Path towards Enlightenment (963)
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).
As you know, last week we completed explanation of “Surah Zariyaat” and from this Friday onwards we embark on explanation of the next Surah, that is, “Surah Toor”, which is number 52 in the serial order of compilation of the holy Qur’an. It was revealed in Mecca and has 49 Ayahs.
The Surah derives its name from “Toor” or “the Mount”, more specifically the Mount of Sinai on which God Almighty revealed the Torah to Prophet Moses. The Surah thus opens with the Divine Oath by the Mount Sinai to signify its sacredness. It addresses many of the arguments put forth by the pagan Arabs of Mecca to Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). The torment of Hell for the disbelievers is contrasted by the bliss of Paradise for the true believers. The Prophet is commanded by God to continue delivering the universal message of Islam in the face of the opposition by the disbelievers, and to await Divine Judgement, which is inevitable.
According to a hadith from the Prophet, “The one who recites Surah Toor shall be safe from torment and shall enjoy Divine Favours in Paradise.”
Now we present you the first four Ayahs of this Surah:
“In the Name of God, the All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful – By the Mount [Sinai];
“By the Book inscribed;
“On an unrolled parchment;
“By the House greatly frequented;”
The Surah begins with several oaths, and in these first four Ayahs three Divine Oaths are mentioned. The first two Divine Oaths refer to Toor or Mount Sinai, and the Divine Book, which according to exegetes is the one inscribed and preserved in the “Lawh al-Mahfouz” or the Secured Tablet in the celestial heavens in an unrolled state and revealed to the Last and Greatest Prophet as a universal message for the guidance of mankind in all ages.
The third Divine Oath by the “Bayt al-Ma’mour” or the much frequented house, according to exegetes is the holy Ka’ba in Mecca which is always thronged by pilgrims, and more specifically the edifice in the celestial heavens for the worship of angels that can neither be desecrated by anyone nor deserted due to pandemics and strife as it happens on Earth.
According to the Prophet’s Vicegerent and First Infallible Successor, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) the Bayt al-Ma’mour (or greatly frequented house) in the heavens is visited all the while by thousands of angels who circumambulate, pray, and then never come back again. In other words, it implies constant increase in the realm of creation.
These Ayahs teach us that:
- Oaths on the symbols of sacredness, including a Book, and that too amongst both the ignorant and those claiming to be masters of speech, indicates the high value Islam attaches to writing and reading.
- It is incumbent upon believers to keep alive the glorious heritage of the Prophets and their endeavours in enlightening humanity.
- The heavenly scripture revealed for the guidance of all mankind should be written in clear format on the best material and published in abundance to ensure proper distribution so that people have easy access to it.
Now we invite you to listen to Ayahs 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the same Surah:
“By the elevated roof (that is the sky);
“By the surging (or blazing) ocean:
“Indeed your Lord’s punishment will surely befall.
“There is none who can avert it.”
In continuation of the previous Ayahs regarding oaths by the Divine Signs, Ayahs 5 and 6 take oath by two important factors of the world of creation. The first “the elevated roof” is reference to the sky or the canopy of heaven, to whose height or sublimity no limit can be assigned by the mind of man, which is unable to discover its mysteries despite advancement of science. The second Divine Oath by the “Bahr il-Masjour” is a reference to the brimming, abounding, and agitated ocean where magma erupts through undersea volcanoes and which would be set ablaze on the Resurrection Day.
Ayahs 7 and 8 refer to the Divine Punishment on the Day of Judgement that will surely afflict those who die in the state of disbelief, denial, and sins. There is no escape from Divine Wrath and none can avert it.
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- By contemplating on the Divine Signs which are manifest in the universe, we get a glimpse of the Infinite Power of the Almighty Creator and His resurrecting of mankind on the Day of Judgement for rewards or punishment.
- The agonies one goes through during mortal life in our transient world are temporary and could be averted, while the punishment on the Day of Judgment for those who die in the state of disbelief, denial of truth, and unrepentant sins despite the long respite given by the All-Merciful Lord will be severe and inevitable.
Now we invite you to listen to Ayahs 9, 10, 11 and 12 of Surah Ṭoor in conclusion of this week’s episode:
“On the day when the sky whirls violently;
“And the mountains move with an awful motion;
“Woe to the deniers on that day;
“Those who play around in vain talk.”
These Ayahs point to the situation of the earth and the sky on the threshold of Resurrection, when the world of existence that has been created for the best of creation, that is, mankind, shall come to its end along with the end of the worldly affairs of the human race. In other words, the material world shall be rolled up through a terrible shaking of the sky and the earth when the seemingly mighty mountains move from their places as powerful earthquakes occur. It means the material world shall disintegrate upon Divine Will and change into the Hereafter. Divine Torment in store for those who deserve it is based upon order and justice.
As is clear from Ayahs 11 and 12, the day of reckoning will be a day of woe to the disbelievers who belied the signs of Allah, since every evil deed has its own retributive and punishable chain of consequences. Whatever is done in the transient life of the mortal world is a preparation for the Hereafter, which the disbelievers will find a reality on the Day of Judgement, which they used to deny and mock by indulging in vain talk and sins despite the warnings of the long line of Prophets sent by God for guidance. As for the true believers, it will be a day of joy and bliss.
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
- The massive upheaval of the material world will be the precursor for emergence of a new order for Resurrection and the Day of Judgement.
- The deniers of the Hereafter will find how irrational and baseless were their claims, but there is no repentance on that day.
- Everything is based on justice by the All-Merciful Lord Who never wrongs anyone.