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Friday, 4 July 2014


This is an early Meccan Sura, and it is connected with an incident which reflects the highest honor on the Prophet’s sincerity in the Revelations that were vouchsafed to him, even if they seemed to reprove him for some natural and human zeal that led him to a false step in his mission according to his own high standards.


He was deeply and earnestly engaged in trying to explain the Holy Qur’an to Pagan Quraish leaders, when he was interrupted by a blind man “Abdullah ibn Ummi Maktum, a man who was also poor, so no has taken any notice of him. He wanted to learn the Qur’an. The holy Prophet naturally disliked the rude interruption and showed impatience. Perhaps the poor man’s feelings were hurt. But he whose gentle heart ever sympathized with the poor and the afflicted, immediately got New Light from the above, and without the least hesitation published/announced this revelation, which forms part of the sacred scripture of Islam, as described in verses 13-16. And the Prophet afterwards has always held the man in high honor.

The incident could have been taken as a passing incident, but after explaining the eternal principles of the revelation, the Sura is a recapitulation of the Mercies of God to man, and the consequences of a good or wicked life here, as will be seen in the spiritual world in the Hereafter.

  Men who are not blessed with the good things of this life may yet be earnest seekers for the Truth and Purity, and they deserve as much attention as those who seem to wield some influence, yet in their pride feel they are self-sufficient. God’s Message is universal; all have a right to hear it. Held high in honor, kept pure and holy, it should be writ by none but good and honorable men.

God’s Grace is showered on man not less for his inner growth than in his outward life.

There must be a final reckoning.

 The Day of Judgment when each soul will stand to face the consequences of its own Book.  The Faces of the Blessed will be beam/brightening with joy and light, while the Doer of Iniquity will hide in dust, shame and Darkness.

 In the introduction to this Sura we see the incident to which it refers. The lesson is that neither spiritual worth nor the prospect of effective spiritual guidance is to be measured by a man’s position in life. The poor, the blind or the maimed may be more susceptible to the teachings of God’s Word than the men who are apparently gifted but they suffer from arrogance and self-sufficiency.

It might be the poor blind man – on the account of his will to learn- may be more likely to raise to his own spiritual development, or to profit by any lessons taught to him even in reproof than a self sufficient leader. In fact it was so. The Blind Man became a true and sincere Muslim and lived to become a Governor of Al-Medina.

 On the other hand the Pagan Quraishi leader whom the holy Prophet was anxious to convert him into Islam in order that the work of preaching God’s Message might be facilitated. But the Message seems to work first amongst the simple, the lowly, the poor and the despised folks, and the mighty ones of the earth only comes in when the stream rushes in with irresistible force.

God’s Message is for all, but if the great ones arrogantly keep back or refrain from it, it is no fault of the preacher, so long as he had proclaimed the Message. He should attend to all and especially to the humble and lowly.

The fear in the blind man’s heart have been two folds (1) He was humble and God’s fearing, not arrogant and self sufficient: (2) being poor and blind he feared to intrude; yet his earnest desire to learn the Qur’an encouraged him and made him brave to come forward, perhaps unseasonable, but was yet worthy of encouragement, because of the purity of his heart.

God’s Message is a universal Message, no one is excluded –rich or poor, old or young, great or low, educate, learned, illiterate or ignorant. If anyone had the spiritual craving which needs satisfaction, he is to be given precedence, if there was to be precedence at all.

At the time this Sura was revealed, there perhaps was only about 42 or 45 Suras in the hand of the Muslims. But it was a sufficient body of Revelation of high spiritual value, to which the description given here could be applied. It was held in the highest honor; its place in the hearts of Muslims was more exalted than that of anything else; as God’s Word it was pure and sacred; and those who transcribed it were men who are honorable, just and pious. The legend that the early Suras were not carefully written down and preserved in books is a pure invention. The recensions made later in the time of the first and the third Khalifas were merely to preserve the purity and safeguard the arrangement of the text, at a time when the expansion of Islam among non-Arabic speaking people made such precautious necessary.

(Surat Al-Insan 76 Aya 2) The origin of man as an animal lowly indeed, but what further faculties and capacities has God not granted to man? Beside his animal/materialistic body is which he also shares all the blessings God has bestowed on the rest of His Creation, man has been granted divine gifts which entitle him to be called the vicegerent of God on earth. He has a will, he has spiritual perceptions; he capable of divine love; he can control nature within certain limits, and exploit nature’s forces to his own usage. He has been given the power of judgment, so that he can avoid excess and defect and follow the middle path. That path, as well as all other benefits, is necessary for his life in its manifold aspects, has been made easy for him.

(Surat Taha 20 Aya 55) Death is an inevitable event, after the brief life on this earth, but it is also in a sense is a blessing, a release from the imperfections of this world, a close of the probationary period, after which will come the dawn of the full Reality. “The Grave” may be understood to be the period between physical death and immortal life, whatever may be the mode of disposal of the dead body. This intermediate period is the (BARZAKH) an Isthmus or a partition (See Surat Al-Mo’aminun (23) Aya 101).

Though all these blessings and stages have been provided by God’s Grace for the good of man, yet unregenerate man fails in carrying out the purpose of his creation and life.

After a reference t man’s inner history, there is now a reference to just one item in his daily outer life; his food: it is observed that how the forces of heaven and earth unite by God’s Command to serve man and his dependants “for use and convenience to you and your cattle” (Verse 32). If that is the case with just one item – food- how much more comprehensive is God’s beneficence when the whole of man’s needs are considered.                

The water comes from the clouds in plentiful abundance; the earth ploughed, and the soil is broken up in fragments, and it yields and abundant harvest of cereal, corn, fruits (Grapes) and vegetables, nutritious plants, as well as fruit that can keep for long periods and serve many requirements; like olive and dates.

Therefore, from within the earth and the soil, we; not only get field crops as mentioned before, but we have the more highly cultivated garden crops, both in the way of lofty trees and in the way of carefully tended fruits ; and then we have grass and all kinds of fodder. (The same verse occurs in Surat Al-Naziat 79 Aya33) which gives comprehensive meanings in that context.

Preliminary to the establishment of the Final Judgment;

Even those who were nearest and dearest in this life will not be able or willing to help each other on that awful day. On the contrary, if they have to receive a sentence for their sins, they will be anxious to avoid, even sharing each other’s sorrows, or witnessing each other’s humiliation; for each will have enough of his own troubles to occupy him. On the other hand the Righteous will be united with their righteous families; and their faces will be “beaming, laughing, rejoicing” verses 38/39.

No friend will ask after a friend that Day. On the contrary the sinner will desire to save himself at the expense even of his own family and benefactors.

The dust on the faces of the sinners will be in contrast to the beaming light on the faces of the righteous; and the blackness in contrast to the “laughing and rejoicing” faces of the righteous. But the dust also suggests that; being Rejecters of God, their faces and eyes and faculties were choked in dust, and the blackness suggests that being Doers of Iniquity they have no part or lot in Purity or Light.                Another contrast may possibly be deduced; the humble and lowly may be  “in the dust” in this life, and the arrogant sinners in sunshine: but the roles will be reversed at the judgment.

By : Wahba Diyab

Source : Sudan Vision Daily , 4th July 2014

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