Exposition of the Holy Quran – 41 Ha-Meem (G A Parwez)
Surah 41: Ha-Meem
(1) Allah, Who is worthy of all hamd and is sublime, says that:
(2) This divine code has been revealed by Allah. He provides the means of development for everything in the universe, without any reward or any effort on their part. (Also, the guidance of wahi was needed for the development of the human self, so He revealed that guidance as well.)
(3) Such a book has been revealed. Its injunctions have been spelt out distinctly so that there is no doubt or ambiguity in it. Its language is also very explicit and clear, so that the people who want to understand it by using their knowledge and reason, may understand its purport precisely.
(4) It will also tell how pleasant the consequences of living according to the divine laws are and about the many calamities faced by those who oppose these laws. However, O Rasool! Most of the (people before whom you present the Qur’an) are not ready to even listen to it. They just turn and walk away.
(5) They say, “Our hearts are immune against whatever you call us to (and nothing can affect us). Furthermore, there is deafness in our ears and there is a veil between us. You had better do something else; we are not going to abandon what we are doing.”
(6) Tell them “(Try to understand my stance. First of all I want to clarify that) I am a human being like you. (Therefore, my physical needs are not different from yours.) The only difference between you and me is that wahi is being revealed to me (by Allah); that all authority and power rests with Allah Almighty; and there is no one besides Him, who should be obeyed. (Secondly it is incumbent on the person who receives wahi to convey it to others. This is precisely the reason why in spite of your denial, I convey it to you. I will continue to do so, irrespective of your reaction to it. My message is that) You should take the path that leads you to God and leave all other ways aside. That path is straight and balanced. It will also protect you from other erroneous and destructive ways. Also remember that people who ascribe partners to God’s authority and power are destroyed.” (Shirk is a means of humiliation for humanity. What can be a greater destruction than the denial of human respect?)
(7) People who leave the life proposed by Allah and adopt other ways are not worried about the development of mankind (and they concentrate on collecting and amassing wealth for themselves only). In fact they are not convinced about life in the future (hereafter). For them life ends with their death on earth. (Remember that only the person who believes that his own personality will develop and that he will become capable of traversing further in evolutionary stages of life, will spend for the welfare and development of others. No other incentive would convince a person to make his own hard-earned money freely available for others.)
(8) On the contrary, the people who believe in the truth of Our laws and work on the constructive programme suggested by Us, will receive a never ending reward for their work. They will not get this reward as a charity, but as a right.
(9) Ask them, “Do you indeed deny God, the One Who has created the earth in two aeons (to bring it to the present form), and ascribe equality to other entities besides Him?” (The first stage in the creation of the earth was when it was like a fireball which could not support life. The second stage was when it cooled down and supported life so that man could get means of sustenance from it.) He is the Allah Who has made arrangements for nurturing all human beings in the universe.
(10) For this purpose He has placed towering mountains on the surface of the earth (from where continuously water comes out) and ingrained means of growing various commodities in it. The rotation of the four seasons has determined the set timings for different crops, for the people to get their food. This produce from the earth should remain open for every person according to his need and its doors should not be closed on anyone (39:67, 56:63-73).
(11) In this way the Almighty turned towards the celestial bodies. At that stage they were all in the form of gas. We told them, “You must obey Our laws willingly or perforce.” They replied, “Why perforce? We shall obey these laws most willingly(1) (3:82, 13:15).”
(12) (As has been said above in 41:9, that in two stages the Almighty created celestial bodies in the form they were designed to be; and He imparted to them the physical law which they were bound to follow through wahi (i.e., the laws they had to follow were integrated within them). The visible space (the sky) has been adorned with scattered bodies that appear to you like shining lamps. He has made them safe and secure so that they neither clash with each other nor fall down on you.
All this has been decided with measures set by that God, Who is all-powerful, all-knowing.
(13) (Similar to the manner in which God has determined various laws according to which different things have to function, He has prescribed divine laws for mankind and has conveyed these to them through wahi.) If they ignore this law then tell them, “I warn you about the consequent doom and destruction like the one which fell upon the ancient tribes of Aad and Thamud”.
(14) When the rusul came to them, one after the other from all sides, and told them not to obey anyone except Allah, they answered, “If our Rabb really wanted to send wahi towards us, He would have sent angels from the sky (whom we could have seen with our own eyes; but you are a simple human being like us). Hence, we are not ready to believe what you say.”
(15) The situation of the tribe of Aad was such that without reason they had adopted an arrogant and rebellious attitude. They had the false impression that no one was more powerful than them (and therefore no one could question them). They never thought that Allah, Who has created them, is much more powerful than them. It was due to their lack of pondering on this issue that they continued to reject the divine laws.
