وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا لَوْ شَآءَ اللَّهُ مَا عَبَدْنَا مِن دُونِهِ مِن شَيْءٍ نَحْنُ وَلآ ءَابَآؤُنَا وَلاَ حَرَّمْنَا مِن دُونِهِ مِن شَيْءٍ كَذَلِكَ فَعَلَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ فَهَلْ عَلَي الرُّسُلِ إِلاَّ الْبَلاَغُ الْمُبِينُ
35. “And those who associate (other gods with Allah) say: ‘If Allah had willed, we would not have worshipped aught besides Him, neither we nor our fathers, nor would we have prohibited anything without (command from) Him.’ Thus did those before them. Is aught for the Messengers, but to deliver the manifest message?”
The issue of determinism and fatalism is one of the unsound justifications of the polytheists who claimed that Allah has predetermined us to worship other than Him. Had He determined otherwise we would not have been pagans.
This issue has been discussed in verse 148 of Surah Al-’An‘am, No. 6 and verse 2 of Surah Az-Zukhruf, No. 43, also quoted from the pagans.
The verse says:
“And those who associate (other gods with Allah) say: ‘If Allah had willed, we would not have worshipped aught besides Him, neither we nor our fathers, nor would we have prohibited anything without (command from) Him.’…”
Question: Does it not reflect Allah’s condescending and consent to and with the matter, as He does not obstruct people from deviation?
Answer: Definitely not, for Allah has simultaneously made adequate means for the guidance of the people. He has sent prophets and Books. Therefore, He has not decided that any one should deviate. At the same time, He has not compelled any one to embrace the faith, for compulsory faith is of no use.
However, what is more dangerous than paganism and disbelief is the justification provided for it and its ascription to Allah.
It is like the case with the deviants who tend to provide justification not only for their deeds but they also seek to justify those wrong acts of their ancestors as well as their collaborators. Such a mode of behavior, that is, providing justification, is the task incumbent upon all those who have been deviants throughout history.
The verse continues saying:
“…Thus did those before them. Is aught for the Messengers, but to deliver the manifest message?”
وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ اُمَّةٍ رَسُولاً أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ فَمِنْهُم مَّنْ هَدَي اللَّهُ وَمِنْهُم مَنْ حَقَّتْ عَلَيْهِ الضَّلاَلَةُ فَسِيرُوا فِي الاَرْضِ فَانظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ
36. “And verily We have appointed a messenger in every nation (to say): ‘Serve Allah and shun false gods.’ Then, of them were some whom Allah guided, and there were others against whom error was due. Hence, travel in the earth, then see what was the end of the rejecters.”
The Arabic term /’ummah/ is a derivative of the word /’umm/ which signifies something which takes up something else on itself. Every group of people who has got something in common and are unified in a sense is called, /’ummah/.
The Arabic term /taqūt/ (dictator or despot) is employed when someone wants to exaggerate or overstress the act of ‘unruliness’. In the Holy Qur’an, the Satan, the oppressors, the tyrants and the idols, who are unruly and disobedient in face of Allah’s commandments, are called /taqūt/. This word has got no plural form; it is used both as singular, like:
“…whoever rejects false deity (taghūt)…”,1
which is used as singular, and like:
“…their guardians are false deities (taghūt)…”2
which is used in plural meaning.
Allah has provided means of guidance for all the people.
The above verse says:
“And verily We have appointed a messenger in every nation (to say): ‘Serve Allah and shun false gods.’…”
Nevertheless, some groups accept the fact of the matter and will be guided aright, while others deny or reject it and, therefore, are misled. Thus, it is He Who guides us though it is us who are misled.
The verse continues saying:
“…Then, of them were some whom Allah guided, and there were others against whom error was due…”
An interesting example of this case might be the example of the earth which rotates around the sun during the rotation of which part of it faces the sun and is being enlightened while the other part of it, which is in behind, is darkened. Hence, one can say that every light beam which the earth possesses comes from the sun while every dark spot it has is of its own position.
Anyway, Allah does not ascribe misguidance to Himself, unless man personally paves the grounds for it.
In conclusion, at the end of the holy verse, He issues this general command for awakening of those who are misled and for the reinforcement of those who are already guided, where He implies that you may travel through the earth and examine the remains and relics of your predecessors which are on the surface of the earth or are buried under the earth and note for yourselves the ultimate destiny of those who have rejected Allah and their eventual fate.
The verse says:
“…Hence, travel in the earth, then see what was the end of the rejecters.”
This meaning serves as a clear evidence for man’s free will, for in case that the guidance and being misled were compulsory matters, there would certainly be no reasons for His commendation of traveling through the earth and the examination of the circumstances of the predecessors which would all be in vain.
إِن تَحْرِصْ عَلَي هُدَاهُمْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَهْدِي مَن يُضِلُّ وَمَا لَهُم مّـِن نَّاصِرِينَ
37. “(O’ Prophet!) Even if you desire for their guidance, yet verily Allah does not guide those whom He leads astray, nor shall they have any helpers.”
In pursuance of the previous verse which ascertained that the deviation of a certain group is an irrevocable and an unequivocal matter owing to their paganism and rejection, this verse, addressing the Prophet (S), implies that he should not sympathize with them for his sympathy is ineffective as Allah has sealed their hearts because of their deviation and they would be no more having the capacity to be guided.
The verse says:
“(O’ Prophet!) Even if you desire for their guidance, yet verily Allah does not guide those whom He leads astray, nor shall they have any helpers.”
