Exposition of the Holy Quran – 30 Surah Ar-Rome (G A Parwez)
Surah 30: Ar-Rome
(1) Allah, the all-knowing, the all-wise, says:
(2) The Romans have been defeated (by the Persians) in the land that lies close to Arabia (that is Palestine and Syria).
(3) (It was a matter of great delight for the mushrikeen of Arabia, that the Ahl-ul-Kitab had been defeated at the hands of the mushrikeen) However, it is the Ahl-ul-Kitab who, not withstanding this defeat, shall be victorious within a period of a few years.
(4) The actual fact is that all events, whether of the past or the future, occur according to the divine laws. This will take place precisely at a time when (after their present state of helplessness) the Jamat-ul-Momineen will be victorious over their opponents (in the battle of Badr). For the momineen, (the victory in Badr and the fulfilment of the prediction that the Romans will regain superiority) will be a cause of great happiness.
(5) Remember, this help and support (according to which the momineen will be victorious) can only be bestowed on those who desire it by following the divine laws. On account of its power and strength, this support weakens the opponents and becomes a source of Rabubiyya and rahma for the momineen.
(6) It is Allah’s promise (that the Jamat-ul-Momineen will eventually be victorious); and Allah never fails to fulfil His promise. (God’s promise is another name for getting results according to His laws. Since God’s laws are fixed, nothing can happen against them. This is what is meant when it is said that God does not fail to fulfil His promise. However, most people do not know this.)
(7) Although the matter is absolutely clear, a struggle is going on between two groups of people. One group thinks that life exists only in this world and accordingly their struggle is to get the immediate gains of this worldly life, which they can clearly see. They neither believe in life after death, nor do they keep in view the higher objective of the good of the entire humanity. The other group does not consider individual gain, but thinks of the nourishment for the whole of mankind. They fight courageously to achieve this objective and to remove exploitation and discrimination from the world. They believe that even if they lose their life in this struggle, they would have lost nothing. They will get eternal life after their death. (Now, just think: Which of these two groups would win if they were to fight each other? The first group will not be able to stand in front of the second.)
(8) (The Jamat-ul-Momineen’s belief that life has a higher objective and that human beings should consider what is beneficial for the whole of mankind, cannot be attributed to blind following. It is due to deep and rational thinking. If only the opponents would seriously ponder over this, they too can understand this fact.) Let them reflect about the working of their own body (Does every part function for the collective good of the body; or does each part work for itself?) Thereafter, look at the outer universe and see if anything therein is functioning independently, or is everything working as a part of the whole system. If they reflect upon it they will conclude that the entire system has been created for a set period, to produce positive and constructive results.
But in spite of all this clear evidence, most people want to serve their own selfish ends. They stubbornly deny the truth that one day they have to face the divine laws and that every action of theirs would produce results only according to these laws.
(9) If they do not want to reflect on the outer universe or their inner selves, then they should at least see what the historical landmarks prove. If for this purpose they travel the world with their eyes open, they will see the end result of the nations which had also adopted a similar attitude. Such nations were greater in strength and power (40:21). They tilled the soil and dug out the hidden treasures of nature; they populated it in greater numbers; and they had far more habitations than the ones being addressed now. Then their rusul came to them with visible and clear divine laws. (Before you are told about what happened to them, you should keep in mind that Allah Almighty has never destroyed any nation unjustly, without any cogent reason.) The nations, in fact, commit zulm (injustice) to themselves and are thus destroyed (35:44).
(10) (So Allah’s rusul came to them but) They ridiculed the rusul and stuck to their positions, creating chaos in society. The result was that people who had established such an unjust society became victims of the circumstances created by themselves and suffered imbalances in their own lives (and were destroyed).
(11) All this continued to happen according to the divine law; the law according to which Allah initiates the creation of everything. (Initially, it is an undeveloped form. Then) He puts it through various levels of evolution and at every stage takes it (including human beings) nearer to the point which is destined for it by Him. (The same happens with nations.)
(12) Accordingly, whatever happened to these earlier nations, is bound to happen to them (opponents/Arabs) as well. When the final hour strikes, all the mighty and rebellious criminals will be overtaken by utter despair.
(13) (And) All the people with whom they had collaborated for selfish ends will not be able to intercede on their behalf. In fact they will deny any association with them.
(14) At the time of that revolution, everyone will be concerned about himself. Everyone will be self-centred.
(15) However, those who believe in the divine laws and work on a constructive programme will live differently. They will live in an atmosphere of pleasant abundance (42:22) and enjoy life-inspiring melodies (43:70).
(16) As for those who rejected the truth of Our laws as well as the life of the future, they will find themselves in the midst of destruction.
