Section 5: Suffering of the World Through What Men Have Themselves Wrought
ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ
41. “Mischief has appeared in the land and the sea because of what the hands of men have wrought, that He may make them taste a part of what they have done, so that they may turn (away from evil).”
Man’s deeds affect on the nature. The evil deeds of man hinder the water, and the land to give benefit and they cause some undesirable phenomena to be created.
So, in this verse it says:
The above holy verse has a vast scope of meaning around the relation between ‘mischief’ and ‘sin’ which is neither allocated to the lands of Mecca and Arabic nor to the age of the Prophet (S), but it is a verity-proposition which states the link of ‘predicate’ and ‘subject’.
In other words, wherever a mischief appears, it is the effect of the people’s deeds; and, in the meantime, it contains an educational goal, so that people taste the bitter fruit of their deeds, perhaps they turn away from evil.
Some commentators believe that this verse refers to the drought and famine which seized the pagans of Mecca as the result of the Prophet’s curse. The sky did not rain, the deserts dried and became drier, and even fishing in the sea (the Red Sea) became difficult for them.
Supposing this statement is correct, it is only the statement of one example and it never restrains the meaning of the verse in the relation of ‘mischief’ and ‘sin’; restrains neither to that time and that place, not to the drought and scanty of rain.
We read in a tradition from Imam Sadiq (as) who once said:
“The life of the animals of the sea depends on rain; so when it does not rain, decadence appears in both the land and the sea, and this is at the time when sins increase.”1
Of course, whatever is mentioned in this noble narration is the statement of a clear expansion of mischief, and what is mentioned in this tradition about the rainfall and the life of animals in the sea is a matter which has exactly been experienced that whenever it rains less, there will be found less fish in the sea.
We heard some of the dwellers of the sea banks say:
“The benefit of rain for the sea is more than its benefit for the desert.”
قُلْ سِيرُوا فِي الأَرْضِ فَانظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلُ كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّشْرِكِينَ
42. “Say: ‘Travel in the land, then see how was the end of those before, most of them were polytheists.”
A purposeful travelling is recommended by Islam, and the protection of the instructive building is necessary for the future generations.
In order that people actually see with their eyes some lively evidences in connection with the appearance of corruption on the earth as the result of sin, the verse commands for travelling in the earth, and He tells the Prophet (S) as follows:
You may see the ruined castles and palaces of those who used to live before you, watch their treasures which have been spoilt, study the strong nations who are scattered and their graves contain the rotten bones of their bodies.
You can see what was the end of their injustice, cruelty, sin, vice, and polytheism? You can see if they burnt the nests of some birds, how were the houses of these hunters destroyed? Yes, most of them were polytheists, and polytheism was the source of their mischief and caused them to be annihilated.
It is interesting that when the words in the former verses were about the bounties of Allah, at first the creation of man was mentioned and next to it the words were about his sustenance:
but in the verses under discussion, when it speaks about the Divine punishment, at first it points to the destruction of bounties as the result of sin, and then it refers to the destruction because of polytheism.
Its reason is that at the time of remittal the merit of creation is first and sustenance is next to it; but at the time of taking it back, the destruction of bounties is first and annihilation is next to it.
In regard to the fact that this Surah is a Meccan Surah and the Muslims were in minority at that time, the application of the Qur’anic sentence /’akθaruhum mušrikin/ (most of them were polytheists) may point to this matter that you should not fear of the polytheists who are in majority, because Allah has annihilated many large groups of such people in the past. It is also a severe warning unto the disobedient persons that they should travel in the earth and see the end of the former nations who were similar to them in action.
فَاَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ الْقَيّـِمِ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَ يَوْمٌ لاَّ مَرَدَّ لَهُ مِنَ اللَّهِ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَصَّدَّعُونَ
43. “Then Set your face to the established religion before there comes a day from Allah which cannot be averted; on that day shall become separated.”
Then addressee in this verse is the Prophet (S) when it says:
No one, on that Day, has any power to turn back that Day and to stop the program of Allah when people will become divided into different groups and the rows will be separated from each other; a group will be admitted in Paradise and the other group will be sent into Hell.
