The teachings of the Quran do not go in a linear sequence, rather they are scattered from one event to another, from life to the hereafter, from the obstinate people (an attitude/behavior that does not want to submit to the truth) to the believer who will be rewarded (people who are conscious of their Creator). All of the tales of ancient people are mainly depicting human behavior within different conditions/events. It is as if the training of the human being through the teachings of the Quran is as complex as the various situations human beings go through. Yes, we are always changing in the conditions we are in or the state of our existence, we are dynamic beings because sometimes we are happy that no one can stop us from laughing and at other times, we feel angry or sad. Regardless, all human feelings/emotions that are mixed up with each other need to be directed to the right conclusions.
The human living conditions are treated in the Quran in alignment with eternal life. Whatever is happening in this life is always referred to in reference to the hereafter. That is to say, the definition of “life” in terms of Quranic teachings is mainly for our preparation of eternal life.
- Otherwise, if anything of this world is not attached to eternal life, life here according to the teachings of the Quran has no value.
In order to attach the worldly life conditions to the second creation (eternal life), one must understand and confirm that this universe is created by an Absolute Being. Nothing is happening by itself here, everything is under the control of a Creator and there is a purpose in the creation of each one of the created things.
While the Quran is teaching us to pay attention to the human feelings, the human understandings and the human tendencies i.e. how everything is managed here with the usage of our freewill, the teachings of the Quran always draw our attention towards the consequence of our actions. Example: when we do something, the Quran says that it is recorded i.e. never think that it is ignored and so be careful because the result of your action will be evaluated as soon as you are taken away from this world by death (separation of body and spirit).
- While we are happy with what is created, suddenly, the Quran says that never forget, God’s punishment/judgment for those who deceive creation is very severe. In order to educate the human being in a better way, the Quran reminds the negative side of the choice. That is, if you do something wrong, then the Quran says that you will be punished for it if you do not repent. The condition is for you to repent.
- In order to repent, you must acknowledge that you have done something wrong. It means to be consistent in not repeating the mistake, acknowledge it and ask for forgiveness.
- If you do not repent, then it means that you are obstinate in your wrongdoings. The Speaker in the Quran warns human beings to not be a denier and persists in the human attitude of denying as meriting punishment unless one repents.
This teaching of the Quran is beautifully demonstrated in the verses from last week as given below (please refer to chapter Najm part 17)
53:47 “That He will undertake the second creation.”
53:48 “that it is He who gives wealth and possessions;”
53:49 “that He is the Lord of the Mighty Star (Sirius)”
God will provide you with eternal life and God distributes wealth and possessions. And whatever objectives human beings have in their minds, the Creator God is the Owner of it. Acknowledge that without God as the Creator of the universe creating what you have chosen, you cannot do anything, fulfill anything and accomplish any of your expectations. You cannot create anything, and God is the One who creates this world, manages everything that goes on here and only He can do it. Know your limits because you can only ask and not create. After establishing this fundamental principle, there is a radical shift in the teaching as presented in the below verses.
53: 50 “And that He destroyed the ancient tribe of Ad,
53:51 “and Thamud , leaving no trace of them,
53:52 “and before them the people of Noah who were even more unjust and rebellious;”
53:33 “and He destroyed the cities that were overthrown.”
53:54 “and then covered them from sight forever.”
What is going on in these verses? It seems like a threat for what someone did in the past. If we ask the Speech of the Quran with the questions below, even if I know these people mentioned, what should I do with them?
- “what do you mean by all this, who is Ad, Thamud and Noah?”
- “what cities were destroyed?”
If we do some archeology work, we may find some remnants of them. If you do find some, what are you going to do with that? Ok, you see that they are destroyed but by what? Could have been a flood, an earthquake, a plague or whatever. The destruction has always been through some sort of creation and thus by the Creator of the universe. It may not be explicitly written about them that God destroyed their cities. People who do not want to believe in God say that it has been destroyed through natural calamities. Either everything happens in this world by itself or by the Creator of the universe.
