Ayat no. 36-38
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Glory be to Him Who created pairs of all things, of what the earth grows, and of their kind and of what they do not know. And a sign to them is the night: We draw forth from it the day, then lo! They are in the dark; And the sun runs on to a term appointed for it; that is the ordinance of the Mighty, the Knowing. (36:36-38)
In the description of the proofs of God’s Might and Wisdom, also in knowing God and Resurrection, is mentioned the knowledge about Divine power and intelligence and of making the dead alive again.
Glory be to Him Who created pairs of all things, of what the earth grows, and of their kind and of what they do not know.
The apparent meaning of this Holy verse is that without any blemish or error is God Who created pairs of all that grows from earth, like vegetables and also yourselves.
Previously man had no knowledge of these pairs. Earlier commentators have said that ‘pairs’ means ‘kinds and sorts’ created by God. Some others said that it means composition and combination of matter and giving of form to matter.
The above interpretations were due to unawareness of the important subject of the machinery of creation. Uptil now, man was ignorant of the fact that the matter of pairing or coupling refers to the entire universe. Formerly they believed that the case was such only in date trees in addition to living animals or animate things.
Therefore, they thought that the date tree has male and female genders and hence a part from male should be given to the female tree in order to get fruits. But at last it became known that not only the date or palm tree every plant needs pollination.
Firstly, it is not correct to say that pair means kinds and sorts; rather it is so in Persian, where the word denotes coupling or mating of male and female. The Almighty Lord wants to state in this verse that the entire machinery of creation has pairing. It is not exclusive for animals and date trees; rather in all trees the male cell reaches the female organ. Winds are also agents of pollination.
And We send the winds fertilizing, (15:22)
It (the air or wind) takes the male particles, which fertilize the female tree. Insects are also among the agents of pollination. They sit on male portions of some plants and carry them on their legs to the female parts of other plants.
…and of what they do not know.
Perhaps the hint is towards what has lately been discovered about the atom. Hitherto it was considered that the atom is indivisible but lately man has succeeded in splitting it with the help of advanced technology and discovered that the atom also has a pair, an active and a passive partner. It has electrons and protons.
So, one of the miracles of the Quranic knowledge is that since man could not believe that all things have pairs, upto the basic unit (atom), he said that pairs meant kinds and sorts. But finally, the fact was revealed that God has created pairs of everything.
And of everything We have created pairs that you may be mindful…and of their kind… (51:49)
It is worth pondering about the astonishing roles of the male and female in creation of a third living being. Imam Sadiq (‘a), in one of his talks to Mufaddal reminds of the same subject. Think deeply over the reproductive organs and in the manner of coupling and conception. The more you think the more you are amazed.
And a sign to them is the night:
Think deeply over the signs and proofs of Allah’s Might. How the day and the night occur? Apparently it is due to the movement of sun around the earth but actually it is due to the rotation of the earth around its own axis. Thus 24 hours of a day and a night occur. Think over these points.
And a sign to them is the night:
How does night occur? Allah caused the night and removed the day to provide peace and rest for all creatures so that they can relax in the darkness.
With reference to the words, “We draw forth from it the day…” some commentators say that it denotes ‘taking out’ as there are the words “from it”. But if drawing out means ‘digging out’ it should have been Arabic ‘an’ and not ‘min’ as is the case. Hence it means taking away the light We brought darkness. We took away the brightness of the atmosphere, so darkness fell.
…then lo! they are in the dark;
If His overwhelming Power had not made the earth rotate, for example, and there had been a bright day forever, then the benefits hidden in the night would not have been available. Moreover, were the sun to shine all 24 hours at one point, it would have burnt the place.
And the sun runs on to a term appointed for it…
According to some it conveys that the sun is moving and it is the movement of it going around the earth. Now this is against the facts. The sun along with its constellation system is moving towards a very big star, Nasr and which is finally named ‘Wakaa’. When it reaches the star, the age of the constellation of sun will come to an end.
Thus the resting place of the sun is that huge star. That will be the time when it will be Resurrection (Qiyamat). It is also said in modern astronomy that the constellation of the sun is in its last age. When the sun will fall from its course, its brightness will cease, just like our own age.
When its end arrives all the signs of our life will also end. This movement of the sun is not eternal and it will one day reach its resting place.
…that is the ordinance of the Mighty, the Knowing.
Meaning that this is the great and powerful Will and plan of God Almighty Who is Most Wise and Intelligent. He has the super most power over all things and He is fully aware of His entire creation.
And (as for) the moon, We have ordained for it stages till it becomes again as an old dry palm branch. Neither is it allowable to the sun that it should overtake the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day; and all float on in a sphere. (36:39-40)
Just think over the system of night and day. During your fifty years of age have the days and the nights changed? They have not even slightly strayed away from their course. They have run neither faster nor slower (earlier or later), from their fixed course.