The Arabic word /qayyim/ in this verse means: ‘subsistent’ and ‘establisher’, and it, qualifying the religion by this attribute, in fact, points to the constant regard to the religion. That is, since the religion of Islam is a subsistent, and straight religion which establishes the peoples’ system of material and spiritual life, the Prophet (S) should never deviate from it.
Allah addresses the Prophet (S) in this verse so that others take care of their own account.
The Arabic phrase /yassadda‘un/ is derived from /sad‘/ which originally means: ‘to break or cleave a plate’ but gradually it has been used for any separation. Here it refers to the separation of the rows of the people of Heaven and the people of Hell that either of them will also be divided into some rows according to their degrees in Paradise and in Hell.
مَن كَفَرَ فَعَلَيْهِ كُفْرُهُ وَمَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحاً فَلاَِنفُسِهِمْ يَمْهَدُونَ
لِيَجْزِيَ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ مِن فَضْلِهِ إِنَّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْكَافِرِينَ
44. “Whoever disbelieves, his unbelief shall be (charged) against him, and whoever does good deed, for their own selves they are preparing,”
45. “That He may reward those who believe and do righteous deeds out of His Grace, verily He does not love the unbelievers.”
The previous verse implied that on the Day of Hereafter people will scatter and become separated into different groups. This verse explains that this separation is so that each group of believers and disbelievers will be given their appropriate reward and retribution.
In Hereafter, of course, the grace of Allah (s.w.t.) will involve those who have both faith and righteous deed. Thus, for entering Paradise only Faith is not enough but good deed is also necessary.
This verse is, in fact, an explanation for this separation of rows in Hereafter. The verse says:
The Qur’anic term /yamhadun/ is derived from /mahd/ and, as Raqib has said in Mufradat, it originally means cradle or a place which is prepared for a child.
Then the words /mahd/ and /mihad/ have been used in a vaster sense, that is, it is called to any prepared place wherein the utmost ease and tranquillity is found. It is for this point of view that this meaning has been chosen for the people of Paradise and righteous believers.
In short, you should not think that belief and disbelief, or your ugly and beautiful deeds have any effect on the Pure Essence of Allah, but it is you who become pleased and happy, or worried and sad.
It is interesting that concerning the disbelievers, the Holy Qur’an has sufficed with the sentence:
but concerning the believers, in the next verse, the Qur’an explains that not only they will see their deeds there but also Allah will bestow some more merits on them because of His Grace.
The verse says:
This is the aim and it is certain that this Divine Grace (in Hereafter) does not reach the disbelievers, since:
It is evident that He will treat them with His justice, too, and He will not punish them more than their due, but they will not receive any grace or merit from Him either.
No doubt any evil action effects on the situation of society and by means of it the situation of individuals will be affected and a kind of corruption will appear in the social system. Sin, vice, and breaking law is like a poisonous food which, willingly or unwillingly, will have some unpleasant effects on man’s system of body and he will encounter its natural reaction:
Falsehood causes confidence to be vanished.
Treachery of trust disturbs the social communications.
Injustice is always the cause of another injustice.
Misuse from freedom will usually lead to dictatorship and dictatorship will lead to bursting.
‘The abandonment of the rights of the deprived’ often creates hostility, and compression of rancour and enmities causes the foundation of society to become unstable.
However, any wrong action, whether in a limited measure or a vast one, has often an unpleasant reaction, and one of the commentaries on the holy verse which says:
is this very thing.
(This is the natural relation of ‘sin’ and mischief’.)
It is understood from the Islamic narrations that many of sins, besides this, have a series of evil sequels with them, the relation of which with those effects is, at least, unknown.
