Section 3: He Who Submits Himself to Allah Holds the Never-Breaking Firmest Rope
أَلَمْ تَرَوْا أَنَّ اللَّهَ سَخَّرَ لَكُم مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ وَأَسْبَغَ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعَمَهُ ظَاهِرَةً وَبَاطِنَةً وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُجَادِلُ فِي اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَلاَ هُدًي وَلاَ كِتَابٍ مُنِيرٍ
20. “Have you not seen that Allah has made subservient to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth and He has lavished on you His blessings outward and inward? And among the people is he who disputes concerning Allah without knowledge and without any guidance and without any book giving light.”
The Arabic word /’isbaq/ means: ‘To (cause to) spread’ and ‘to develop’.
In this holy verse two sorts of bounties are referred to: the outward bounties, such as: health, sustenance, beauty and the like; and the inward bounties, such as: faith, gnosis, certainty, good character, unseen succour, knowledge, nature, mastership, and so on.
At last, after mentioning ten admonishments about Origin and Resurrection, the rules of living, and ethical and social programs, for completing them, The Holy Qur’an goes to the statement of Divine bounties in order to move the sense of gratitude in people, a thanksgiving that becomes the source of ‘recognition of Allah’ and motive of obedience to Allah’s command.
Luqman addresses all humankind and say:
‘Making subservient whatever is in the heavens and in the earth to man’ has a vast concept which encompasses both what he has in his authority and uses them, with his own will, along-side his interests, such as many earthly animals, and the things which are not in man’s authority but Allah has appointed them to serve mankind, like the sun and the moon.
Therefore, all beings subservient to the command of Allah are alongside the path of the benefits of men whether they subservient to his command or not. Thus, the Arabic sign ‘L’ in the Qur’anic word /lakum/ (for you) is the ‘L’ with the meaning of benefit.
Then, it adds:
The commentators have stated a lot of explanations on the meaning of ‘His blessing outward and inward’.
Some of them think of ‘outward blessings’ as a thing that is not deniable for anyone, such as creation, life, and kinds of provisions. They say that the inward blessings refer to those things that are not comprehensive without care and study, (such as many spiritual powers and constructive instincts).
Some others have rendered the ‘outward blessings’ into the outward limbs and the ‘inward blessings’ into ‘the heart’.
Some other commentators have considered the beauty of the face and stature and the health of the limbs as the outward blessing, and the ‘gnosis of Allah’ as the inward blessing.
Once Ibn-i-‘Abbas asked the Prophet of Islam (S) in this regard, and he answered:
“O’ Ibn-i-‘Abbas! The outward blessing is Islam, and your complete and ordered creation by Allah, as well as the sustenance He has given you. And the inward blessing is His concealing the ugliness of your deeds and that He, the Mighty, does not disgrace you publicly in front of people.”
Imam Baqir (as) once in a tradition said:
“The outward blessing is the Prophet (S), the gnosis of Allah, and Monotheism that the Prophet (S) has brought; and the inward blessing is love of us, Ahlul Bayt, and the covenant of friendship with us.”
But, in fact, there is no contrast between these different commentaries, and each of them states the clear extensions of the outward and inward blessings without restricting their vast concepts.
At the end of the verse, the Qur’an speaks about those who are ingratitude unto the great bounties of Allah (s.w.t.) that have inwardly and outwardly surrounded them and they dispute against the Truth.
Instead of recognizing the giver of those abundant manifest and concealed bounties, they ignorantly and obstinately turn to polytheism and denial.
For the explanation of the difference existing between “Knowledge”, “guidance” and “Illuminating Book” it may be better to say that “Knowledge” refers to the Divine teachers and leaders and those learned ones who can help man in this path and guide him to the appointed destination.
And the purpose of “Illuminating Book” refers to the heavenly Books that, by the way of revelation, enlighten the man’s soul and heart.
In fact, this obstinate group neither themselves have any knowledge nor do they seek for a leader or a guide, nor do they get help from the Divine revelations, and since the way of guidance is only in these three things therefore, by abandoning them they will get astray and pave the way of Satan.
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اتَّبِعُوا مَآ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ قَالُوا بَلْ نَتَّبِعُ مَا وَجَدْنَا عَلَيْهِ ءَابَآءَنَآ أَوَلَوْ كَانَ الشَّيْطاَنُ يَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَي عَذَابِ السَّعِيرِ
21. “And when it is said to them: ‘Follow what Allah has sent down’, they say: ‘We shall follow that on which we found our fathers.’ What! (Would they do it) even if Satan were calling them to the chastisement of the blazing Fire?”
