Section 6: The Evidence of Those Given Knowledge and Faith
اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِن ضَعْفٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِن بَعْدِ ضَعْفٍ قُوَّةً ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِن بَعْدِ قُوَّةٍ ضَعْفاً وَشَيْبَةً يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَآءُ
وَهُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْقَدِيرُ
54. “Allah is He Who created you out of weakness, then He gave strength after weakness, then after strength He appointed weakness and grey hair; He creates what He pleases, and He is the Knowing, the Powerful.”
At the beginning of his creation, man is thoroughly full of weakness.
The man’s stages of weakness and power are designed wisely in a program.
Of course, this noble verse refers to one of the proofs of Monotheism, i.e., the proof of poverty and needlessness. It completes the discussions about Monotheism cited throughout this Surah.
At the beginning you were so weak that you were not able even to send away a fly from yourself, or hold up your saliva; this is from the point of body; and from the mental view-point, as the Qur’anic term /la ta‘lamun/ indicates, (you did not know anything) you did not know even your kind parents who permanently took care of you.
But, little by little, you became bodily and mentally powerful and, just like a person who ascend a mountain from its lap until he reaches its top, you began to come down from other side of it and you reached the bottom of the valley of weakness and became unable bodily and spiritually.
These changes, and these ascents and descents are the best proof for this fact that neither that power was yours nor was this weakness, but both of them were from the side of Allah, and this itself is a sign that another one turns the wheel of your entity, and whatever you have is accidental.
This is the same meaning that Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as) has pointed to in his saying where he says:
“I came to know Allah, the Glorifies, through the breaking of determinations, change of intentions and losing of courage.”1
It is interesting that the Holy Qur’an also adds the Arabic word /šaybah/ (grey hair) for the second weakness of man during his lifetime, but in regard to the first weakness it does not mention ‘childhood’.
This difference may point to the fact that the weakness of senility is rather more painful, because firstly contrary to the weakness of childhood, it has a direction toward death and annihilation and, secondly, the expectation from the aged, old, and experienced persons is never like that from the babies, while sometimes their weakness and disability are equal, and this is very instructive.
It is this stage that draws the disobedient powerful persons to weakness, despicableness, and helplessness.
The last sentence of the verse, which is an indication to the knowledge and Power of Allah, is both a glad tidings and a warning implying that He is aware of all your deeds and intentions and also He is able to give you both reward and retribution.
وَيَوْمَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ يُقْسِمُ الْمُـجْرِمُونَ مَا لَبِثُوا غَيْرَ سَاعَةٍ كَذَلِكَ كَانُوا يُؤْفَكُونَ
55. “And on the Day that the Hour (of Judgment) will be established, the guilty will swear that they tarried not but an hour; thus were they used to being deluded.”
He who is accustomed to perjure in this world, will use it in the Hereafter, too.
We formerly said that the discussions around ‘Origin’ and ‘Resurrection’ are said close to each other in this Surah. In the above verse, following the former discussions about Origin and Resurrection, again the Qur’an speaks about the subject of Resurrection and illustrates another painful scene of the state of the guilty on that Day.
Yes, in the past, too, the guilty were wholly deprived from understanding the reality in such a way. The verse continues saying:
The application of the Qur’anic word /sa‘ah/ (hour) instead of ‘the Day of Hereafter’, as we have formerly pointed out, is either for the sake that the Hereafter will be set in a sudden moment, or because the men’s deeds will quickly be reckoned because Allah, the Aware, is swift at reckoning. And we know that the word /sa‘ah/ in the Arabic language means a very small part of time.
Since there is no word mentioned about the place of this establishment in the verse, some commentators have said that it may refer to the time of staying in the world, which is, in fact, no more than a fleet moment.
But the next verse is a clear evidence that the purpose of it is staying in the purgatory world, or the world after death and before Resurrection, because the Qur’anic sentence:
concludes the end of these two to the Hereafter, and this is not correct but concerning the purgatory world.
We also know this fact that the quality of purgatory is not the same for all. Some people have an aware life in purgatory (intermediate world), while there is another group who are like ones who go asleep deeply as if they would awake from their sleep on the Hereafter Day and consider thousands of days as one hour.
There will remain two matters here to be discussed. The first is that how can the guilty make such a wrong oath?
The answer to this question is clear. They truly think such that the purgatory term is a very short course, because they have had a state similar to sleep.
Did not ‘the people of the cave’, who were some believing righteous people, consider that they had slept for a day or a part of a day after awakening from their very long sleeping?
Or one of the Divine prophets, whose story is mentioned in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 259, after one hundred years that he had passed away; returned to life again and he did not say that the gap between two kinds of life was one day or a part of a day.
What is the problem that, regarding to the particular state of the people of the Hell, the guilty have such a consideration because of unawareness?
That is why, as the next verse announces, the aware believers will tell them that they are wrong and they have tarried in the purgatory world until the Day of Hereafter and they are in the Day of Resurrection.
