Exposition of the Holy Quran – 57 Al-Hadeed (G A Parwez)
Surah 57: Al-Hadeed
(1) Everything in the heavens and the earth is busy accomplishing Allah’s ordained programme. He wields absolute power. However, His power is not blind; it is based absolutely on wisdom.
(2) Only His law is in force in the universe. No one else has any authority and even life and death are regulated under His laws. He has determined measures for everything and He has full control over them.
(3) He is above and beyond time and space. He was the first; and He will be the last. For Him there is no beginning and no end. He overpowers everything but this power is invisible and works imperceptibly. Law is always invisible and non-physical. However, its results can be perceived; and it may be said that His attributes of creation and rabubiyya are the visible manifestations of His being. His being is invisible to the human eye. In this way one can say that He is transcendent and imminent. He has knowledge of everything.
(4) He has created the heavens and the earth after passing them through six different aeons; and he has kept its central control in His own hands. He knows everything that enters the earth and all that comes out of it; as well as all that descends from the sky and all that ascends towards it. He is with you wherever you happen to be and He sees whatever you do.
(5) He enjoys absolute authority and control over everything in the universe. Everything revolves around His laws and every matter is decided according to His laws. Nothing can go out of its ambit.
(6) It is only according to His laws that night progressively enters the (light of) day; and the day slowly regresses into night. Not only is He aware of the secrets of the outer universe, but He also has knowledge of even that which passes through your hearts.
(7) Therefore, you should believe Allah and believe His Rasool, through whom He has sent His laws to mankind. (The practical manifestation of this eiman is that you should) Keep the means of wealth that you have inherited from others open for the nourishment of all.
Remember there is great reward for those of you who have faith in the truth of the divine laws and who keep their wealth open for the nourishment of others.
(8) After the above elaboration what is stopping you from believing the system proposed by Allah? This system is not a mere conviction or philosophical idea, but the Rasool is extending a practical invitation to you; and he has also taken a firm pledge from you. Thus, when you have already professed eiman and made a covenant, then what is stopping you from giving it a practical shape?
(9) Do you know the purpose of this invitation? The purpose is to take you out of the deep darkness of death into the bright, shining light of life. For this purpose Allah has sent him this divine code. He desires that you should develop fully. (He has provided abundant food on earth for your physical development; and for the growth of your self, He has sent this code of guidance.)
(10) When the fact is that everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to Allah Almighty; then how can they consider themselves the owners of all sources of wealth and not keep it open for the growth of others?
Also remember that those who keep their wealth open and available; and if required come out on to the battlefield, are certainly “pioneers”. Their status is higher than those who join this order after it has been established and they have seen the results. In other words, those of you who had kept their wealth open even before this system was established and were ready to die for it, cannot be equal to those who did so afterwards. Allah has promised reward, comfort and pleasures to all of you (and everyone has a share in the fruits of the success of the divine order). This is because Allah is fully aware of all that you do (and according to Him status is determined according to one’s deeds – 55:62, 56:8-12).
(11) The wealth of those who place it at the disposal of the authorities responsible for the establishment of the divine order, will be returned manifold. These resources will help to establish a social system that would ensure all kinds of comfort and pleasures for everyone. Even their own self would develop in a way that would make them worthy of dignity and respect. (In this way their present and future, this world and the hereafter, would be bright);
(12) So bright that the light off the foreheads of momin men and women would guide them through life, from the front and right (and left). They will be told, “There is good news for you today – the news of ever-fresh products and joys that will never wither and always remain evergreen and fresh. This is a supreme achievement for whoever receives it!”
(13) Those hypocritical people who outwardly claim to be with you, but in fact are not, will ask the momineen, “Hold on for a while, so we also can get benefit from your light.” In respect of this they will be told, “(This light cannot be loaned to others. It comes out of one’s own deeds and hence if possible) Go back to your previous life and try to obtain it from there.” (This light is the outcome of one’s deeds during worldly life. The one whose ‘lamp’ is extinguished in this world will remain in darkness in the hereafter as well – 7:32). A wall will be raised between the two groups (7:46) and in it there will be a door. Inside (where momineen will be living) there will be all the happiness, benevolence and peace, and outside (where the munafiqeen will abide) there will be wrath and chastisement. (There is very little outward difference between eiman and hypocrisy but in terms of results they are the opposite of each other.)
