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Section 3: The Divine Mercy

Surah Yunus – Verse 21

وإِذَآ أَذَقْنَا النَّاسَ رَحْمَةً مِن بَعْدِ ضَرَّآءَ مَسَّتْهُمْ إِذَا لَهُم مَكْرٌ فِي ءَايَاتِنَا قُلِ اللَّهُ أَسْرَعُ مَكْراً إِنَّ رُسُلَنَا يَكْتُبُونَ مَاتَمْكُرُونَ

21. “And when We make mankind taste of (Our) mercy after adversity hath touched them, behold! they have a device concerning Our Signs! Say: ‘Allah is quicker at devising. Verily, Our messengers record what you devise’.””

The previous verse alluded to the pretexts of those who used to ask why no new signs were revealed. Here Allah refers to their obstinacy and to the fact that they played dirty tricks after a new verse was revealed instead of appreciating it.

The verse says:

“And when We make mankind taste of (Our) mercy after adversity hath touched them, behold! they have a device concerning Our Signs!...”

As for the occasion of revelation of this verse, it has been said that there occurred a drought and famine in Mecca. The Almighty (s.w.t.) made it rain for the blessing of His Prophet (S). The polytheists claimed, however, that the reason for the rain was because of the idols. 1

One of the measures and tricky devices employed by his enemies was character assassination of the Prophet (S), ridiculing the divine verses, and degrading the blessings of Allah.

At any rate, man misuses God-given blessings and makes mischief instead of giving thanks and we must know that he who plays dirty tricks, will ultimately be involved with the device and the punishment of Allah.

The verse says:

“…Say: ‘Allah is quicker at devising...”

Then, He warns them not to think that such conspiracies and plans will be forgotten. His messengers, (that is, His angels responsible for recording human actions) will take note of all those plans which disbelievers arrange for extinguishing the light of the truth. And they must prepare themselves for the Judgment and the punishment in the world here-after.

The verse says:

“…Verily, Our messengers record what you devise’.”

Surah Yunus – Verse 22

هُوَ الَّذِي يُسَيّرُكُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ حَتَّي إِذَا كُنتُمْ فِي الْفُلْكِ وَجَرَيْنَ بِهِم بِرِيحٍ طَيّبَةٍ وَفَرِحُوا بِهَا جَآءَتْهَا رِيحٌ عَاصِفٌ وَجَآءَهُمُ الْمَوْجُ مِن كُلِّ مَكَانٍ وَظَنُّوا أَنَّهُمْ اُحِيطَ بِهِمْ دَعَوُا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدّينَ لَئِنْ أَنجَيْتَنَا مِنْ هَذِهِ لَنَكُونَنّ َمِنَ الشَّاكِرِينَ

22. “He it is Who enables you to traverse through land and sea; so that you are in the ships, and they sail with them with a favourable wind, and they rejoice thereat. Then there comes upon them a stormy wind and the waves come on them from all sides, and they think that they are encompassed therewith, they call upon Allah, making their faith pure for Him, (saying): ‘If You deliver us from this, we shall surely be of the grateful ones’.”

In this verse the Qur’an appeals to the depths of human nature, explaining to them the monotheism which is embedded in their very being, describing to them how man once in great difficulty and danger, tends to forget everything but Allah.

First, He says that He is the One Who enables you to traverse through the land and the sea. And, when you go on board a ship, He makes you eventually get, you and your ship, to your destination with the help of the appropriate winds that gladden every heart.

Then when a horrible thunderstorm blows and waves buffet them from all sides, it makes them realize that death is near, and they lose their hopes of survival.

The verse says:

“He it is Who enables you to traverse through land and sea; so that you are in the ships, and they sail with them with a favourable wind, and they rejoice thereat. Then there comes upon them a stormy wind and the waves come on them from all sides, and they think that they are encompassed therewith...”

At just about that time, they are reminded of Allah and call upon Him sincerely, their thoughts stripped of all sorts of polytheism and idol worship.

The verse continues saying:

“…they call upon Allah, making their faith pure for Him…”

They start praying at this time, saying that if Allah save them from this plight, they will thank Him while they shall neither oppress others nor turn to others for help save Him.

The verse says:

“…(saying): ‘If You deliver us from this, we shall surely be of the grateful ones’.”

Although this temporary awakening will often have no remarkable educational effect upon extraordinarily wicked people, yet He completes the process of reasoning to the end to them, and it will serve as their eventual condemnation.

In such incidents, those individuals, who are only slightly polluted, are usually awakened and tend to reform themselves.