By this statement, the second matter i.e., the commentary of the Qur’anic sentence:
is made clear, for the Arabic word: originally means: ‘the change of real feature and declining from Truth, and because of their peculiar condition in purgatory, this group have naturally remained far from realities and cannot discriminate the length of the time of their staying in purgatory.
Regarding to what was said in the above, there seems no need to pose the long discussions of a group of commentators who explain why the guilty ones tell intentionally lies on the Hereafter Day, since, in this stage, there is no reference of their intentional falsehood in the verse.
Of course, in other verses of the holy Qur’an, there are seen some examples concerning the lie and falsehood of the guilty on the Day of Resurrection the answer of which has been given in detail when commenting on Surah Al-’An‘am, No. 6, verse 187, but this discussion does not relate to the subject of the discussion concerning these verses.
وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ اُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ وَالإِيمَانَ لَقَدْ لَبِثْتُمْ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ إِلَي يَوْمِ الْبَعْثِ فَهَذَا يَوْمُ الْبَعْثِ وَلَكِنَّكُمْ كُنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ
56. “And those who have been given knowledge and faith will say (to the guilty); ‘certainly you have tarried according to Allah’s Book till the Day of Resurrection, so this is the Day of Resurrection, but you did not know’.”
Knowledge and faith are two great Divine gifts which are bestowed on men:
This holy verse also reiterates the response of the aware believers to the words of unaware guilty who have no proper information about the situation of purgatory and Hereafter.
Mentioning the word of knowledge before the word faith in the holy verse is for the sake that knowledge is the foundation of faith.
The application of the Qur’anic phrase /fi kitab-i-llah/ (according to Allah’s Book) may refer to the genetic Book, or to the heavenly Book, or both of them. It means it was by the genetic and religious command of Allah (s.w.t.) that they were determined to remain in purgatory for such a length of time and then be mustered on the Day of Resurrection.
As for the purpose of /’allaŏina ’utul ‘il mawal ’iman/ (those who have been given knowledge and faith) that who they are, some commentators have said that it points to the Divine angels who have both knowledge and faith, while some others have said that it refers to the aware believers; and the second interpretation is more apparent.
Some authentic Islamic narrations indicate that it has been rendered into the progeny of Hadrat Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as), the Immaculate Imams (as) which is of the statement of clear extensions and it does not confine the vast meaning of the verse.
This point is also necessary to be mentioned that some commentators believe that the dialogue between these two groups about ‘purgatory’, that one of them imagines its time as long as one hour and the next one knows its real amount of time originates from this point that since the first group are waiting for the Divine punishment they are willing that it can be postponed more and they consider the distances short though they are very long.
But the second group, who are waiting for Paradise and its bounties knowingly, see this distance long.2
فَيَوْمَئِذٍ لاَّ يَنفَعُ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مَعْذِرَتُهُمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يُسْتَعْتَبُونَ
57. “So on that Day their excuse shall not profit those who did injustice, nor will they be allowed to make amends.”
The man’s fate and the manner of his presence in Hereafter is in pledge of his own deed. Of course, repentance and apology are effective only in this world, and in the Hereafter such things are not useful.
The Arabic term /yusta‘tabun/ (to make amends) is derived from /‘utbah/ with the sense of distress and when it is used in this Arabic form it means repentance and the distress being dismissed.
However, when the guilty confront the painful facts of the Hereafter, they try to repent and apologize, but the Holy Qur’an says:
This matter is noteworthy that some verses of the Qur’an indicate that the guilty will never be allowed to apologize, for example, it says:
but here it says:
which apparently means that they will apologize but it will not be useful.
Of course, there is not any contradiction between these verses, because Hereafter has different stages.
In some stages they are never allowed to apologize or even speak and their mouths will be sealed and only their hands, feet, and limbs, as well as the land on which they have committed sins, will speak about their deeds, while in some other stages their tongue will be relieved and they apologize, but it will not profit them.
One of their apologies is that they put their own sins on the shoulder of the chiefs of disbelief and hypocrisy.
They will tell them:
But in answer to them, in Hereafter, they will say:
And sometimes in the state of apology they try to accuse Satan for their own deviation and they will blame him for his temptations.
But Satan answers them:
Satan says: he did not force them to do any things, he only invited them friendly and they accepted it, too.
وَلَقَدْ ضَرَبْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِي هَذَا الْقُرْءَانِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍ وَلَئِن جِئْتَهُم بِاَيَةٍ لَّيَقُولَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنْ أَنتُمْ إِلاَّ مُبْطِلُونَ
58. “And indeed We have set forth for the people in this Qur’an, every kind of similitude, and if you bring unto them a sign, certainly those who disbelieve will say: ‘You are naught but follow falsehood’.”
Qur’an is a book of guidance containing some similitudes. This method is of the best ways of expressing the facts. That is why Allah has set forth them in different fields.
Of course, the materials of the Holy Qur’an are the cause of completing the argument, and he who understands the truth, and the argument is made clear to him, surely his excuse is not accepted any more.
