Last week’s class of the section “A’raf” (Cognizant), we studied the verses that mentioned prophet Noah as the messenger of God. He was in charge of delivering the message of God to the people. We concluded that those who opposed the message were drowned in the flood whereas those who followed him which is the meaning of “to get on the ark” were saved from drowning. The flood was the reason that drowned those who did not get on the ark per prophet Noah’s message but the same flood saved the people who were following the prophetic message. Flood was the agent acting as the veil in the order of the universe to save the followers of the prophet and destroy the deniers of the message of God. This means that whatever environment that I am in, whatever family life I find myself in, perhaps under the influence of the environment, I can understand how horrible it is to follow the corrupt ideas and lifestyle and turn around to the truth. The message the prophet brings is the antidote to the environmental influence that I may be in.
The world seems to be a veil which does not let us see the operator behind it, who is creating and running this world. We see the sun, wind, rain, trees, water and other elements as if they are effective agents which is the environment we find ourselves in. We learn from God’s revelation which tells me to use this veil as a platform where all of God’s qualities are being manifested. Use this veil as a mirror and see what it reflects. Rather than preventing us from seeing what reality is, God’s revelation makes the same veil into a mirror.
Flood in the verse becomes the veil for those who don’t want to see the reality that revelation brings. The reality is realized by seeing that I am created where I can conclude about the Creator. We cannot imagine an Absolute Creator to be of the kind of anything in the universe. The maker of a thing cannot be within the thing itself. For example, in my eyes, eyelids are veils but they also clean the lens of the eyes to allow me to see clearly. According to my intention, the same eyes can be closed and I would blind myself to see reality. A clean lens is needed to see clearly which becomes the means of seeing reality. The createdness of the eyes becomes a mirror now because of my intention. I should not be conditioning myself. See the reality of this world. If I am obstinate and do not submit myself to an Absolute being by rejecting His message because I may want to keep my status in society, the veil will remain a veil and not become the platform where I can see the manifested qualities of its Creator. Investigate the thing and see how it shows the manifested qualities of its Creator. Being open minded is enough by questioning the existence of the thing. When I realize that I have a creator, I must be able to submit my existence to Him. The message of God is sent through the prophets; I have to follow the prophets. Belief system is learnt through the message of revelation.
I should not complain about the flood of corruption. Through corruption I understand that those people following it are doing something wrong. For example, one would say that war is not a solution but we have to do it, no choice but engage in it. However, the war ends up supporting national interests. Human beings are hardwired to be for justice and against injustice. Many trends come such as fashion, political games, economic manipulations which we need to watch out for. Seeing how inhuman is injustice and we can understand that justice should be supported and established. The wrongs in the flood become a means for following the right/truth.
وَإِلَىٰ عَادٍ أَخَاهُمْ هُودًۭا ۗ قَالَ يَـٰقَوْمِ ٱعْبُدُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَـٰهٍ غَيْرُهُۥٓ ۚ أَفَلَا تَتَّقُونَ
7:65 To the people of ‘Aad [We sent] their brother, Hud. He said, “My people worship God alone. You have no deity other than Him. Will you not be mindful of Him?”
How should I understand brotherhood between messengers of God? Are they blood brothers? May not necessarily be. All the prophets are described as brothers in the Quran; the message they bring is coming from the same Source. The prophets bring the same message to worship God alone. Similar to what prophet Noah said, prophet Hud is also giving the same message. The purpose of existence is so simple but I need to be consistent. I have to follow my human abilities and realize that I am created. I cannot explain my existence within the order of the universe. I have all the evidence demonstrating the evidence of the qualities of their Creator and I must use it to come to my conclusions.
The phrase “أَفَلَا تَتَّقُونَ “translated as “Will you not be mindful of Him?” tells me to take the message seriously. Come on, this is the reality, take this matter seriously as you are made to acknowledge your Owner. Whatever I think I own must be understood that they belong to Him, my Creator, I cannot give existence to anything, let alone claim ownership of anything. Everything is a trust to be used to understand my Creator’s qualities.
