Wednesday 22 December 2021

Has Not that Time Come as yet - A stern warning for Believers

Today we share a very important verse, the 16th verse from Surah 57 Al Hadid (The Iron) which was actually revealed for those believers who though had came under the fold of Islam, yet their hearts had yet to develop that attachment to Islam and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ which in fact were the direct commandments of Allah for their guidance to live a life in total obedience. 

However, the purpose of re-sharing it specifically today should be well understood. Although there are more than a billion and a half population of the world is followers of Islam, yet we see a  sizeable section of Muslims devoid of true obedience to the commandments of Allah and have found an "enlightened" version of Islam which compromises many commandments of Allah which they find to hard or difficult to follow, the same way the Jews and Christians have parted their ways with the scriptures given to them, rather have made amendments and added things that allow them an allowance to still follow the practices of dark days when there were no prophets to show the right path to the mankind.

Thus the question is being asked that has not the time come when arrogance should have been replaced with humility and humbleness and true obedience to Allah, rather than following the false ways of the people of the older scriptures and imitating their misleading way of life ?

اَلَمۡ يَاۡنِ لِلَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اَنۡ تَخۡشَعَ قُلُوۡبُهُمۡ لِذِكۡرِ اللّٰهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الۡحَـقِّۙ وَلَا يَكُوۡنُوۡا كَالَّذِيۡنَ اُوۡتُوا الۡكِتٰبَ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ فَطَالَ عَلَيۡهِمُ الۡاَمَدُ فَقَسَتۡ قُلُوۡبُهُمۡ​ؕ وَكَثِيۡرٌ مِّنۡهُمۡ فٰسِقُوۡنَ‏ 
( 16 )   Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth? And let them not be like those who were given the Scripture before, and a long period passed over them, so their hearts hardened; and many of them are defiantly disobedient.
Here again, the word "believers" is general, but it does not apply to all the Muslims; it refers to those particular Muslims who had professed the faith verbally and joined the followers of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) though their hearts were devoid of any concern for Islam. They were watching that the pagan forces were bent upon wiping out Islam; they had encircled the handful of Muslims from all sides, who were being made the target of persecution everywhere in Arabia, and thus oppressed the Muslims were fleeing to Madinah empty-handed for refuge; the sincere Muslims were extending to them whatever economic help they could; yet they were, at the same time, engaged in a life and-death struggle with the enemy. But, in spite of this, these people who professed the faith were not being moved at all. So, here, they are being put to shame. as if to say: "What kind of believers are you? At this critical juncture for Islam, is it not yet time that your hearts should melt at the mention of Allah and be filled with the spirit of sacrifice for the sake of His Religion? Can the believers be such that they may 'have no feeling for Islam when it is confronted with hard times, that they may sit un-concerned when they are summoned in the name of Allah, that the hearts may neither tremble out of fear of Allah nor bow to His Command when He Himself should make an appeal for contributions in the Book sent down by Him, declaring it as a loan on Himself and plainly telling that the one who would regard his wealth as dearer than the cause of the true Faith would be a hypocrite and not a believer?”

"  and that they should not be like those who were vouchsafed the Book and then a long time elapsed so that their hearts were hardened? A great many of them are now evil-doers. " That is, "The Jews and Christians seem to have lost fervor and degenerated spiritually and morally hundreds of years after the passing away of their Prophets; but have you already become so depraved that while the Prophet is still present among you, and the Book of God is still being revealed, and not much time has passed over you since you affirmed the Faith, and you have started behaving like the Jews and Christians who have reached this state through centuries of playing and tempering with the Book of Allah and its verses?" 

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: Encouraging Khushu` and the Prohibition of imitating the People of the Scriptures

Allah asks, `Has not the time come for the believers to feel humility in their hearts by the remembrance of Allah and hearing subtle advice and the recitation of the Qur'an, so that they may comprehend the Qur'an, abide by it, and hear and obey Muslim recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, "Only four years separated our acceptance of Islam and the revelation of this Ayah, in which Allah subtly admonished us,

(Has not the time yet come for the believers that their hearts should be humble for the remembrance of Allah)'' This is the narration Muslim collected, just before the end of his book. An-Nasa'i also collected this Hadith in the Tafsir of this Ayah. Allah's statement,

(Lest they become as those who received the Scripture before, and the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened) Allah is prohibiting the believers from imitating those who were given the Scriptures before them, the Jews and Christians. As time passed, they changed the Book of Allah that they had, and sold it for a small, miserable price. They also abandoned Allah's Book behind their back and were impressed and consumed by various opinions and false creeds. They imitated the way others behaved with the religion of Allah, making their rabbis and priests into gods beside Allah. Consequently, their hearts became hard and they would not accept advice; their hearts did not feel humbled by Allah's promises or threats,

(And many of them were rebellious.) meaning, in action; therefore, their hearts are corrupt and their actions are invalid, just as Allah the Exalted said,

(So, because of their breach of their covenant, We cursed them and made their hearts grow hard. They changed the words from their (right) places and have abandoned a good part of the Message that was sent to them.)(5:13) meaning, their hearts became corrupt and they hardened, and they acquired the behavior of changing Allah's Speech from their appropriate places and meanings. They abandoned acts of worship that they were commanded to perform and committed what they were prohibited to do. This is why Allah forbade the believers from imitating them in any way, be it basic or detailed matters. 