Neither the sun overtakes the moon nor the moon overtakes the sun. How great the force of gravity is! The sun is situated millions of miles away yet it has a pull over the earth and other planets while the moon is subdued by the earth. A balance between the spheres and their orbits has been created. Why is it so?
The crescent moon seen on the first day of the month is like a curved thread. Its size doubles the next night. Then by the thirteenth and fourteenth night a whole round moon is sighted. Then from the sixteenth it goes on thinning until in the last night, called moonless night, it disappears completely; so the counting of days of the month may be known. The Quran explains this in a clear way:
He it is Who made the sun a shining brightness and the moon a light, and ordained for it mansions that you might know the computation of years and the reckoning. Allah did not create it but with truth; He makes the signs manifest for a people who know. (10:5)
As for the words:
…as an old dry palm branch.
They compare the appearance of the moon to an old withered branch of date palm curved like an arch, yellow and weak. If you look at the moon in the last nights of the month you will find that it is exactly so.
It is also like the last phase of my and your age. Repentance has much value now and not when one sees the angel of death.
We have ordained for it stages…
There are 27 stages for the moon. Look at it night by night, to follow its course. Zamakhshari has written in Rabiul Abrar, quoting Sharhe Sahifa that it was the night of fourteenth of the month when Imam Sajjad (‘a) woke up before dawn for Tahajjud prayers.
He put his hands in the can of water for making ablution. When he raised his head towards the sky he observed the moon. He remained in that position until the Muezzin (caller from the minaret of the mosque) cried: “God is the Greatest (Allahu Akbar).”
Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day there are signs for men who understand. (3:190)
Observe the greatness of God in the sky; planets in the limitless space, especially according to modern scientific research all these things are indeed amazing.
Here is a hint regarding the analogy between the outer horizons and man’s inner self: As said by Ali (‘a), “Have you imagined that yours is a little body? The truth is that a great world is rolled within you.”
Whatever is in the outer world is also found in the inner being of man. The existence of man is also like that of the night and the day. Just ponder, over this example:
Egyptian commentator Tantanavi has given a very nice explanation of the flowing of blood in our entire body. From the top of head to the toe of foot, the flow of blood is connected with the heart and it is being cleaned therein.
The blood thus purified in the heart then runs through veins and reaches all the organs. In half of the body there is always black blood and in the other half red (fine). Every minute the blood circulates in our bodies. The black blood is like the night and the pure blood like day.
Your soul also has days and nights. Its night is being regardless of God. It is darkness. You (your soul) do not see the truth and reality. Alas, if we sin, it is like a dark and cloudy night.
Or like utter darkness in the deep sea: there covers it a wave above which is another wave, above which is a cloud, (layers of) utter darkness one above another… (24:40)
Likewise its day is the remembrance of God. The part of your life, which passed in remembering God, is bright.
For men of God, night is like a world-brightening day; for such bright persons there is no dark night at all.
This fact becomes quite clear from the very moment of death and thereafter its truth is realized. Woe, unto him whose night is joined with resurrection. The darkness of immorality is very bad. False beliefs push him in such a difficult bottleneck that, in the words, of the Holy Quran, he cannot see even his own hands.
…when he holds out his hand, he is almost unable to see it; and to whomsoever Allah does not give light, he has no light. (24:40)
Contrary to it there are faithful men and women whose light or brightness runs before and in front of them and this shedding of light (Noor) is from their right side.
Shaykh Shustari (r.a.), in the matter under discussion that whatever is in the greater world is also found in the little world (in ourselves), says: In your existence there is Muhammad and also there is Abu Jahl. In your life are both Habeel Qabeel.
He thus makes important analogies. Your Abu Jahl is the same ignorance, mindlessness and pride in yourself. The humility for truth in your heart and mind is Muhammad. Let not Abu Jahl in your selves overcome Muhammad.
Ali means justice and truth. Muawiyah means oppression, injustice and falsehood. Let not oppression overcome justice and truth.
A man once described his dream among friends. He said, “I saw Imam-e-Zaman (‘a) in my dream.” His right eye was blind. Firstly it is strange that one who does not believe in the Imam can see him in his dream. It may be confused thoughts or superstition, or it could be having some hidden meaning.
I told myself that if I do not reply to him, he might imagine that Imam-e-Zaman (‘a) has something to do with this. Hence, I said, “This Imam-e-Zaman (‘a) is there in your own self. Your own religion is blind. I tell you from this pulpit publicly that the work you do and which is not legal has made you blind.” The man went away and abstained from bad deeds.
Sometimes it also so happens that this unlucky fellow allows negligence and ignorance to overpower him whereby he becomes another Ibne Muljim. Hate and jealousy against others chain him from head to foot.