(17-18) Whatever stage they are passing through, be it the initial stages of the life of a nation or its end; or be they at the height of their glory or at the ebb, whenever the divine laws are presented to them they should obey them all the time. They shall then observe the manner in which the divine laws produce the most pleasant results in the outer world, the very sight of which brings out spontaneous appreciation and praise from everyone. This would also be reflected in their own society when the laws are enforced therein.
(19) According to these laws, dead nations get a new lease of life. The denial of, or opposition to these laws, bring living nations to their death. Have you not seen that when dead soil is watered according to the law of nature, how beautifully life gushes out of it? As per the same law, you also will regain life.
(20) (To evaluate how the divine law infuses life, reflect over your own life. See how He initiated the creation of life out of lifeless clay; then how He took it through various stages of evolution; and how you eventually assumed the human form and spread all over the world.)
(21) (When life started from inorganic matter it was in the form of a single life cell, which eventually became two parts, one male and the other female. In this you became men and women, complementary to each other. The objective was that you may find peace and tranquillity in each other’s company. He created a strong bond between you which became the very basis for the development of the abilities of both men and women.)
Even in this phenomenon of life, for those who think rationally there are signs of support for life and the stability of the divine laws.
(22) Consider another phenomenon of the law of nature. In spite of all the diversity found in the heavens and the earth, the whole universe is an indivisible unit. Likewise, despite differences in languages and complexions amongst human beings, all of them are members of one community, namely ummah (2:213). Even in this phenomenon there are signs for people who possess knowledge and insight to seek the truth.
(23) Consider one more example. You sleep at night and during day time you go out in search of a livelihood. (This unity between two opposite elements – peace and activity – keeps life going on and functioning.) In this phenomenon also, for those who are willing to listen, there are signs to understand our law of unity.
(24) And as yet another example, consider the storms which have both lightning and rain clouds. Lightning scares you, and the clouds are a source of happiness, because as the water pours down from them, it gives life to the dead earth (2:19). In this too, for those who think rationally there are signs to understand our law of life.
(25) Also, another one of His laws for the universe is that huge celestial bodies stay firmly suspended in the vast expanse of space. One of them is the planet earth where you dwell. It is also possible that when He gives you a call, you will come out of it.
(26) This is because it is only Allah’s law which is in force in the heavens and the earth. And everything in the universe has devoted all its abilities towards the fulfilment of the programme determined by Allah.
(27) (As has been mentioned in 30:11) Allah initiates the creation of everything according to His law and then, while passing it through various stages of development, takes it to its destined point. And all this happens very easily. All the plans, both in the heavens and on earth, are cast in the patterns set by the Almighty and are therefore most sublime. (If mankind also regulates its character and personality as per the divine patterns, it too will attain a similarly excellent balance.) The Almighty’s law, in fact, contains extremely beautiful combinations in itself; it has force and power as well as rationale and wisdom. (Irrational power is blind subjugation of the weak; and wisdom without force is merely philosophy. The proportionate combination of the two is the only way to produce constructive results of great beauty, and this is only possible by staying within the laws of God.)
(28) In light of the facts explained above, can you think of any other power in the universe, which is equal to His? Everyone’s strengths are bestowed by the Almighty. Is it possible that the one who bestows the power can be at par with those who have been given that power? This is so self-evident that no further explanation is needed. However, if it is still needed, then) We propound to you a parable drawn from your own life: There are people living and working under you as your subordinates and servants. Would you like them to share what We have given you, and to do so in such a way that they become your full-fledged partners? And then you start fearing them just as you might fear your competitors? (Hence, although they are human beings like you, your subordinates cannot be your companions. Also, you are never afraid of them. Therefore, how can any creation in the universe be equal to God, who has created it and tied it into His laws irrespective of how great that creation is?)
This is the way We explain Our laws and the philosophy behind them. Only those who use their intellect and reason will benefit from these laws. (The above statement that one cannot make subordinates and servants one’s equal, does not mean that one should not share surplus wealth with them. We have given this as an example so that you may understand. As a matter of fact, the correct economic system is that in which people give their surplus wealth to those who need it, so that all can equally benefit from the available means of nourishment – 6:71.)
(29) Despite these explicit facts, imagine the plight of these people who want to follow their own desires and ignore the guidance of wahi. (In this way they are making their desires their god; although the correct way is that all emotions and desires should be kept subservient to wahi – 28:50.) The outcome of such an erroneous way of life is that the avenues of achievements and the pleasant things are closed upon them. When such avenues are closed according to the Law of Mukafat, none can bring them to the right path nor can they be of any help to them.
(30) The correct course of life is that you should leave aside all misleading ways and fully concentrate on the divine order, which is the very exigency of Allah’s law of creation and according to which He has created man. This divine law of creation is unchangeable. (Likewise, the way of living which has been given to mankind through wahi is unalterable.) This unalterable way of life is the pivot for keeping the correct balance and order among human beings; but most people have no knowledge about this reality.