(16) So when the time for their destruction came, which obviously was extremely unfortunate, We unleashed a violent storm which reduced them to rubble (54:19). They received a humiliating punishment in this world and the suffering in the hereafter will be much more humiliating. There will be no one to help them or save them from this chastisement.
(17) As for the tribe of Thamud, although We had sent Our guidance to them, instead of taking the right path, with their eyes open, they preferred to blindly tread the wrong one. As a consequence of their misdeeds, a severe reprimand in the form of an earthquake humiliated them.
(18) (Their rasool had forewarned them about the earthquake, but since they used to ridicule whatever he told them, they ignored this warning as well and were thus destroyed. However, those who believed the rasool and wanted to remain safe and secure from this danger, had earlier left that place and in this way they were saved from the destruction.)
(19) (Whatever happened to these nations will happen to your opponents.) On that day these enemies of the divine system will be gathered together for punishment, and they will be stopped from proceeding any further.
(20) When they are there, no witness from outside would be called to testify about what they had been doing; their own ears, eyes and in fact their whole bodies will testify to their deeds. Their own self would be a record of what they had done.
(21) They will ask their own body parts/organs, “Why did you testify against us?” And the reply would be, “As he has done for others, Allah has also given us the power to speak. Therefore, we have given true evidence.” (A person is a judge of his own deeds and is the witness for his own self – 17:13, 75:14.)
They will say, “These results of your deeds have been compiled by the Law of Mukafat of Allah, Who had created you for the first time. (None of your deeds can remain outside the jurisdiction of that law.)
(22) “(The guilty ones will be told that while doing wrong things they used to hide from the eyes of the people. However,) You did not consider it necessary to hide from your own ears, eyes and other organs. You could never have imagined that these too would testify against you.” (By hiding your deeds from society, you were convinced that no one would find out about them.) You thought that even Allah would not know what you were doing.
(23) That wrong notion (about your Rabb) has brought you to this predicament and you have suffered so much loss.
(24) Even if these people endure this suffering quietly, the punishment will prevail. If they try to make amends and work to efface the deeds for which they had suffered so that they can earn Allah’s favour, this would just not be possible (for when the time of respite is over, there is no coming back). This chastisement will nevertheless stay with them; and there will be no escape (16:84).
(25) (One reason for their rebellion and belligerence is that) Some of their close companions used to eulogize their past and present deeds (but they were greatly mistaken – 43:36).
In this way the sentence of the Almighty was confirmed against them, in the same way that previous generations had been punished. Whether they were civilized city dwellers or nomads, all of them were at a loss.
(26) People who rebel against the divine law continue to warn their people, “Beware! Do not ever listen to the Qur’an (as it will spoil your beliefs). Rather, if you see someone presenting the Qur’an make a lot of noise so that nobody can hear them. By doing so you may overpower them.” (Otherwise, people who listen to the Qur’an would surely be influenced.)
(27) (They continue to use such tactics against the Qur’an. However, this does not make any difference as the Qur’anic revolution is bound to overcome them.) We will make these people suffer a very severe chastisement, which would be the consequence of their misdeeds.
(28) (This fact is not particular to these people.) The outcome of whoever opposes the enforcement of the divine system will be the doom and destruction of jahannam, wherein they will live forever. This is the natural consequence of rebelling against the divine laws (just as the natural consequence of eating poison is death).
(29) At that time the people who had denied Our laws will exclaim, “O Our Rabb! Show us the people from amongst us or the outsiders who led us astray, so that we can trample them under our feet.” Thus they were humiliated.
(30) (This was about those who denied the truth. On the contrary) People who proclaim that Allah alone is their Rabb and remain firm and steadfast in their commitment so much so that no power on earth can influence them otherwise – on them malaika (the heavenly forces) will descend (and strengthen them further – 33:43). The malaika will say, “Have no fear, apprehension or grief; but rejoice and receive the happy news of the blissful life of heavenly society that has been promised to you (3:124-125, 8:10-12, 46:13).”
(31) “We are your close friends in this life and we will be your close friends in the hereafter. (You will therefore enjoy this blissful life in this world as well as in the life to come.) In this blissful happy life you will get whatever you desire or ask for.” (This will be the result of your unshakable faith and continuous work.)
(32) All this will be provided with due grace and dignity, in the manner of a host serving his guests. This will include provisions from the Almighty which will protect them from all dangers; and also contain means of nurturing and development.
(33) Now say, whose speech can be more attractive and beautiful than the one who calls you towards the divine laws and works on the constructive programme suggested by God. (And proves from his own life that) He is one of those who obeys the divine laws.
