In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Alas for the servants! there comes not to them an apostle but they mock at him. Do they not consider how many of the generations have We destroyed before them, because they do not turn to them? (36:30-31)
We are talking about the verse:
Alas for the servants…(36:30)
It explains the condition of man in the grave and in the Hereafter and it reveals hidden truths. There are and were people who mocked the messengers and those who followed these ‘callers towards God’, who invited the people to Hereafter. How pitiable and disgraceful will be their condition on the day when truth is manifested.
Quran refers to resurrection as ‘the Day’, for example, day of gathering, day of Qiyamat, day of recompense and so on. Why is it called a ‘day’? There is no sun in the Hereafter, like we have in this world:
When the sun is covered…(81:1) And the sun and the moon are brought together, (75:9)
On the gathering ground of Mahshar there will be no shining of sun but radiance of Muhammad (‘s).
So, on the basis of this, what does ‘day’ denote? Day is bright compared to night, which is dark. In this world, there is darkness. Truth is hidden and inner conditions are veiled. Truth is not visible. From the moment of death begins the real dawn for the opening up of secrets. For example, however much you want to recognize Ali (‘a) you will not be able to do so fully and perfectly as he is hidden. From the moment of death, the grave life opens.
Now you may visualize the highness and greatness of Ali (‘a) as much as you can. With the powerful hand of God, good people will enjoy divine bounties and the evil ones will taste the divine chastisement. Thus it is night (full of darkness) from the hour of birth till death and after death it is day, which reveals all truths.
Let there be the manifestation of truth. At that time those who mocked the messengers will realize their arrogance. Then they will realize what befalls them. They will see that those whom they had mocked have gained lofty ranks.
Here I narrate a story from the book Faraj baad az shiddah.
A justice-loving king ruled over a part of India and when he died, he was succeeded by his son who also was as good and justice loving and sympathetic as his father. But there was a rebellion in his kingdom and the good-natured prince thought if fighting took place there would be much bloodshed and anarchy would prevail. So he thought it would be better if he himself left the kingdom.
While leaving he put on a royal coat studded with costly jewels with a view that it would help him in adverse conditions. He did not take any money or food with him and went to forest on foot. He set off at night and next morning he rested under a tree by a stream.
There he saw a man with a load on his back. The prince thought that this was also a traveler whom he could accompany in his journey and he might also be having food with him. At last that man came near him and sat down, spread his tablecloth, ate and did not say even a word to the prince. The prince also, due to self-respect and shame, could not say that he was hungry.
At last both began to travel together and again at dinnertime the man with food ate inviting his fellow traveler to join him. Thus for two days and nights this runaway king moved along with this miserly man without eating anything. On the third day, naturally, the king had no strength to walk further. He separated from that man and traveled alone.
Then suddenly he saw a city where a house was under construction. He asked the man in charge of construction work, “Can I get some work here?” The contractor agreed. The refugee king asked for his wages early and he got them. Then he bought some food, ate it and started working with enthusiasm. The builder noted that this was not a professional laborer and that he seemed a noble personality possessing royal traits.
So he mentioned this to the respectable lady who owned the building under construction. She called for the strange laborer and in the evening he was brought in her presence. She understood the nobility of the man at first sight, hosted him and offered her hand in marriage to him. The king prayed to God to let him live there, as there was no other place.
Thus he passed three years with this noble lady and benefited from her generosity but during all these years he did not divulge to her who he actually was. After three years, he recognized a man from his native land that was searching for someone. The king asked him, “What is the news about India?”
The man replied, “We had a good and just king. But there was rebellion; the rebels grabbed the throne and ruled over us for three years committing much injustice all this time and oppressing us severely. At last people could bear it no longer and they killed the rebels. Now they are searching for the real king so that if he is found he may be reinstated on the throne to rule judiciously over us. Thus we are now in search of him.
The king made himself known and also showed his royal coat to prove the veracity of his claim. Then he informed the lady of the facts and told her, “I am now going. If I get the throne without trouble, I will send my men to bring you home.” The messenger returned to India and gave the news to his countrymen. Along with their army the people arrived to welcome him and placed him on his throne without any trouble.
While fleeing his kingdom the king had realized how difficult it was to travel alone penniless, so he ordered that inns should be constructed at intervals for travelers and that at every such halting place the travelers should be given provision for three days. He also ordered, “If a foreigner comes to our city he should be brought to me so that if he needs anything I may help him.”
After a few days that miserly man who had accompanied the king in his journey for three days also arrived in the city. The king recognized him at once and asked, “Do you know me?” “You are the king,” he replied. “No, I am that same man who was in your company for three days,” reminded the King. The fellow was severely ashamed and wished that earth should split and swallow him.
The king told him, “Do not be afraid, you will not see anything but good from me.” Then he ordered that the newcomer should be given a room in the royal palace. He made him dine with him and provided him various facilities and honors. At night he provided a royal bed to him and gave him the best of slave girls. After sometime the slave girl came to the king and reported, “Your guest is deed in sleep.”
“Do you think he has died?” asked the king. So they went back and saw that it was so. The king said, “This man has drowned in extreme sorrow and grief and a feeling of shame. I had intended it to be so.”
O man! All of us here are to be hit by deep regret except those who value the message of divine messengers in this world. They would then express their sorrow:
Alas for the servants!
They would understand what God had said and how they were indifferent towards the divine scholars and messengers. They would also understand how the Lord of the worlds only increased His bounties upon them despite such disrespect on their part.
They indulged in ungratefulness and mockery, yet God showered them with bounties and behaved mercifully with them. Woe unto man when this reality is manifested.
In the first station in Qiyamat, the first forty years will be those of amazement and astonishment. Thereafter it would be shame in facing the Holy Prophet (‘s). It is narrated that the feeling of shame will cause perspiration so profusely that man would wish that he should be sent to hell to escape this situation.1
At that time the Almighty would tell threateningly to those who had mocked His messengers’ invitation, “Look at your predecessors (who had done so earlier).”
Do they not consider how many of the generations have We destroyed before them…
Meaning: Look what has happened to those who had mocked the divine prophets earlier. You Arabs do pass, during your travels through places they inhabited. You repeatedly see the habitats of Prophet Lut etc; how we turned them upside down. How We destroyed them who paid no heed to the invitation of divine messengers.
They do not believe in it, and indeed the example of the former people has already passed. And even if We open to them a gateway of heaven, so that they ascend into it all the while, they would certainly say: Only our eyes have been covered over, rather we are an enchanted people. (15:13-15)
So take lesson from this. Before you, some had revolted and disobeyed. From among them were the people of Pharaoh whom We drowned. Also We pushed some deep in earth. To some We killed by a thunder like the killers of Habib Najjar.
So each We punished for his sin; of them was he on whom We sent down a violent storm, and of them was he whom the rumbling overtook, and of them was he whom We made to be swallowed up by the earth, and of them was he whom We drowned… (29:40)
So do not be like them. They were destroyed because they did not return to Us in repentance.
A religious figure has said with regard to this community, that it is the blessed community because it is the last one that has learnt from the mistakes of the past people and thus became eligible for divine mercy. One who comes first is likely to fall down without noticing a hole in the path, but one who follows, looks at those who fall and avoids the peril.
Thus Allah says, “You are the blessed Ummah. You saw what happened to the community of Lut, Salih and Hud. You read about them in history and saw their remnants while traveling. Why do you not take lesson therefrom?”