Delivered by Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider on 19 June 2016 at Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town
After discussions of how the Prophet (sawa) was rejected in various ways by various sectors of society, one can picture a situation wherein the Prophet (sawa) must have been exhausted.
At this juncture, the next verses serve as a form of moral support to the Prophet (sawa) and reminds him of his purpose as a Prophet.
PURPOSE OF PROPHETHOOD
Verse 56 says:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلاَّ مُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا
“And We did not sent you but a bearer of glad tidings and a warner.”
Though this is such a short verse, it contains all the key elements of the Articles of Faith in it as follows:
“We have sent” refers to Tauheed
“ka”/”you” refers to the Prophethood of Muhammad (sawa)
“Glad tidings and a Warner” refers to Resurrection.
Furthermore, we also learn that Da’wah (propagation of Islam) involves offering people a balanced message i.e. you don’t only offer good news but also the bad news.
And in the balance between the good news and bad news, great emphasis is on “warning” as we need more focus on the bad news than the good news which is what we take too easily.
We are in need of a continuous reminder of the bad news of the accountability of the Day of Resurrection to have an impact on our life to actually live with that accountability in mind as man is by nature forgetful.
REWARD OF PROPHETHOOD IS FOR US TO BE GUIDED
Verse 57 says:
قُلْ مَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ أَجْرٍ إِلاَّ مَن شَاء أَن يَتَّخِذَ إِلَى رَبِّهِ سَبِيلًا
“Say: ‘I do not ask you a wage for it (my ministry) except for him who wishes to choose a way unto his Lord’.”
The Prophet (sawa) seeks no compensation from us for his job of Prophethood. His only reward is that we should be guided.
Leaders of this world are always looking for something in return whereas Prophets never ask for reward from mankind.
One of the signs to verify the authenticity of a Prophet is that they never ask for a payment in return for guidance. The supposed reward of us being guided – though it says that it is the reward of Prophethood, the actual beneficiary is we, the recipient of guidance!
But human beings nature is such that after receiving guidance, they make you think that they did you a favour.
This can even be applied at local communal level. When an aalim encourages people to come to mosque and attend programs, people say “Don’t worry, I will be there!” What worry? Mowlana is not worried except for your good! Our attitude to receiving guidance and a reminder should be one of thankfulness and not one of being condescending.
Surah Saba 47 says that the responsibility to reward the Prophet (sawa) for executing the job of Prophethood rests with Allah:
إِنْ أَجْرِيَ إِلاَّ عَلَي اللَّهِ
“my reward is only with Allah”
And the same verse says that if the Prophet (sawa) should ever ask us for a reward, then whatever that reward is, we are in any case the beneficiaries thereof– so the reward is really not for him but returns to us.
Thus the verse says:
قُلْ مَآ سَأَلْتُكُم مِنْ أَجْرٍ فَهُوَ لَكُمْ
“Say: ‘Whatever reward I have asked of you, it is for yourselves”
THE ONLY REWARD THAT THE PROPHET (sawa) ASKS FROM US
So if the Prophet (sawa) should ask us for a reward for his Prophethood, what would that reward be?
Surah Shurah Verse 23 says:
قُلْ لا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْراً إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبَ
Say [O Muhammad! Say unto people]: “No reward do I ask of you for this [Divine Call] except to love my close relatives.”
This verse says that the Prophet (sawa) is instructed to ask us for one specific reward and that is to love his close relatives who we understand to be the Ahlul Bait (a.s). This love is expressed by us following them in every aspect of our Faith after the Prophet (sawa) and primarily consulting them to understand and apply Islam in our life.
The benefit of this so-called reward that we give to the Prophet (sawa) still returns to us – there’s nothing in it for the Prophet in reality. He is not asking for a favour to take care of his family, but the love of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) is a guarantee for OUR guidance as they are the “path to Allah” (as referred to in verse 57 of Surah Furqaan).
Verse 58 says:
وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى الْحَيِّ الَّذِي لاَ يَمُوتُ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِهِ وَكَفَى بِهِ بِذُنُوبِ عِبَادِهِ خَبِيرًا
“And rely on the (Ever) living One Who dies not, and celebrate with His praise, and sufficient is He as being aware of the faults of His servants,”
This verse further entrenches that the Prophet (sawa) cannot depend on the creation of Allah but should put all his trust in Allah who is alive and never dies and is aware of the shortcomings of his servants.
CREATION OF THE HEAVENS AND EARTH IN SIX DAYS
Verse 59 says:
الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى عَلَى الْعَرْشِ الرَّحْمَنُ فَاسْأَلْ بِهِ خَبِيرًا
“(He) Who created the heavens and the earth and what is between them in six Days, then He established Himself on ‘Arsh (the Throne of authority) the Beneficent (God)! Ask then (what you need) from Him Who is aware (of everything).”
This is a further discussion of Tauheed and how Allah created the universe.
The discussion of six days is a lengthy one but in essence if Allah wants to create something, he is not bound by time but simply says “Be” and “It is”.
Our will and the materialisation of our will are two different things. We require various elements to come together before our will materialises as we are a dependent existence.
But Allah’s Will is equivalent to His action. There’s no distance between His will and His Action. Then why is there reference to creation having occurred in six days?
The answer is because it is Allah’s sunnah to have created everything in a process (eventhough he could have done it in once)!
Science today shows that this universe was created gradually over millions of years and thus evolution in nature is the Will of Allah that Willed for it to have occurred in that manner in processes.
Reference to “then He established Himself on ‘Arsh“ is not something that was not there before and now came into being. Rather it is that after having created the heavens and earth that His throne now became known.
“Rahman” is referred to at this point as creation of the Universe was an expression of His Mercy.
Then the verse refers to asking from the one who is aware – in this case Allah.
But this also alludes to our realm, as discussed in the post on Taqleed, that we are required to ask those who know regarding that which we are not familiar with.
Verse 60 says:
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اسْجُدُوا لِلرَّحْمَنِ قَالُوا وَمَا الرَّحْمَنُ أَنَسْجُدُ لِمَا تَأْمُرُنَا وَزَادَهُمْ نُفُورًا
“And when it is said to them: ‘Prostrate you to Rahman (The Beneficent Allah), they say: ‘And what is Rahman (the Beneficent Allah)? Shall we prostrate to what you bid us?’ And it increases them in aversion.”
Prostration is asked to be made to “Rahman” – Who is the One who shows Mercy to believers and non believers alike. This is after having contemplated on all the signs referred to in the previous verses in this Surah – from the sun and shade to night and day to wind and rain to origin of various forms of life, etc. – after all of this contemplation we should understand the vast extent of the Mercy of Allah which is all inclusive and this should cause us to Prostrate to him out of our free will.
But many human beings are still not interested.
Some people look at a mirror the whole time but don’t see the marks on their own face. While others look at a mirror for a moment in passing and notice all the marks on their face – some scientists are like this – they study nature all their life and never manage to reflect and find Allah.
To be continued…….