We will continue with the following verse from section A’raf (Cognizant) where the people of prophet Lot are replying to him:
وَمَا كَانَ جَوَابَ قَوْمِهِۦٓ إِلَّآ أَن قَالُوٓا۟ أَخْرِجُوهُم مِّن قَرْيَتِكُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُمْ أُنَاسٌۭ يَتَطَهَّرُونَ
7:82: The only response of his people was: ‘Drive them out of your town; they are a people who (pretend) to be pure [by not doing what we do]!’
Prophet Lot’s people were accusing him of diverting them from their comfort zones, understanding of this world after prophet Lot had asked them to be reasonable. The people who disagreed with the prophetic teachings responded with a general reactionary attitude which is to expel them out of town. The phrase “أَخْرِجُوهُم مِّن قَرْيَتِكُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُمْ أُنَاسٌۭ يَتَطَهَّرُونَ”, is translated as “Drive them out of your town, they are a people who pretend to be pure [by not doing what we do]!” Their response means that If one doesn’t follow the trends of society then this person is regarded as a strange individual. Why does he not go along with the general trend, go with the flow as they say? We understand that the society is based on secular understanding and education. The philosophical view of creation is secular where there is no room for a creator, God, the purpose of creation is not considered but simply this world is seen as important. This society causes problems in human beings because of the meaninglessness of this life. That is by encouraging people to only satisfy their daily life, enjoy life until you die. This clashes with the expectations of human feelings and spirit.
As a result of this secular dissatisfaction, what are people expected to do? Why should I bother about anything since I am going to die and disappear from this world? Yes, I struggle to work, to get things but for what purpose since I die, everything becomes meaningless at the end. After a certain age, people get used to the things that they are doing. They don’t realize a need to look for purpose in what they do since they are under the heavy influence of the trend of this civilization. The young generation is not satisfied with their life and continuously seeking instant gratification, looking for satisfaction. That explains the problems appearing currently in society whereas this civilization only offers band-aid type of solutions. I can understand that these kinds of solutions do not put an end to my satisfaction which seeks eternity. The solutions offered are all resulting in addictions. With this kind of psychological turbulence in the minds of people, whatever way they live in, they will not be satisfied. This causes reaction to societal values as well as old generation values. My forefathers followed this, it didn’t work for them so I have to find and follow something new. We most likely see that as a solution, this civilization offers the freedom to do whatever one wants to do whether it be harmful or beneficial to him or her.
فَأَنجَيْنَـٰهُ وَأَهْلَهُۥٓ إِلَّا ٱمْرَأَتَهُۥ كَانَتْ مِنَ ٱلْغَـٰبِرِينَ
7:83 We saved him and his household, except his wife who was among those that stayed behind.
We can extract an interesting psychological trend of human beings from this verse. If, in my mind, I am inclined towards something, my mind would be busy with it. If I am happy with this thought, it is the rule of creation that this thought of mind will definitely turn into physical action. This is in any matter, when I admire an aspect or property belonging to someone, I will work towards getting it for either myself or the next generation such as my children to have it. For example, we observe that most of the parents encourage the young to obtain what they themselves could not achieve but now hope their children to achieve it.
This explains why the wife of prophet Lot was sympathizing with the rejecters of the message. She is somehow ideologically with them although living with prophet Lot physically. When prophet Lot leaves the rejecters physically, the wife could not leave. It is not a matter of wife and husband relationship but we have to pay attention to ourselves, our psychology where my understanding turns into physical actions.
We should pay attention to ourselves and see how we respond when we see something wrong, we should disagree with the wrong. I should not say that: “someone else would correct it. I don’t have to disagree right now and let me be impartial.” Although we may not interfere into people’s lives physically but, in our mind, we should have this understanding that these people are doing something wrong. If I get any opportunity to stop it, not to further aggravate it, I should do it; if I cannot help others, then, at least I should practice what I believe to be true. We have to feel the responsibility within ourselves.