For example, some Islamic narrations indicate that ‘breaking off ties of relationship causes life to become short; consuming unlawful things causes heart to become dark; and publicity of fornication causes the destruction of men and decreases the provision. …
The Prophet (S) in a tradition said:
“Fornication has six sequels; three sequels in the world, and three sequels in Hereafter. In the world, it decreases the person’s luminosity, brings death sooner than its proper time, and ceases the sustenance. In the Hereafter, it causes the severity of reckoning, the wrath of Allah, and eternity in Fire.”4
We read in a narration form Imam Sadiq (as) who said:
“Those who die because of sins are more than those who die by a natural death.”5
Similar to this meaning with another form is said in the Qur’an, where it says:
Thus, the Qur’anic word /fasad/ mentioned in verse 41 encompasses the social corruptions, calamities, and negation of blessings.
Another attractive point is that the above verse denoted to the fact that one of the philosophies of calamities and pests is their educational effect on human beings. They must receive the fruit of their own deeds so that they awaken from the sleep of negligence and return toward purity and piety.
We do not say that all vices and calamities are of this kind, but we say at least a part of them has such a philosophy. There are, of course, some other philosophies for it, too, which will be discussed in their appropriate places.
وَمِنْ ءَايَاتِهِ أَن يُرْسِلَ الرِّيَاحَ مُبَشّـِرَاتٍ وَلِيُذِيقَكُم مِن رَّحْمَتِهِ وَلِتَجْرِيَ الْفُلْكُ بِاَمْرِهِ وَلِتَبْتَغُوا مِن فَضْلِهِ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
46. “And among His signs is that He sends forth the winds bearing good tidings (of rain), and that He may make you taste of His mercy, and that the ships may run by His command, and that you may seek (sustenance) of His grace, and that you may be grateful.”
Nothing happens accidentally, even the winds blow with the will of Allah, the Wise, too. Whatever we receive from the blessings of the winds is a part of His signs and graces. Again, the movement of a ship on the sea is in the hand of Allah, not in the hand of its captain.
The previous verse was about faith and righteous deed and in this verse Monotheism and its evidences are referred to.
The winds come before rainfall. They take the scattered pieces of cloud with them and join them together and send them toward the dry and thirst lands. They cover some parts of the sky and, by altering the heat of atmosphere, they cause the cloud to be prepared for raining.
The importance of the arrival of these harbingers of rain may not be so clear to those citizens who enjoy the comforts of life, but those thirsty people who are in need of some drops of water in the desert, when the winds come and move the pieces of cloud with them, and they smell the special odour of rain which has come down on the plants somewhere else, the light of hope appears in their hearts.
Though the verses of the Holy Qur’an have emphasized on wind as a harbinger of the descent of rain, the Qur’anic term /mubašširat/ (bearing good tidings of rain) cannot be confined in it, because winds have many other good tidings with them, too.
Winds adjust the heat and cold of the weather.
Winds can amortize affections on vast atmosphere and purify the air.
Winds decrease the pressure of sun’s heat on leaves and plants, and work as a barrier against sunburn.
Winds bring the oxygen produced by the leaves of the trees for men, and take the carbonic gas produced by men’s breath as a present for plants.
Winds inoculate a lot of plants and join the male and female seeds to each other in the world of plants.
Winds are a means for mills to move, as well as a factor for filtering the heaps of corn.
Winds often carry the seeds of some plants from the places where there are a great deal of them and, like a compassionate gardener, scatter them throughout the desert.
Winds take sailors and ships with passengers and much heavy loads to different parts of the world, and even today, when machinery has substituted the wind force, the winds are still very effective in the work of ships to be slow or fast.
Yes, they are givers of glad tidings in different ways.
Thus, in the continuation of the verse, we recite as follows:
Yes, winds are both a means of creating abundant bounties in the fields of agriculture and breeding livestock, and a means of carrying kinds of loads, and a cause of lustre in commerce.
The Qur’anic sentence:
refers to the first blessing, and the sentence:
points to the second one and the sentence:
refers to the third one. It is interesting that all these bounties are the results of ‘movement’, a movement in the atoms existed in the air near the earth.
But the magnitude of no bounty is recognized until it is taken from man. In the same way, man does not understand what calamity has come to him unless these winds and breezes stop.
The stop of winds makes life, even in the best gardens, like life in the dark holes of a prison; and if a breeze blows in the cells of solitary prisons it makes it like an open place and, in principle, one of the factors of torture in prisons is the stop of weather therein.