(14) Those munafiqeen (hypocrites) shall call the momineen (The convinced Muslims) and say, “Were we not living together with you (then why have you gone apart)?” They will reply, “Yes it is correct that you (outwardly) used to be with us, but you kept yourself in deception. You always kept yourself on the fence and waited to see which side would be victorious, so that you could join them. You were always in doubt about the truth of the divine order. You allowed your selfish ends and wishful thinking to tempt you and your self-deceit continued till the hour of the divine revolution. (Therefore, how can you say that you used to be with us?)
(15) “(Moreover, you were also under the misconception that in case of accountability, you would get away by paying some ransom.) Now you will see that ransom will be accepted neither from you nor from those who openly rebelled against the divine laws. (Both of you fall in the same category.) Hence the ultimate abode for all of you is jahannam. It is your only companion; and now you will see how awful your destination is!”
(16) As for the people who have (recently) joined the momineen but are still weak in eiman (49:14), hasn’t enough time passed for them to have firm eiman, as a result of which their hearts could bow to the divine law? The divine law has been revealed as absolute truth and reality, and hopefully they will not become like the people who were earlier given the divine books, but went astray after their hearts hardened with the passage of time.
(17) (As for those who despite attaining the faith are not as yet confident and assured, there is no need to be disheartened. They too can get on the right path.) Do they not see how the divine law enlivens the earth after it has become lifeless? Similarly, they too can get new life with this divine code. Now we have very clearly explained Our signs to you so that you may think rationally about it and arrive at the correct conclusion.
(18) Remember that all the men or women who testify to their faith with their deeds and give their wealth to the divine order for constructive purposes, do get it back manifold, together with a dignified and respectable life as a bonus (in this world as well as in the hereafter).
(19) And for those who believe in Allah and His Rasool in this manner, are being true to their profession of eiman and are guarding the Nizam-e-Rabubiyya through their struggle and deeds (4:69), there shall be high honour as well as the light that has been mentioned earlier(57:12). On the other hand for those who deny the truth and belie the divine laws, the ways of life remain dark. They cannot proceed further. They are the inmates of jahannam.
(20) (Their eyes are always set on quick worldly gain, although according to the Qur’anic concept of life) These are merely toys that provide temporary amusement. You may use them as ornamentation or decoration and boast about them. You may pride yourself that you possess more than others or compete amongst yourselves in respect of wealth and children. (These things too are important, provided they are used for achieving a higher goal in life. However, if they are taken as an end in themselves then this is a false concept.) The gain you get from it can be described like the parable of a crop that sprouts and swells after a few drops of rain and the sight of which delights the farmer. However, with a bit of heat it starts to wither, turns yellow and then crumbles to dust, eventually becoming a grave calamity for the farmer. There is only one way to get out of these disasters and that is to keep one’s struggle in harmony with the divine laws.
Listen once again. If this worldly existence is taken as an end in itself one can certainly acquire comforts, but these would be temporary and cheap. Human beings are deceived in this way (16:92, 83:36, 102:1).
(21) (The instinct to excel over each other is natural in every person(1); but you have selected a wrong field in which to satisfy this desire. The right field is that) You should seek protection from destructive forces by following the divine laws and working towards the jannat whose comfort, bliss and happiness are spread throughout the universe. It is not confined to one place but covers the heavens and the earth (3:132). It has been prepared for those who believe in Allah and His rusul. These comforts and luxuries can be obtained by everyone who wants to achieve them in accordance with the divine laws. Allah is the giver of abundant comforts and bounties. So if you want to excel, do so in this field!