Surah Yunus – Verse 23

فَلَمَّآ أَنجَاهُمْ إِذَا هُمْ يَبْغُونَ فِي الاَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقّ يَآ أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّمَا بَغْيُكُمْ عَلَي أَنفُسِكُم مَتَاعَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ثُمَّ إِلَيْنَا مَرجِعُكُمْ فَنُنَبّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُم تَعْمَلُونَ

23. “But when He delivers them, behold! They rebel in the earth unjustly. O mankind! Your rebellion is against your own selves, an enjoyment of the life of this world. Then to Us is your return, and We shall inform you of what you used to do.”

But such neglectful people usually start bothering others and oppressing them on the earth, as soon as Allah saves them and leads them to safe shores.

The verse says:

“But when He delivers them, behold! They rebel in the earth unjustly. ...”

Yet, the Qur’an advises people to know that whatever oppression they commit and whatever sort of deviation they have made from the right path, they themselves will pay its price.

The verse says:

“…O mankind! Your rebellion is against your own selves…”

The only thing that they may be able to do is to enjoy the life in this world for merely a few days, and finally their eventual return will be towards Allah. It is at that time that they shall be informed of whatever they did in the world.

The verse says:

“…an enjoyment of the life of this world. Then to Us is your return, and We shall inform you of what you used to do.”

Surah Yunus – Verse 24

إِنَّمَا مَثَلُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا كَمَآءٍ أَنزَلْنَاهُ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ فَاخْتَلَطَ بِهِ نَبَاتُ الاَرْضِ مِمَّا يَأْكُلُ النَّاسُ وَالاَنْعَامُ حَتَّي إِذَآ أَخَذَتِ الأَرْضُ زُخْرُفَهَا وَازَّيَّنَتْ وَظَنَّ أَهْلُهَآ أَنَّهُمْ قَادِرُونَ عَلَيْهَآ أَتَاهَآ أَمْرُنَا لَيْلاً أَوْ نَهَاراً فَجَعَلْنَاهَا حَصِيداً كَاَن لَمْ تَغْنَ بِالاَمْسِ كَذَلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الاَيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

24. “The likeness of the life of this world is just as the water which We send down from the sky, and the plants of the earth mingle with it whereof men and cattle eat, till when the earth takes its ornament and is embellished, and its people imagine that they have power over it, (but suddenly) Our command reaches it by night or by day, and We make it stubble, as if it had not flourished the day before! Thus do We explain the Signs in detail for a people who reflect.

In the foregoing verses allusion had been made to the lack of permanence in this worldly life. In this holy verse this grave reality is depicted with an interesting example so that He may remove the curtain of arrogance and negligence from the eyes of those who are neglectful and unjust.

The verse says:

“The likeness of the life of this world is just as the water which We send down from the sky...”

These life-providing drops fall on cultivable soil, making it possible for various plants to grow, some of which are useful for man, and others that are useful for birds and beasts.

The verse continues saying:

“…and the plants of the earth mingle with it whereof men and cattle eat...”

These plants, besides the nutritional qualities that they contain for living creatures, cover the earth’s surface and decorate it so that the earth finds its utmost beauty in it.

It is at this time that the blossoms decorate the branches and the flowers bloom. Nutritious grains and fruits show up gradually, dramatically depicting the full meaning of the scene of life, thus rendering people’s hearts hopeful and their eyes full of joy.

This is done to the extent that people on the earth become certain that they can benefit from the blessings of the plants and fruits as well as from their life-inducing grains.

The verse says:

“…till when the earth takes its ornament and is embellished, and its people imagine that they have power over it...”

All of a sudden, Allah’s command reaches them, ordering excessive cold, unexpected heavy rains or strong thunderstorms to overwhelm and eradicate them all as if they never existed.

The verse continues saying:

“…(but suddenly) Our command reaches it by night or by day, and We make it stubble, as if it had not flourished the day before!...”

Towards the end of the verse, in order to emphasize further, Allah declares:

“…Thus do We explain the Signs in detail for a people who reflect.

Surah Yunus – Verse 25

وَاللَّهُ يَدْعُواْ إِلَي دَارِ السَّلاَمِ وَيَهْدِي مَن يَشَآءُ إِلَي صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ

25. “And Allah doth call mankind to the Abode of Peace and He guides whomever He Pleases unto the Straight path.”

The Arabic appellation /dar-us-Salam/ is one of the names of Paradise within which nobody bears any grudge against another and where no quarrel, war, and exploitation takes place.

The verse says:

“And Allah doth call mankind to the Abode of Peace and He guides whomever He Pleases unto the Straight path.”

