Wednesday 27 July 2022

Ponder over Death and Life - for Allah created these to judge which of you is better in deeds

Many a people in the world think that the very concept of rewards and punishment or Heaven and Hell or the very concept of life after death is a big hoax and concoction by religious men to scare men from living a boundless and careless life. A large number of people think that no matter how many sins they commit, they can get these waved off by confiding with the priests. 

But the big question is: What if at the end, there comes and end to this world and Day of Resurrection is established by the sole Creator of the universe, the Monotheist God? That day it will be dawned on such people that Belief in the existence of a divine reality; usually referring to monotheism (one God) was the ultimate truth, as opposed to pantheism (all is God), polytheism (many gods), and atheism (without God).

It must be understood that it is Only God, and none else, has the authority to forgive or expunge one's sins and no worldly man is authorized to do so on His behalf.  Today we share the 2nd verse of Surah 67. Al Mulk to remind all men and women, be of any religion, to ponder over this verse and know why this universe was created with life and death embedded in it:

اۨلَّذِىۡ خَلَقَ الۡمَوۡتَ وَالۡحَيٰوةَ لِيَبۡلُوَكُمۡ اَيُّكُمۡ اَحۡسَنُ عَمَلًا ؕ وَهُوَ الۡعَزِيۡزُ الۡغَفُوۡرُۙ‏ 
(67:2) Who created death and life that He might try you as to which of you is better in deed. He is the Most Mighty, the Most Forgiving;

Who created death and life that He might try you as to which of you is better in deed ) That is, the object of giving life to men in the world and causing their death is to test them to see which of them is best in deeds. Allusion has been made in this brief sentence to a number of truths:
  • (1) That life and death are given by Allah; no one else can grant life nor cause death;
  • (2) that neither the life nor the death of a creation like man, which has been given the power to do both good and evil, is purposeless; the Creator has created him in the world for the test: life is for. him the period of the test and death means that the time allotted for the test has come to an end;
  • (3) that for the sake of this very test the Creator has given every man an opportunity for action, so that he may do good or evil in the world and practically show what kind of a man he is;
  • (4) that the Creator alone will decide who has done good or evil; it is not for us to propose a criterion for the good and the evil deeds but for Almighty Allah; therefore, whoever desires to get through the test, will have to find out what is the criterion of a good deed in His sight; the fifth point is contained in the meaning of the test itself, that is, every person will be recompensed according to his deeds, for if there was no reward or punishment the test would be meaningless. 
( He is the Most Mighty, the Most Forgiving ) This has two meanings and both are implied here:
  • (1),'That He is Almighty: in spite of being dominant over all His creatures, He is Merciful and Forgiving for them, not tyrannous and cruel; and
  • (2) that He has full power to punish the evildoers: no one can escape His punishment; but He is forgiving for him who feels penitent, refrains from evil and asks for His forgiveness
Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: 
(Who has created death and life) Those who say that death is an existing creation use this Ayah as a proof because it is something that has been created. This Ayah means that He brought creation into existence from nothing in order to test the creatures. He examines them to see which of them will be best in deeds.
This is similar to Allah's statement, (How can you disbelieve in Allah Seeing that you were dead and He gave you life.) (2:28) In this Ayah Allah named the first stage, which is non-existence, "death.'' Then he named the origin or beginning of existence, "life.'' 
This is why Allah says, (Then He will give death, then again will bring you to life ( on the Day of Resurrection)) (2:28). 
Concerning Allah's statement, (He may test you which of you is best in deed.) it means best in deeds. This is as Muhammad bin `Ajlan said. It should be noted that Allah did not say "which of you does the most deeds.'' A

Allah then says, (And He is the Almighty, the Oft-Forgiving.) This means that He is the Almighty, the Most Great, the Most Powerful and the Most Honorable. However, along with this He is Most Forgiving to whoever turns to Him in repentance and seeks His pardon after having disobeyed Him and opposed His commandment. Even though Allah is Almighty, He also forgives, shows mercy, pardons and excuses. 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation
"Created Death and Life." Death is here put before Life, and it is created. Death is therefore not merely a negative state. In ii. 28 we read: "Seeing that ye were without life (literally, dead), and He gave you life: then will He cause you to die, and will again bring you to life; and again to Him will ye retum." In liii. 44, again, Death is put before Life. Death, then, is (1) the state before life began, which may be non-existence or existence in some other form: (2) the state in which Life as we know it ceases, but existence does not cease; a state of Barzakh (xxiii. 100), or Barrier or Partition, after our visible Death and before Judgment; after that will be the new Life, which we conceive of under the term Eternity.

Creation, therefore, is not in mere sport, or without a purpose with reference to man. The state before our present life, or the state after, we can scarcely understand. But our present Life is clearly given to enable us to strive by good deeds to reach a nobler state.

All this is possible, because Allah is so Exalted in Might that He can perfectly carry out His Will and Purpose, and that Purpose is Love, Mercy, and Goodness to His creatures.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes:
Life after nothingness and then death after life bear testimony to the fact that this world has been created with a purpose and that it is not correct to construe that it will continue endlessly like this or suddenly end. If this was so, then this world would be a purposeless creation, which is against the majesty of a wise, powerful and benevolent creator. On the contrary, this is evidence to the fact that whomsoever the Almighty blesses with life He does so to test and try him; the test is whether this person spends his life to please the Almighty or to please his own base desires. A natural outcome of this test is that He bring about one day in which He give life to everyone, hold them accountable for their deeds and then reward or punish them accordingly. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 8, 491)
Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Since what is termed "death" is stated here to have been created, it cannot be identical with "non-existence", but obviously must have a positive reality of its own. To my mind, it connotes, firstly, the inanimate state of existence preceding the emergence of life in plants or animated beings; and, secondly, the state of transition from life as we know it in this world to the - as yet to us unimaginable - condition of existence referred to in the Qur'an as "the hereafter" or "the life to come" (al-akhirah).

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
One of the results of His complete dominion of the universe and absolute power over all things (verse 1)  is that He created death and life. The term `death' in this context includes the death that precedes life and the one that follows its end, whereas `life' includes this first life and the life to come. All these are of God's creation as stated in this verse. In this way, it establishes this truth in the human mind, alerting it to the test it aims to set. 

Nothing, then, comes by blind coincidence or without purpose. The test aims to establish, in reality, what God knows in advance of people's behaviour on earth and the reward they merit for their actions. Thus, man should always be on the alert, considering every thought and every action. He should not be oblivious to anything.

Death is mentioned before life in the sequence of the words, "...who created death and life to test.." - Interestingly, this Surah is recommended to be recited before one enters the state of minor death - i.e. sleep [there are some narrations that contain the wording, 'Sleep is the brother of death.' [reference needed]. This serves as a reminder that death and life have been created to serve as a purpose, a medium through which a human being is tested and judged on how well they did in - in statements and actions.

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

وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible to make you accept it forcibly, And if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, You will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the  Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others life miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
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. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so  that they are able to discuss issues with Non Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

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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