(31) What is this system? This is that system in which, throughout your life, every step you take should lead you towards the destination prescribed for you by the Almighty. And you should remain fully conscious of His laws. To achieve this, establish the Nizam-us-Sala (wherein everyone follows His laws according to one’s own free will). In this obedience and following, do not include anyone else’s laws or decisions. This will create uniformity of thought and action amongst yourselves and, as such, all humanity will become one ummah; thereby overcoming all the differences (2:213). This is the very objective of deen.
(32) Accordingly, after becoming the upholders of the principle of tauheed, you should remain extremely careful not to indulge in shirk. You should not be amongst those who break the unity of their deen and who instead of remaining one entity, split into various sects. After people split into sects, every group thinks it is on the path of truth and is therefore content with its own way. Remember, splitting into sects or factions amounts to shirk. Never fall prey to it (3:104, 6:160, 23:53, 42:13).
(33) Neither should you adopt the path of those who, when affliction befalls them, turn all their attention towards their Rabb and cry out for His help; however, the moment they receive relief from their affliction, some of them start ascribing to others a share of the authority and decision making ability of their Rabb.
(34) Their aim in doing so is to keep whatever We had given them exclusively for themselves and to deprive others. In this way they show their ingratitude. So tell these people to benefit from these provisions of life and to rejoice for a while; but in due time they themselves will come to know the result of their erroneous attitude.
(35) (Always keep in mind that whoever ascribes a share in Our law and authority to anyone else, does so on the basis of his own self-abrogated concepts.) We have not bestowed any charter or authority in favour of those to whom they assign a share in Our power and authority.
(36) The fact is that whenever they (who abandon the guidance of wahi) taste abundance of means of nourishment, their joy knows no bounds. However, whenever any suffering afflicts them, which of course is the outcome of their own misdeeds, they become disappointed with life (and lose all equilibrium and balance in their self).
(37) Don’t they ever reflect over the fact that abundance and reduction in wealth takes place according to the divine laws? Everyone has to bear the outcome of any particular way he chooses for himself. In this reality, for those who believe in the truth of the divine laws, are signs for leading a balanced way of life.
(38) (The law governing the abundance or restriction in wealth proffers that a society flourishes in which the distribution of wealth is done in such a manner that everyone’s basic necessities of life are met. Where it is otherwise, wealth would be restricted.) Therefore, you should distribute wealth in such a way that everyone makes sure that those who live nearby (or your kith and kin); and those who are unable to earn for themselves; and the wayfarer who passes by your abode receive help according to their needs. They should receive help from this wealth, not as charity but as a right.
This attitude will produce excellent results for those who follow the path leading them to the destination fixed by the Almighty. These are the people who shall prosper and attain a happy state.
(39) When you give to others believing that in return you will get something from their wealth, in addition to what you had actually given (estimating this increase according to your own calculations), remember that according to the divine law this will bring no increase in your wealth. (What you get extra in this way appears so because you calculate wealth on an individual level. However, if you calculate it at the level of humanity, you will see that it has brought no addition.) As a matter of fact, the wealth of people increases only when they give with the intention that this will help their own development and bring them in harmony with the divine laws (2:275-276, 3:129, 74:6).
(40) This is the law of Allah, Who has created all of you and has also provided means of nourishment. Hence, if these means are provided by Him, then their distribution should also be in a manner that it provides for the development of everyone. And it is according to this very law that decisions for your life and death are taken.
Can any of those to whom you ascribe a share in His power do anything in the universe? If only you would think about it you will come to the conclusion that He is sublime, exalted and beyond everything that anyone can ascribe as a share in His power.
(41) When people equated their self-made ideologies and opinions with the divine laws, the result was that chaos and disorder spread in every walk of life. All such disorder was of their own doing and not from the Almighty; and some of the bitter results already appeared before them. If they look at them with open eyes, these results may be enough for them to turn towards the divine order and leave their self-made systems aside.
(42) (If they still do not understand) Tell them to travel through the land and see for themselves the end result of the nations that lived before them. Most of these nations equated their self-made laws with divine laws. (Instead of considering mankind as one entity, they divided it into sects and factions. This is the definite outcome of shirk – 30:31-32).
(43) Anyhow, leave them alone to do whatever they like. Concentrate all your energies towards the establishment of the divine order (30:30) before that irreversible hour of results (the revolution) comes as per Our Law of Mukafat. On that day these two parties will be segregated and stand openly against each other.
(44) Those who had rejected the divine laws will bear the burden of their denial, whereas those who had done righteous deeds, will get all the comforts of life.
(45) Thus the truth about the kind of reward given by the Almighty out of His grace, for eiman and for doing righteous deeds, becomes clear to all. Also, its denial takes one along the path that is not liked by God.
