misused their ears, eyes, and other bodily organs to indulge in sins by rejecting the manifest truth by mocking Prophet Houd and daring to desire Divine wrath, which ultimately besieged and annihilated them. In other words, as a consequence of their vices and rejection of truth, they suffered the torment and paid for their mockery.
From this Ayah we learn that:
- Power and wealth doesn’t necessarily save a person or a nation from doom, when the God-given intellect and organs, such as sight, speech, hearing, and the heart’s desire are misused to commit sins and turn away from the truth.
- It is a cardinal crime to ridicule the messengers of God and mockingly call for affliction from Divine wrath.
Now let us listen to Ayah 27 of Surah Ahqaaf:
“Certainly We destroyed towns that were around you, and We have paraphrased the signs so that they may come back.”
This Ayah continues its message to the disbelievers of Mecca by drawing their attention to the destruction of the ancient towns and cities around them or near to them, in order to awaken their conscience and save them from suffering a similar fate. As a matter of fact, the All-Merciful God always shows His signs through the miracles performed by the Prophets and the exemplary life they lead. To be more precise, the signs of the Almighty Creator are all around us and in our own selves, so that we ponder upon them to recognize the truth of monotheism and virtue by abstaining from sins, idol-worship and all sorts of disbelief, irrespective of poverty and wealth, or comfort and hardship. God Almighty gives an ultimatum to humanity against denying the Divine message, harming prophets and the faithful. Those who are heedless, suffer a terrible fate, so that others may take a lesson.
This Ayah teaches the following points:
- The holy Qur’an, as the Revealed Word of God Almighty, invites mankind to study the history of past nations and ponder upon the fate that befell them, so that it serves as an admonition.
- The All-Merciful Lord has provided ample means of guidance for mankind, as well as the respite needed to repent and reform through seeking of forgiveness in the Divine court.
Let us now listen to Ayah 28 of the same Surah, as the last one of this week’s episode:
“So why did not those [false gods] help them whom they had taken, besides Allah, as gods, as means of proximity [to Him]? Rather they forsook them; and that was their lie and what they used to fabricate.”
This Ayah is an admonition to the disbelievers and indicates that inclination toward proximity to the One and Only God is part of innate human nature, which means even many idolaters regard their objects of worship as a means of nearness to God. We may rely on someone as a means of succor in hardships, but it would be wishful thinking to regard idols as means of support in view of the abject helplessness of these lifeless objects. In other words, this Ayah is a rejection of the claims of those entangled in torment because of polytheism and disbelief. They worshipped the statues of what they called their deities which were fashioned by their own hands, saying that these inanimate objects are among the means of achieving proximity to Almighty Allah. Once, however, Divine wrath struck, the idols were abandoned because of acute inability to safe their worshippers, thus exposing the lies and fabrications of the disbelievers.
This Ayah teaches us that:
- It is ignorance and superstitious belief that makes people worship the objects crafted by their hands and the imagination of their warped minds.
- If a thing or a person is unable to save themselves for any torment, how can they save others and be the means of proximity to the One and Only Creator?