Exposition of the Holy Quran – 55 Ar-Rahman (G A Parwez)
Surah 55: Ar-Rahman
(The Most Gracious)
(1- 2) This Qur’an is not the product of any human mind. It has been taught by the Almighty, Who has also bestowed means for the nourishment of mankind. (As human nourishment is not confined to physical growth and it is also necessary to provide for the development of the self, the Qur’an provides guidance for both.)
(3-4) This is from the Almighty, Who not only created man but also gave him the ability to express his thoughts (power of speech), which is not available to other species. (For imparting guidance to mankind, He chose the process of wahi, whereby one person receives guidance from the Almighty and then conveys it to other human beings. This mode of communication is confined to man alone.)
(5) And for human guidance there are unchangeable laws in the Qur’an; just as there are laws in force in the outer universe according to which (for example) the sun and the moon follow their determined orbits.
(6) And on the earth everything is subjected to His laws, whether they are large trees or small bushes or shrubs.
(7) Moreover, the divine law according to which He maintains such precise balance, mutual discipline and order amongst all heavenly bodies placed in the huge outer space, has been set in a way that it never changes.
(8) Similarly, the Qur’an was bestowed on human beings for the purpose of order and discipline that is essential, and one should not vary it even a little.
(9) You should thus maintain this balance with fairness and justice, without differentiating between anybody’s rights and obligations.
(10-12) The necessity to create scales of justice arose because We have not earmarked for individuals separately the things required for nourishing the human body. For example, the means for producing delicious fruits; date palms with sheathed clusters; grain inside husks; and colourful flowers full of fragrance have been provided for all human beings collectively. We have set the Qur’an as a scale for the distribution of these means, so that everyone obtains sustenance according to his needs. (If these permanent guiding principles were not given from God and everything was left to the will of men, then the stronger would have collected and retained everything for themselves while the weak would have been deprived of the necessities of life. This is happening in the world wherever the divine laws are being ignored.)
(13) (This is the divine system according to which sustenance is provided and guidelines have been given for its distribution amongst human beings. So, O groups of mankind, whether civilized or those living in rural areas) Which of the powers and attributes of your Rabb would you deny?
(14) If you want to have an idea of various aspects of His power, think about the creation of your own self which was initiated out of clay that starts to tinkle when it becomes dry; that is from inanimate matter which had no trace of life whatsoever.
(15) Furthermore, before mankind inhabited the earth, there lived on it a species which could sustain the extremely high temperature that was prevalent at that time. Then only that type of creation could exist. (That creation has ceased to exist now and has been replaced by human beings – 15:26-27.)
(16) Thus which of the powers of your Rabb would you deny?
(17) According to this law the relative movements of the sun and the earth have been determined in a way that the seasons change with the sun’s changing avenues and its setting and rising. It can be seen rising and setting between two extreme points (east and west) and He has complete control over this system. Universal Rabubiyya can thus be ensured.
(18) How powerful He is! His law has kept all the huge heavenly bodies under complete discipline; so which of the powers of your Rabb would you deny?
(19-20) Now come down from outer space on to the earth and see the rivers and their flowing waters. At certain points two different streams of water flow together side by side (and sometimes the two streams of water flow inside the sea). However, it never happens that both these waters join up, as an invisible interstice between them keeps them apart (25:53, 35:12). (However, instead of going on their own way, selfish people transgress on the rights of others. It is to stop them that Qur’anic laws are given.)
(21) So will you reflect on which of the powers of your Rabb you would deny?
(22) Out of these rivers (or seas) come pearls and corals.
(23) Which of the bounties of your Rabb would you deny?
(24) And on the surface are high sailed vessels, floating across the sea like mountains.
(25) Which of the powers of your Rabb would you deny?
(26-27) This discipline and order is not of a universe that was created once and for all with no subsequent change ever occurring therein. Everything in the universe undergoes changes all the time, but these have no effect on the divine laws. The laws have been given by that Rabb Who is beyond any change and is full of majesty, glory and honour.
An inference that can be drawn from here is that every system devised by mankind and every path leading towards it is subject to change. However, the path determined by wahi, which takes you to Allah’s sublime Rabubiyya, is not subject to change (28:88).
(28) Hence, which of the powers of your Rabb would you deny?
(29) Also reflect on the fact that everything in the universe (including human beings) is dependent on His rabubiyya for development. Also their requirements of rabubiyya keep on changing at every stage. In fact, under different circumstances as they pass through various stages of development, the requirements for their nourishment differ. The divine Law of Rabubiyya is that everything continues to receive the required means of nourishment according to its needs (14:34, 35:15).
(30) Hence reflect on how may aspects of His laws you would deny. And on how you can obtain nourishment if you live under non-divine laws.
(31) The divine law which is in force in the universe is now turning towards human beings (through this Qur’an). It includes everyone, civilized and uncivilized people living respectively in urban and rural areas or in deserts.
(32) Which of the powers of your Rabb would you deny?
(33) You should tell humanity that the hold of the divine Law of Mukafat encompasses the entire universe. If you are thinking of getting outside its ambit, it will only be possible if you cross the bounds of the heavens; and just make an attempt if you believe that you can achieve that! However, for this you would need divine sanction, and no one can get that. You will thus have to stay within this universe in which the Law of Mukafat is prevalent everywhere. You cannot escape from it(1).
(34) So which of the powers of your Rabb would you deny?
