Monday 14 November 2022

The Magnanimity of Allah

Our world is full of demagogues, cruel usurpers and indecent people due to which the poor and meek live in a aura of fear and deprivation. And when a poor is robbed by these inhuman beings, he often wonders why God does not punish them for their treacheries. They lament and invoke the justice of Allah, but no immediate redressal of grievance is often seen.

Does this mean Allah supports the treacherous and is indifferent to the plight and pleas of the ones being wronged? Well, this is what a helpless man with faint belief thinks. Those who truly believe in Allah know that all this for a short while for Allah does not immediately punish for disobedience, treachery and cruelty. He waits and gives time to them for a stipulated period for maybe they begin to fear Allah and become faithful. But if they do not, then their living in this world is made miserable, what to talk of the horrified end in the life of Hereafter.

The 61st verse of Surah 16. An Nahl selected for our series of posts on Selected Verses from Qur'an, is based on this very theme:

وَلَوۡ يُؤَاخِذُ اللّٰهُ النَّاسَ بِظُلۡمِهِمۡ مَّا تَرَكَ عَلَيۡهَا مِنۡ دَآبَّةٍ وَّلٰـكِنۡ يُّؤَخِّرُهُمۡ اِلٰٓى اَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى​​ۚ فَاِذَا جَآءَ اَجَلُهُمۡ لَا يَسۡتَـاۡخِرُوۡنَ سَاعَةً​ وَّلَا يَسۡتَقۡدِمُوۡنَ‏ 
(16:61) Were Allah to take people to task for their wrong-doing, He would not have spared even a single living creature on the face of the earth. But He grants them respite until an appointed term. And when that term arrives, they have no power to delay it by a single moment, nor to hasten it.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir
Allah tells us about His patience with His creatures, even though they do wrong. If He were to punish them for what they have done, there would be no living creature left on the face of the earth, i.e., He would have destroyed every animal on earth after destroying the sons of Adam. But the Lord - magnificent is His glory - is forbearing and He covers people's faults. He waits until the appointed time, i.e., He does not rush to punish them. If He did, then there would be no one left. Ibn Jarir reported that Abu Salamah said: "Abu Hurayrah heard a man saying, `The wrongdoer harms no one but himself.' He turned to him and said, `That is not true, by Allah! Even the buzzard dies in its nest because of the sins of the wrongdoer.'

Yusuf Ali Explanation
Allah's decree works without fail. If He were to punish for every wrong or shortcoming, not a single living creature on earth would escape punishment. But in His infinite mercy and forgiveness, He gives respite: He provides time for repentance. If the repentance is forthcoming. Allah's Mercy is forthcoming without fail, if not, the punishment comes inevitably on the expiry of the Term. The sinner cannot anticipate it by an insolent challenge, nor can he delay it when the time arrives. Let him not think that the respite given to him may mean that he can do what he likes, and that he can escape scot-free from the consequences.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
 This refers to the disbelief and polytheism which is under discussion. Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes:

The word ظُلْم actual means to suppress rights. Since polytheism and disbelief are the greatest suppression of rights by which a person suppresses the greatest right of his Lord and also inflicts injustice on on his own self, the Qur’ān has called polytheism and disbelief ظُلْم. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 4, 420)

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
He certainly can punish people for their wrongdoing. Had He chosen to do so, He would have brought everything down over their heads. But in His wisdom, He has decided to give them respite, for a definite term: If God were to take people to task for their wrongdoing, He would not leave a single living creature on the face [of the earth]. But He gives them respite for a set term. When their time arrives, they cannot delay it by an hour, nor can they hasten it. (Verse 61) God has created man and bestowed on him grace and blessings of all types. Man is the only creature on earth that spreads corruption, commits injustice, denies his Creator, allows tyranny within his own social set up and inflicts harm on other species. Yet despite all this, God is merciful to him, gives him one chance after another, and never abandons him altogether. His wisdom goes hand in hand with His might; His grace with His justice. But human beings are short-sighted, deluded by the respite given them. They do not feel how graceful God is to them until His justice brings them to account at the end of the term, He has appointed for them. But

“When their time arrives, they cannot delay it by an hour, nor can they hasten it.” (Verse 61)

Now you may listen to the following short clipped video to explanation of the aforesaid Ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
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' lives 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 for making 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.
Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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 the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, 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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