Path towards Enlightenment (956)
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).
Today we complete the explanation of Surah Qaaf by continuing from where we left you last week, and here is Ayah 38:
“And certainly We created the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them in six periods, and any fatigue did not touch Us.
If you might recall, in our explanation of the previous Ayahs of this Surah last Friday, we spoke of the fate of the oppressors who think their power can safeguard them against God’s Will. Thus, we should reflect on the fate of the powerful nations of the past and refrain from disobedience to God’s commandments through contemplation on the Divine laws that govern us and the entire universe.
The Ayah that we recited to you now refers to the Infinite Power of Allah the Omniscient Who never has the human trait of tiredness, and Who created the heavens and the earth and the entire universe in six periods, with so many wonders and billions of living creatures and mysteries beyond our imagination, but all in an orderly way.
According to the exegetes, this Ayah was revealed in response to the absurd claim of the Israelites who say God Almighty after creating the heavens and the earth in six days became tired and took rest on Saturday.
The creation of the universe in six periods is repeatedly mentioned in the holy Qur’an. The Arabic word “yowm”, though it literally means day, also refers to ‘era’ or ‘period’ in many an instance rather than the twenty-four hour span of time on our Planet Earth as it rotates on its axis while revolving around the Sun. It means the word ‘yowm’ or ‘day’ in such expressions connotes span of time that could be one earthly year, or even hundreds, thousands, and millions of years of our planet. For instance, when it is said the Earth was ablaze one day and it became cold the other day, these are references to spans of time, and does not mean the 24-hour day.
Therefore, this Ayah means to say that God Almighty created the heavens, the earth, and all creatures in six spans of time, since there were no days and nights prior to the creation of the galaxies, the solar system, the sun and the earth.
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
- Although the Omniscient Creator has the power to create the universe in a single moment, He the All-Wise created it in six stages, since before the creation of the Sun and Earth there were no days and nights.
- The vast and wonderful universe and its orderly functioning are indicative of God’s Infinite Power and the fact that unlike human beings He never gets tired.
Now listen to Ayahs 39 and 40 of the same Surah:
“So be patient over what they (the disbelievers) say and celebrate the praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before the sunset;
“And glorify Him through part of night and after the prostrations.”
In these blessed Ayahs, God Almighty addresses his Last and Greatest Messenger and tells him to be patient against the unfounded words of the disbelievers, by occupying himself with the praise and glorification of the Lord Most High before sunrise, before sunset, and in a part of the night. This is indicative of the five-times a day ritual prayers which are obligatory for every grown-up Muslim, that is, the pre-dawn Fajr Prayer, the noon and afternoon Zohr and Asr Prayers, the Maghreb Prayer after sunset, and the evening Isha Prayer. God Almighty is praised and glorified in the obligatory and supererogatory prayers.
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- The accusations of opponents and their absurd talk should not dishearten us.
- The remembrance of God in all hours of the day is the best support against problems that we encounter.
- The ritual prayers are of special significance, as they teach us discipline, punctuality, and responsibility in our daily life, in addition to our obedience to commands of the Almighty Creator.
Now let us listen to Ayahs 41 and 42, of Surah Qaaf:
“And be on the alert for the day when the Caller calls from a close quarter;
“The day when they hear the Cry in all truth, that is the day of rising [of the dead].
These Ayahs refer to the resurrection of the dead for the Day of Judgement. The word Caller is a reference to the Angel Israfeel who shall descend upon earth and blow the trumpet, saying: “O decayed bones, disintegrated joints, decomposed flesh, and scattered hairs! God Almighty commands you to integrate for the Day of Recompense.’
Ayah 42 is a reference to the vibrations of the sound of the Great Call travelling through the air in such a manner that it will be as if everyone might be hearing it from a near place. In other words, on that Day all the resurrected people shall hear the clear voice of the Caller as if from a near place.
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
- Resurrection is physical and every person will rise from the dead, including those whose bodies have been burnt into ashes and scattered in the rivers and air.
- As is clear from the sounding of the trumpet by the angel to make the dead rise, everything that God Wills and Commands is on an orderly basis, and He the All-Merciful judges in the fairest of manners.
Now let us listen to Ayahs 43, and 44 of the same Surah:
“Indeed it is We who give life and bring death, and toward Us is the destination.
“The day the earth is split open for [disentombing] them, [they will come out] hastening. That mustering (or resurrection) is easy for Us (to carry out).”
The Ayahs refer to the fact that it is the Almighty Creator Alone who gives life and causes death, and then make the dead alive once again in their original form for the final judgement, even if bones have turned into dust and scattered around.
Ayah 43 means to say that the Almighty Creator first gives life to a dead sperm inside the mother’s womb and causes it to grow until birth, when the newborn baby, whether male or female, continues the process of growth, and lives in the mortal world for a certain span of time before death occurs by the Will of God.
As the next Ayah indicates, after the intermediary period of Barzakh following death, there shall be no delay in causing the dead to be resurrected to life by the command of Almighty Allah Who will make the earth cleave asunder to facilitate the mustering of all mankind for the Day of Judgement. This is all easy for the Almighty Creator.
These Ayahs teach us that:
- Life and death are by the authority of the Almighty Creator to Whose Munificence we all owe our creation, our life, our survival, our welfare, and our death.
- The Omnipotent Lord, Who is the source of all life and existence, shall make the dead rise on the Day of Resurrection and gather all mankind together in one huge place, with remarkable ease.
Now let us listen to Ayah 45 of which marks the end of Surah Qaaf:
“We know best what they (the disbelievers) say and you are not the one to compel them (to believe). So admonish by the Qur’an him who fears My Warning.”
This Ayah, addressing the Prophet of Islam, means to say that God Almighty is All-Aware of disbelievers’ false accusations. Nonetheless, the Last and the Greatest Prophet is enjoined to fulfill his duties of his universal mission of Islam by preaching the holy Qur’an for the guidance of people to the Straight path that leads to Paradise, and warning disbelievers of the wrath of the All-Merciful Lord. The task of the Prophet is not to force or compel people in believing in his mission and in the monotheism of the One and Only Creator, but to arouse their conscience through recitation of the Ayahs of the Holy Qur’an. In other words, the Ayah means to say: God is quite aware of the deniers of the Hereafter and their plots against the Prophet to prevent people from believing in his mission, but since human beings have been given the freedom to choose without any compulsion, their fate, whether to earn the reward of Paradise or plunge into the fires of Hell, is in their own hands, and thus they should be warned. Thus, we should read the holy Qur’an act according to Divine injunctions.
These are the points that we learn from this Ayah:
- The holy Qur’an is the best means of giving tidings to the people and warning them against falling prey to the temptations of the devil.
- Religion and its rules are in harmony with innate human nature, which needs to be aroused from its dormant status through proper ways of preaching.
- The dynamism of Islam should be explained to the people, but without any compulsion, since they have been given free will by God to determine their own fate, which will become fully evident on the Day of Judgement.