Wednesday 10 August 2022

Who are even more astray like cattle - The utterly heedless

The major difference between men and animal is the faculty of perception. The animals walk, sleep, eat just like men do, but they cannot differentiate between dirt and mud. inasmuch as animals follow only their instincts and natural needs and are not conscious of the possibility or necessity of a moral choice. They can be lead to wherever their shepherds lead them to. 

However,  men has been faculties to think, differentiate between good and bad, or right or wrong. If man has this understanding and knowledge he sees the right thing with his eyes, hears the right thing with his ears, thinks the right thing with his mind and intellect and takes the right decisions. But when he refuses to believe in the revelations of Allah, he fails to see the truth in spite of the eyes, becomes deaf to every word of admonition in spite of the ears, and misuses the blessings of the mind and intellect that God has granted him, and goes on drawing wrong conclusions one after the other, so much so that he starts using all his capabilities for his own destruction. These are the men who are labelled as the men who are even more astray like cattle - the utterly heedless. 

It is for such men that the following 179th verse of Surah 7 Al A'raf was revealed, expressing the Divine anger: 

وَلَـقَدۡ ذَرَاۡنَا لِجَـهَنَّمَ كَثِيۡرًا مِّنَ الۡجِنِّ وَالۡاِنۡسِ​ ​ۖ  لَهُمۡ قُلُوۡبٌ لَّا يَفۡقَهُوۡنَ بِهَا  وَلَهُمۡ اَعۡيُنٌ لَّا يُبۡصِرُوۡنَ بِهَا  وَلَهُمۡ اٰذَانٌ لَّا يَسۡمَعُوۡنَ بِهَا ؕ اُولٰۤـئِكَ كَالۡاَنۡعَامِ بَلۡ هُمۡ اَضَلُّ​ ؕ اُولٰۤـئِكَ هُمُ الۡغٰفِلُوۡنَ‏ 
(7:179) And certainly We have created for Hell many of the jinn and mankind; they have hearts with which they fail to understand; and they have eyes with which they fail to see; and they have ears with which they fail to hear. They are like cattle - indeed, even more astray. Such are utterly heedless.

It does not mean that.... "There are many Jinns and human beings whom We have created for the sole purpose of sending them to Hell and with the intention of making them fuel for it." But what it means is this: "We created them and gave them hearts, brains, eyes and ears but these wicked people did not make use of these faculties to discern the Truth from falsehood and made themselves fuel for Hell by their evil deeds."

The way that has been adopted to express the above thing is that of showing intense regret in human language. For example, when the young sons of a mother are killed in the battle she says to the people, "I brought them up to become fodder for the cannon". But she does not mean that she really brought them up for this purpose. 

The above quoted verse is similar to the 26th verses of Surah 46. Al-Ahqaf:
وَلَقَدۡ مَكَّنّٰهُمۡ فِيۡمَاۤ اِنۡ مَّكَّنّٰكُمۡ فِيۡهِ وَجَعَلۡنَا لَهُمۡ سَمۡعًا وَّاَبۡصَارًا وَّاَفۡـئِدَةً  ۖ فَمَاۤ اَغۡنٰى عَنۡهُمۡ سَمۡعُهُمۡ وَلَاۤ اَبۡصَارُهُمۡ وَلَاۤ اَفۡـئِدَتُهُمۡ مِّنۡ شَىۡءٍ اِذۡ كَانُوۡا يَجۡحَدُوۡنَۙ بِاٰيٰتِ اللّٰهِ وَحَاقَ بِهِمۡ مَّا كَانُوۡا بِهٖ يَسۡتَهۡزِءُوۡنَ
(46:26) We had established them firmly in a manner We have not established you. We had given them ears and eyes and hearts. But nothing availed them neither their ears, nor their eyes, nor their hearts, for they denied the Signs of Allah. Then what they had mocked at encompassed them.
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
 This sentence expresses great anger and warning. It means that if a large number of men and jinn who have adopted a rebellious attitude, then after this it can only be said that God has created them for Hell. Thus, it is explained ahead why they will become the fuel of Hell. It is stated that that these people did not take any advantage of the faculties and abilities which the Almighty gave them to understand the truth. The consequence of this was that the very objective of their life became coming into this world, spending time here and then ending up in Hell.

This understanding, seeing and listening refer to their essence and reality; otherwise they fully understand, see and listen what these faculties demand in the perceptible sense to feed their hunger and satisfy their sexual urge.

Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes:
… They are like animals because just as animals confine their efforts to satisfy the needs of their bodies, in a similar way, their endeavours too are restricted to their material needs and desires. They are less sensible than animals because animals at least take advantage of all the abilities found in their instincts and leave no stone unturned in this regard. On the other hand, human beings not only do not take real advantage of the higher abilities which the Almighty has bestowed on them, they also at times end up doing things which even an ox or a donkey would not do. For example, human beings in spite of being human beings become so foolish and silly that they start worshipping trees, stones and animals but an ox or a donkey can never be so imprudent. The Qur’ān states that it is such people who are not aware in the real sense because even animals are not inflicted with this unawareness. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 3, 398)
Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
Those large numbers of jinn and human beings are destined for hell. Why? And what for? There are two aspects to consider here. The first is that God’s perfect knowledge shows that such creatures will inevitably go to hell. For God to know this does not require that actions which earn the punishment of hell actually take place. God’s knowledge is absolute, free from the constraints of time, action and place. Nothing is added to God’s knowledge as a result of a motion or an action that takes place in our world.
The second aspect to consider is that God’s perfect knowledge does not in any way direct these creatures to go astray so as to incur the punishment of hell as a result. It is they who are just like the Qur’ānic verse describes: “They have hearts they cannot understand with, and they have eyes with which they fail to see, and ears with which they fail to hear.” (Verse 179) It is they who have not opened their hearts and minds to learn and understand. Proofs, signs, indications and pointers of all sorts are available throughout the universe and in the divine messages, providing guidance which can easily be understood by hearts and minds that are kept open. It is they who have chosen not to open their ears to listen to God’s revelations. They have kept all these means of perception and understanding idle and unused. As a result, they live a life of willful ignorance: “They are like cattle; indeed, they are even further away from the right way; they are the truly heedless.” (Verse 179)
Those who are heedless of the signs God has placed in the universe and in life itself, and choose not to reflect on the events that take place around them, and do not see God’s will behind them all, are indeed further astray than cattle. Animals have natural tendencies to guide them. Human beings and jinn have been given hearts, minds, eyes and ears to hear, look and understand. If they choose not to open their means of perception, and prefer instead to go about life without reflecting about its meaning and aim, and without looking at its events and what they signify, or hearing its messages, they place themselves below animals who have only been given their natural tendencies. As a result, they are destined for hell. It is God’s will that drives them there ever since He has given them their dual susceptibility and made the law of punishment and reward. God knows right at the beginning that their action and attitude will lead them to hell.
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. 
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.

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

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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