Even on the surface of oceans, if wind stops and waves do not exist, the life of the living creatures therein will be in danger as the result of the scarcity of oxygen of the air, and the sea will be altered into a terrible fetid marsh.
“Regarding to the fact that ‘to taste’ is used for a scanty thing’, the sentence:
points to this meaning that the whole world and the bounty of the world is not more than a little mercy, and the vast mercy of Allah belongs to the next world.”
وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ رُسُلاً إِلَي قَوْمِهِمْ فَجَآءُوهُم بِالْبَيّـِنَاتِ فَانتَقَمْنَا مِنَ الَّذِينَ أَجْرَمُوا وَكَانَ حَقّاً عَلَيْنَا نَصْرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
47. “And We did indeed send, before you, messengers unto their people, and they came to them with clear proofs, then We took vengeance upon those who were guilty, and helping the believers is ever incumbent on Us.”
In this holy verse, four ways of Allah’s treatment have been referred to:
1- The practice of sending prophets.
2- The practice of prophets having miracles.
3- The retribution of the wrong doers.
4- The triumph of the believers.
So, the holy verse says:
And Allah (s.w.t.) helped the believers. The verse continues saying:
The application of the Arabic word /kana/ is an indication that this custom has some roots, and the application of the word /haqq/ and next to it the term /‘alayna/ (on Us), which also states the truth, are counted some consecutive emphases in this regard, and mentioning the Qur’anic phrase /haqqan ‘alayna/ before the Qur’anic phrase /nasrul mu’minin/, which denotes to restriction, is another emphasis.
On the whole, the holy verse means that surely Allah has undertaken helping the believers and without being in need of any one else, He will fulfil this promise of His.
By the way, also this sentence was a console for those Muslims who, at that time, were under the severe pressure of the enemies of Islam in Mecca that were stronger than them from the point of both number and equipment.
In principle, that the enemies of Allah (s.w.t.) are drowned in pollution and sin it itself is one of the factors of triumph and help of the believers, because this very sin will finally root out them and will provide the means of their destruction by their own hands when it sends the Divine revenge to them.
اللَّهُ الَّذِي يُرْسِلُ الرِّيَاحَ فَتُثِيرُ سَحَاباً فَيَبْسُطُهُ فِي السَّمَآءِ كَيْفَ يَشَآءُ وَيَجْعَلُهُ كِسَفاً فَتَرَي الْوَدْقَ يَخْرُجُ مِنْ خِلاَلِهِ فَإِذَآ أَصَابَ بِهِ مَن يَشَآءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ إِذَا هُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ
48. “It is Allah Who sends forth the winds so they raise a cloud, then He spreads it forth in the sky as He pleases, and breaks it into fragments so that you see the rain coming forth from inside it, then when He causes it to fall upon whom He pleases of His servants, behold, they rejoice.”
The natural changes are the signs of power, wisdom, and device of Allah, and also the movement of pieces of cloud, and rainfalls are performed by the will of Allah.
In this holy verse the Qur’an refers again to the bounty of blowing winds, where it says:
Yes, at the time of raining, one of the important functions has been given unto the winds. It is they that carry the pieces of cloud from over seas toward dry and thirsty lands, and it is they that have the duty of stretching pieces of cloud and preparing them for being creative of rain.
The winds are like an aware and experienced shepherd that in time gathers the cattle of sheep from here and there in the desert and makes them move on a certain way and then he prepares them to be milked.
The Qur’anic sentence:
may point to this meaning that the intense of clouds and the blow of winds is not so much that hinders the exist of small drops of rain from cloud and their descent on the earth, but, in spite of the storm and cloud that have covered the expanse of sky, these small drops find their way from inside them toward the earth and in the meantime, they do not create destruction.
The wind and storm that sometimes root out the great trees and move rocks, lets the small tender drop of rain pass through it and come down on the land.
This point is also noteworthy that though on a cloudy day when cloud has covered the expanse of the sky, the pieces of cloud are not so sensible for us, but they are completely visible when we pass through these pieces of cloud or fly over them by airplane.
