Monday 31 July 2023

Most people are unaware of the reality (So be of the few and contended)

In one of our recent posts, we shared a verse from Qur'an which is themed at being of the few, for Most of the People Do Not know many things. Yet they boast of their knowledge to show an edge over the others. It is these Most of the People who are the victims of their pride and vanity and will be well taken for misleading others and not trusting what has been sent to them by their Lord through His messengers and prophets.

Today we share the 187th verse of Surah 7. Al A'raf(The Heights) which says most of the people are unaware of the reality as to the timings of the Doomsday, yet they try to dig in to know the when: 

يَسۡـئَـلُوۡنَكَ عَنِ السَّاعَةِ اَيَّانَ مُرۡسٰٮهَا ​ؕ قُلۡ اِنَّمَا عِلۡمُهَا عِنۡدَ رَبِّىۡ​ ۚ لَا يُجَلِّيۡهَا لِوَقۡتِهَاۤ اِلَّا هُوَۘ ​ؕ ثَقُلَتۡ فِى السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ​ؕ لَا تَاۡتِيۡكُمۡ اِلَّا بَغۡتَةً ​ ؕ يَسۡـئَلُوۡنَكَ كَاَنَّكَ حَفِىٌّ عَنۡهَا ؕ قُلۡ اِنَّمَا عِلۡمُهَا عِنۡدَ اللّٰهِ وَلٰـكِنَّ اَكۡثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعۡلَمُوۡنَ‏ 
(7:187) They ask you concerning the Hour, when will it be? Say: 'The knowledge of it is with my Lord alone: none but He will disclose it at its time. That will weigh heavily on the heavens and the earth; and it shall not come to you other than all of a sudden.' They ask you - as if you are eagerly inquisitive about it - concerning it. Say to them: 'The knowledge of it is with none except Allah. But most people are unaware of this reality.'

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
The verb ahfa means "he did [a thing] in an excessive measure" or "he exceeded the usual bounds in doing [something]". In connection with an inquiry, and especially when followed by 'anhu or 'anha ("about it"), it signifies "he tried hard to gain insight [into something] by persistently inquiring about it". Thus, used as a participle, it means "one who has gained insight [into something] through persistent inquiry". In the above context, the implication is that no amount of inquiry or speculation can reveal to man - the prophets included - the coming of the Last Hour before its actual manifestation.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: 
The fact of its coming is a certainty: the exact time appointed for it is not revealed by Allah. If it were, it would be so momentous as to disturb our thoughts and life. It would be a heavy burden to us. Our duty is to be prepared for it at all times. It will come when we least expect it. In the present Gospels Jesus says the same thing: he does not know the Hour, but it will come suddenly. "But of that day and that Hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is." (Mark. xiii. 32-33).

Hafi is usually construed to mean; "eager or anxious in search of": the preposition following here is 'an = concerning, about. Some commentators (including Ragib) understand it in this passage to mean "well-acquainted." In xix. 47, with the preposition by following it, it signifies "well-disposed to", favourable to, good to, kind to."

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The actual words are: اَيَّانَ مُرْسٰىهَا. The word اَيَّانَ connotes متي (when). However, it is used when the purpose is to ask about something in order to express amazement and improbability about it. Similarly, the word مُرْسٰي is used for the anchoring of a ship. The sarcasm concealed in the question can well be gauged from this word. In the words of Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī it is as if it is being said: when will that threatened warning materialize? Where has this ship got stuck? When will it come to the shore to anchor? (Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 3, 404)

Only God has its knowledge and only He has the power to bring it about. Neither does the Prophet (sws) know its time of arrival nor does he have the strength to bring it about whenever he wants to.

What does this mean? Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī has explained it. He writes:
... Just as a pregnant woman puts on weight near delivery because of the child she is carrying even though no one knows the exact time of delivery – yet every person with eyes can see and is certain that this woman will deliver the child and this will happen soon – the case of discerning minds who reflect on the heavens and the earth regarding the Day of Judgement and punishment is no different. They see that the heavens and the earth are burdened with this weight. And even though they cannot say with certainty when the heavens and the earth will be able to relieve their burden, yet just as a pregnant woman in her final days anxiously awaits the time of delivery, a similar anxiety and longing is prominent in the heavens and the earth. Hidden in this verse is also a subtle indication for those who are not able to see the signs of the Day of Judgement and punishment in the heavens and the earth. They are similar to those who are not able to see the bulge of a pregnant lady who is about to deliver. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 3, 404)
In spite of the fact that a person who is blessed with knowledge and intellect from God can never go after something which is beyond the limits of his knowledge and research. And it is befitting that he does not adopt this attitude because what can be more foolish than a person instead of focusing his attention on things, he can know diverts it to seeking those he can neither know nor are they his business to know.