(34) Remember! Deeds which create balance and harmony in society and in one’s own self, cannot be like the actions which create chaos. If disorder and chaos have affected society, the best way to get rid of these would be to do more constructive work. (This would offset the ill effects of their misdeeds and stop further deterioration. It would have one more advantage that) The severe hatred that has developed between yourself and the one who was responsible for creating disorder, would turn into close friendship.
(35) (This is the way to stop evil with goodness, but it can only be useful for those who have the possibility or desire for reform. For those who have reached the limit of opposition, much harsher ways would be required.) However, this is a very difficult task and only the person who is steadfast can achieve it. The man who is endowed with this attribute will certainly be a man of great fortune and success.
(36) This is a difficult task because the rebellious forces and your own selfish desires will try to create difficulties for you. In such situations the best thing to do is to follow the divine laws more enthusiastically. You will thus get refuge from the chaos caused by destructive forces. Remember! Allah is all-hearing, all-knowing.
(37) If you want to understand the way life is blessed and balanced by obeying the divine laws, just take a look at the cosmic bodies. Ponder how night and day appear one after the other according to an unalterable law; and how the sun and the moon revolve according to a fixed law. (You will observe that there is no disorder in the universal system. This is the result of obeying the divine law.)
This example also makes it clear that the moon and the sun do not have any intrinsic power. There is no basis for human beings to start considering them to be deities and start bowing to them. (This will simply be superstition.) Both the sun and the moon have been created by the Almighty and they obey only His laws. You also should obey only God’s laws.
(38) It does not make any difference to the divine system if these people rebel against the divine laws. All the forces in the universe are active at all times fulfilling His programme; and they never become slack in discharging their duties.
(39) If you want to see the constructive results produced by being in harmony with the divine laws, just look at the earth. It is barren and desolate and yet when We send down rain, it becomes fresh and green and becomes alive again.
Surely, if with His laws of nature God brings life back to the dead earth, then he can also revive dead nations through His law of Rabubiyya. His law contains measures for life and death and He has absolute power and control over all of them.
(40) (We present to you the example of the system of the universe so that you can learn a lesson from it and then form your society as per Our laws. However) If someone or some nation researches the system of the physical universe only, to the extent that the higher and ultimate objective of humanity is totally forgotten, this will never produce the right results. (The correct approach is not to indulge in abundance, but to practise moderation. By observing the physical life systems, one should conquer the forces of nature so that earnings obtained can be spent in accordance with the divine laws. This is the moderate way! The way of hoarding and improper distribution is not hidden from Our Law of Mukafat. Its outcome is the destruction of humanity.)
Ask them, “Is the one who is cast into the burning chastisement better than the one who shall remain secure and safe from all calamities on the Day of Judgment?” Keeping this point in mind, do whatever you like. (You can select any path you like as there is no compulsion on you; but understand that) Allah’s Law of Mukafat is ever-seeing and watches everything you do. The result would be compiled according to the path of life you choose. To distinguish between the right and the wrong path is Our job; and it is up to you to select one of these paths for yourself. The results of whatever path you choose will be compiled according to our Law of Mukafat You do not have any control over this.
(41) Those who reject the Qur’an when it is presented before them (and refuse to adopt the right path), should know that their refusal has no effect on the laws of the Qur’an. This is the way of life which will ultimately reign.
(42) The disruptive and furtive forces may come from any side; from the front or the back (or they may have a head-on clash). They may even plan conspiracies. However, they cannot do any harm to the truth. Falsehood cannot succeed by attacking the truth. This is so because it has been revealed by God, Who is the best planner and worthy of all hamd (1:1).
(43) Whatever they say to you regarding Our wahi, is not new. Similar things were said to the rusul who came before you. Your Rabb will certainly protect you from their wicked opposition and also punish them severely for their denial and rebellion.
(44) (We have revealed the Qur’an in their own language, so that they may understand each and every thing clearly. But they object to this. They say that if the Qur’an is not the work of a human being and is from the Almighty, then it should be in a vague language full of riddles, which is the way their priests speak. If the Qur’an had been revealed in ambiguous language, they would have objected to why it was not in simple and unambiguous language. (In actual fact if one has bad intentions, then many excuses can be raised.) The question is not that of the language of the Qur’an. (Since their intention is dishonest, they see a hundred and one defects in it.)
Tell them that for the people who believe that the Qur’an is from Allah, it gives guidance towards the right path and is a panacea for all social ills. However, prejudice blocks the ears and eyes of the blind people who do not believe in its fundamental truth. The words of the Qur’an (which are explicit and in their own language) appear ambiguous and vague to them; as if they are listening to a distant voice and no one can make out what is being said.