If you understand that the accustomed way of creation is the work of the Creator who is All-Knowing All-Powerful i.e. Absolute, then you can say that these cities must have been destroyed by Him. Otherwise, if you think that the universe is coming into existence by itself, (depends on one’s understanding) then even if we find traces of these people in the past, we may say that it happened by natural disasters/events. Reading the Quran with a historical lens and trying to understand the historical side of it without extracting any existential lessons brings no benefit to anyone. Yes, history happened, it cannot be denied. Yes, something happened in the past as it is happening now, and something will happen tomorrow. But the question is who is controlling and giving existence to the universe right now?
- We are able to investigate the NOW!
If we understand that the particles that we experience right now in existence cannot give existence to themselves, cannot act as they want and all the results (whatever is going on in this universe) cannot be the result of accidental happenings. Then I would say that this universe must need an agent to come into existence. Let’s assume that it seems reasonable that there must be a Conscious agent behind this universe. This Creator mentions in His Speech to human beings that the One who created the universe also creates the day of resurrection (i.e. the second creation, not a temporary world but permanent), promises that He will take us into the permanent creation. He also promises such within our human senses because we are also given the senses yearning for permanent pleasure, existence, eternity, and immortality. In His own Speech, the Speaker in the Quran says that I am going to transfer you into a new creation just the way I am creating you right now in front of your eyes. However, the subject suddenly changes with: “I will destroy you as well”, Isn’t this a big threat?
Doesn’t it seem that the Creator of the universe is being unkind with the verses above about destructions? Do we need to be reminded that if I do something wrong, the result of that choice will be a calamity? Example: If I deny the Creator and declare my independence from everything as if I exist on my own and do not acknowledge any superior being over me, does anything happen to me? No.
These verses above seem like a warning to us where the Creator is saying that I did bring the calamity in the past and I can do it now as well. For the moment, we see that there are outspoken people that deny God/religion. Is the Quran speaking with no evidence at all? Is this Speech a warning that if we go on insisting in our denial of submission to our Creator, then at the end, as per the verses, we will be destroyed? Let’s say that I understand that this universe has a Creator who has put this universe into a perfect continuous order of existence, then this Creator can possibly destroy it. But as long as I do not see the destroying of the universe, how can I confirm these verses? Am I expected to go find the remains of these tribes? You may find the remains but if you do not believe in a Creator, then the findings do not really help or prove anything.
Now, I must ask myself: “when I deny submission to the Creator and do not attach my existence to the Creator of the universe, what happens to me?” In other words, what is created within my feelings? We can all evaluate our feelings. What happens to my feelings when there is no Creator, I feel worthless and my human side feels desperate of falling into complete annihilation. Example: I enjoyed today but as soon as I enjoyed, everything is gone, nothing is left with me because we cannot preserve anything in our feelings. In the future, what is expected of me? It is all destroyed. As the Quran says in the verse above, everything I experience is covered from sight forever if I do not believe in an Absolute Being. Nature has no compassion and no consciousness. How can everything happen to be as they are? Nature has no planning and purpose. I feel that I am in complete loneliness, meaninglessness and worthlessness. Everything is covered from sight forever if I do not believe in a Creator.
- When I imagine that there is no God, then my humanity is destroyed immediately, and I feel worthless. All my human senses fall into meaninglessness and I am left with nothing. That is how the order in creation is set up. Within my own feelings, when I do not believe in God, I have no hope.
- On the contrary, if someone believes that this universe is the choice of a conscious Being who is able to create and arrange this universe as it is so awesome, then this believer understands that his rationality (including feelings) belong to the Creator of the universe, God, who is managing the universe as the Lord of every created thing. He is giving us the opportunity to experience the demonstrations of His qualities so we can say that this is my Creator who created the universe and me as I am. He also created my feelings as they yearn for a Permanent Pleasure, pleasant life. “This is His work; I trust Him, and He never leaves anything alone.”