The verse at the end says:
وَإِن كَانُوا مِن قَبْلِ أَن يُنَزَّلَ عَلَيْهِم مِن قَبْلِهِ لَمُبْلِسِينَ
فَانظُرْ إِلَي ءَاثَارِ رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ كَيْفَ يُحْيِ الأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَآ إِنَّ ذَلِكَ لَـمُحْيِ الْمَوْتَي وَهُوَ عَلَي كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
49. “Although before it was sent down on them before that they had been in despair.”
50. “Look then at the traces of Allah’s mercy, how He gives life to the earth after its death; verily He is the giver of life to the dead; and He is All-powerful over all things.”
Hardships and kinds of hopelessness increase the pleasure of bounties very much.
Rainfall and the new life of the earth is a divine sign for the reality of Resurrection. This holy verse says:
The Arabic term /mublis/ is derived from /’iblas/ in the sense of: ‘despair’ and ‘hopelessness’.
Those people, such as wandering Arabs, whose life and living is closely depended on these very drops of rain, will conceive this despair and that glad tidings very well.
While despair and hopelessness has last its evil and heavy shadow over their soul and spirit and the sign of thirst has appeared in them as well as in their cattle and their farming lands; then suddenly the winds, which are the harbingers of rain, start to come through which these people smell the smell of rain.
After some minutes, the pieces of cloud will scatter in the sky and become more intensive and more compressed and then it begins to rain. The ditches will be filled with wholesome water, and small and big streams will contain of this heavenly bounty.
Life and living will be seen in dry lands and in the depth of the hearts of these wanderers of the desert both. The light of hope enlightens their hearts and the dark cloud of despair will disappear thereof.
The repetition of the Arabic word /qabl/ (before) in the verse apparently is for emphasis. It says: “before it”, yes, a few minutes before rain, the features are frowned, but suddenly it rains and the smile of happiness appears on the lips. What a weak being are man, and what a kind Lord He is!
In the Persian language, too, the time is sometimes stated repeatedly for emphasis. The Persian speakers may say: ‘Until yesterday’ -Yes, until that very yesterday- so and so was a friend with me, but now he is seriously in hostility”, and the purpose of this repetition is an emphasis on the change of man’s moods.
The next verse, addressing the Prophet of Islam (S), says:
The Arabic term /fanzur/ (look then) as an emphasis in the verse, points to this fact that the effect of Allah’s mercy in giving life to the dead lands by means of rain is so much manifest that it appears for any man by a glance without being in need of searching and seeking for it.
Thus, the application of the Qur’anic phrase /rahmat-illah/ (Allah’s mercy) about rainfall in the verse refers to the effects of its bountifulness from different dimensions.
Rain waters the dry lands and causes the seeds of plants grow.
Rain gives new life to the trees in order that they continue their living.
Rain clears out the dust of the air and makes the man’s living environment safe and clean.
Rain washes the plants and gives them freshness.
Rain makes the weather moist and mild so that it will be appropriate for human beings to inhale.
Rain penetrates inside the ground and after some time it will appear on the ground in the form of springs and water pipes.
Rain creates some floods, which, after being controlled at the back of dams, produces electricity, light, and energy.
Finally, rain usually adjusts both cold and hot weather. It decreases the heat and makes cold tolerable.
Rain is also mentioned in some other verses of the Qur’an as ‘mercy’, among them is Surah Furqan, No. 25 verse 48, and Surah An-Naml, No. 27, verse 63.
Also, Surah Shoura, No. 42, verse 28 says:
Then, regarding to the relation that origin and Resurrection have in different issues, at the end of the verse it says:
The application of the Arabic phrase /muhy il mauta/ (the giver of life to the dead) in the form of Arabic noun-agent instead of the verb in the simple present tense, specially with ‘l’ as an Arabic sign of emphasis, is the indication of the utmost emphasis.
We have repeatedly seen in the verses of the Qur’an that this heavenly Book chooses the dead land, which is quickened after the descent of rain, as a reference to prove the subject of Resurrection.