However, Allah has brought forth every kind of similitude for people in the Holy Qur’an. He has repeatedly stated some promises and threats, enjoinments and prohibitions, glad tidings and warnings, extroversive signs and introversive signs, proofs upon Origin and Resurrection, news of unseen, and, in short, about everything that may affect positively in men’s selves.
In fact, the Holy Qur’an, in general, and Surah Ar-Room, in particular, is a fairly collection of awakening subjects for every group of people and for any form of thought and belief.
The Qur’an is a collection of instructive lessons, ethical matters, practical programs and ideological affairs in a way that all possible methods for influencing in man’s thought and inviting them to the path of happiness have been used.
Yet, there are some people that none of these issues affect their dark and black hearts. That is why any verse or sign which is brought for them upon the truth, these disbelievers will say that you are followers of falsehood and these things are some baseless affairs.
The verse in this regard says:
The application of the Qur’anic term /mubtilun/ here is an inclusive meaning which encompasses all the undue labels and attributions of the polytheists: the attribution of falsehood, sorcery, insanity the superstitious fables, and fair tales, each of which is a feature from the false features.
Yes, they always accused the Divine prophets to one of these things in order to make the pure hearted people neglectful by them for a few days.
The addressee in the word /’antum/ (you) may be the holy Prophet (S) and the true believers, or it may refer to all of the adherents of the Truth and the whole Divine prophets and leaders, since this group of obstinate disbelievers opposed the whole adherents of this school of thought.
كَذَلِكَ يَطْبَعُ اللَّهُ عَلَي قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ لاَيَعْلَمُونَ
59. “Thus does Allah set a seal on the hearts of those who do not know.”
This is the verse which states clearly the reason of this group’s opposition. It clearly implies that this impenetrability and limitless enmity against any reality is for the sake that they have lost their sense of recognition and comprehension as the result of multiplicity of sin and obstinacy and understand nothing at all.
Yes, the verse says:
The Arabic word /yatba‘u/ is derived from /tab‘/ in the sense of ‘to seal’.
It refers to the action that both in the past and present time it has been common that, in order that something can remain intact and that no one absolutely interferes in it, its door is firmly fastened and, after putting some material on it, the lock or tie on its door is sealed.
It is evident that opening its door is impossible except by breaking that seal, and this is an action which will be divulged soon.
The Qur’an uses this clear meaning ironically pointing to the impenetrable hearts and those who have entirely lost their conscience, awareness, and safe and sound intellect so that there is no hope for their guidance.
It is noteworthy that in the former verses knowledge was introduced as the foundation of Faith, and in this holy verse ignorance is the foundation of disbelief (and the lack of submission before the truth).
فَاصْبِرْ إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَلاَ يَسْتَخِفَّنَّكَ الَّذِينَ لاَيُوقِنُونَ
60. “So be patient, verily the promise of Allah is True, and let not those who have no certainty hold you in light estimation.”
Surah Ar-Room began with the prophecy of victory and ended with the promise of Allah (s.w.t.) to the triumphant of the Truth.
This is the last verse of Surah Ar-Room and contains two important instructions and one great glad tiding for the holy Prophet of Islam (S) in order to invite him to steadfastness in this constant struggle against these ignorant and very obstinate persons.
At first, it implicitly says: now that the case is like that, he (S) should be patient against all these events, the whole harms, hindrances, and undue accusations, because patience and perseverance is the main key to victory.
The verse begins saying:
Then, in order to encourage the Prophet (S) in this way more than before, it adds:
Allah has promised the Prophet (S) and the believers to be victorious, to have the vicar of Allah on the earth, the triumph of Islam against paganism, the light against darkness, and knowledge against ignorance, and that this promise will actually be fulfilled.
The Qur’anic word /wa‘d/ here refers to the numerous promises of the Qur’an about the victory of the believers.
Among those victories is what is mentioned in this very Surah, verse 47 where it says:
Surah Qafir, No. 40, verse 51 also says:
And Also in Surah Al-Ma’idah, No. 5, verse 56, it says:
The second command is the instruction of having control over the nerves, and protecting the coolness and calmness in this hard and continued struggle.
Then the holy verse continues saying:
Your duty is that you should have patience, tolerance, further forbearance, and keeping the coolness which is worthy to be in a leader to stand against these kind of persons.
The Qur’anic term /la yastaxifannaka/ is derived from /xiffat/ in the sense of lightness. That is, you must stand so heavy, firm, and steadfast that they cannot consider you light and cause you to move. You must stand firm in your way because they have no certainty, while you are the centre of certainty and Faith.
As it was said before, this Surah started with promise of believers’ triumphant against the enemies and ends with the promise of victory, too, but its main condition is counted patience and perseverance.
O’ Allah! Bestow on us such a patience and perseverance that the storms of difficulties and terrible events would never shake us.
O’ Allah! We refuge to Your Pure Essence that we may be among those in whose hearts do not affect admonitions, advices, and exhortations.
O’ Allah! The enemies are organized and united, and they are equipped with kinds of satanic weapons. We ask You the victory against our outward enemies and inward Satans. Amin, O The Lord of the Worlds!