These verses remind us that if we rebel against the truth or do not admit our existence as belonging to the Creator of the universe, then we will be destroyed within our own life experiences. These people physically being destroyed or not is not my concern but this is a severe warning that if I do not submit my existence to the Creator of the universe, then I will be destroyed and covered up from sight forever. That is, I will not get the moments I enjoyed all my life back. Can the matter preserve my existence and give it back to me? But the matter has no consciousness and power. The Creator is giving me a scenario that if you consult within your own feelings then you will experience what I am physically describing what I did to previous people i.e. if you follow their path then you will experience what they experienced in this world as well as the next creation.
We are used to hearing in pedagogy that threatening people is not the best way to educate people. However, human beings rebel against punishment and this can become a problem to understand. If this is not located rightly within our reality/being, then we may misunderstand the teachings of the Quran and may disagree with the method that the Quran follows. We have to be careful and not overzealously say that I believe in the Quran and what it says is correct. How do you explain the threatening verses which outnumber the promising/reward verses? That looks very controversial, as to be against human nature, not the best way to teach people.
Example A: If one of your peers threatens you that if you do not give him $100, he will beat you up. Your response is No, I will beat you up and the competition starts. The threat of beating each other up doesn’t fit well.
Example B: If the teacher in the classroom keeps threatening the students that if they do not work, she will punish them, fail them and that will destroy their future life. Some students may feel anguished and would wish if they could beat up the teacher. In other words, the students may feel as if the teacher is bossing them around. This shows that human beings do not want to submit themselves to their equal or other human beings. The teacher is given the authority to teach students without being bossy over them, and sometimes there may be some students that are more powerful than the teacher such that outside school those students may easily be able to beat up the teacher. People do not like to be threatened by others like themselves.
- Human honor does not want to bow down before their equals. Even if these equals are mountains, stars or anything else, they have no superior position over me but obey the order as I do. What is the difference between me and a star? Why should I submit myself to someone equal to my position?
- Human dignity cannot accept submitting themselves to something equal to human beings in terms of existence. I am a part of the order of the universe, subject to the order of the universe. The galaxies are a part of the universe and are subject to the order of the universe as well.
- Human honor acts in a different way- When the relationship is not with their equals but with their Creator, then human beings act differently.
My human dignity does not like me bowing down to any other created thing like me. When it comes to my Creator, I do not mind admitting my reality as belonging to Him and declaring that “You are the One giving existence to me”. I do not mind bowing down before Him because I am convinced about Him that He is the Source of my Existence, He is my Creator, He is the Owner of my being/existence, I belong to Him. Admitting this reality does not degrade my honor because I belong to an Absolute Source, the One who gives me existence. The more I accept my reality as belonging to my Creator, the more proud I become about my reality. That is the real human honor to realize and declare that I belong to the Absolute Being.
Everything else is created like me, for example, the stars have no free will and obey the order like me. When it comes to my Creator where He warns me that if you do not accept your reality, then you will destroy yourself. That is how you are created where you will suffer from this denial. People who choose this way are destroyed because they think they sustain themselves, but in fact, they cannot sustain their existence even for a second.
Threatening scenario depicts the reality of people when they do not accept that they are created by a Creator. What they want to have cannot be preserved as there is no source to preserve, they are all destroyed. For example, where is the Owner of the houses built during World War I? All gone. How about the animals and plants from then? All gone. If people are left on their own without acknowledging their Creator, then nothing is left for them. Similarly, if you define yourself as existing naturally, then certain years later, you will also be covered up as being out of sight forever. These verses are a reminder from the Creator of the universe that if you do not accept me as your Lord then you will end up like these people all gone because the universe cannot sustain you, be careful and do not torture yourself with this wrong understanding. You are created for eternal bliss! “If you do not accept your reality, you will destroy yourself. Please don’t fall into the same mistake, nature cannot preserve them, they are all gone.”
If a threatening warning comes from my Creator, I must be careful to listen to this voice. I need to be warned against a severe and dangerous position that I may fall because if I am not reminded, then I am very likely to go into negligence and ignorance of my reality and I will lose myself in the struggles and petty affairs of this world. That is, the price to forget myself to submit consciously to the reality of belonging to the Creator of the universe is huge.
