Delivered by Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider on 17 June 2016 at Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town
In the previous verse we discussed the issue of worshiping one’s desires and found that it is a matter that affects the biggest number of people and is considered to be the closest thing to Kufr from a Quranic perspective.
On the issue of anger which was highlighted last night, we should note that we sometimes become rightfully angry in reaction to an injustice committed against us. However, if this anger goes out of control, then it has similar negative effects that uncontrolled lust has as we in turn could become unjust.
Thus the Quran often refers to “believers” to be those who are capable of “swallowing their anger.”
The next verse is a concluding verse on the discussion of worshiping one’s desire.
RETROGRESSING BELOW BEING ANIMALS
Verse 44 says:
أَمْ تَحْسَبُ أَنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ أَوْ يَعْقِلُونَ إِنْ هُمْ إِلاَ كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا
“Do you think that most of them do hear or understand? They are (nothing) but like the cattle; nay they are farther astray from the path.”
When one is forever affected by temptation or anger, then one becomes “deaf, dumb and blind”. Thus this verse says they cannot “hear” and are thus not suitable to be called human beings.
What distinguishes human beings from cattle? Cattle also have lust and anger, but do not have intellect.
But Quran says people who worship their desire are worse than cattle. In the absence of “intellect” in cattle, they do not have the capacity to grow and progress. Cattle thus live a life in line with their potential.
Yet human beings, who have an intellect and consequently the potential to progress, they tend to worship their desire and live a life far below their potential. Consequently, instead of progressing in terms of their natural state, they rather retrogress.
Furthermore, animals follow their lust only out of need. An animal will eat until it is full and then stops eating. It will defend itself when it is attacked but will stop when it feels safe again.
But human beings’ anger is often not out of self defense but reaches a state of revenge and hate and they then commit the most evil actions like destroying whole countries!
Ayatullah Muhsin Qara’ati says that a well loved and cared for dog becomes soft towards the one who takes care of him and will thus never attack such an owner. This is because it knows that its owner is the one who is kind to him and provides his food. Yet a dog has the ability to be extremely vicious when it becomes angry.
But human beings will rebel against the one who takes care of him the most i.e. they rebel against Almighty Allah who provide them with everything every moment of their life.
And on a spiritual level, animals are involved in tasbeeh (Glorification) of Allah all the time – in fact everything in this world is in a state of tasbeeh of Allah, yet human beings who have an intellect are oblivious of Allah.
Thus the human being sometimes becomes worse than animals.
INTRODUCTION OF TAUHEED
If you recall in the introductory lecture we said that in summary, the first part of this Surah is a reflection of the first part of our kalimah being “there is no god.”
And consequently we saw various discussions relating to the non believers and the mushrikeen.
Then the next part of the Surah is a discussion of the second part of the kalimah being “except Allah.”
We thus now get into a discussion on Tauheed and the Surah draws our attention to various signs in universe.
THE SUN AS A SIGN
Verse 45 and 46 say:
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى رَبِّكَ كَيْفَ مَدَّ الظِّلَّ وَلَوْ شَاء لَجَعَلَهُ سَاكِنًا ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَا الشَّمْسَ عَلَيْهِ دَلِيلًا
ثُمَّ قَبَضْنَاهُ إِلَيْنَا قَبْضًا يَسِيرًا
“Have you not seen (the might of) your Lord, how He extends the shadow? And if He had pleased He would certainly have made it stationary, then We have made the sun an indication of it;”
“Then We draw it in towards Ourselves, by an easy (gradual) contraction.”
Imam Baqir (as) says:
“The purpose of the extension of shadow in the verse is the shade that is between the dawn and rising of sun.”
Furthermore, commentators have various views about the purpose of the shade or which shade is meant by the verse which we will not delve into.
But it is interesting to note that the portion “then We have made the sun an indication of it”….
This refers to the fact that if there was no sun, the concept of shade would not be clear. Basically, shade is formed by rays of the sun, for shade is usually partial darkness that happens for objects. It happens when light is cast on an impassable object and in front of it a shade will be formed.
