Exposition of the Holy Quran – 13 Surah Ar-Ra’d (G A Parwez)
Surah 13: Ar-Ra’d
(1) Allah, the Aleem, the Hakeem and the Raheem says:
These are the verses of the Book based upon truth which has been revealed to you but most of the people do not believe.
(2) Allah is He who has raised the heavenly spheres aloft without any visible pillars and He has control over the entire universe. He has subjected the sun and the moon to function for an appointed period (31:29). He regulates affairs and has given clear signs so that you may believe in His Law of Mukafat.
(3) It is He who has stretched out the earth and set thereon firm mountains and rivers to flow and has caused fruits to grow in pairs. The Sun and the Moon move in such a way that the night gradually covers the day. In all these, there are signs for those who care to reflect.
(4) On the earth there are neighbouring tracts with gardens of grapes and corn and palm trees, single or clustered. They are irrigated with the same water yet some of them are more tasteful than others. In these also there are signs for those who care to understand.
(5) It is not strange that despite such clear signs of Allah’s laws of creation and development, people still wonder how they will be brought to life again after they have been reduced to dust? These are the people who do not believe in the laws of their Rabb; they are so shackled by ignorance and conservation that they cannot see far. These people are and shall be the dwellers of hell.
(6) It is due to their short sightedness that, whereas We have given them respite to enable them to make amends, they challenge you to hasten the chastisement just like in the stories of earlier people before them. The law of respite notwithstanding, their inequity is a means of protection given by your Rabb but equally severe is the chastisement from Him which is sure to come.
(7) Those people who do not accept the truth of the divine laws say, “Why has a miraculous sign not been given to you by your Rabb?” (They do not understand that your mission is to make them aware about the divine laws) and warn them (about the consequences of their wrong-doings). Moreover, your mission is for all nations and for all times (whereas a miraculous sign is confined to a particular period).
(8) It has been stated that there is a period of respite between actions and their results. This is evident from the following examples: There is an intervening period between the conception and birth of a child. Allah knows what is in the womb and what is increased or decreased therein, and which foetus will reach completion and which will not.
(9) For all this Allah has laid down laws. He is the knower of the hidden and the manifest – the great and the exalted.
(10) It is the same to Him whether anyone conceals his intention or speaks out his mind, whether anyone is hidden in the darkness of the night or goes about freely in the day.
(11) Allah’s Law of Mukafat encompasses human beings from all sides and brings all their actions to their conclusion (82:10-12). (And since a nation comprises people, the same law is applicable there also, it should therefore be remembered that) Allah does not alter the condition of a people until they bring about a change in their inner selves (8:53) and this change obviously takes place in accordance with their intentions, desires and action. The Law of Mukafat is so strict that when chastisement comes, none can avert it nor can people have any protector besides Allah.
(12) This law contains the possibility of both hope and fear, just as lightning is frightening but brings with it rain-bearing clouds also.
(13) The thunder of clouds and all other forces of nature are busy in hamd and accomplishing Allah’s plan (24:41). Only those are struck by lightning who do not take precaution according to Allah’s laws. Yet these people wrangle about Allah’s powers out of sheer obstinacy although He is mighty in His prowess.
(14) Those who wish that their efforts should bring about constructive results turn to Allah’s laws whilst those who call upon forces other than Allah do not even receive a response from them. The latter may be likened to a person who, in his thirst, stretches out his hand towards water hoping that it will reach his mouth but this cannot happen. Only efforts which are made in accordance with Allah’s laws bring about good results. Mere supplications to forces other than Allah are rendered waste.
(15) All that there is in the universe submits to Allah’s laws (3:82). Things belonging to the physical universe submit to these laws through an instinctive urge without any external coercion (41:11). Human beings also obey physical laws: they have no choice in this. For instance, a man may walk in any direction at his will but he cannot change the direction of his shadow. So far as divine values are concerned, it is open to them to obey or reject them. Those who reject them are eventually forced by necessity to comply with them.