Qur'an Wiki Explanation:
At this point in the sūrah we look at the scene of the unbelievers’ surprise, wonder and incredulousness towards the concept of the hereafter. This is all seen in their questioning that is given in overtones of ridicule and derision: “They ask you about the Last Hour: `When will it come to pass?” (Verse 187)

That Hour is part of a store of knowledge that God has kept to Himself and revealed to no creature. But the unbelievers questioned the Prophet about it either to test his knowledge, or to express their surprise and amusement, or to portray their contempt and derision. They ask about the time when it will take place: “When will it come to pass?” (Verse 187) But the Prophet (peace be upon him) is a human being who never made any claim to know anything that lies beyond the reach of human perception. He is instructed to leave that to the Lord, and to tell people that its knowledge is part of the attributes of Godhead. As a human being, he does not make any claim to anything that goes beyond the limits of humanity. He knows only what his Lord has vouchsafed to him of divine revelations. “Say: ‘Knowledge of it rests with my Lord alone. None but He will reveal it at its appointed time.’” (Verse 187) God, who alone knows the Hour and its timing, will not reveal it until its appointed time. No one else can say anything about it with any degree of certitude.

Their attentions are turned away from asking about its time to consider its nature and to reflect on its seriousness. It is certainly a matter of great importance, and its burden is heavy indeed. Its weight is felt in the heavens and the earth. Besides, it comes suddenly when people who do not pay attention to it are still unaware of its approach: “It will weigh heavily on the heavens and the earth; and it will not fall on you except suddenly.” (Verse 187) Therefore, it is only wise to be prepared for it before it comes suddenly, when no precaution will be of use. Preparations and precautions must be taken well in advance, when time is ample and people still expect to live longer. No one knows when it will exactly arrive. Therefore, everyone should prepare for it now, without losing a moment or an hour, because it may come at any time.
The sūrah wonders at those who question the Prophet (peace be upon him) about the Hour. They do not understand the nature of the divine message or the Messenger, and they do not know the nature of Godhead, and the attribute of humility the Prophet adopts towards his Lord. “They will ask you further as if you yourself persistently enquire about it.” (Verse 187) They always ask about it, as if you are required to disclose its time. But God’s Messenger does not ask his Lord about something when he is aware that God has chosen to keep it to Himself: “Say: ‘Knowledge of it rests with my Lord alone.’” (Verse 187) He has chosen to keep that information to Himself and not to reveal it to any of His creatures, “though most people remain unaware.” (Verse 187)
But this does not apply to knowledge of the Hour only. It applies to everything in the realm which lies beyond the reach of human perception. It is God alone who knows all that there is in that realm. He does not give knowledge of any of it, except to someone He chooses, at the time and in the measure He determines. Hence, people do not have the ability to cause themselves any benefit or harm. They may do something which they hope to be beneficial to them, but they soon discover its consequences to be very harmful. Or they may take an initiative to remove some harm but they do not reckon with its adverse results. Or they may do something reluctantly, because they are forced to do it, and then discover it to be very beneficial for them. Alternatively, they may approach something with enthusiasm, only to discover that it results in their own suffering: “It may well be that you hate a thing although it is good for you, and love a thing although it is bad for you.” (2: 216)

This is summed up by an Arab poet who says: “Would that someone shows me my destination before I start my journey! How could that be when one has to complete a journey to get to one’s destination? ” This is the human position in relation to what lies beyond human perception. Human beings may achieve great progress, but when it comes to what God has chosen to keep away from them, they will remain confined to the limitation of their human knowledge.

In his great position of honour and his closeness to his Lord, the Prophet (peace be upon him) is commanded to declare to mankind that when it comes to the realm that lies beyond our perception, he is only a human being who can cause himself neither benefit nor harm. This is because he is not given that knowledge, nor is he one to know the destination before starting the journey, or the consequences of actions before they take place. Hence, he cannot choose his actions on the basis of their consequences, because these are withheld from him.

So let us strive to be of the few and be not of the most whose unnecessary probing will not give them the answers they strive to seek from prophets and Divine books. Let us contend with what has been told to us and abstain from probing into what has not been told to us. for if Allah wanted us know the timings, He would tell us clearly. And if Allah wants us to know the answer, He would equip us with the requisite knowledge to dig out the answers.

Let us leave things behind the curtain and wait for the curtain to be raised.
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 | 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 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.

If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on social media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Qur'ān - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More