Yusuf Ali Explanation
Humility and the remembrance of Allah and His Message are never more necessary than in the hour of victory and prosperity.

The men immediately referred to are the contemporary Jews and Christians. To each of these Ummats was given Allah's Revelation, but as time passed, they corrupted it, became arrogant and hard-hearted, and subverted justice, truth, and the purity of Life. But the general lesson is far wider. No one is favoured of Allah except on the score of righteousness. Except on that score, there is no chosen individual or race. There is no blind good fortune or ill fortune. All happens according to the just laws and will of Allah. But at no time is humility or righteousness more necessary than in the hour of victory or triumph.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
I.e., "Should not the remembrance of God and His revelation make them humble rather than proud?" This is an emphatic warning against all smugness, self-righteousness and false pride at having "attained to faith" - a failing which only too often attains to such as consider themselves "pious".

"  lest they become like those who were granted revelation aforetime, " This is apparently an allusion to the spiritually arrogant among the Jews, who regard themselves as "God's chosen people" and, therefore, as predestined for His acceptance.

" and whose hearts have hardened with the passing of time so that many of them are [now] depraved? " I.e., so that now they act contrary to the ethical precepts of their religion: implying that the purpose of all true faith is to make man humble and God-conscious rather than self-satisfied, and that a loss of that spiritual humility invariably results in moral degeneration.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:  for those who lay claim to faith that their hearts submit to God’s reminder and to the truth which has been revealed  [by Him], and these people should not be like those who were given the Book before this; then a long period passed on them until their hearts hardened, and [today] most of them are disobedient."

"Is it not time "  In other words, this time has not come even after the manifestation of various signs and indications which point to the truth of the message of the Prophet (sws)?

" for those who lay claim to faith that their hearts submit to God’s reminder and to the truth which has been revealed " Two words are used in this verse: ذِكۡرِ اللّٰهِ  and الۡحَقّ. Both refer to the Qur’ān. The first refers to its warning and the second to the established facts which it made clear by making them distinct from evil.

" by Him], and these people should not be like those who were given the Book before this; then a long period passed on them until their hearts hardened, and [today] most of them are disobedient." The implication is that even if now these people remain afflicted with doubts and do not pay heed, then it is quite possible that they will encounter the same fate as the one encountered by the Jews before. Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes:
It is evident from this discussion that there is nothing wrong about doubts arising on some matter relating to the truth; neither is their existence for some time any matter of rebuke. A sincere person can also face this situation; however, if a person by seeking refuge in these doubts keeps lulling the calls of the truth, which arise in him, to sleep and makes them an excuse to adhere to falsehood, then as per the established practice of the Almighty, he is deprived of the very ability to accept the truth. The Almighty does not bear for long a person not giving due importance to the truth. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 8, 216)

Qur'an Wiki: This profoundly touching remonstration by God, the Ever Merciful, urges a complete response from hearts that have been slow to bask in His grace after He has sent them His Messenger calling on them to believe. He granted him revelations that are sure to take them out of darkness into light. He has also shown them enlightening signs in the universe around them and in all His creation. This note of remonstration overflows with tenderness as it arouses in them feelings of His majesty so that they humble themselves when He is mentioned. In this way can they receive the truth bestowed from on high with what it deserves of obedience, submission and obedience to God. This is coupled with a touch of criticism for their slow response: "Is it not time for believers that their hearts should feel humble at the remembrance of God and the truth that has been bestowed from on high."

To this note of urging and encouragement is added a warning against slackening and negligence. It tells them how hearts harden when time passes without refreshment provided by remembrance of God and His truth: "And not to be like those who were granted revelations before them and whose hearts have hardened with the passing of time? Many of these are now transgressors." 

When hearts harden, all they produce is sin and disobedience. The human heart is subject to quick changes, it easily forgets. When it brightens up it is like a ray of light spreading life. Should it stay long without reminders, it becomes blunted, hardened and loses its light. Therefore, it requires constant reminders so that it remains soft and enlightened. It must always be alert so as not to harden. 

Please listen to explanation of the ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:

May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
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Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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