(46) The pleasing results of living a life according to the divine laws are similar to the phenomenon of the winds sent by God. The winds are the harbingers of rain, which in turn becomes a source of your sustenance on the land. In the sea the same winds make boats sail as per the divine laws, so that you may travel everywhere in search of a livelihood; and that your struggle and efforts may bear abundant fruit.
(47) We have been sending our clear laws through Our rusul to you. They presented these laws before their nations. But (the nations rebelled against them and) ultimately they were caught because of their own crimes. Therefore, it is incumbent upon Us to help those who have believed in the truth of Our laws. Thus the first step is to remove those who hinder the way to this system of justice and equity.
(48) In this connection recall once again the example of winds. He sends the winds, which after creating a commotion in the water vapours, rise in the form of clouds. Thereafter, according to His laws of nature, He disperses them throughout the expanse of the atmosphere and eventually causes them to break up into fragments. Then you see the drops of rain fall from within them. This is how rainfall comes down on those living on earth. How much they rejoice in it!
(49) Although just before the rain is sent down upon them, they are not hopeful about its coming.
(50) Just contemplate over the effects of His law of Rabubiyya, which gave life to the earth after it had been lying dead.
In the same way He can give new life to dead nations (when he bestows wahi on them). All this happens according to the scales and measures (laws) designed and set by Him, and over which He has complete control.
(51) According to these very divine measures (laws of nature) the same wind, when it does not bring rain, ripens their crops golden yellow (and then the ripe grains fill their coffers). All this happens according to Our law of Rabubiyya, and thus all of mankind gets nourishment. But (despite this) these people continue to reject Our laws and say that all this happens due to their own craft and labour. Thus they ask why they should distribute the produce as directed by the Almighty (56:63-72).
(52) Now ask how you can bring the people who reject such clear facts to the right path. You can talk to living beings but how can you make the dead listen to you (36:70), or the deaf hear your call? And not only don’t they want to listen to you, they turn their backs on you and go away!
(53) You cannot make the blind leave the erroneous path and take the straight one (when they do not want to tread the right path). You can only make the people who use their intellect and wisdom, believe in the truth of Our laws; and only those who are willing to lead their lives accordingly, listen to you (or understand).
(54) The secret of the rise and fall of nations lies in this very rule. Nations can easily be compared to individuals. For example, at the time of birth you are very weak; then if you are brought up according to the laws of God, your weakness is slowly converted to strength; thereafter your good health withers away and the weakness of old age overpowers you. Thus His programme of creation goes on according to His laws of Mashiyya which are entirely based on knowledge.
(55) (The nations which follow the divine law of Rabubiyya, when they are weak start to develop again and reach the heights of power and authority. If at that stage they ignore the development of their abilities, they become weak and backward.) When the day of reckoning – that will decide about their life or death appears, the people who were ruined by their crimes will swear that they did not have enough time to reform themselves. In actual fact they have not become like this because of shortage of time but because they turned away from Our laws.
(56) The people who are endowed with knowledge and insight and believe in the truth of Our laws, will tell them that Allah’s Law of Mukafat gives you respite till the last moment before the results appear. It also gives respite till the decision is taken to remove you from the thoroughfare of life, because you were obstructing the way for others. Now the hour has come. All this was happening right in front of you, but you were so grossly intoxicated with power and authority that you completely missed noticing how you were gradually getting nearer to your fatal end.(1)
(57) At the time the results of their misdeeds come before them, their excuses, which will be a vain attempt to cover the absolute realities, will be of no avail. Nor will their begging for the restoration of Our bounties be of any use. They committed excesses on people and then faced the results. (If during the period of respite they had corrected themselves and cleared the effects of their previous misdeeds with righteous deeds, things could have been different. When the results become apparent, the desire for correction does not help.)
(58) Similarly, in the Qur’an We have very candidly propounded all kinds of parables (in many different ways); but whenever any divine law is presented to the
people who have already decided not to accept your message, they are sure to say that all this is a pack of lies and deceit.
(59) People who adopt such an attitude because of their prejudices do not use their intellect and reason. Their hearts become sealed in such a manner that they are left with no capability to understand the reality.
(60) So when you have to deal with such people, the only way out is to just ignore them and remain steadfast in your own programme. Also, have complete faith that since every promise of Allah is bound to come true, your call (to the divine laws) will eventually become successful. You should remain very careful lest any lapse or mistake from you give an impression to your opponents that you are not sure of your claims; that you have no will; and that therefore, it is not difficult to make you shift from your stance and win you over.
(1) If the word ba’th is taken to mean “to become alive after death”, these verses can be explained accordingly.
One meaning of this can be that after your death, on the call from Allah, you will come to life again. It can also mean moving out of this earth and going to another planet, as it appears more and more likely every day. In such a case “Allah’s call” would mean additional discoveries of the natural sciences. Every gesture of Nature is, in fact, a call from Allah.
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