Therefore the existence of shade is caused by light.
REASON WHY THE “NIGHT” IS REFERRED TO AS “LIBAAS” (CLOTHING/COVERING)
Verse 47 says:
وَهُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ لِبَاسًا وَالنَّوْمَ سُبَاتًا وَجَعَلَ النَّهَارَ نُشُورًا
“And He it is Who appointed the night for you to be a covering, and sleep as a rest, and He appointed the day a rising.”
In the first verse the sun is referred to as a blessing of Allah. This is a sunnah that does not change.
And this verse then refers to more of the sunnan of Allah.
Sleep is called “subat” which means to stop to take a rest. The Jews who take a rest on Saturdays also refer to that day as “shabat”.
The night is called a “clothing/covering” and the use of this word has certain significance in the Quran as there are various things in the Quran which are referred to by the word “libaas” or “clothing/covering”.
The night is a covering which serves as a protection for you as your body organs are revived through providing it with rest at night and the general slowing down of human activity. If it does not receive rest, it will be fatal.
SPOUSE IS REFERRED TO AS “LIBAAS” (CLOTHING/COVERING)
Surah Baqarah Verse 187 says:
هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّ
“they are a clothing/covering for you and you are a clothing/covering for them”
Your spouse is also considered a covering for you as your spouse protects your chastity just like clothing protects your chastity.
But clothing also protects you against cold and heat and your spouse similarly protects you when your emotions become heated or depressed.
And clothing serves to beautify you and one’s spouse beautifies you to form a family unit.
TAQWA IS REFERRED TO AS “LIBAAS” (CLOTHING/COVERING)
Surah Al-A’raf Verse 26 says:
وَلِبَاسُ التَّقْوَىَ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ
“And the clothing of Taqwa/God consciousness, that is the best”
From all the coverings referred to, Taqwa is considered the best. And it encapsulates all the concepts referred to above, like being your spiritual protection and beautifying you.
Libaas also reflects your personality! Certain clothes that is worn these days neither cover you, nor does it protect, nor does it beautify but actually makes you appear ugly!!
And similarly Taqwa reflects your personality in this manner.
THE QUALITIES OF WATER
Verse 48 and 49 say:
وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ الرِّيَاحَ بُشْرًا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ رَحْمَتِهِ وَأَنزَلْنَا مِنَ السَّمَاء مَاء طَهُورًا
لِنُحْيِيَ بِهِ بَلْدَةً مَّيْتًا وَنُسْقِيَهُ مِمَّا خَلَقْنَا أَنْعَامًا وَأَنَاسِيَّ كَثِيرًا
“And He it is Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings going before His Mercy (rain), and We send down pure water from the sky.”
“That thereby We may give life to a dead land, and We give many beasts and men that We have created to drink thereof.”
Water is called “pure” as there is nothing more pure than water. Water is “essentially” pure and purifies other defiled things. Water is therefore described as “tahura” with extra emphasis.
Water is also the source of life and is said to “give life to a dead land.” It is this giving of life to dead land that cause greenery to grow, from which animals eat to survive and human beings survive by eating from the greenery and certain lawful animals.
Every living thing itself is substantially made from water and thus in another place in Quran it says “we made every living thing from water.” (Surah Anbiya Verse 30).
PURPOSE BEHIND MENTIONING THESE SIGNS IS A CALL TO REFLECTION
Verse 50 says:
وَلَقَدْ صَرَّفْنَاهُ بَيْنَهُمْ لِيَذَّكَّرُوا فَأَبَى أَكْثَرُ النَّاسِ إِلاَ كُفُورًا
“And indeed We have distributed it amongst them so that they may remember (Allah), but most of mankind are averse (to aught) save ingratitude.”
The mentioning of these natural phenomenon is not in vain. The Quran and this Surah mentions these unique phenomenon to cause us to reflect on their origin, but unfortunately most people persist in thanklessness.
To be continued………….