قَالَ ٱلْمَلَأُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ مِن قَوْمِهِۦٓ إِنَّا لَنَرَىٰكَ فِى سَفَاهَةٍۢ وَإِنَّا لَنَظُنُّكَ مِنَ ٱلْكَـٰذِبِينَ
7:66 but the disbelieving leaders of his people said, ‘We believe you are a fool,’ and ‘We think you are a liar’
Here it is similar to what we studied last time when prophet Noah presented the message where the disbelieving notables opposed the message. The majority of the people do not oppose but just blindly follow their leaders. Only some of the influential leaders that were disbelieving opposed the message. They didn’t have any counter argument but just accused the prophets of being a liar, a fool, a magician who wants to have some status in society. Nowadays these kinds of accusations are not prevalent. No one says that the prophetic message is a lie. What happens is they don’t let one express themselves freely especially in academia. In Muslim countries, some politicians try very hard to prevent spreading of the real message. The fear is that if the general public understands the message clearly, they would no longer follow them.
Any accusations with no evidence such as calling the prophets fools and liars are just baseless claims. Is there any counter argument to the message that the prophet brought to worship God alone? See that nothing in the universe has the quality to give existence but the Creator of the universe. “You have no deity other than Him”, i.e. Matter does not have the quality of being the Creator to give you security, comfort and satisfaction.
For example, we say that the columns are holding the roof of a building. If the columns are not there, the roof collapses. Are the columns consciously acting to hold the roof? It is made in this way where columns have to be there. Matter has to act as it is created. In my being, I act according to the way that I am created, by following an order. I am not the creator of the order but the slave of the order; I cannot do anything without following the order.
Another way some prevent the truth from spreading is by blocking it. Can a scientist publish anything in their field by giving reference to theology, belief in the Creator? Would they let them publish their paper stating that “my research demonstrated that in order to explain the result of my findings needs a creator, it cannot exist by itself? No, they will likely say: “Scientific methods do not allow the use of theology.”
Prophets just perform their duty and deliver the message to the general public. People are free to take it or leave it. The prophet in a way says: “Let the people decide for themselves and see if I am a liar or not.”
قَالَ يَـٰقَوْمِ لَيْسَ بِى سَفَاهَةٌۭ وَلَـٰكِنِّى رَسُولٌۭ مِّن رَّبِّ ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَ
7:67 He said, ‘My people, there is nothing foolish about me! On the contrary, I am a messenger from the Lord of all the Worlds,
Prophet Hud said to his people: there is nothing wrong with me, there is no “سَفَاهَةٌۭ” i.e. foolishness in me. The phrase “وَلَـٰكِنِّى رَسُولٌۭ مِّن رَّبِّ ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَ” translated as “On the contrary, I am a messenger from the Lord of all the Worlds”. I am just delivering the message of the Lord of the universe. Whatever message the Lord of the Universe gave me, I am giving it to you. I am not claiming anything to be from me, nor do I want anything else in return. Let me say the message and you can confirm it or reject it; but let me speak.
Human condition did not change from the beginning. Starting from Prophet Adam and Iblis who refused to serve Adam. The reason being that I am made out of fire which is better than earth. Why should the fire be better than earth? No reason, just a claim. The same happened with the prophet Muhammad where the nobles had no reason to deny his message but pride. Nowadays, the society has nobles who do not want to bring theology into science as they claim it violates the materialistic principles of interpretations of scientific researches.
أُبَلِّغُكُمْ رِسَـٰلَـٰتِ رَبِّى وَأَنَا۠ لَكُمْ نَاصِحٌ أَمِينٌ
7:68 I am delivering my Lord’s messages to you. I am your sincere and honest adviser.
The phrase “وَأَنَا۠ لَكُمْ نَاصِحٌ أَمِينٌ “, translated as “I am your sincere and honest adviser” sounds like a self-claim by the prophet. What can the prophet do after delivering the message? Look at the message, it has nothing to do with me. The message is not based on this claim “I am your sincere and honest adviser”. Don’t look at me but look at the message I brought to you. I am not the source of the message but my Lord has sent me to deliver His message. Some notables are calling me a fool, what can I do? I see no sign of foolishness in me but just am charged with delivering the message. I am just an ordinary man like you, delivering the message of my Lord to you (Quran 18:110, 41:6).