- Not submitting myself to the Creator= falling into negligence.
- That is why we need to be reminded.
- We are given free will which we cannot ignore.
We need these reminders because we are very weak in our existence and mostly neglectful towards our reality; that is why reminder/warning is needed. If someone reminds me of what I am doing when I neglect my reality, I am grateful. This relationship is not between creatures, rather between me and my Creator, a transient life and a Permanent life. We need to live with the consciousness of not losing permanent life. My Creator is warning me before it is too late because there is no going back. Once the spirit leaves this body, that is it. It is clearly displayed here that no one’s body received its soul back. I must be happy as my Creator keeps reminding me that I should not forget my reality.
Denial, not submitting myself to the Creator, and not taking into consideration my reality as belonging to Him, I gain nothing, and I lose my human value. It costs me a lot, not only losing my life in the permanent creation but happiness in this life as well. As long as this reminder/warning comes from my Creator, I cannot compete with Him as if “who are you to remind me?” Rather, I will submit myself to Him and say thank you for reminding me and my fragile position here because I am always walking next to a cliff. If someone saves me from falling into the cliff, I will express my thanks to him, that you saved my eternal life which is endlessly precious. Similarly, we need to thank the Creator of the universe for everything. We should not feel that this is pedagogically wrong, rather it is appropriate to human nature because it is coming from my Creator and has something to do with my eternal life.
In Example B, the teacher warns the students that in life you will not get a good job, a student may say that he will find another profession not requiring a degree where he makes more money. There is an option here in the created world scenario, but for eternal life, the is option is either the Paradise or Hell. Human beings need serious warnings because the cost of negligence is infinite with no option, no hope.
I want my Creator to warn me every moment as in remembering who you are, don’t think that you are acting on your own and creating everything by yourself, you will be eternally happy here which is not possible, look at your previous people who lived here during the first world war, no one is here anymore. That is our reality, we need to be reminded. We may say that if I do not get Paradise, then I can go somewhere else. No, there is no other place in between. It is either Paradise or Hell. We should not have this attitude!
After painting this threatening scenario making us realize the option to opt for, the following verse brings a sudden change of topic.
53:55 “Then which of the favors of your Lord do you doubt?”
Everything is prepared here given to us as a gift to enjoy our life here if you are mindful of the reality that these are given to you by an Absolute Being so that you will experience it/entertain it and have no fear that you will lose them when you die. No, the Creator is warning you that He will keep His promise that He has created you with the need for eternal happiness. The Creator has no limit and draws our attention to the favors of our Lord. How can I doubt the Creator of the universe for I am experiencing these favors? Can I explain these favors as happening by themselves?
- I should be aware, everything is perfectly arranged according to my needs.
53: 56 “This is a warner like the previous warners.”
This Speech of the Creator is just a warning to you as these kinds of speech warned the previous people like you. But some of the previous people did not accept the message as was delivered to them and denied it i.e. were lost and suffered a lot. They got no reward from the Creator because they did not prepare themselves in order to receive mercy from the Creator. They rebelled and denied the Creator. This is a continuation of the same warning given to the previous people. This is nothing new. Human nature does not change, experiences change. We are treated according to our acceptance of the message. These warnings are not new. For example, we are reading these verses as the word of God and trying to understand if this attitude fits my human nature i.e.is appropriate to my human nature, as being the word of my Creator?
We all need this warning. This is my Creator speaking to me, this warning is not a novelty but it is a continuation of the same warning given throughout history to mankind because human beings keep forgetting and God keeps reminding them by sending new warners and messengers over and over again. Here and Now, we are also having the same warning as the previous people were warned.
53:57 “The imminent Hour draws near”
I am severely warning you and you need it because the hour is getting closer. Whatever is drawing near is coming near. In other words, whatever must come will come. Example: What happens during the past 70 years of my life? Gone, as far as this world is concerned, zero is left but I exist now. What is valuable for me now? My existence right now and I hope tomorrow as well my existence continues depending on the Creator’s choice. No one can guarantee their existence the next moment.