The application of the Arabic word /qila/ in this verse is a sign to the intensity of the bigotry of the pagans.
That is, they obstinate and do not accept any true word from any speaker, whoever he may be.
So, this holy verse points to the weak and baseless logic of this group when it says:
And since following the ignorant deviated ancestors is none of the three guiding ways mentioned in the above, the Holy Qur’an has introduced it as a Satanic way, and in this noble verse says:
In fact, here the Qur’an removes the cover of following the ancestors’ tradition, which has a deluding appearance, and makes manifest the real feature of their deed that is, in fact, following the Satan which is alongside the way of blazing Fire of Hell.
Yes, the leadership of Satan alone is enough that one rejects the Holy Qur’an though it is disguised in the invitation toward the Truth, and his leadership is certainly a false cover, and an invitation toward the Fire of Hell and it alone is also enough for opposition and the duty is clear, although the situation of the inviter is unknown.
Does any wise person leave out the invitation of the Divine prophets unto Heaven and goes after the invitation of Satan unto Hell?
وَمَن يُسْلِمْ وَجْهَهُ إِلَي اللَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَي وَإِلَي اللَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الأُمُورِ
22. “And whoever submits himself (truly) to Allah and he be a doer of good, he indeed has taken hold of the firmest hand-hold (a rope); and unto Allah is the end of all affairs.”
Submitting oneself to anything other than Allah is slavery and captivity, but submitting one’s self to Allah is freedom, growth and development. That is why the Qur’an in this verse implies that the one who submits his heart and soul to Allah and obeys His commandments while he is a good doer, he has grasped a firm hand-hold.
The verse says:
The purpose of the Qur’anic phrase /yuslim wajhahu ’ilallah/ (submits himself (truly) to Allah) is, in fact, an implicit indication to a perfect attention wholly to the Pure Essence of Allah, because the word /wajh/ (face) has ironically been used for His Essence for the sake that the face is the most honoured part of the body and it is the centre of the most important senses of a person.
The application of the Qur’anic phrase /huwa muhsinun/ (he is a doer of good) is of the kind of mentioning ‘righteous deed’ next to ‘faith’.
The Qur’anic phrase: ‘Having taken hold of the firmest hand-hold’ is a tender simile from this fact that for being delivered from the depth of the valley of materials and elevating to the highest peak of knowledge, and spirituality man needs a firm and certain true means.
This means is not anything but faith and righteous deed. Except this, all other things are not reliable and will be the cause of fall and death.
Moreover, it is only this mean that remains and all other means are perishing, so, at the end of the verse, the Qur’an says:
There is a tradition recorded in Tafsir-i-Burhan, cited by the Sunnites, saying that it has been narrated from Imam Ali-ibn-Mus-ar-Rida (as) from the Prophet of Islam (S) who said:
“'After me there will be a dark sedition. Only those can deliver from it who take hold of the firmest handhold.”
Then it was said what the firmest handhold was, and he said:
“It is the mastership of sayyid-ul-Wasiyyin.”
“O’ Messenger of Allah! Who is this Sayyid-ul-Wasiyyin?”
“O’ Messenger of Allah! Who is Amir-ul-Mu’minin?’
“(He is) the master of the Muslims and their leader after me.”
“O’ Messenger of Allah! Who is the master of the Muslims and their leader after you?”
“(He is) my brother, Ali-ibn-’Abitalib (as)”
There have been narrated some other traditions in this field, too, indicating that the purpose of /‘urwatul-wuθqa/ is the friendship of Ahlul Bayt (as), or the friendship of the progeny of Muhammad (S), or the friendship of the Imams out of the descendants of Imam Husayn (as).
We have repeatedly said that these interpretations are the statement of some clear expansions, and they do not contrast with other expansions, such as: Monotheism, piety, and the like.
وَمَن كَفَرَ فَلاَ يَحْزُنكَ كُفْرُهُ إِلَيْنَا مَرْجِعُهُمْ فَنُنَبّـِئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ
نُمَتّـِعُهُمْ قَلِيلاً ثُمَّ نَضْطَرُّهُمْ إِلَي عَذَابٍ غَلِيظٍ
23. “And whoever disbelieves, let not his disbelief grieve you, unto Us is their return then will We inform them of what they did. Verily Allah is the knower of what is in the hearts.”