Surah Qaf, No. 50, verse eleven, after mentioning the life of the dead lands, it says:
Similar to this meaning is also found in Surah Fatir, No. 35, verse 9 where it says:
In fact, the law of life and death is always similar to each other everywhere. The One, Who gives life to the dead land and creates movement and liveliness in it, and also this thing repeats every year and sometime every day, has this ability that after their death gives life to all human beings, too. Everywhere death is in His authority, and life is also by His command.
It is true that apparently the dead land does not turn to be alive, and it is the seeds of the plants that are under the soil of the ground and grow up, but we know that these small seeds have attracted a great part of the ground in their own body and have changed some dead beings into living beings, and even the scattered parts of these plants give power again to the ground for life, too.
The deniers of resurrection, in deed, had no proof for their claim except improbability, and in order to break it, the Holy Qur’an brings these examples.
وَلَئِنْ أَرْسَلْنَا رِيحاً فَرَأَوْهُ مُصْفَرّاً لَّظَلُّوا مِن بَعْدِهِ يَكْفُرُونَ
فَإِنَّكَ لاَ تُسْمِعُ الْمَوْتَي وَلاَ تُسْمِعُ الصُّمَّ الدُّعَآءَ إِذَا وَلَّوْا مُدْبِرِينَ
51. “And if We send a wind (from which) they see (their tilth turned) yellow, they certainly become, thereafter, disbelievers (ungrateful).”
52. “For verily you can not make the dead to listen nor can you make the deaf to hear the call, when they turn away backward.”
The fatal winds and those winds that cause impediments are not undue and accidental. The destructive winds are less than the useful winds.
The previous verses were about the bountiful winds which are the harbingers of the rains that bring mercy. Now, the first verse points to harmful winds.
These are some weak and incapacious people. They are such that before rainfall they are hopeless and after it they are very happy. If one day a poisonous wind blows and their life temporarily faces with some difficulties, they cry and become disbelievers.
On the contrary, the true believers who are happy and gratitude with the bounties of Allah, when they face with afflictions and difficulties they are patient and steadfast. The changes of material life never affect in their faith and they are not as the blind-hearted people whose faith is weak and with the blow of a wind they become faithful and with the blow of another wind become disbelievers.
The Arabic word /musfarran/ is derived from /sufrih/ which means ‘yellow’, and as the majority of commentators believe, the pronoun in the word /ra’auhu/ refers to the plants and trees that as the result of harmful winds they may become yellow and faded.
Some commentators have also said that the pronoun may refer to ‘cloud’, because the yellow clouds are naturally some thin clouds which usually have not rain while dark and intensed clouds often bring rain.
Some others also believe that ‘wind’ is the antecedent of the pronoun, since the ordinary winds are usually colourless and the poisonous winds, which sometimes carry the dust of the desert with them, are yellow and dim.
There is also a fourth probability which indicates that the Arabic term /musfar/ means ‘empty’, because as Raqib says in Mufradat: an empty plate and a stomach empty of food and vessels empty of blood in Arabic called /safir/.
Thus the above meaning is an indication to the winds which are empty of rain. (In this case the pronoun in the word /ra’auhu/ (they see it) refers to ‘wind’.) (Be careful).
But the first commentary is the most famous one among them all.
This point is also worthy to be noted that here the useful winds, which cause rain to fall, are said in plural form, while the harmful winds are stated in singular form. This matter implies that most of the winds are useful, and the poisonous winds are expressed as an exceptional one, which sometimes blows once a month or once a year, while useful winds blow during all days and nights.
Or it points to this fact that useful winds are beneficial if they come repeatedly, while the harmful winds affect their evil only once.
The last matter, which is necessary to be mentioned here, is the difference between the Qur’anic term /yastabširun/ (they rejoice) which has been stated about useful winds in former verses, and the Qur’anic sentence:
This difference shows that they see those masses of great and continuous blessings of Allah (s.w.t.) and become happy, but if there comes an affliction once and for one day to them, they cry so severely and go toward disbelief that as if they did not desist from it.
It is just like those who are safe for a life time and do not say a word of gratitude, but one night when they burn in fever they say all words of disbelief and ingratitude; and this is the state of ignorant and faithless people.