Nowadays, society gives me the opportunity to become a consumer. Even the believers say that: “as long as I can afford it, I can get the things. I worked hard to earn money and now I can entertain myself.” This may sound legitimate because I am not stealing anything by making an honest living. I should pay attention to whatever I feel that I need, is it really necessary for me or am I blindly following what the trend in society is? I should have this consciousness within me as the Quran teaches that belief comes before action. Without this consciousness, I would be inclined towards the trends in society without even realizing it . If I strongly believe that I should not follow the trends of this society where they are wrong, the trends of the culture that I have grown up with, this belief would not turn into action. Whatever I believe must be done, consequently turns into a prayer, and the prayer is accepted as an action.
That is the human reality we can understand where the wife of Lot physically found herself doing things that she did not see as wrong, which is why she stayed behind.
وَأَمْطَرْنَا عَلَيْهِم مَّطَرًۭا ۖ فَٱنظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَـٰقِبَةُ ٱلْمُجْرِمِينَ
7:84 We poured upon them a rain [of destruction]. See what was the end of the criminals!
The mercy of rain turned into destruction. There are different words for rain, “مَّطَرًۭا ۖ” is not a sympathetic kind of rain. It is destructive but still considered a form of rain. We observe that rain is employed to turn dry earth into a fertile land where millions of different kinds of creatures can flourish. The mercy of God is all around us. We notice that human beings are created in two races: man and woman, each having some qualities with some strengths and some weaknesses. They find comfort within themselves when they come together. The inclination of man and women being attracted to each other is the mercy of God. That is how the creation is set where as a man, I would suffer a lot if there was no woman out there. The same is true vice versa.
How is mercy used as destruction?
Some plants are created for some purpose, as sustenance for beings but we may turn them into harmful things. For example, certain fruits are turned into alcoholic drinks. The Mercy (Rahmah) of God in the creation of the fruit is turned into a destructive thing.
وَإِلَىٰ مَدْيَنَ أَخَاهُمْ شُعَيْبًۭا ۗ قَالَ يَـٰقَوْمِ ٱعْبُدُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَـٰهٍ غَيْرُهُۥ ۖ قَدْ جَآءَتْكُم بَيِّنَةٌۭ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ ۖ فَأَوْفُوا۟ ٱلْكَيْلَ وَٱلْمِيزَانَ وَلَا تَبْخَسُوا۟ ٱلنَّاسَ أَشْيَآءَهُمْ وَلَا تُفْسِدُوا۟ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ بَعْدَ إِصْلَـٰحِهَا ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌۭ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
7:85 To [the people of] Midian, [We sent] their brother Shu’ayb. He said, “My people, worship God alone. You have no deity other than Him. Clear evidence of the Truth has now come to you from your Lord. Give full measure and weight, and do not deprive people of what is rightfully theirs, and do not spread corruption on earth after it has been well ordered. [All] of this is for your own good if you would only believe.
When one is fulfilling the same mission, they are called brothers. We understand that God usually sends prophets from among the people themselves. The prophets are also referred to as brothers. Prophet Shu’ayb delivers the same message as other prophets have done before to worship God alone and not to worship other creatures. The other creatures are not worth worshiping as they don’t have any qualities of their own, they are created beings just like you and me. They are all employed for our service as we have some status in this creation because of our spirit which needs to fulfill its capacity. This does not mean that the status puts me as a caliph that can do anything I want such as destroying creation, polluting it, insulting it.
We have to know our mission in this world, a very sacred mission. I don’t have any right to waste my soul/spirit which has such immense qualities that I am able to get to know my Creator at the highest level of recognition. I can communicate with my Creator through this recognition, something priceless that I should appreciate. All the tools are entrusted to me in order to fulfill this mission of communicating with my Lord. If I use them to fulfill my bodily needs only then I would be wasting the most precious thing (trust) in my being. I’ll be honest, I waste most of my time concerned with transient, fleeting things. I should know that I came here to utilize this trust, human capacity to understand the infinite qualities of the Creator and communicate with Him through this realization.
The phrase “مَا لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَـٰهٍ غَيْرُهُۥ ۖ “, translated as “You have no deity other than Him”. Who can I really trust with my expectations? Can I trust them with any part of this universe? Just like I am fading away in this world, the transient beings are leaving as well, but they carry the meaning in their existence while they are here which is the most precious present from their Creator. I have to read the meaning in them. For example, I should carry a book for the sake of its meaning, which is what human beings are expected to do. I have been given a soul that can recognize God in its fullest sense, so I should not waste my soul; my qualities are given for that purpose.
