Exposition of the Holy Quran – 14 Surah Ibrahim (G A Parwez)
Surah 14: Ibrahim
(1) Allah, Aleem and Raheem says:
This is a book which We have sent down to you so that you may, in accordance with His directives, bring mankind out of darkness into light towards the path designed by Him Who is the most powerful and deserving of all hamd (64:1).
(2-3) Allah is He, in order to accomplish Whose programme the whole universe is busy and, for those who defy His laws there is grievous ruin. Those who prefer the life of this world to that of the hereafter and who prevent others from following the path of Allah, making the straight path crooked, have fallen into deep error.
(4) We have not sent any rasool to any people who did not speak their language so that he may explain Allah’s message to them clearly. Thereafter, it was left to the people whether they accepted or rejected His message. Allah is mighty, wise.
(5) According to this plan, We sent Moses with Our directive to bring forth his people from darkness into light and remind them of the “Days of Allah” when His laws prevailed. In this there are signs for those who confront trials steadfastly and are grateful for Allah’s bounties.
(6) And Moses said to his people, “Recall the blessings bestowed upon you by Allah when He rescued you from the grip of the people of the Pharaoh who tortured you in many ways, the worst of which was that they degraded those respected members of the community who had courage and vitality and posed a danger to them, while elevating those who were devoid of such qualities. Your deliverance was a great favour to you from your Rabb (2:49).”
(7-8) Moses continued, “Your Rabb had proclaimed that if you utilise the bounties given to you according to His laws He will surely increase them but if you do otherwise you will have to face a grievous chastisement. Mind this! If not only you alone but all of mankind go against Allah’s laws, this will not do Him any harm for He is self-sufficient and worthy of hamd.”
(9) O Rasool! Ask your people if the stories of those before them have not reached them – the stories of the people of Noah, Aad, Thamud and a number of others who followed them whose history is known to none save Allah. Their rusul came to them with clear directives from Allah but they did everything to silence them and said, “We refuse to believe in what you have brought with you. Indeed we entertain grave doubts about what you ask us to accept.”
(10) The rusul said, “Do you entertain doubts about that Allah who initiated the creation of the universe? He calls you in order to protect you from the consequences of your wrong-doings and gives you respite for a term so that you may have time to make amends.” Their people said, “You are a mere human being like us. You want to hinder us from worshipping what our fathers worshipped. Show us some miracle if you are truthful in your claim.”
(11-12) Their rusul replied, “It is true that we are human beings like you but this does not mean that we cannot be rusul. Nabuwwa is a favour from Allah which He bestows according to His law of Mashiyya (Allah’s plan) on whoever He chooses. As regards your demand for bringing about a miracle, it is not impossible but, it is not Allah’s plan to do so. We will face your opposition with complete trust in Allah. Why should we not do so when He has given us guidance in our affairs? We will bear whatever hardship you inflict upon us steadfastly. Those who place their trust in Allah, trust Allah alone.”
(13-14) The opponents said to their rusul, “Either we will convert you to our faith or drive you out from our land.” Thereupon their Rabb said to them, “Rest assured, We will certainly destroy these zalimeen and cause you to take their place. This will be the recompense for those who are apprehensive of the consequences of going against Allah’s laws.”
(15-17) Despite all these arguments, their opponents persisted in their stance. The rusul thereupon sought Allah’s help with the result that those who had stubbornly resisted Allah’s laws were defeated. They had to lead the life of jahannam – a life of humiliation and disgrace in which means of subsistence are available but hardly contribute to development. For drink, they are given boiling fetid water – sipping it little by little and yet hardly being able to swallow. Death assails them from all sides but they do not die (44:49, 88:6-7). (This happens when sustenance is secured at the cost of freedom and self-respect.)
This will be the chastisement in this world and the torment of the hereafter will be still more severe (20:74, 87:13).
(18) This is not confined to a particular people or period of history. The actions of all those who go against Allah’s laws are rendered waste like ashes which are blown away by a strong wind on a stormy day. They shall not get anything good for their deeds because it shall be beyond their reach. This is the result of their going astray.
(19-20) The system of the universe is a clear proof to show that Allah’s plan is to produce positive results. Anything that does not produce such results is eliminated and replaced by another capable of producing constructive results. O Rasool! Tell these people that it is not difficult for Allah to replace them with a different set of people if He so desires (4:133, 7:146, 9:39, 47:38).
(21) This is the period of respite. When the two forces confront each other and your opponents can perceive their destruction approaching them rapidly, the weaker ones will say to their leaders, “We followed only you. Will you then not avert, at least to some degree, the chastisement of Allah?” They will reply, “If we could see any way of escape we would also have shown it to you. We are in the same bewilderment as you. It is the same if we bear it patiently or grow restive. There is no escape (33:67, 34:32, 37:27-29, 38:60, 40:47).”
(22) When the time for the final doom arrives, Satan (the representative of ungodly systems) will say, “There was a promise from Allah which has come true and the one from me, which I have failed to make good. You say that you followed me and therefore you are not responsible for what has happened. But I had no hold on you to make you follow me. I simply called you to follow a certain way and you accepted my call. Therefore do not blame me; you will have to blame yourselves. Now I cannot help you and you cannot help me. You moan and groan and I too do the same. You had set me up as a peer to Allah – this was your own doing. I had not asked you to do so. I disown this action of yours. Now, whoever did zulm shall have to suffer for it.”