The holy word “Peace” is Allah’s name, and “the Abode of Peace” signifies the proximity of the divine blessings. It is the place where everyone’s words and greetings consist of “peace”, and unto whom Allah also sends peace.

The Qur’an says:

“Peace: a word from a Merciful Lord.” (Surah Yasin, verse 58)

Some Islamic traditions indicate that the way leads to the mastership (wilayat) of Amir-ul-Mu’mineen (as) and the Immaculate Imams, has been stated as the best example for the ‘Straight Path’.2

We must note that the divine call is the symbol of His special favour towards His servants. It embodies the safe passage of man in this world and the Hereafter, the first stage of which is transient while the second stage is permanent.

Incidentally, the Straight Path is one which creates ‘peace’ for man not only in the Hereafter, but also creates peace for him in this world.

Surah Yunus – Verse 26

لِلَّذِينَ أَحْسَنُوا الْحُسْنَي وَزِيَادَةٌ وَلاَ يَرْهَقُ وُجُوهَهُمْ قَتَرٌ وَلاَ ذِلَّةٌ اُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

26. “For those who do good, is a goodly (reward), and more (than this). Neither dust nor abasement shall over spread their faces. They are Companions of the Garden; they will abide therein forever.”

The Arabic term /rahiqa/ signifies covering by force and the word /qatar/ means ‘dust’, ‘smoke’ and ‘ashes’.

Bestowing incremental and extra rewards on the believers has repeatedly been mentioned in the Qur’an by the words /ziyadah/, /zi‘f/ and /’az‘af/.

Among them are the following verses:

“Whoever brings a good (deed), he shall have ten times its like...”3

“…He will pay them their rewards fully and with bestow upon them more out of His Grace.”4

In addition to the complete reward, Allah also bestows upon them more for partaking of his own virtue, there is a seven hundred-fold reward for giving charity for Allah’s sake.

“The likeness of those who spend their property in the way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain (of corn) that grows seven ears, (with) a hundred grains in every ear. And Allah multiplies (in abundance) for whom He wills; and Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing.”5

Imam Sadiq (as) declares:

“Every thing has its own system of measurement except tears, a drop of which extinguishes fires”.

Then he (as) said:

“He who sheds tears for the sake of Allah, his face will never confront darkness and humiliation,”

and he recited:

“Neither dust nor abasement shall overspread their face.”6

Fadil-bin-Yasar, has narrated from Imam Baqir (as) who said that the Messenger of Allah (S) declared;

“There are no eyes which are soaked with tears for the fear of Allah except that Allah forbids that body to be in the Fire of Hell. Were he to shed tears, his face would not be covered by the dust and abasement”.7

At any rate, those who turn to other than Allah, have no excuses to make as Allah (s.w.t.) simultaneously extends His invitation to man and, at the same time, leads him; He not only rewards but also rewards more and more.

The verse says:

“For those who do good, is a goodly (reward), and more (than this). Neither dust nor abasement shall over spread their faces. They are Companions of the Garden; they will abide therein forever.”

Surah Yunus – Verse 27

وَالَّذِينَ كَسَبُوا السَّيِّئَاتِ جَزَآءُ سَيِّئَةٍ بِمِثْلِهَا وَتَرْهَقُهُمْ ذِلَّةٌ مَا لَهُم مِنَ اللَّهِ مِنْ عَاصِمٍ كَأَنَّمَآ اُغْشِيَتْ وُجُوهُهُمْ قِطَعاً مِنَ الَّيْلِ مَظْلِماً اُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ‌ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

27. “And those who have earned evil will have a reward of like evil; and the dust of ignominy will cover them. No defender will they have from (the wrath of) Allah: as if their faces had been covered with pieces from the darkness of night. They are Companions of the Fire: they will abide therein forever!”

And those who have committed evil acts and sins will be punished accordingly in proportion to their acts. They will be punished to the extent they deserve, not more, for punishment beyond that which a person deserves is something inequitable (which is far from the Divine Providence).

On the other hand, the reward for good deeds exceeds what one deserves and it is good to emanate from Allah. Therefore, the objective meaning of the word “like”, in this verse, is nothing more and nothing less than one’s due.

The verse says:

“And those who have earned evil will have a reward of like evil;...”

The Qur’anic phrase /wa tar haqahum ŏillah/ signifies that such sinners will be humiliated and become debased, for punishment is coupled with degradation.

The verse continues saying:

“…and the dust of ignominy will cover them...”