(45) We had also given a similar book to Moses before this (which was in the language of the Bani-Israel). They had believed it; but subsequently they started raising disputes about it (not because they did not understand the language, but because their intentions were not honest). Similarly, the opposition from the Arabs is also due to their dishonest intentions. Their attitude is such that they should have faced the consequences straight away. But God has laid down the law of a period of respite, before declaring the results. And this is the very cause of their disquieting suspicion and doubt.
(46) In any case, tell them that the person who works constructively shall reap the benefits, while the one who creates chaos will himself suffer its consequences. Your Rabb neither lessens anyone’s rewards, nor does He commit any zulm on people.
(47) God is the only one who knows when the revolution will occur; when it will be time for the manifestation of results and for respite. All affairs are decided according to His Law of Mukafat. This is the law which organizes and manifests results according to which fruits ripen in their skins, and conception as well as birth occurs. (Just as there is a time span in these matters, there is a time lag between when human actions are done and the manifestation of their effects.)
Thus, this revolution will also take place when its time is due. At that time they will be questioned about the powers to whom they had ascribed a share with the Almighty. They will reply, “We submit our confession that none of us can see them. No one knows where they have all disappeared.”
(48) When the revolution comes, all those on whom they used to call (for help) would have disappeared. They will then realize that no one can escape the divine Law of Mukafat.
(49) The plight of man is such that he never tires of asking for material wealth for himself (100:8, 102:1-2). However, as soon as he loses even a little, he is disheartened and feels dejected.
(50) If after the loss We again bestow abundant wealth on him (for which he had given up all hope), then he claims that all this was due to his knowledge, skill and planning. He claims that he alone has the sole right to it; and no one else has any share in it. (So, why should he keep it open for the nourishment of others? He thus does not accept the Law of Mukafat and proclaims) “I do not think any such revolution will ever come. And even if it does occur and I have to face my Rabb, there shall still be all the pleasures of life for me. This is so because if God had disliked me, then why would He have bestowed all the good things on me in this world (18:36).”
(Tell all those who reject Our Law of Mukafat that it does not become inoperative because of their rejection. It continues to function. Therefore) We will certainly bring forth the results of whatever they have done; and give them a taste of severe suffering.
(51) (Undoubtedly, when a person does not live as per the guidance of wahi and) If he lives comfortably, he tends to turn away from the right path and go astray. But when he is in trouble, he starts praying a great deal (17:83).
(52) Anyhow, O Rasool! Ask the people who deny the truth of the Qur’an, which cautions them about the Law of Mukafat, “Have you ever considered, if you go too far in rejecting this book from Allah (which in reality it is), that there will be no one more lost and miserable than you?”
(53) (If these people are now denying the truth of the Qur’an, then let them do so.) We will continue to create circumstances in which they themselves and some of their own people will see the signs and visible impact of these divine laws. Thereafter (one day when this system crosses the boundaries of Arabia and reaches the farthest regions of the earth), it will become clear to them that whatever the Qur’an had told them was based on the truth. It did happen like that.
(And this claim was not confined to the Arabs of that era. As human knowledge and research progresses many more realities related to our world, as well as to the outer universe, will unveil themselves. Consequently, all claims made by the Qur’an will be vindicated. Gradually, the whole world will see that whatever the Qur’an says is based on absolute truth.)
This is because the book is from the Rabb who oversees everything in the universe. He knows fully well what is going to happen here. His all- encompassing knowledge is sufficient guarantee that whatever He has said is based on absolute truth.
(54) In spite of this, consider the plight of those who are (still) in doubt that they would ever confront Allah’s Law of Mukafat, which encompasses everything in this universe. No one can escape its ambit (How far these people are from reality!)
(1) The words “willingly or perforce” have also occurred in 3:82 and 3:15. However, there the word munn has been used. This might include human beings. In 3:82 the meaning has been explained this way and as such should be reviewed. However, here the words have been used for celestial bodies and the earth only, i.e., of the physical world. Some philosophers interpret the use of the word “willingly” to imply the possible presence of “will” in all matter. However, I think these words “willingly or perforce” have been used idiomatically. For example Ata al nakhal means that the dates have ripened and are ready to be picked. In other words they have reached their destiny as established by nature. In this context “willingly or perforce” here could mean that the earth and the celestial bodies have been created in a way that they follow the laws of God intrinsically, and not according to their “will” or with their choice. In the case of the latter they could go against the laws. The holy Quran has mentioned that only human beings have been bestowed with “divine energy” (power to decide or will). It has also mentioned clearly that all physical universal forces do not go against the divine laws.
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