We are always in the near time because the past is gone, and the future has not come yet. When I speak now, it is gone. We are living on the edge of Mercy because I cannot guarantee that I preserved the past and future. This depicts my reality perfectly. I need to remember this, and my Creator reminds me of this.
53:58 “Only God can disclose it.”
No one can tell me that the end of my life is drawing near. I am living in a thin present moment of my life; as soon as I experience it, it is gone. No one can guarantee my past and future except the Creator, , Absolute Being. I need to be reminded of this reality. How can I be arrogant about this and neglect my Creator? Only my Creator can sustain my life as much as He wants, nothing else can sustain my life, how can I neglect this? This is fitting to my nature. We need to be reminded of these warnings right now.
53:59 “Do you find this tiding strange?”
What a friendly voice now?! “Look, I warned you severely and told you your reality seriously, do you think that this tiding is strange?” If you say that you can preserve your past, then really what are you talking about? Can you guarantee your future? Now the Creator comes closer and speaks with a soft voice: “Does this contradict your nature? Does it tell you something that you cannot confirm?”
53:60 “And do you laugh instead of weeping?
If you were not told of any of this, you will just be neglecting your reality thinking that you are the one controlling your life and entertaining yourself. Do you think that you are preparing everything for yourself? No, you cannot. If you were left alone, then you will be in a weeping/crying/pity position. “But I will not let you be alone with yourself; I am always with you. You can be happy with what you are given by your Creator.”
- If you neglect your Creator and think that you are guaranteeing your life, then you will be in a horrible position and weeping. Even if you do not admit this horrible position to yourself, your feelings will say, “yes this life is beautiful, but I am going to become compost at the end of my life, everything will be gone forever”. How horrible life of a human being becomes if we do not submit and accept our existence to our Creator?
53: 63 “and divert yourselves all the while”
You will not know this warning otherwise. The way I am, I can spend hours focusing on my work, keeping myself busy. There are plenty of diversions to go with except thinking of my reality, forgetting my desire for eternal life.
53: 62 “Rather prostrate yourselves before God and worship Him”
Identify yourself in terms of your Creator. Who are you? I am the act of creation of the Owner of the universe, rather than I am a citizen of a certain country. You die and the Government asks you to pay money to bury your body. If you say that the sun gives me life, then both of you are subject to death.
I belong to the Owner of the universe and I am conscious of myself.
- I have to weep over the periods that I neglect crying: “O I neglected my reality, sorry”. I am happy with my Creator as long as I keep remembering Him that I belong to Him.
- I should cry when I prostrate before my Creator, I should cry before my negligence so that the Creator will say that “My creature is aware of his reality and I forgive him”.
Submission of myself to the Creator concludes in worshipping Him. As a result, one worships only Him because everything else is fleeting. When I identify myself with my Creator, I admit that I am His worshipping creature, I submit everything of my being to Him and attach all my feelings to Him, that is the best way of gaining human dignity so that I do not beg created things to satisfy me; why should I prostrate before them, why should I say that my life belongs to the water, sunlight and what I eat? It’s so pitiful, they are worse than I am. At least I have free will, whereas the sun and water have no free will to choose. Why should I identify myself with these creatures, they are all slaves of the Owner of the universe bound to follow the order He establishes. This is against human dignity to worship created things; I must worship the Creator of the universe only. It means I must submit all my free will to His Absolute will whatever He tells me to do, that is worship, following the will of your Creator through your will i.e. submitting your will to His will.
- In other words, whatever He says, pay attention to Him and follow His advice.
That is how human feelings mesh in and that is how we need to be reminded sometimes with good news, sometimes with warnings. Our life is only worth it when it is connected to an eternal life otherwise we are all lost, and the end of your life becomes zero. Today or tomorrow you become compost, what value do you have?
- It is very human to submit ourselves to our Creator and very human to follow our Creator’s will, that is the worship of Him.
Tags: Absolute Source, Al-Najm, Answers, Despair, Failures, Mistakes, Najm Series, Non-Existence, Questions, Speech of God, Will