24. “We give them to enjoy a little, then will We drive them to a severe chastisement.”
The holy Prophet of Islam (S) was sympathetic for all humankind and he even did toil for the deviation and disbelief of the opponents, too.
So, Allah says:
For, you have performed your duty very well, and it is the disbeliever who has been unjust to himself.
These kinds of meanings, which have been frequently mentioned in the Qur’an, show that the holy Prophet of Islam (S) severely toiled when he observed that an ignorant and obstinate group of people left the way of Allah and went astray after having a lot of clear evidences and manifest signs; he became so sad and grieved that Allah consoled him many times. And such kind is the way and manner of a sympathetic leader.
And also he should not be worried that a group of people enjoy the comforts of life in this world and are not involved in punishment though they disbelieve and are unjust and cruel, because it is not so late and they all will return to Allah and He will inform them of both their deeds and the bitter and evil fruits of their deeds.
The verse says:
Allah, the knowing, is aware of not only their deeds but also of the secrets and hidden intentions in their hearts.
The verse continues saying:
This meaning that on the Day of Hereafter Allah will inform people of their deeds or that He will inform them of what they differed in, has been revealed through a great deal of verses of the Holy Qur’an.
The Qur’anic term /nunabbi’ukum/ is derived from /naba’/ which, according to what Raqib has cited in Mufradat, is used for a news that has an important content and benefit, and it is also explicit, manifest, and free from any falsehood.
This makes it clear that these meanings, point to the fact that on the Hereafter Day Allah will divulge the people’s deeds in a manner that there will remain no place of objection and denial for anyone.
He will make appear entirely whatever people do in this world and they often forget them in this world, and He will make them ready for reckoning and recompense. Even that which passes in the mind of a person and none is aware of, will completely be reported to their owners.
Then in the next verse, He implies that their enjoyment of the life of this world should not make the Prophet (S) surprise, because He gives them a little share of the provision of the world, and whatever this provision may be, it is scanty, and finally they will compulsorily be driven into a just severe punishment, a punishment which is constant and painful.
The verse says:
This meaning may point to the fact that they should not think that they are out of the grasp of Allah’s power. He Himself desires to let them be free to be tried, the argument be completed to them, and other aims; and this little provision given to them is from His side, too.
And how different is the circumstance of this group who are compulsorily and scornfully driven to the divine severe chastisement from that of those who submit their whole entity to Allah and have taken hold the firm rope of Allah. They live in this world piously and righteously, and then, in Hereafter, they will enjoy the bounties of Allah with His mercy.
وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ قُلِ الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ
25. “And if you ask them: ‘Who created the heavens and the earth? Certainly they will say: ‘Allah’. Say: ‘(All) praise is Allah’s.’ ‘Nay! Most of them do not know’,”
It is not concealed to pagans that Allah is the creator, since the pagans implicitly confess their deviation.
Therefore, in this verse He says:
This meaning, which has also been mentioned in other verses of the Qur’an1, from one side, is an evidence that pagans were never the deniers of the Unity of the Creator and they could not rather accept divinity for idols; they believed only in polytheism in worship and intercession.
And from other side, it is a reference to the fact that Monotheism and the manifestation of this Divine Light in the nature of all humankind is innate. Then He implies that now that they confess the Unity of the Creator, they should be told that the entire praise is Allah’s, the One Who is the Creator of all things, not the idols which themselves are His creatures.
But most of them do not know and do not understand that worship must be particular to the Creator of the world.
The verse continues saying:
لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيدُ
26. “What is in the heavens and the earth is Allah’s; verily Allah is the Self-Sufficient, the Most Praised.”
Only Allah, the Almighty, is the Creator and the Owner of the creatures, and also it is only He Who is Self-Sufficient and Most Praised.
In this noble verse the Qur’an refers to the ownership of Allah, because next to proving His creative power there needs not to bring another reason for His ownership.
In this verse the Holy Qur’an says:
It is evident that the One Who is the Creator and the Owner is the Divisor of the affairs of the world, too. Thus, by the above mentioned explanation, three parts of Monotheism are proved: (the Unity of creatorship, the Unity of ownership, and the Unity of Lordship.
And the One, Who is like that, is self-sufficient of all things and is worthy of any praise.
That is why, at the end of the holy verse it says:
Allah is All-Sufficient and is the Most Praised from any point of view, since every merit which is found in the world belongs to Allah, the Self-Sufficient, and whatever a person has is completely obtained from Him, and the sources of every goodness are in His authority, and this is a real evidence to His self-sufficiency.
