Exposition of the Holy Quran – 70 Al-Ma’arij (G A Parwez)
Surah 70: Al-Ma’arij
(The Ways of Ascent)
(1-2) (O Rasool!) Your opponents, who deny the truth, repeatedly demand that you tell them about the chastisement that you warn them of. Ask them if they know that the chastisement about which they are so anxious is not a pleasant thing at all. That is a calamity, which will surely befall them and no power on earth can avert it.
(3) It is taking some time because it will occur according to Allah’s Law of Mukafat. He completes all His schemes in ascending steps of evolution. He does not take it from the beginning to its culmination in one go; it is completed gradually.
(4) He initiates His scheme from the lowest point and then the heavenly forces (which are functioning in the realm of creation – khalq) and the divine energy (which is at work in the realm of amr) uplift that process and pass it through various stages of development. These stages take years and years to be completed. And the duration of some of them is thousands of years; maybe fifty thousand years (or even more – 22:47, 32:5, 35:10, 78:38, 97:4).
(5) (So you should not be perturbed by their persistent queries but) Remain gracefully steadfast in your programme. It will be completed in its own time.
(6) They think that the doom is far away;
(7) But We see it close by.
(8) At that time the authority and powers of these grand chieftains will wither away. Their high positions shall crumble to earth; and their firm grips will loosen (55:37).
(9) And the people who presently seem to be firmly fixed like mountains, will appear like flakes of wool blowing away in the air (101:5); and bent like a broken bow.
(10) Everyone will be so self-centered that even the dearest of friends will not care about each other (as to what is happening to them).
(11-13) Although they will be within each other’s sight, the guilty ones will see that their friends are not helping them. On that day, every sinner would like to redeem himself from the chastisement by offering a ransom, whether this be his son, wife, brother or other members of his clan who had claimed to stand by him, and for whom he had given up the principles of justice, equity and fair play;
(14) And all the wealth on earth, so that he could save himself.
(15) But he would never be able to save himself from the raging fire;
(16) Which would draw out all his powers and make him a lifeless limb.
(17) It is not far off. It is summoning back everyone who had turned away from the divine system and had sought avenues of escape.
(18) In other words he does not keep his wealth freely available for public welfare, but amasses and hoards it by filling his coffers and blocking all its outlets (104:2).
(19) (Just reflect on how, without the guidance of wahi, a human being comes down to the animal level.) He becomes narrow minded, greedy and restless.
(20) He is so impatient and restless that even if he is just barely afflicted, he raises a hue and cry. He is so miserly that although he possesses everything, he keeps denying that he has anything.
(21) He has the attitude of being so hungry that despite acquiring surplus wealth, he does not give even a penny to the needy.
(22-23) However, the people who are musalleen do not do this. Instead of following their selfish interests, they follow the divine law of Rabubiyya and are steadfast and firm in this attitude.
(24-25) Thus by showing their generosity, they are in fact admitting the reality that their wealth is not only for their own use, but also for those whose resources cannot meet their needs; or those who became incapacitated and are unable to earn, thus being deprived of the necessities of life. This is their established right, which is well-known to everyone. Therefore the generous ones are only returning to them their right; and are not retaining anything which is beyond their needs (2:219).
(26) These people firmly believe in the Law of Mukafat; and with their actions they substantiate their claim to eiman.
(27) They are always fearful of the destructive results of violating the laws of their Rabb.
(28) These results will really be so awful that one should always be mindful of them; because nobody will receive protection against them anywhere. A society that is not built along the above lines is bound to perish.
(29) Besides, they also have other qualities. (For example) Both men and women, equally guard their chastity.
(30) However, this does not mean that they live a life of celibacy. Their sexual relations are within the divine limits. For this purpose they go to their wives or captive maids who were possessed by them (according to the Arab culture of that time). Later on these maids were brought into wedlock; and thus sexual intercourse with them was legalized (23:6). However, later still, the practice of acquiring female captives was stopped (47:4).
(31) Anyone who seeks another means to satisfy his sexual urge is surely a transgressor (and would be punished for that).
(Although momin women are themselves chaste, if men stay within the limits described above, women would automatically remain chaste. That is why being chaste has been particularly emphasized for men. This is in contrast to the emphasis which in a misdirected society is placed on only women to be chaste.)
(32) (And they also have the quality whereby) They keep their trust and fulfill all their pledges. (Trust includes that feeling of peace of mind which one has when giving something to others for safekeeping; and pledges include all individual as well as international agreements and obligations.)
(33) And whenever they stand as witness in any case, they are just, and firmly uphold their testimonies. (This does not refer only to a witness in a court of law. One has to stand witness in everyday life as well.)
(34) In short, they are the guardians of the Nizam-us-Sala. (Not only are they steadfast, but they also strive to keep the system firm and well established.)
(35) They are the people who deserve a very respectable heavenly life and society – 23:1-11 (in this world as well as in the hereafter).
(36-37) (This was being narrated to the momineen; but when the kuffar heard it, they thought that the blissful life of janna was being awarded as a booty, and thus they too would get a share of it. Under this impression) They are hastily flocking around you, from the right and left.
(38) Every one of them wants to receive the comforts, luxuries and bounties of the blissful life of janna, without changing his or her attitude.
(39) However, it is obvious that they cannot get the blissful life of janna in this way.
They know full well that the essence of human creation is that they should live according to the divine laws (51:56). However, when they rebel against these laws, how can they expect to get all these pleasures? (How is it possible that, while they oppose efforts to establish a heavenly society, they expect to reap benefits from the same?)
(40-41) The system of divine nourishment, which in a very organized manner, is spread all over the universe from east to west, testifies to the fact that We are fully capable of replacing those who obstruct the establishment of the Nizam-e-Rabubiyya with better people. The opponents can neither go out of Our control, nor can they thwart Our schemes.
(42) Therefore, do not worry. Leave them to indulge in their useless planning, unnecessary discussions and amusements, until such time that they confront the revolution about which they have been cautioned. They consider life to be a joke; and humanity to be without a goal. What else but destruction, can be the result of such a mentality?
(43) On that day they will emerge from their hideouts and shoot out like arrows, heading straight towards their targets, gathering at the rendezvous of destruction. (Any nation that does not have a destiny is wasting all its efforts in different directions. Ultimately, however, the dispersed individuals of that society come together to the place of their destruction.)
(44) Their eyes will be cast down with shame and dejection; with ignominy pasted all over their faces. That will be the day about which they were being told again and again, that it was bound to come (and about which they persistently asked why it did not come soon – 70:1).
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