Sometimes, there is difficulty in people’s eligibility for guidance which must not be attributed to the preacher. The Divine prophet is immaculate and he shows no weak-points while he has best quality ethics and is compassionate as well, yet some people do not approve.
Certainly, man sometimes reaches a point where he neither will be eligible to be guided in this world; nor will he have the capacity of being interceded and assisted in the next world.
وَأَقْسَمُوا بِاللَّهِ جَهْدَ أَيْمَانِهِمْ لاَ يَبْعَثُ اللَّهُ مَن يَمُوتُ بَلَي وَعْداً عَلَيْهِ حَقّاً وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ
38. “And they swore by Allah with their most earnest oaths (that) Allah will not raise up him who dies. Yea! It (raising the dead) is a promise binding on Him in truth, but most people do not know.”
It is quoted that a Muslim man, who was indebted to by a pagan, went to him to claim his due. The pagan acted evasively which made the Muslim man infuriated and made this oath in his speech:
“I swear to whatever I expect after death”
He meant the resurrection and Allah’s account, to which the pagan replied: “I swear to God that He will raise no one from the dead.” Upon this, the verse was revealed which embodied an answer to him and to the ones like him.
Allah, the Almighty, deals with another type of their deviation and ill ways of thinking, indicating that they swear to the Lord vehemently, exaggerating with utmost insistence that He does not raise any one from the dead, and meaning that generally no one will be enlivened and revived after death.
The holy verse says:
“And they swore by Allah with their most earnest oaths (that) Allah will not raise up him who dies…”
Here, Allah, rejecting their speech, implies that: of course, Allah will revive them and will reappoint them.
This is the unequivocal promise which Allah has given them, and it is incumbent on Him to fulfill all His promises because of His wisdom, for His promise is truthful and is irrevocable, as were there no Resurrection Day to be held, duties of men would be meaningless.
In other words, once duties are correctly in place that there are punishment and rewards designated for one’s actions.
However, most people do not draw proper conclusions from this fact because of their paganism and rejection of the prophets. Some claim that those who do not follow the philosophy of the resurrection and rebirth of the dead, therefore they reject.
One of the capital sins is swearing for false causes especially when the issue in question begins with the terms: /wallah/, /billah/ and /tallah/, which are the three terms for swearing.
According to the quotations which have been mentioned in the books of Roudah-Kafi, Nūr-uth-Thaqalayn, and Tafsir-i-Burhan from Imam Sadiq (as) and Hadrat-i-Imam Baqir (as), it has been quoted that one of the examples of this verse is ‘regression’ or ‘return’ during the course of which, in this world, Allah enlivens some groups during the era of the revolution or uprising of Imam-i-Zaman (as) though the opponents of Shi‘ites refute that.
لِيُبَيّـِنَ لَهُمُ الَّذِي يَخْتَلِفُونَ فِيهِ وَلِيَعْلَمَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا كَاذِبِينَ
39. “(They will be raised up) so that He may make clear to them that which they differed about, and that those who disbelieved might know that they (themselves) were liars.”
The pagans were hesitant and disagreed on such issues as monotheism, legitimacy and authenticity of the prophets’ mission, resurrection day, and the accountability of one’s deeds.
This holy verse proclaims that all these issues will be clarified for them in the resurrection day and they will discover as to what untrue and unacceptable beliefs they were holding in the world. But to what effect will it be?
It is for this reason that Allah raises them from the dead so as to enable them to see for them what they rejected and disagreed on, for the doomsday makes them acquire positively decisive knowledge.
Another point is that the pagans become aware that they were lairs in this world and their claim as to the fact that Allah will not make the dead rise up after death was utter nonsense and groundless.
The verse says:
“(They will be raised up) so that He may make clear to them that which they differed about, and that those who disbelieved might know that they (themselves) were liars.”
إِنَّمَا قَوْلُنَا لِشَيْءٍ إِذَآ أَرَدْنَاهُ أَن نَّقُولَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ
40. “Verily, only Our word for a thing, when We intend it, is that We say: ‘Be!’, and it is.”
Allah has remarked in this verse
and in verse 82 of Surah Yasin No. 36, He has stated:
while we find in verse 59 of ‘Al-i-‘Imran, No. 3, concerning the creation of Hadrat-i-‘Issa, He says:
all of which lead us to the conclusion that His command and His speech are identical with His Will.
The Qur’anic word /kun/ signifies ‘be’ which is used for promoting our understanding of the proximity in our frame of mind. Otherwise, Allah does not require that either.
As man can imagine anything in his own mind whenever he intends to, which he can do without him needing anything. He can create everything. To excuse the similitude expressed here, Allah can also create everything though His creation is real and it is done only if He so wills.
Therefore, He takes up the issue in this verse that if they consider the return of man to life impossible, they must know that Allah’s power is above everything else. Whenever He intends something to exist, He only says ‘Be it’, following which it will immediately exist.
The verse says:
“Verily, only Our word for a thing, when We intend it, is that We say: ‘Be!’, and it is.”
Despite this all-embracing power which Allah possesses in creation every thing by intending it, how could one still be skeptical as to the Allah’s power in matters regarding resurrection of the dead after their death?
The expression of /kun/ (Be) which is the imperative form of ‘to be’ is also due to the scarcity of the words and their lack of capacity for better expression, in which case there is no need even for uttering such a word either. His Will is more than adequate for the actualization of everything.
Therefore, how can one doubt as to the issue of resurrection despite the fact that Allah’s Will is utterly sufficient to bring everything into existence.