(16) These are the people who believe in Allah’s laws but only as far as they relate to the physical sphere. When you ask them who controls the universe, they will say that it is Allah (29:61-63). Then ask them, “Why do you, then, look up to forces other than Allah which cannot harm or benefit even themselves?” Say then, “Are the blind and the seeing alike, or is darkness the same as light (11:24, 35:19)? Can those whom you have set up as peers to Allah create anything similar to what Allah has created, leading you to think that they too could create as Allah does?” Allah is the creator of everything. He is the only One possessing all powers (6:3, 21:21-22, 43:84).
(17) (Some may argue that if Allah has created everything, why is it that there is evil along with good. The conflict between evil and good is necessary for the evolution of the universe. This may be understood by means of the following examples.) Allah sends down rain from the heavens and this causes streams to flow and the deluge which follows sweeps away all the dirt in the soil (leaving clear soil behind). Similarly, when metals are used for making ornaments or other articles of use, they are purified by being put into the fire which separates the impurities (and the pure remains). As a result of the conflict between truth and falsehood the negative forces pass away like scum but that which is beneficial for humanity endures. This is how Allah explains His laws by means of analogies (13:39. 21:18, 42:24).
(18) It is thus clear that those who hearken to their Rabb shall have all that is beneficial and those who do not shall, in the end, face a strict reckoning although they may be prepared to offer in ransom all that there is on earth and the like of it added thereto. Hell, which is a wretched place to dwell in, shall be their abode.
(19) Reflect on this: Is he who believes in the truth of what has been sent down by your Rabb in the same position as one who is blind? It is only persons of insight who can appreciate this difference.
(20) Those who (believe) fulfil their pledge to Allah and do not breach their covenant.
(21) They unify the separate segments of humanity into a single brotherhood as Allah has asked them to do (2:27). They are apprehensive of their Rabb that if they do not do this, they will face a strict reckoning.
(22) They struggle hard to accomplish the task assigned to them by their Rabb and remain steadfast. For this purpose they establish the Nizam-us-Sala and keep available for the needy, openly or secretly, the means of subsistence which Allah has bestowed on them. They repel evil by doing good (11:114, 28:54).
(23) For them awaits the recompense of a final, happy abode – ever green gardens which they shall enter along with the righteous from amongst their parents, spouses and offspring, and malaika shall meet them from all sides (41:30) saying,
(24) “Peace be upon you, for you have endured all trials with steadfastness.” How excellent is the final abode of these people!
(25) As for those who breach their covenant with Allah, and split humanity into factions though Allah had asked them to join them together (2:27, 13:21) and create fasad (disorder, chaos) in the land they shall be deprived of all blessings and shall have a miserable abode.
(26) Keep in mind that Allah has provided means of sustenance to all humanity but these are acquired in proportion to one’s own efforts. This doubtlessly happens in accordance with physical laws and they rejoice in the life of this physical world (but life is not confined to the physical world alone). In fact, this life as compared to the life of the hereafter, is a mere trifle of passing comfort (provisions should therefore be distributed in such a way that all get according to their need – 16:53, 71).
(27) Those who do not believe, repeatedly ask why Allah has not sent down a miracle to the Rasool. Tell them that Allah has bestowed freedom of will upon human beings and it is not His plan that they shall be compelled to believe (25:73). This is why a miracle has not been sent to the Rasool. Whosoever follows the right path, reaches the right destination.
(28-29) Those who believe and wish to have a heart free of worry, tell them that this can only be achieved by keeping Allah’s laws constantly in mind. Those who believe in Allah in such a manner and act righteously, shall have blessings of all kinds and shall live a most beautiful and balanced life (3:13).