(23) As for those who had believed and who did what was right, they shall enter gardens under which streams flow, and abide therein according to Allah’s laws. In that paradise- like society it shall be the ardent desire of each person to do the maximum for the development of others.
(24-26) Reference has been made above to two different groups – each with its own ideology – one tayyab (constructive), the other khabees (destructive). The former may be like a tree whose roots are firmly fixed into the earth and whose branches are rising heavenwards. It yields fruit in all seasons according to Allah’s laws (13:35, 43:84). In this way, Allah explains abstract truths by means of concrete examples so that people may reflect. The latter may be likened to a tree whose roots are above the earth and it has no strength to stand upright.
(27) Those who follow the tayyab ideology are established by Allah both in this world and in the hereafter. On the other hand, the efforts of those who follow the khabees ideology go waste.
Allah has decreed this in accordance with His Law of Mashiyya.
(28-30) Keeping this law in view you should ponder over history. There were nations on whom Allah had bestowed His bounties but their leaders used these bounties against Allah’s laws and thus led their caravan to a market where none was interested in their worthless merchandise – they dragged them to jahannam which was a wretched abode. They professed belief in Allah but set up peers to Him and thus led their people astray. O Rasool! Tell these people, “Enjoy for a while; your ultimate destination will be jahannam”
(31) On the other hand ask these people who believe in the truth of Our laws, to establish the Nizam-us-Sala and keep open for the use of all whatever means of subsistence We have bestowed on them, secretly or openly, before the day comes when no transaction shall take place nor shall any friendship be of avail (2:254).
(32-34) In this way the Nizam-e-Rabubiyya shall be established in the human world, the means for which have already been provided by Allah in the outer universe. He has created the heavens and the earth and poured rain from the skies whereby grow fruits for your subsistence. He has subjected to you the ships which sail in the seas according to His laws and also the rivers. Also subjected to you are the sun and the moon which move in their constant courses as well as the day and the night. He has provided you with all that was necessary for your development. In short, Allah’s bounties are so numerous that it is not possible to count them.
But those who do not follow Allah’s laws hide these bounties from others and also seize what others have.
(35-41) To check oppressive forces from exploiting others, it was necessary to establish the Nizam-e-Rabubiyya. This was founded by Abraham with its centre at Makkah. While laying its foundation, Abraham prayed, “O Sustainer of all creation! Make this house a sanctuary for the oppressed people of the world (2:126) and grant me and my progeny the power to withstand those forces which create obstructions in Your way. These forces have led many people astray. Those who follow my way belong to me. As for those who do not, their matter rests with you – to decide whether to protect them or not (11:15). O Our Sustainer! I have settled some of my offspring in a barren valley where nothing grows, next to Your House, so that they may establish the Nizam-us-Sala. Make the hearts of people incline towards them and provide them with means of sustenance so that their efforts may bear fruit. O Our Rabb! You know what we hide and what we disclose; not only that but, You know everything in the heaven and the earth. Hamd is due to that Allah who has granted me in this old age Ishmael and Isaac. I am certain that my Rabb will hearken to my petition. Give me and my progeny the capacity to preserve and strengthen the Nizam-us-Sala. O our Rabb! Grant me this petition of mine. O our Rabb! Grant protection to me and my forebears (such as those who believe in you) and the momineen on the day of reckoning (9:114, 19:47, 26:86, 60:4).”
(42-43) With such desires and prayers Abraham had founded the Nizam-us-Sala which you, O Rasool, have been raised to continue. You should not think that Allah is unheeding of what your opponents do. He is only giving them respite till the day of confrontation on which their eyes will stare fixedly, their necks will be outstretched and their heads will be erect. Their sight will not return to them and there would be a void in their hearts.
(44-46) O Rasool! Warn your opponents of the day when such a chastisement shall overtake them and these wicked people will say, “O Our Rabb give us yet a little respite so that we can hearken to Your call and obey your rusul.” They will be told, “Are you not the same people who used to swear that your powers would never decline? You lived in the dwelling-places of those who did wrong and were consequently ruined. We had told you in clear words what We had done to them and what would happen in similar cases. We had told you that they had resorted to every stratagem – and all their plans were in Allah’s knowledge (and such plans can never succeed) even if they are so well devised and so powerful that they could shake the mountains.”
(47) You should not think that Allah shall fail to fulfil His promise held out to His rusul. He is mighty and able to requite evil doings.
(48-51) That day will be a day of complete revolution when this earth will be transformed into another earth, and also the heavens. Then people will appear before Allah – the One, the Omnipotent. On that day you shall see the wicked bound in chains; their coat of mail melted into pitch and their faces covered with fire. This is how Allah will recompense everyone for what he has worked for. He is swift in reckoning.
(52) All these events have been narrated so that:
1. humanity may reach its destination
2. people should know what the results of evil-doings are
3. they should also know that authority in the entire universe belongs to Allah, and
4. persons of understanding may reflect over them.
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