Path towards Enlightenment (951)
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).
As you know, last week we completed explanation of “Surah Hujuraat”, and from this Friday onwards we embark on explanation of the next Surah, that is, “Surah Qaaf”, which is 50th in the serial order of compilation of the holy Qur’an. It has 45 Ayahs and was revealed in Mecca. The title of the Surah derives from the opening detached letter “Qaaf”. The Surah deals predominantly with the Resurrection and the Day of Judgement. Reference is made to previous generations of disbelievers (in Ayah 12), both to warn the disbelievers in Mecca and to reassure the Prophet. Creation is cited as an indication of God’s ability to bring the dead to life again (in Ayah 3), and emphasis is placed on the powerlessness of man on the Day of Resurrection (in Ayah 20). The Surah both opens and closes with mention of the Qur’an.
It is narrated from the Prophet: “Whoever recites Surah Qaaf, Allah shall alleviate the difficulties and throes of death for him.”
Here we present you the first two Ayahs of this Surah.
“In the Name of God, the All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful: Qaaf, by the Glorious Qur’an.
“Rather they consider it odd that a warner should have come to them from among themselves. So the faithless say, ‘This is an odd thing.’”
As we said at the beginning of Surah Baqarah, as well as the Surahs Aal-e Imran, A’raaf, Yunus, Hood, Ibrahim, Shua'ra, Ankabut, and etc, 29 Surahs of the Holy Qur’an start with Horoof Muqatta’at or seemingly unarranged alphabets whose meaning is known only to God and His Prophet, although some exegetes have tried to interpret them. Surah Qaaf which we started now is one such Surah. It begins with a single alphabet. These are among the marvels of the unmatched eloquence of the Holy Qur'an, which bewildered the infidels of the days of Prophet Muhammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). Today also, these Ayahs continue to confound the disbelievers of our own days, who despite the advancement in science and technology, have failed to meet the Divine challenge to bring about at least some phrases equal to those of the holy Qur'an.
The beginning of the Surah with an oath on the holy Qur’an is of significance, since the Revealed Words of the Almighty are “Majeed” or Glorious. Thus, the seekers of glory ought to turn to the Glorious Qur’an, because it possesses glory without bounds and wholly deserves this title in terms of contents, beauteous form, exquisite Injunctions, and invigorating and didactic plans.
The reference is to the mission of the Last and Greatest Prophet and the Day of Resurrection, of which there is no doubt.
The next Ayah reflects the disbelievers’ wonder and bewilderment at the leadership of the Prophet, who was raised from amongst them, the Arabs. The Ayah means to say that God Almighty revealed the holy Qur’an to His Prophet as a warning to the disbelievers so that there remains no room for doubts or bewilderment, since the holy Qur’an is the Word of God Almighty and not the Prophet’s words. Thus, it is inimitable, while the astonishment of the disbelievers is out of obstinacy rather than ignorance.
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- The holy Qur’an is the Revealed Word of God Almighty, and is thus Glorious and Exalted; hence anyone who seeks glory should adhere to this Divine Book.
- The Prophet is a human being like the rest of mankind, and this is something logical for accomplishing the mission to guide humanity, rather than a weak point, as the disbelievers think in a bid to find a pretext to deny his mission.
- The disbelievers have no logical reasoning regarding Divinely-designated leadership and the Day of Resurrection and Judgement, hence, their astonishment and calling these two facts as odd and unbelievable.
Now we continue with Ayahs 3, 4, and 5 of the same Surah:
“What! When we are dead and have become dust [shall we be raised again]? That is a far-fetched return!’
“Indeed We know what the earth diminished from them (the disbelievers), and with Us is a Preserving Book.
“Rather they denied the truth when it came to them; so they are now in a perplexed state of affairs.”
Here the usual question of the disbelievers and deniers of the Resurrection are mentioned, since the faithless say, “how is it possible to restore our body and its organs to their original shape, size, and form after they have become dust?”
Ayah 4 answers that the Almighty Creator, Who gave them form and life out of nothing, very well knows the changes each and every body goes through, after death, burial, and decay. He will restore them to their originality on the Day of Resurrection, no matter if they have become dust and part of their bodies turned to gases and vapours. Thus, the disbelievers’ astonishment at the powers of the Creator and their denial of the facts and realities of the Day of Resurrection, are out of obstinacy and refusal to accept the truth.
The phrase “Preserving Book” is a reference to the minutest records of human deeds that the angels keep on the commandment of God Almighty to show that nothing is lost.
Ayah 5 reflects the disbelievers’ state of perplexity and anxiety that spring from denial of facts, in contrast to the believers’ cognizance of God Almighty and His remembrance through proper attention to the letter and spirit of the holy Qur’an that bestows peace of mind, tranquility of heart, and serenity of the soul.
From these Ayahs we learn the following points:
- The Glorious Qur’an provides the logical and rational answers to the expression of doubts by the disbelievers.
- The system of creation is based on Divine Knowledge, which means each and everything has a rule which are all preserved with God.
- Anxiety and perplexity are the result of denial of truth.
Now let’s listen to Ayahs 6, 7, and 8 of this Surah, as the concluding Ayahs of this week’s episode:
“Have they not observed the sky above them, how We have built it and adorned it, and that there are no cracks in it?
“And We spread out the earth, and cast in it firm mountains, and caused every delightful kind to grow in it.
“[In this there is] an insight and admonition for every penitent servant.”
These Ayahs speak of God’s Infinite Power, saying, that the disbelievers ought to look at the sky above and the earth in order to perceive the reality of Resurrection.
God Almighty created the heavens and adorned them with stars and galaxies standing one above another in such an organized and perfect that there are no rifts between them. Ayah 7 urges them to look at the earth to see that God Almighty has spread it on water and placed mountains on it so that they keep it firm on its place. God Almighty has made all types of creatures grow in pairs.
The next Ayah means to say that those who reflect upon the wonders of creation, and the beauteous and orderly system that governs the universe, notice the Glory and Grandeur of the Almighty Creator. Thus, do we develop the insight and as penitent servants of God Almighty, take admonition from the world of nature.
These Ayahs teach us the following:
- The earth, the sky, the planets, and the entire universe are undeniable proofs of the Power and Glory of God, especially for those who believe in God and the resurrection.
- The whole universe functions on an orderly basis, with the Power of God manifest in all things.
- The growth of plants from dead soil is another example of the Almighty’s Power in resurrection of the dead on the Day of Judgement.