Path towards Enlightenment (993)
Salaam and 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).
Today we complete our explanation of Surah Hadeed”, which is number 57 in the serial order of compilation of the holy Qur’an and mentions the heavy metallic element called Hadeed or “Iron” as being sent down by God to endow the earth itself with mighty force and provide humanity with the many benefits of its structural strength, as well as all the great tests of faith that arise from this. As we said in our previous episodes Surah Hadeed presents several Divine Attributes, then proceeds with the grandeur of the Holy Qur’an, the state of believers and hypocrites on the Day of Resurrection, accounts of the past nations, and spending in the way of Allah for establishment of social justice. It criticizes monasticism and social seclusion, and mentions the response received from the public by the previous prophets,
We continue from where we left you a fortnight ago, and here is Ayah 25:
“Certainly We sent our prophets with manifest proofs, and We sent down with them the Book and the Balance, so that mankind may maintain justice, and We sent down iron, in which there is a great might and uses for mankind; and so that Allah may know those who help Him and His prophets in (their) absence. Indeed Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty.”
If you remember, in our explanation of the previous Ayahs of this Surah in our last episode we said if the life of the world is amusement and pleasures of the flesh for the sinners and disbelievers, it is an excellent opportunity for obeying God’s commandments and abstaining from forbidden acts and things for the believers who strive for Divine Mercy and Forgiveness. We also said that a faithless person is dejected when misfortune befalls and exults in wild joy when fortune favours him/her, while a true believer is patient in calamities and is thankful to God for whatever is gained. Allah the All-Merciful, Who tests the degrees of faith or the lack of it, through both disasters and bounties, averts many a calamity, whether accidental or natural – such as storms, earthquakes, epidemics, and the like – because of earnest prayers and supplications to Him.
The Ayah that we recited to you now means to say that striving toward Divine Mercy, Forgiveness, and Paradise requires the leadership of Divinely-designated leaders, that is, the Prophets and the Imams. All Prophets were granted clear evidences of their mission, and God raised Prophets in every nation with a Book that determines right from wrong in order to promote the concept of justice among mankind. Thus, the three aspects of Divine Sovereignty that could be drawn from this Ayah are legislative, judicial and executive, by means of the heavenly scripture, the scale or the balance to maintain justice, and the iron which indicates power and progress. No Revealed Book is without a Perfect Balance. In other words, the relation of the Balance to the Book is that of the scale to the map. The scriptures represent the map of Divine Knowledge in revealed form, and no map can be of any use without a precise scale or balance in society through the presence of an Infallible Person. Iron for its part, stands for strength, power, discipline and implementation of law and order. It is also one of the sources of industrial development in addition to wielding political and economic power. Helping God undoubtedly reflects support for religion and the Prophets through propagation of truth, equity, and justice in society, although the Almighty Creator is not in need of anyone but all beings are in need of Him.
This Ayah teaches us that:
- Prophets do not force people to accept the truth and abstain from vices, but they explain to them in the most rational manner the path of guidance towards Paradise and the wicked ways that end up in the fires of Hell.
- Maintenance of justice in society is among the principal goals of the mission of the Prophets.
- Law and order at times require the use of power on the basis of the Revealed Book and the Balance to discern right from wrong in order to discipline the wayward.
- Iron is the symbol of power and progress of human societies with its many benefits.
Now let us listen to Ayahs 26 and 27 of the same Surah:
“And We certainly sent Noah and Abraham and We ordained among their descendants prophethood and the Book; some of them (the people) are (rightly) guided and many of them are transgressors.
Then We followed them up with Our (other) prophets and We followed (them) with Jesus son of Mary, and We gave him the Evangel, and We put in the hearts of those who followed him kindness and mercy. As for monasticism, they innovated it (themselves) - We had not prescribed it for them – (and commanded them) to only seek Allah’s pleasure. Yet they did not observe it with due observance; so We gave to the faithful among them their (due) reward while many of them are transgressors.”
These Ayahs make it clear that Prophets were designated by God Almighty and not elected or selected by mankind. Ayah 26 mentions two of the Great Prophets, that is, Noah and Abraham, among whose descendants other prophets were raised and given the scriptures, but except for a few, many people failed to benefit from guidance and the Divine Bounties by falling to the temptations of the ever-deceiving Satan.
Ayah 27 refers to the mission of Prophet Jesus – the miraculously born son of the Virgin Mary – who was given the Evangel and disciples whose hearts were filled by God with mercy and kindness. The next part of the Ayah admonishes those who claim to follow Jesus but indulge in such unnatural practices like monasticism and celibacy when God did not command such inhuman behaviour and in order to enable them to achieve His satisfaction, He only advised virtue and abstention from vices, which they failed to properly observe. Thus, God Almighty rewarded those who were the true followers of Jesus, while the rest were deprived of Divine Mercy for their sins and disobedience.
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- The mission of the Prophets is to convey Divine Commandments for the guidance of mankind.
- An unbroken chain of Prophets exists from the father of the human race, Adam, till the greatest of them, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny), while after him are his Twelve Infallible Heirs, the last of whom, Imam Mahdi (AS) is in occultation and will rise in the end times to establish the global government of peace, prosperity, and justice.
- Jesus was a human being and not ‘godson’ as alleged, which means those who deviate from Divine commandments and do not follow the fundamentals of faith are transgressors.
- Innovation, including celibacy in the name of religion, is against the letter and spirit of the Revealed Faith and a clear disobedience of God’s instructions.
In conclusion of this week’s episode of “Path towards Enlightenment” which also marks the end of Surah Hadeed, here are Ayahs 28 and 29:
“O’ you who have faith! Be wary of Allah and have faith in His Prophet. He will grant you a double share of His mercy and give you a light to walk by, and forgive you, and Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Merciful;
“So that the People of the Book may know that they have no power over anything of Allah’s grace, and that all grace is in Allah’s hand which He grants to whomever He wishes and Allah is Dispenser of a great grace.”
Here God tells the believers to firmly believe in His Last and Greatest Prophet so that they may be given a double share of Divine Mercy for being steadfast on the path of Islam with faith in the prophets of the past as well. In such a case their repentance for the misdeeds of the past will be accepted and they will be granted by the All-Forgiving and All-Merciful Lord the ability to discern truth from falsehood through the light of faith, which is a reference to the Infallible Imam.
The last Ayah is an admonition to the followers of the earlier revealed scriptures who think of themselves to be believers, to know that they have no power over God’s grace and bounties, which are granted to the true believers who have faith in all that the Almighty Creator has revealed, culminating in the universal mission of Islam entrusted to Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny), who in turn specified his Twelve Divinely-designated successors.
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
- We should firm up our faith through observance of Godwariness that includes all that the Almighty Creator has commanded.
- A believer is liable to commit sins, but if he/she sincerely repent, will be forgiven by God the All-Merciful.
- We should not judge about the fate of others in the Hereafter, as God’s grace is very vast and is not restricted to our limited knowledge of acts and intentions of people.
Well, dear listeners, on that note we have come to the end of Surah Ḥadeed and in the next episode we will take up explanation of the next Surah, that is, Mujadelah. God bless you and goodbye.