(30) O Rasool, We have sent you to your people as similar rusul were sent to peoples before them. You communicate to them the revelations We have delivered to you but they still do not believe in Rahman who has revealed to you this Book (55:1-2). Say to them, “He alone is my Rabb, there is no authority other than Him. I place my trust in Him fully and turn to Him for guidance.”
(31) Some people think that if the demand made by unbelievers for a miracle is fulfilled, it might be good since it might cause them to believe. This is not the case. Even if there was a Qur’an whereby mountains could be set in motion, the earth traversed in a moment, and the dead made to speak – these people would still not believe. Allah possesses all powers to work wonders but this is not His way. Had it been His plan He would have guided all persons aright. Therefore, let not the believers feel frustrated that a miracle is not shown to the unbelievers. The unbelievers will continue to oppose you until they engage in war with you which will be in the vicinity of their homes. Then, they will be defeated and thus Allah’s programme will be accomplished; most certainly Allah never fails to fulfil His promises (6:7, 6:25, 15:14-15, 17:90-93).
(32) All this will happen imperceptibly. During this period you will be mocked at as were the rusul before you. Those people, too, were given a long respite and it was only afterwards that they were seized and overtaken by a severe chastisement.
(33-34) O Rasool! Ask them, “Do you set up peers to Allah Who is so powerful that He keeps a watch over every person to see what he does?” Say to them, “Identify those whom you set up as peers to Allah and then mark what it is that Allah misses which they point out to Him.” The fact is, that these are all false contrivances of the unbelievers which seem fair to them and which have held them back from the right path. Those who choose to go astray – none can put them on the right path. For these people there shall be chastisement in this world to be followed by greater chastisement in the next. No one would be in a position to save them from the grip of Allah.
(35) Those who follow the right path will have janna as their abode, the likeness of which is that of a garden wherein flow streams and wherein are fruits perennial and shades perpetual. This is what awaits the muttaqeen but what awaits the kafireen is fire (14:24-25, 47:15).
(36) Those to whom We have given this book rejoice in what is revealed to you (10:58) but there are others who are displeased by some of the commandments sent by Allah. Tell them, “Whether you like them or not, I am commanded only to obey Allah’s laws and do not associate anything with Him. To Him I call you and to Him I would also turn.”
(37) Thus We have sent to you a code of life in the Arabic language. If after such divine guidance has come to you, you follow the desires of those unbelievers, you shall have no friend or any protector besides Allah.
(38) Regarding the objection as to why a human being has been sent as a rasool, tell them that previous rusul were also human beings and had spouses and offspring. Regarding the question as to why they are not seized immediately by the chastisement of which they have been warned, tell them that chastisement comes according to Allah’s Law of Mukafat after the period of respite expires.
(39) The basic law of evolution is that those species which acquire the capacity to survive remain whilst the rest are eliminated. This law, the source of which is with Allah, also applies to nations (13:17, 42:24).
(40) As already stated (10:46), you, O Rasool, might wonder whether the end of which your opponents are being warned will come about in your lifetime or whether you will spend your whole life in these struggles. The end will come according to Our Law of Mukafat. Your responsibility is only to communicate the message with full confidence that they will be recompensed for their actions since it is Allah Who keeps a watch over what they do.
(41) They also ask when the Nizam-e-Rabubiyya will be established in which the sources of production will be under the administrative control of the divine order instead of being in individual possession. Tell them that the process has already begun. Do they not see how the land of the owners is being gradually reduced? This is the decree of your Rabb which there is none to set aside and He is swift in reckoning (21:44).
(42) Like your opponents, in earlier times also, many made concerted efforts to defeat Allah’s plans. Allah knows what everyone is doing and your opponents will soon know what a wretched final abode is reserved for them.
(43) Those who discredit Allah’s laws say that you have not been sent by Allah since you do not bring about their chastisement. Say to them, “I do not wish to wrangle with you about the matter which will be decided according to Allah’s laws and the decision will bear witness to the truth of my claim. Those who have knowledge of the book of Allah also testify to this.”
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