Path towards Enlightenment (954)
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 continue from where we left you last week, and here are Ayahs 23, 24, 25, and 26 of Surah Qaaf:
“Then his companion will say, ‘This is what is ready with me [of testimony].’
“(God will command) The two of you cast every obdurate ingrate into hell;
“(Every) hinderer of all good, transgressor, and skeptic;
“Who has set up another god along with Allah; so the two of you cast him into the severe punishment.”
If you might recall, in our explanation of the previous Ayahs of this Surah last Friday, we had said the mortal world acts as a veil and prevents human beings from perceiving facts and realities, but on the Day of Resurrection these veils will be removed and every person will realize the plain truth. We also said that the two angels that used to accompany every person and record his/her good and bad deeds will tell the disbelievers in their custody on Judgement Day: This is the Day of which you were warned by the Prophets but you were heedless. Today, the veils are removed from your eyes and your sight is sharp. You see what you used to disbelieve and deny.
The Ayah that we recited to you now means to say that the word ‘companion’ here, is a reference to either of the two aforesaid angels who, after separating the true believers, will show the disbelievers the documented proof of the evil they committed and which they cannot deny in the Divine Court, whose verdict is final. They are thus commanded to throw every disbeliever and unrepentant sinner into Hell. These include the ingrates who were thankless of Divine bounties and blessings; the transgressors who violated the laws of God and prevented people from doing good; the skeptics, such as the atheists who denied God, and the polytheists who by succumbing to Satan’s temptations ascribed partners to the One and Only God to mislead the people. Such persons naturally end up with severe torment in Hell.
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
- If disbelief is the result of ignorance, the possibility exists of repentance and return to the right path, but if it is based on obstinacy and bigotry, disbelief might solidify and worsen, thereby making it impossible for such a person to come to his/her sense and repent.
- In contrast to the true believers who lead a life of virtue and encourage others to do the same, the deniers of truth promote vices in society and prevent others from virtuous acts.
- The punishment in hell has degrees in accordance with the magnitude of disbelief, atheism, polytheism and sins.
Now let us listen to Ayahs 27, 28, and 29 of Surah Qaaf:
“His companion (that is, Satan) will say, ‘Our Lord! I did not make him a rebel, but he [himself] was in extreme error.’
“He (God Almighty) will say, ‘Do not wrangle in My presence, for I had already warned you in advance.
“The word [of judgement] is unalterable with Me, and I am not unjust to the servants.’
These Ayahs point out that Satan is the companion of evil-doers, and will be in Hell sharing with them the torment of the blazing fires. This indicates that one of the factors leading a person to Hell is keeping bad company, and on Judgement Day the evil-doers will rue of what they had done in the world and complain that they were deceived, but to no avail. It is worthy of note that Satan does not intend to deny his role as the tempter, but will say he did not force anyone into evil and disbelief, rather the evil-doers and disbelievers themselves welcomed the devil’s temptations out of their own free will and desire.
As Ayah 28 says, there will be disputes on the Day of Resurrection – amongst evil-doers with one another; between evil-doers and corrupt leaders; and between evil-doers and the Satan. Each of them will try to put the blame of their own sins on the others. The Divine call will end their squabble by saying that mankind had been warned in advance during mortal life of the consequences of evil deeds and the temptations of the Satan – through the Heavenly Scriptures, through Prophets, through Imams, and through Godwary ulema and leaders.
The next Ayah points out that the denizens of Hell will be told that the verdict against them cannot be changed. In other words, the time for repentance, reform, and rectifying of deeds and beliefs, ended with the end of their worldly life during which they had been given ample opportunities to seek forgiveness in the Divine Court. The Ayah also says that the Most Gracious and Just Allah is by no means unjust to His creatures, which means it was only personal choice by the evildoers and disbelievers, who spurned the opportunities for guidance and thus trapped themselves in the torment of Hell.
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- We have been given the freedom to choose our friends and companions, so we ought to be very careful in this regard, since companionship, whether good or bad, decides our fate and future.
- It is too late on the Day of Judgement to blame others or accuse Satan for the horrible consequences of disbelief and evil deeds, since the Devil merely tempted and was not given the power to force man to indulge in evil, which means every individual is responsible for his/her own actions.
- The All-Merciful Creator is never unjust in view of the fact that He has given ample opportunities for every person to seek forgiveness through repentance, reform, and rectifying of deeds and belief.
Now listen to Ayah 30 of the same Surah as conclusion of this week’s episode:
“The day when We shall say to Hell, ‘Are you full?’ It will say, ‘Is there any more?’
This Ayah is indicative of the fact that Hell is intelligent in some way or another as it is addressed by God Almighty and replies whether there are more evil-doers to be cast into it. The phrase “is there any more” actually reflects the greed of the evildoers who when alive were so avaricious in their committing of sins and violation of the rights of others that they used to say is there anymore for us to acquire.
This Ayah teaches us that:
- Hell and its punishment are only a reflection of one’s evil deeds and disbelief.
- No one should think that Hell is limited, as there is plenty of space within it for all disbelievers and unrepentant sinners, along with the punishment reserved for them.