In this regard, there have been stated some other matters in the commentary of verse 35 of the current Surah, and Surah Hud, No. 11, verses 9 and 10, and Surah Al-Hajj, No. 22, verse 11.
وَمَآ أَنتَ بِهَادِي الْعُمْيِ عَن ضَلاَلَتِهِمْ إِن تُسْمِعُ إِلاَّ مَن يُؤْمِنُ بِاَيَاتِنَا فَهُم مُّسْلِمُونَ
53. “Nor can you lead the blind out of their straying. Only those will you make to hear who believe in Our signs and so they submit.”
The divine prophet’s duty is to guide people to accept the truth, not to force them to be guided; since having a submissive mood before the truth is a preliminary state for some spiritual apprehensions.
In connection with the former discussion mentioned in the commentary of the previous verse, through this verse and the next one, people are divided into four groups:
1- The dead: That is, those who do not apprehend any fact, though they are apparently alive.
2- The deaf, those who cannot hear the truth.
3- Those people who are deprived from seeing the feature of the truth.
4- The true believers who have aware hearts, hearing ears, and seeing eyes.
At first, the holy verse implies that the words of the Prophet (S) do not affect on those who have dead hearts. It says:
Then it continues saying:
And also, the verse says:
As we said formerly, too, besides ‘life’ and ‘death’ of the body, as well as the apparent hearing and sight, the Qur’an considers a superior kind of life and death as well as sight and hearing in which the main root of man’s happiness and wretchedness is found.
The assessment of the Qur’an from these issues is not a material and physical assessment, but it is, in fact, a spiritual and humane assessment.
The first condition for comprehending the reality is to have a ready and receptive heart, a seeing eye and a hearing ear, otherwise if all prophets and saints come and recite all Divine verses to the one who has lost his discriminating sense and apprehension of the facts, as the result of committing many sins, obstinacy, and hostility, there will not appear a change in him.
And that the Qur’an points to only two parts of the apparent senses, added to the innate apprehension, is for the sake that the majority of man’s data are gained either by the means of these two senses (eye and ear) or through sensa and analysis of wisdom.
It is interesting that the three stages, which are mentioned in the above verses, are three different stages of deviation and the lack of understanding the reality which has begun from an intensive case and ended to the mild one.
The first stage is the state of despondency which in the Qur’an has been rendered into /mauta/ (the dead) that there is no way to be possible to penetrate into them.
The second stage is the stage of being deaf when they turn away backward and run away so violently that even the loud shouting, which may affect on them when they are near, are useless in this stage.
This group, of course, are not like the dead. It is sometimes possible that a matter can be conveyed to them by some signs and gesticulations, but we know that many facts can not be made understand by this way, specially when they turn away.
The third stage is the state of blindness. Of course, living with the blind is much easier, because the meanings can orally be explained to them.
However, mere stating the subjects is not enough. Supposing a blind person is told to take the right direction or the left direction, acting this instruction is not so easy and sometimes, because of a slight mistake in measuring, that blind person may fall into a precipice.
When commenting on Surah An-Naml, No. 27, verses 80 and 81 in the explanation of the reality of ‘life’ and ‘death’ in the Qur’an, we pointed to the weak rejection of a group of Wahhabites who, in order to negate the resorting to the holy Prophet (S) and Imams (as) take help from the verses under discussion, and the like, and say that the dead (even the Prophet (S)) never understand anything.
But, in that place, we proved that man, specially the great leaders and the martyr have a kind of life in purgatory after their death. There are many documents from the Qur’an and tradition that testify to it. In this purgatory life they have a kind of perceive and understanding which is vaster than that in the worldly life.
Here we must add that all of the Muslims in their prayers always address the holy Prophet of Islam (S) and send salutation to him by saying:
“As-salamu ‘alayka ’ayyuhannabiyu wa rahmatullah-i-wa barakatuh”
and we know that the real addressee, not the figurative one, is certainly the one who hears and understands. Therefore, addressing and sending salutation to him from far and near distances is an indication to the fact that his holy soul hears all these salutation and it needs not reason that we consider these salutation as figurative ones.