In view of the fact that /hamd/ means praise for a good deed which a person does voluntarily, and whatever good thing we see in the world is from His side, then all praises belong to Him.
Even when we praise the beauty of a flower, and we explain the attraction of the heavenly loves, or we honour the greatness of the action of a self-sacrificing altruist, again we, in fact, praise Him, because this beauty and that attraction and realness also belong to Him, therefore, He is All-Praised.
وَلَوْ أَنَّمَا فِي الأَرْضِ مِن شَجَرَةٍ أَقْلاَمٌ وَالْبَحْرُ يَمُدُّهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ سَبْعَةُ أَبْحُرٍ مَّا نَفِدَتْ كَلِمَاتُ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيرٌ حَكِيمٌ
27. “And if all the trees on the earth were pens and the sea added to seven seas (were ink in the writing), (yet) would not the Words of Allah be exhausted; Verily Allah is the Mighty, the Wise.”
The purpose of the Arabic phrase /sab‘atu ’abhur/ (seven seas) may be for multiplicity and the number is not properly meant. That is, if the water of all seas becomes ink, they can not write down the entire words (knowledge) of Allah, the Mighty, the Wise, by it.
There is an illustration from the endless knowledge of Allah (s.w.t.) in this holy verse which has been depicted by mentioning a very expressive and comprehensive similitude.
The Arabic word /yamudduhu/ is derived from /midad/ in the sense of ‘ink’ or a coloured substance by which something is written, and it is originally derived from /madd/ in the sense of ‘drawing’, because the writings are produced by drawing of a pen on the sheet of paper.
Some commentators have also cited another meaning for this term. It is the oil which is poured in a torch and is the cause of its light. Both of these meanings mentioned here, in fact, return to one root.
The Arabic term /kalimat/ is the plural form of /kalimah/ which originally means the words by means of which a person speaks.
Then it has been used with a wider scope of meaning which envelops anything that can convey a matter; and since each of the different creatures of this world is an indication to Allah’s pure Essence, as well as His knowledge and Power, every being can be called /kalimat-ullah/ (the word of Allah).
This term has been used particularly in respect to the nobler and more magnificent beings, as about Jesus (as) where the Holy Qur’an says:
Then, in this relation, the Qur’anic phrase /kalimat-ullah/ has been used in the sense of Allah’s knowledge.
Now we must think properly that for writing the whole knowledge of a person usually a pen and some amount of ink is sufficient; and it is even possible that with this very single pen some other people write down their entire knowledge on the sheet of paper, but the Qur’an in this holy verse says:
and we know that there can be produced thousands or millions of pens from the trunk and branches of a single tall tree.
Also, we know about three fourth of the surface of the earth that it is covered by water with a very considerable depth. Now, how wonderful will it be if all the oceans on the earth become ink for writing and how much knowledge and sciences can be written down by them?
Specially by adding seven other seas to them that each of them is equal to all the oceans of the earth, and particularly that the figure ‘seven’ here does not mean number but it is for multiplicity and denotes to numerous seas, it makes it clear that how vast is the knowledge of Allah, the Almighty, the Wise.
Moreover, all of them will be ended but the words of Allah will not be exhausted.
Is there any illustration more interesting and more beautiful than this to show such infiniteness? This figure is so expressive and comprehensive that might take with itself the waves of man’s thought into the unlimited horizons and causes him to be in full wonder.
Regarding this clear and expressive statement, a man feels that his knowledge comparing the knowledge of Allah is as a zero in front of infiniteness, and it is worthy for him to only say that his knowledge has reached a point that he has realized his ignorance.
One of tender points that are found in this verse is that the word /šajarah/ (tree) is said in singular form and the term /’aqlam/ (pens) is said in plural form in order to indicate a large number of pens provided from a single tree with its trunks and branches.
And also the application of the word /al-bahr/ (sea) in the singular form and the Arabic signs ‘Alif’ and ‘Lam’ at its beginning are for the sake that it encompasses all the oceans on the earth, in particular that all the oceans of the world are connected to each other and, indeed they can be considered as a whole vast ocean.
And it is interesting that concerning the pens it does not speak about some additional pens, while when it speaks about the oceans it say about other seven seas, because there will be used a few pens for writing and that which is used very much is ink.