Then the verse implies that there are no guards and obstacles to hinder the punishment of Allah from them.

It says:

“…No defender will they have from (the wrath of) Allah:…”

The obscurity reflected on their faces would be to such an extent that one would imagine that parts of the darkness of the night had cast their shadow, one after another, over them.

The verse says:

“…as if their faces had been covered with pieces from the darkness of night...”

They shall be coupled with the Hell Fire and will eternally remain within its flames.

The verse concludes saying:

“…They are Companions of the Fire: they will abide therein forever!”

Surah Yunus – Verse 28

وَيَوْمَ نَحْشُرُهُمْ جَمِيعاً ثُمَّ نَقُولُ لِلَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا مَكَانَكُمْ أَنتُمْ وَشُرَكَآؤُكُمْ فَزَيَّلْنَا بَيْنَهُمْ وَقَالَ شُرَكَآؤُهُم مَّا كُنتُمْ إِيَّانَا تَعْبُدُونَ

28. “And the Day We shall muster them all, then We shall say to those who associated others (with Us): ‘Get you to your place! You and your associates’, then We shall set a space between them, and their associates shall say: ‘It was not us (indeed) that you used to worship!’”

This verse also follows the previous discussions on the issue of the origin of existence and the Resurrection and the situation of the polytheists.

At first, the Qur’an warns all to remember the Day when Allah will assemble all His subjects and make them rise from the dead.

The verse says:

“And the Day We shall muster them all...”

Then He will declare unto the polytheists to stay in their place together with their idols so that He may examine their account.

It continues saying:

“…then We shall say to those who associated others (with Us):...”

The Qur’an informs that Allah will separate these two groups from each other; i.e. the worshippers and the worshipped ones, and He will question each individual separately, as it is usual with all courts that they investigate each person separately.

The verse says:

“…‘Get you to your place! You and your associates’, then We shall set a space between them...”

Allah may ask the idol-worshippers why they worshipped idols along with Allah (s.w.t.), and He will also ask the idols why they permitted such an act to occur, that they allowed the polytheists to worship them.

It is at this time that those things that were worshipped as idols will speak, saying to them that they never worshipped idols. In actual fact, they worshipped the creation of their own imaginations, whims and passions.

The verse says:

“…and their associates shall say: ‘It was not us (indeed) that you used to worship!’”

Surah Yunus – Verse 29

فَكَفَي بِاللَّهِ شَهِيداً بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ إِن كُنَّا عَنْ عِبَادَتِكُمْ لَغَافِلِينَ

29. “Allah is a sufficient witness between us and you: we certainly were Unaware of your worship (of us).”

In the previous verse, those things worshipped were saying that the polytheists did not worship them. Here, they declare that they were unaware of their worship.

The verse says:

“Allah is a sufficient witness between us and you: we certainly were Unaware of your worship (of us).”

Consequently, whatever act of worship is performed without the knowledge of the worshipped is null and void.

Incidentally, there are numerous allusions made to the hatred and disavowal of those objects worshipped from the polytheists and their deeds in the Qur’an, i.e., Surah Al-Furqan, No. 25, verse 17, and Surah Al-Qasas, No. 28, verse 63.

Surah Yunus – Verse 30

هُنَالِكَ تَبْلُوا كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَآ أَسْلَفَتْ وَرُدُّوا إِلَي اللَّهِ مَوْلاَهُمُ الْحَقّ وَضَلَّ عَنْهُم مَا كَانُوا يَفْتَرُونَ

30. “There will every soul realize (the reward of) the deeds it sent aforetime, and they will be brought back to Allah, their true Lord, and that which they used to fabricate (the false deities) will vanish (away) from them.”

The Day of Resurrection is the day on which the worldly test results are received.

The verse says:

“There will every soul realize (the reward of) the deeds it sent aforetime...”

The true Lord is Allah and any other than Him, whatever it may be, is absurd.

The verse says:

“…and they will be brought back to Allah, their true Lord...”

The Resurrection pertains to all men. And the false effects of the worshipped will be wiped out.

The verse continues saying:

“…and that which they used to fabricate (the false deities) will vanish (away) from them.”

All existence has its origin in Him, and the final destination will be towards Him, too.

  • 1. The commentary of As-Safi, Fi-Zalal-il-Qur’an and Fakhr-i-Razi
  • 2. Majma‘-ul-Bayan
  • 3. Surah Al-’An‘am, No. 6, verse 160
  • 4. Surah An-Nisa’, No. 4, verse 173
  • 5. Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 261
  • 6. Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, the
  • 7. Majma‘ ul-Bayan

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