Friday 23 December 2022

The time of people's reckoning is near: Yet they remain stubbornly heedless

Blessed are those who listen to the Divine Call and shape their lives according to the Divine Commandments and Lawas. But how utterly heedless are many who despite knowing the truth, follow a life shaped by their desires and worldly love. They do not know how close to the day they are when this life will terminate into another life that will be permanent and painful. Every minute of theirs takes them nearer to their doom, and yet they are sadly heedless, and even actively turn away from the Message that would save them.

We share the opening verse of Surah 21. Al Anbiyaa (The Prophets) which warns such heedless people of the wrath that they are not aware of which awaits them. And that day is very near, if they had the iota of wisdom to find it out:

اِقۡتَرَبَ لِلنَّاسِ حِسَابُهُمۡ وَهُمۡ فِىۡ غَفۡلَةٍ مُّعۡرِضُوۡنَ​ۚ‏
(21:1) The time of people's reckoning has drawn near, and yet they turn aside in heedlessness.
The time.... near": the time of Resurrection. This is to warn the people that the time of Resurrection when they will have to appear before their Lord to render their accounts is not far. This was because the coming of the Holy Prophet was a sign and clear evidence of the fact that mankind had entered the last stage of its history. The Holy Prophet himself explained it by holding out two of his adjoining fingers and said, "I have been sent at a time which joins to the time of Resurrection just as these two fingers adjoin". By this he meant to say, "No other Prophet is coming between me and the Resurrection. Therefore, mend your ways now, for after me no guide is coming with good news and warning."

"They do not pay heed to any warning nor reflect on their end nor listen to the admonition of the Messenger." 

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: The Hour is at hand but People are heedless.
This is a warning from Allah of the approach of the Hour, and that people are heedless of it, i.e., they are not working for it or preparing for it. 

An-Nasa'i recorded that Abu Sa`id reported from the Prophet: (فِى غَفْلَةٍ مُّعْرِضُونَ while they turn away in heedlessness), he said, (in this world.)

Allah says: 
(The Event ordained by Allah will come to pass, so seek not to hasten it)
(The Hour has drawn near, and the moon has been cleft asunder. And if they see a sign, they turn away.) [54:1,2] 
Then Allah states that they do not listen to the revelation (Wahy) that He sends down to His Messenger , which is addressed to the Quraysh and all disbelievers like them.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
 Ie., for the Idolaters of Arabia who after conclusive communication of the truth from the Prophet (sws) could face torment any time. This was in accordance with God’s established practice. Earlier, at the end of Sūrah Ṭāhā, they were told to wait for it. Here these words mention its proximity. The sūrah starts with these words without any formal beginning. Since these people had shown aversion to God’s reminders, the Almighty has mentioned them by the general word النَّاس by actually turning His face away from them.

Two words are used in the verse: negligence and evasion. Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes:
... Negligence, which means showing indifference to the realities of life, shows a person’s misfortune and is a very grave wrong. However, this wrong becomes much graver when a servant of God is trying his best to jolt them and awaken them from their slumber but people are so deep in their negligence that they are not prepared to listen to him. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 5, 122)
Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
This is a picture of hearts that know no seriousness, jesting when the situation is most serious, and trifling with what is sacred. The reminder given to them here originates with ‘their Lord’, yet they are playful as they listen to it, showing no respect whatsoever. A soul that knows no seriousness, respect or sacredness ends up in a condition of barren triviality which makes it unsuitable for the fulfilment of any task of merit. Its life seems devoid of respect, cheap. A spirit which cares little or nothing for what is held as sacred is sick. Carelessness is the opposite of endurance. The latter is a serious effort indicating strength, while the former indicates insensitivity.

It is the Sūrah that starts with, “Closer to people draw their reckoning, yet they continue to blithely turn away.’” This is the marked difference between a living heart which interacts with what it receives and a dead one which covers its lifelessness in a shroud of jest and play. The latter type does not respond to reminders because it is devoid of the elements of life.

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.
Photo | 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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