The figure ‘seven’ in the Arabic language is sometimes used for multiplicity and perhaps it is for this view point that former nations counted seven the spheres of the solar system (and in fact whatever is seen today by natural eyes in solar system is not more than seven spheres).
And regarding that a week is not formed by more than seven days, and the whole globe was traditionally divided into seven sections and was called by seven provinces, makes it clear that why the figure ‘seven’ has been used as a complete figure and for multiplicity.
مَّا خَلْقُكُمْ وَلاَ بَعْثُكُمْ إِلاَّ كَنَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ بَصِيرٌ
28. “Your creation and your raising (after your death) are only as (the creation and the raising of) a single soul; verily Allah is Hearing, Seeing.”
The origin of scepticism in the principle of Resurrection is sometimes the length of time that how do the dead bodies return to life again after a long time? Sometimes its origin is the dead themselves that how can the rotten bones, which have been mixed and scattered, be separated from each other?
And sometimes its cause is being informed of the deeds, behaviour, and that how will those of all human beings be reckoned after the recreation of the dead? In this verse, Allah answers to all of these paradoxes by a single sentence.
The Qur’an implies that raising you all after your death is as easy for Him as the creation of one of you, and the length of time has no role in it. He hears and sees your murmurs and knows all your deeds, and He will reckon all of them.
Therefore, quantity, population, time and place, and even ‘hidden and manifest’ have no effect in Allah’s knowledge and power.
The verse says:
أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يُولِجُ الَّيْلَ فِي النَّهَارِ وَيُولِجُ النَّهَارَ فِي الَّيْلِ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ كُلٌّ يَجْرِي إِلَي أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّي وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ
29. “Have you not seen that Allah merges the night into the day and merges the day into the night, and He has made the sun and the moon subservient, each passing till an appointed time and that Allah is aware of what you do?”
The decrease and increase of the length of day and night, that occur gradually, have an important function in the life of the living creatures that need some more darkness or light for their lives.
This holy verse speaks about shortening and prolonging night and day as well as the sun and the moon being made subservient by Allah. Then it refers to the movement of each of them for an appointed time; and finally it implies that Allah is aware of what all human beings do.
That is, the aim of all existence and different changes in the system of creation is man’s deed; then we must do something which contains the pleasure of Allah. Most of the verses of the Qur’an do not address only the Prophet (S), but they are sent for all people.
For example, the Qur’an says:
And we know that the Prophet (S) lost his parents when he was a child and they were not alive to reach old age with him.
In this verse, too, though the Prophet of Islam (S) is addressed with the Qur’anic phrase: /’alam tara/ (have you not seen), at the end of the verse it says:
this shows that the content of the verse envelops all people in general.
ذَلِكَ بِاَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْحَقُّ وَأَنَّ مَا يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِهِ الْبَاطِلُ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْكَبِيرُ
30. “This is because Allah is the Truth and because whatever they call upon besides Him is falsehood, and because Allah, He is the High, the Great.”
Only Allah and whatever is from His side or depends to Him is the Truth and whatever is besides Him or depends on other than Him is falsehood and is perishable. Therefore, this verse implies that the matters which were mentioned in the previous verses are some evidence that Allah is the Truth and whatever they call upon besides Him is falsehood, for verily Allah is the High, the Great.
The verse says:
The totality of the discussions mentioned in the previous verses about creative power, ownership, and the infinite knowledge and power of Allah prove these things, and that the Truth is only He and other than Him is transitory, falsehood, limited and dependant, and the attributes of /‘aliyy/ (the High) and /kabir/ (the Great), which are above everything and are beyond explanation, belong to His Pure Essence.
An Arabic poet says:
“Beware that everything that is besides Allah, the High, is falsehood, and every material bounty will finally perish.”
The content of the verse can philosophically be stated as follows: the Truth refers to a real and lasting being, and that real being that is self-existent, permanent, stable, and eternal is only Allah (s.w.t.), and the rest, whatever they may be, have not any existence in their essence and are falsehood, because they have got their existence by the way of depending on that eternal Truth, and as soon as He takes His grace from them they will be wiped out in the darkness of annihilation and non-existence.
Thus, the more relation of other beings to his Essence is, proportionally the more legitimacy they will earn.
However, as it was said before, these verses contain ten attributes out of the prominent attributes of Allah, the Pure, and ten Names out of the Most Beautiful Names of Allah. They contain some strong and undeniable reasons upon the negation of any polytheism and upon the necessity of Unity in all stages of worship.