Nowadays the fundamental teachings of the Quran are not criticized but the misunderstanding, misapplication of the message by some people who claim to be Muslims. For example, basing “sharia” legal injunctions to follow their own agenda that have nothing to do with the teachings of the Quran. Study the Quran seriously and see if you can come up with any counter argument.
أَوَعَجِبْتُمْ أَن جَآءَكُمْ ذِكْرٌۭ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ عَلَىٰ رَجُلٍۢ مِّنكُمْ لِيُنذِرَكُمْ ۚ وَٱذْكُرُوٓا۟ إِذْ جَعَلَكُمْ خُلَفَآءَ مِنۢ بَعْدِ قَوْمِ نُوحٍۢ وَزَادَكُمْ فِى ٱلْخَلْقِ بَصْۜطَةًۭ ۖ فَٱذْكُرُوٓا۟ ءَالَآءَ ٱللَّهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
7:69 Do you find it so strange that a message should come from your Lord, through a man from among yourselves to warn you? Remember how He made you successors after Noah’s people, and increased your stature [capacity, talents, power]: remember God’s blessings so that you may prosper.
The problem nowadays is not because belief in the Creator of the universe is difficult to understand and confirm but why should I follow a man like me? Why should I follow this man? Although he claims that it is not his idea but comes from God, they say he is making it up. That is why some human beings cannot submit their existence to the Creator of the universe. By studying the message, one can confirm whether what this man is saying is true or not. However, they say you are a man like us, why should I follow you?
If we recall from the previous verse, prophet Noah’s people said the same thing. We discussed last week on why there is strangeness in the message being delivered through a man, where God speaks to a man.
The phrase “وَزَادَكُمْ فِى ٱلْخَلْقِ بَصْۜطَةًۭ ۖ”, translated as “increased your stature extensively” meaning I am given higher status by having more opportunities to investigate the universe. We are more aware of how things are happening, we now have better means than the prior generations. We have more facilities, the more we study the order in the universe, the better tools we develop that benefit us. I should remember that these are given to me in order to understand better who the agent behind them is. I should be thankful to God for being given more opportunities to investigate the universe.
Someone may say that I worked for it; such as doing scientific research? Where are we getting all these technological gadgets from? By following the order of the universe. We ask by investigating the order He established and when we obey it, then the Lord of the universe creates the result of our demands. We cannot create them, that is why we keep investigating what the order of the creation allows me to do. In the end, it is given when we follow the order of the universe arranged by Him. For example, farmers are beggars asking for produce. They till the land however they are not the creator of the land, the water, the seeds, the produce and sunlight among other things. They are praying for the produce.
We may think that technology is the result of scientific research. Search and find out from the order of the universe, obey it and the result is created. The Quran says that “فَٱذْكُرُوٓا۟ ءَالَآءَ ٱللَّهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ “, translated as “remember God’s blessings so that you may prosper”. How can I get a prosperous life? By understanding that the source of existence of everything is my Lord. I belong to this Absolute being. I have to see that whatever blessing I am benefitting from, could be my phone, car, my human senses, whatever I benefit from, they are there to make me remember my Lord. Technological success is temporary, restricted to this world but my feelings need real success. To prosper and have success as a human is when I realize that only He can satisfy my human feelings, my needs for eternal satisfaction and happiness. The creator of my feelings is the only one that gives prosperity to me where I feel satisfied in this world having this understanding. The universe itself does not recognize my human needs. When I benefit from this world without realizing its Absolute Creator, I can only feel temporary satisfaction related to my bodily needs only until I die. My feelings always crave for permanent satisfaction that only confirming and becoming aware of the Creator satisfies these human needs.
Tags: Brotherhood, Flood, Hud, Messengership, Noah's Ark, Open Minded, Theology