(35) If you dare to defy the divine law of Rabubiyya, then a flash of the fire of destruction and clouds of smoke will cover you; and no one will be able to save you from that calamity.
(36) After this, which of the powers of your Rabb would you deny?
(37) Such will be the state of destruction that things will come down from the sky exploding like red hot copper or burning oil which does not separate and in this way destroys everything by burning it down (70:8).
(38) So which one of the powers of your Rabb would you deny?
(39) On that day it will not be necessary to even question anyone, whether a nomad or a civilized person, about the offences committed by him.
(40) So which one of the powers of your Rabb would you deny?
(41) The crimes committed by everyone would be written boldly on their foreheads and everyone would be recognized from the marks on their faces, which would be the index of the state of their minds. Every bit of their whole being would be evident.
(42) So which one of the powers of your Rabb would you deny?
(43) They would be told, “This is the very jahannam which you denied.”
(44) On one side will be the
chastisement of fire while on the other there will be boiling water; and they will go about in circles between the two.
(45) So after reflecting on these points, say which one of the powers of the Law of Mukafat of your Rabb, would you deny?
(46) This will be the end of those who rebel against the divine laws. On the other hand for those who were conscious of the fact that they were accountable for every action of theirs and that nothing would remain unaccounted (and thus spent their lives avoiding such pitfalls), there will be two janna’s. One will be in this world and the other in the hereafter.
(47) All these comforts and pleasures are also some of His bounties. Now which one of these would you deny?
(48-49) This blissful life of janna (in this world and in the hereafter) will be the centre of many wonderful arts, crafts and knowledge. Now which one of the bounties of your Rabb would you deny?
(50-51) Springs will flow in both the places. Abundant means of nourishment will be available to all, like ever-flowing water. Then which of the bounties of your Rabb would you deny?
(52-53) And there will be all kinds of fruits. Which of the bounties of your Rabb would you deny?
(54) The residents of that place will recline on couches and pillows lined with rich brocade of the finest quality.
Remember that in their present and future life (in this world and the hereafter) there will be no time gap. These bounties and favours will always be available to them. Life is like a stream, overflowing from here to eternity. Thus, there can be no difference between the present and the future. Those whose self is fully developed live a peaceful life here; and the same condition will apply in the hereafter. The avenues of this worldly janna shall extend to the janna in the hereafter.
(55) In the light of the above facts, which one of the divine favours and bounties of your Rabb would you deny?
(56) This society will not be for men only, as women will also be there as equal partners. The women shall be an embodiment of piety and chastity. Neither would anyone from amongst the acquaintances or strangers have touched them before marriage, nor would they themselves have cast even a stray glance (37:48, 38:52, 56:73).
(57) So which of the favours or bounties of your Rabb would you deny?
(58) (The best way these women can be described is that) They will be like rubies or corals, neat and clean; kept safe like a glittering pearl because of their character, chastity, grace and grandeur.
(59) So which one of the bounties of your Rabb would you deny?
(60) In this life the nature of mutual help and assistance will ensure that no one would have any inadequacy or lose balance. Other people would compensate for any shortcoming and help restore the balance. The balance and beauty in one’s personality and society will thus be maintained. No one will ask for any reward for this effort as the one who successfully restores the balance of others is himself rewarded for his efforts (10:26, 16:30, 76:9).
(61) So which of the bounties of your Rabb would you deny?
(62) All this will be for those who have been the pioneers in setting up the divine system. Their status and position will certainly be higher (56:10, 57:10). The heavenly life will also be for those who join this struggle at a later stage.
(63) So which one of the bounties of your Rabb would you deny?
(64) These places and their atmosphere will be wondrous and lush green.
(65) So which one of the bounties of your Rabb would you deny?
(66) There will also be fountains gushing forth continuously (35:10).
(67) So which one of the bounties of your Rabb would you deny?
(68) There will be fresh fruits (of all kinds), date palms and pomegranates (in abundance).
(69) So which one of the bounties of your Rabb would you deny?
(70) Men will live there, as well as women who will be the embodiment of virtue, beauty and grace.
(71) So which one of the bounties of your Rabb would you deny?
(72) They will be endowed with sublime intellect and wisdom. They will neither entice anyone to go astray nor will there be any waywardness in their conduct.
(73) So which one of the bounties of your Rabb would you deny?
(74) They will be an embodiment of piety and chastity, whom nobody from among their acquaintances or strangers would have ever touched before.
(75) So which one of the bounties of your Rabb would you deny?
(76) In such a setting they will dwell, reclining on green cushions and carpets of rare quality. (In other words they will enjoy all the comforts of life.)
(77) So which one of the bounties of your Rabb would you deny?
(78) This is but a glimpse of the most invigorating and pleasant outcome of the Nizam-e-Rabubiyya of your Rabb, which would be brought about in this world as well as in the hereafter, by following His laws. This is your Rabb, the possessor of all majesty and beneficence, Who guarantees every kind of comfort and pleasure. Allah, the Rahman, has revealed this Qur’an for this very purpose (55:1-2).
(1) This can also mean that the extent of evolutionary dimensions or the human self is such that, depending on its abilities, it can outgrow the bounds of the material; but for this a specific vigor, which cannot be attained without obedience to the divine laws, is required. The human self can acquire immortality by being subservient to these laws. That is the life of janna of the hereafter. This is what crossing the bounds of the heavens and earth means. But with relevance to the verses that follow we have preferred the meaning narrated above.
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