Path towards Enlightenment (959)
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 that 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 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30 of surah Zaariyaat
“Did you receive the story of Abraham’s honoured guests?
“When they entered into his presence, they said, ‘Peace!’ ‘Peace!’ He answered, ‘You are an unfamiliar folk.’
“Then he retired to his family and brought a fat [roasted] calf, and put it near them.
“He said, ‘Will you not eat?’ Then he felt a fear of them.
“They said, ‘Do not be afraid!’ and they gave him the good news of a knowing son.
“Then his wife came forward crying with joy. She beat her face, and said, ‘A barren old woman!’
“They said, ‘So has your Lord said. Indeed He is the All-Wise, the All-Knowing.’”
If you remember, last Friday in our explanation of the previous Ayahs of this Surah we said the holy Qur’an draws our attention to the wonders that the Earth contains in order to help us recognize the One and Only Creator, since the more we discover this phenomena, the better our realization of the Resurrection Day. We also said that proper reflection on our own self enables us to have better cognition of God, Who has blessed mankind with the power of speech, along with the intellect, provides sunlight and sends showers of rain down on the earth accompanied by the wind to help the growth of vegetation as provide food for all creatures.
The Ayahs that we recited to you now refer to the coming of angels to Prophet Abraham in human form and his reception of them with respect and honour without knowing who they were. The angels courteously greeted him by saying peace and he said you seem to be strangers. As per his habit, Abraham who used to honour anyone who came to his house, prepared food for them and brought to their presence. He asked them to eat of the calf he had especially roasted for them, but when they courteously declined, he felt a fear of them. He was quickly calmed down by the uninvited guests who now disclosed their identity to them as angels sent by the Lord Most High to give him glad tidings that the aged and issueless Abraham and his equally old wife Sarah would soon become parents of a blessed son. On hearing this Sarah cried with joy and beat her face, expressing surprise that how could a barren old women conceive. The angels assured her that whatever the All-Wise and All-Aware God decides is bound to happen.
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
- Among the characteristics of Prophets, Imams, Saints, and Godwary scholars is respect for the guests even if they seem unfamiliar.
- Greeting in a peaceful manner is a Divine act and the angels start their speech by saying peace.
- The Powers of the Almighty Creator are infinite and He Who had rescued Abraham in youth by transforming the blazing fire of Nimrod into a pleasant garden, granted him and his barren wife a child in their old age.
Now let us listen to ayahs 31-37 of surah Dhariyat as the concluding ayahs of this episode:
“He said, ‘O messengers, what is now your errand?’
“They said, ‘We have been sent toward a guilty people,
“That We may rain upon them stones of clay;
“Marked with your Lord for the profligate;
“So We picked out those who were in it of the faithful,
“But We did not find there other than one house of Muslims, and We have left therein a sign for those who fear a painful punishment.’”
As these Ayahs indicate the angels were sent by God to fulfill two missions – the first was to bear glad tidings to Prophet Abraham that God Almighty has decided to grant him and his barren wife a son in their old age, and the second was to afflict punishment on the wicked people for whose guidance Prophet Lot was sent but they never refrained from the abominable sin of indulgence in sodomy. The angels, however, assure that God will rescue Prophet Lot and his few virtuous followers. God decreed the showering of stones on such people for their grave sin of homosexuality. Thus, the punishment for sodomy is being stoned so that the sodomizer tastes the most excruciating torment in this world and others may take a lesson and refrain from committing such act of obscenity.
Prophet Lot was the nephew of Prophet Abraham, and during his twenty one years of preaching, only one person believed in him. Thus, the inhabitants of that place who had been given ample respite by the All-Merciful Lord deserved Divine punishment.
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- The punishment of abominable sinners is not deferred to Resurrection and the Judgment Day, and they are afflicted with chastisement in this worldly life itself with greater torment reserved for them in the Hereafter.
- It is possible for decent and virtuous people to live in a society that is corrupt but they should strive to guide others and dissuade them from indulging in sin, which means an evil environment does not justify sinning.
- According to Divine Justice, guiltless persons will not be punished and will finally be saved, even though the majority of the society is corrupt.
- Homosexuality, whether sodomy of lesbianism, is an abominable sin and should be punished.
- The remnants of sinful and corrupt nations are sources of admonishment for us to be heedful of the Divine Commands.