Delivered by Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider on 15 June 2016 at Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town
In the previous lecture we covered one of the most important discussions in this Surah – the issue of abandoning the Quran
The next verses give real examples from history of how previous nations also abandoned Allah’s Message. By providing real examples instead of fictional examples, we are able to relate to these stories.
STORY OF PEOPLE OF MUSA (a.s)
Verse 35 says:
وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلْنَا مَعَهُ أَخَاهُ هَارُونَ وَزِيرًا
“And indeed We gave Moses the Book and We appointed His brother Aaron with him (as his) assistant.”
It should be noted that whenever Allah sent a Prophet to guide people, he gave that Prophet a Book.
And the verse says that Allah made Prophet Haroon (a.s) to be the assistant to Prophet Musa (a.s). This is critical to realise that the job of assistant to a Prophet is Allah’s prerogative – not the prerogative of people.
The relationship of Prophet Haroon (a.s) to Prophet Musa (a.s) is that of Wazir – second in command. It is this same relationship that Imam Ali (a.s) had in relation to Prophet Muhammad (sawa) as we read in the famous Hadith of Manzila which says:
“Your position to me is like the position of Haroon to Musa, except that there will be no prophet after me.”
Just like when Musa (a.s) left his people, Haroon (a.s) was left behind to lead them, so Imam Ali (a.s) was left behind to lead the Muslims after the demise of the Prophet (sawa).
Verse 36 says:
فَقُلْنَا اذْهَبَا إِلَى الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا فَدَمَّرْنَاهُمْ تَدْمِيرًا
“And We said: ‘Go you both unto the people who have rejected Our signs!’ so We destroyed them with utter destruction.”
These two Prophets (Haroon and Musa) were required to guide a nation who already rejected Tauheed. Yet, Almighty is Merciful to ensure they receive guidance before they were destroyed.
STORY OF THE PEOPLE OF NUH (a.s)
Verse 37 says:
وَقَوْمَ نُوحٍ لَّمَّا كَذَّبُوا الرُّسُلَ أَغْرَقْنَاهُمْ وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ لِلنَّاسِ آيَةً وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا
“And the people of Noah, when they rejected the messengers, We drowned them and made them a sign for mankind; and We have prepared for the unjust a painful chastisement.”
The People of Prophet Nuh (a.s) were from the early people but are said to have rejected “Messengers” – this means rejecting one Messenger is equivalent to rejecting all the Messengers.
Their story is said to be a “sign” for mankind – it’s not meant for entertainment value but to provide deep lessons for us.
AAD, THAMUD and OTHERS
Verse 38 and 39 say:
وَعَادًا وَثَمُودَ وَأَصْحَابَ الرَّسِّ وَقُرُونًا بَيْنَ ذَلِكَ كَثِيرًا
وَكُلًّا ضَرَبْنَا لَهُ الْأَمْثَالَ وَكُلًّا تَبَّرْنَا تَتْبِيرًا
“And the (tribes of) ‘Aad and Thamūd and the men of Ar-Rass, and many generations between them.”
“And unto each of them We did give examples, and every one (of them) We did destroy with utter extermination.”
These verses again indicate something very important – that Non Believers were provided with much guidance before they were destroyed.
There are various explanations for who are the people of “Ar-Rass”.
Imam Reza (a.s) explains as follows:
‘After the flood of Nuh, a tree named ‘Shah Drakht’ (King Tree) was planted. People counted this tree holy and built 12 hamlets around it. The names of these hamlets were the names of Iranian months: Farwardin, Ordibihisht, Khordad, Tir, Murdad, Shahriwar, Mihr, ’Aban, ’Azar, Day, Bahman, Isfand.
Each month they held a festival in one of them. Of course the festival in hamlet of ’Isfand was more splendorous and more people gathered. In that festival, they put fire to a tree and when its smoke went up into air, they began to cry and shed tear.
Allah sent them a prophet who guided and advised them, but they denied him. Their Prophet cast a curse on them and that holy tree got dried. Then they dug a deep well and threw Allah’s Prophet into it, and in this way he was martyred.’”
But it is understood from the 180th sermon of Nahj-ul- Balaqah that they did not have only one prophet, for Imam Ali (a.s) says:
“Where are the people of the cities of Ar-Rass who killed the prophets and suspended the traditions of the Divine messengers and revived the traditions of the despots…?”
ANCIENT MECCAN SOCIETY
Verse 40 says:
وَلَقَدْ أَتَوْا عَلَى الْقَرْيَةِ الَّتِي أُمْطِرَتْ مَطَرَ السَّوْءِ أَفَلَمْ يَكُونُوا يَرَوْنَهَا بَلْ كَانُوا لاَ يَرْجُونَ نُشُورًا
“And indeed they have passed by the town on which was rained an evil rain, did they not then see it? Nay! They did not hope to be raised again.”
This verse indicates that the previous people of Mecca came across a town which has a terrible history but did not even realise this. The area they travelled past on their way to Syria was the area where the people of Prophet Lut (a.s) were destroyed.
They did not look at this sign with the eye of finding a lesson (ibra) in it. Again it says they purposefully don’t become affected by seeing these remains of the people of Prophet Lut (a.s) because they simply don’t believe in the possibility of Hereafter.
The lesson for us is that those among us who don’t believe in the Hereafter become blind and are simply not affected by realities that they come across which reflect the Truth which exists beyond this material world.
VIEWING THE MESSENGER (sawa) WITH CONTEMPT
Verse 41 says:
وَإِذَا رَأَوْكَ إِن يَتَّخِذُونَكَ إِلاَ هُزُوًا أَهَذَا الَّذِي بَعَثَ اللَّهُ رَسُولًا
“And when they see you, they take you for aught but a mockery; (saying: ) ‘Is this the one whom Allah has sent us a messenger?’”
Listen to the language they use! “is this the Messenger”! It’s an expression of a sought of disbelief that “you would never think that you are that important person” which we usually utter out of arrogance and contempt towards someone whom we thought of to be very low.
Verse 42 says:
إِن كَادَ لَيُضِلُّنَا عَنْ آلِهَتِنَا لَوْلاَ أَن صَبَرْنَا عَلَيْهَا وَسَوْفَ يَعْلَمُونَ حِينَ يَرَوْنَ الْعَذَابَ مَنْ أَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا
“‘He would have led us astray from our gods if we had not been staunch to them!’ And soon they will know, when they see the chastisement, who is it that is most misled in path.”
They claim to be proud of having resisted the Prophet (sawa)! What resistance?! The one that will lead them to chastisement!
To be continued…..