Path towards Enlightenment (970)
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 started explanation of Surah Najm and the glimpses of the Prophet of Islam’s glorious Me’raj or Ascension to the highest point in the heaven where he was shown the wondrous mysteries of creation that no being, not even the angels, has ever set eyes upon, and his return to his home on Planet Earth in the twinkling of an eye, as manifest proof of the Infinite Power of God Almighty.
In continuation, we invite you to listen to Ayahs 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23 of the same Surah that in contrast to the loftiness of monotheism, show the utter lowliness of the minds of the polytheists who by deviating from the path of the One and Only Creator of the universe, have plunged themselves into misery through worship of idols which are nothing but useless manmade objects incapable of responding to any need:
“Have you considered Lāt and ʻUzzā?
“And Manāt, the third one?
“Is it males for you and for Him females?
“Then that will be an unfair division!
“These are but names which you have coined- you and your fathers- for which Allah has not sent down any authority. They follow nothing but conjectures and the desires of the [lower] soul while there has already come to them the Guidance from their Lord.”
These three were the principal idols of the pagan Arabs of Mecca who regarded them as incarnation of angels and attributed feminine gender to them by coining the absurd belief that these were God’s daughters through whom intercession could be sought with the Almighty. This indicates the degree of retardation of the minds of the idol-worshippers who fail to realize that the Exalted Creator is far glorious to have human traits and the need for children. Moreover, the polytheists are unable to understand that angels are neither male nor female. These Ayahs rebuke the pagan Arabs by raising rhetorical questions and mean to say that while you pride on male offspring and consider girls inferior and a stain on your honour, you seem to have no inhibitions in ascribing feminine gender to angels by falsely calling them ‘daughters’ of God.
As Ayah 23 means to say, these idols to which you have given names, ranks, and powers, such as possessors of might, knowledge, love, wrath, fertility, etc., are nothing but wild imaginations of your warped minds – coined by you and your forefathers. These inanimate objects are devoid of truth and any authority. It is your ignorance and your pursuit of lowly desires that make you worship them on the conjecture of attaining proximity to God Almighty, despite the fact that the path of the guidance has been shown to you by the Prophets and the heavenly scriptures revealed to them.
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
- Most polytheists believe in what they call a supreme deity, but worship idols on the false assumption of attaining proximity to God Almighty.
- Debate and logical arguments are the ways to open up the minds of the deviated persons and guide them to the path of truth.
- It is injustice to discriminate between a son and a daughter.
- Superstition is passed from generation to generation when God-given intellect is not put to use through a rational approach.
Now let us listen to ayahs 24, 25, and 26 of Surah Najm:
“Shall man have whatever he yearns for?
“Yet to Allah belong this world and the Hereafter?
“How many an angel there is in the heavens whose intercession is of no avail in any way except after Allah grants permission to whomever He wishes and approves of?”
These Ayahs mean to say that everything is in the power of God Almighty, and whether for our worldly needs or for the bliss of afterlife, we have to turn towards the All-Merciful Creator and His favours, instead of indulging in vain and unbridled desires.
Ayah 26 makes it clear that there are many angels in the heavens whose intercession is of no avail unless God Almighty grants permission to them to intercede for whom He wills and is pleased with. Consequently, the polytheists are warned that when the angels of the heavens cannot intercede on their own unless God grants them permission, do you expect the inanimate idols that you have crafted with your hands to be of any benefit to you!
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- Pursuit of vain and unbridled desires prevents a person from attaining perfection and proximity of God Almighty.
- It is God to Whom we beseech for our lawful needs with full satisfaction in whatever He decides.
- Intercession is possible only through the permission of God Almighty. This means, if angels have no authority to intercede by themselves, then it is useless for the polytheists to think that inanimate objects such as idols can be of benefit to them in the Divine Court!
In conclusion of this week’s episode of Path towards Enlightenment, here are Ayahs 27, 28, 29, and 30 of the same Surah:
“Indeed those who do not believe in the Hereafter give female names to the angels; while they do not have any knowledge of that.
“They follow nothing but conjectures, and indeed conjecture is no substitute for the truth.
“So avoid those who turn away from Our remembrance and desire nothing but the life of the world.
“That is the ultimate reach of their knowledge. Indeed your Lord knows best those who stray from His way, and He knows best those who are guided.”
These Ayahs mean to say that those who ascribe superstitions to God and give female names to the angels are in complete ignorance. In fact, they do not believe in the Hereafter, and follow only conjectures instead of the manifest truth.
Ayah 29 commands believers to avoid the company of those who turn away from the path of God Almighty and do not give ear to Divine Injunctions, since such persons are wholly immersed in pursuit of the material life of the transient world and the pleasures of the flesh, without heeding the words of truth.
The next Ayah refers to the limited knowledge and perception of those who are unmindful of God Almighty, and have exchanged their human dignity and honour with mundane possessions. God Almighty is Omniscient and knows best who have gone astray from the Path of Truth and who deserve guidance.
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- Conjecture regarding faith and vital matters, results in irreparable loss.
- Those immersed in sins and disbelief, deprive themselves of guidance.
- Reasonable enjoyment of the pleasures of life is good; while excessive love of and plunging in pleasures is self-destructive.
- God best knows who have gone astray and who deserve to be guided.