(22) (According to the law that has been described, only those who strive for them can obtain material comforts. The capacity and capability to earn varies from person to
person, and even external factors sometimes play a great role in this. Thus strictly applying the above criterion would not be fair. We are aware of all these factors therefore) Before the occurrence of any external or internal episodes, We have provided for their compensation; and to make such a provision in our law of Rabubiyya was not difficult for Us.
(23) (In this system the products from collective labour are kept open and available to satisfy the requirements of all the people. As a result the deficiency in a person’s capacity to earn less, for any reason, is not a problem.) Hence, the inability to earn more does not cause any grief. On the other hand, there are those who can earn much more, but they do not consider this to be their own doing and hence are not proud about it. They do not consider whatever they earn to be their private property. They know that the people who are conceited and want to feel elevated due to unearned credits are not considered noble by the divine law.
(24) These are the people who collect and hoard everything exclusively for themselves, even though the major portion may be due to factors that are not their own. Considering that such an attitude might be illegal in the eyes of society, they enact laws which claim that such an attitude is not dishonourable. They do not openly violate the divine laws (because they do not have the courage to do so. In fact) They devise other ways and excuses to escape them.
Tell them that the divine system is not dependent on them and does not need their help to fulfill its requirements. It has full power to make His programme worthy of all praise!
(25) In order to achieve this objective Allah has sent His rusul to different nations for clear and explicit reasons. Every rasool brought with him a code of laws. With the help of that code they established a society in which every action of a person produced a proper result and people adhered to justice and equity. For the stability of society, along with the code of law, He also sent down a very hard, sharp and piercing sword (made of iron). Since this hardness helps in establishing the system of justice and peace and provides protection for the oppressed, instead of being harmful, it is greatly beneficial to mankind. It also marks out those who help the divine order established by the messengers of Allah; and although its pleasant and beneficial results cannot be felt visibly they continue to give sacrifices on account of their firm faith. The divine order that has all the power and force in it is thus established with the help of these people.
(26) This then was the supreme objective for which We had sent various anbiya. For instance, We had sent Noah and Abraham and continued to bestow nabuwwa and the book on their progeny. Some of their progeny were on the right path, but most of them went astray.
(27) Thereafter, We sent other rusul in their footsteps and then (last amongst the Bani-Israel) came Jesus, son of Mary, to whom We gave the Injeel (the Bible). The hearts of people who followed him were filled with compassion and kindness for each other. As for the institution of monasticism that is prevalent amongst them, has been invented by them. We certainly did not ordain or prescribe it for them. (Deen does not preach monasticism or mysticism.) They adopted it on their own under the assumption that it was the way to seek the pleasure of Allah (but they could not adhere to it as they ought to have, because it was just not possible to do so).
So we will reward those amongst them who now believe in the Qur’an. However, many of them are treading the erroneous path.
(28) (This is Our system that has been in force from the beginning. Therefore) O Jamat-ul-Momineen, you should guard the divine laws and whatever your Rasool tells you according to the wahi, believe in it and obey it. In this way He will bestow His bounties on you twofold (one part in this world and the other in the hereafter). He will also grant you such an illuminating (Qur’anic) vision that whatever path you travel will be enlightened and as such you will remain safe from all types of destruction. Always remember that, in the divine system, both the provision of protection from destructive elements and the means for development of your life have been provided in abundance.
(29) If you adopt this course of action, the result will be that these Ahl-ul-Kitab (the followers of earlier revelations), particularly the Jews (who oppose this mission and are proud that all sources of wealth and the keys to treasures are with them) will know that they do not hold any monopoly or authority over the bounties of the Almighty. This can also be obtained in abundance by those who have faith in the Qur’an. The bounties of wealth are linked to the divine laws. Whoever wants the bounties can acquire them according to the divine laws. He is the Master of infinite bounty. He is not the Rabb of a particular (the Bani-Israel) nation. He is the Rabb of the whole of humanity (1:1).
(1) The preservation of the self is a trait of life that is instinctive in all living things. The urge to excel and to be ahead of others is part of this instinct. If a man satisfies it in a way that he develops his self more than others, then this would raise this instinct to a human level rather than its remaining at an animal level.
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