The phrase “قَدْ جَآءَتْكُم بَيِّنَةٌۭ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ ۖ”, translated as “Clear evidence of the Truth has now come to you from your Lord” What is this truth? The verse follows with the phrase “Give full measure and weight” to this truth. Most people understand this phrase to mean that we should give full measurement to things, such as when one is weighing in commercial transactions. This is one aspect included and is not wrong. However, is this what this verse is saying to not cheat in measuring and weighing for commercial activities only? What kind of cheating is happening a lot in this world? Advertising a product or an individual, the best side of production but hiding the flaws to cheat people. On the ideological side this full measure is very important where the truth is hidden from the people for political, social, economic reasons. The right of people to understand the truth is tampered with. The society would present half of the truth such as they say: “you can entertain yourself, entertain your freedom as long as you don’t harm others.” How about myself? I am left with the freedom to harm myself! The society says: “You are free and we are here providing the opportunities for free education but if you bring religious ideas, it will cause problems and arguments. We can give secular education. Look, we are being fair to everyone, to every religion. Secular education has freedom whereas religious education does not.”
Another point we should notice. The misinterpretation of Islam is prevalent although ordinary people care less about what the various media outlets may state. The misinterpretations happen by taking certain verses of the Quran out of context. How about women’s rights in Islam? How about the inheritance laws seemingly against women? They don’t see the main purpose of the Quranic teachings and how these matters fit perfectly within the belief system of the Quran according to an Islamic administered society where people hold Islamic values. However, when these concerns are brought into a secular society, these rules no longer apply. A secularist society is based on this world. A secularist worldview is based on worldly concerns and all moral, economic, social, work, personal transactions are based on this world. Whereas Islam brings a completely different context. This world is seen as a transient educational place. I cannot put my expectations within the transient limitations of this world.
Sometimes fully false ideas are presented. We have to be careful of the misrepresentations of reality where sometimes a small part of the truth is presented and the major truth is hidden. For example, advertisement and competition at the detriment of another by making propaganda or politically adjusting things to monopolize, economic manipulation to their liking, for their benefit. There are many different strategies in advertising that present the good side to appeal to people but the other side is hidden. This is what the cheating of measurement is at this time. Another example is in the academic world, not all scientists are atheists. When one tries to defend their idea that does not conform to the secular scientific view, he/she would not be allowed to do so. If one expresses their belief with the suspicion that the things cannot exist by themselves, there must be something else to explain these phenomena, they would not be able to publish such a paper. Is one really free to express one’s belief?
The phrase “ وَلَا تُفْسِدُوا۟ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ بَعْدَ إِصْلَـٰحِهَا ۚ”, translated as “do not spread corruption on earth after it has been well ordered”. Society at large is corrupted because they are so obsessed by the heavy indoctrination of secularist ideas. They cannot sit and think otherwise such as think about the purpose of one’s life in this world. Heavy indoctrination from all directions keep me busy such as: did I get what I wanted? Am I satisfied by my bodily life? Am I financially secure to live comfortably? What is going on politically in other countries? Did I entertain myself today?
The phrase “ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌۭ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ”, translated as “All of this is for your own good if you would only believe.” The earth is created perfectly for me where everything is created in balance. We can see that animal life, plant life, and the atmosphere are all acting in balance. The human qualities are perfectly given but, in this society, the human mind and feelings are being destroyed and corrupted. That is the news we get from this verse.
How about the Quran mentioning the trust given to humans rather than the mountain or trees? As we are seeing everything else in creation is working perfectly in harmony and balance such as trees, birds, air, sun, moon are all in balance except the human being?
The Quran speaks from the perspective and capacity of creation. When God presents the case about the trust being given to mountains but human beings took it, it means that human beings have been created with the capacity to take on this trust. This trust (Amanah) is the ability to get to know the creator consciously as a result of human free choice. By using my free choice, I can use my capacity to recognize the qualities manifested in the universe. The spirit is what recognizes the qualities manifested in the universe and what makes one a human being. As a result of using my free will, I can choose to fulfill my responsibility by using the qualities within me for the purpose they are created for or not choose to do so. For example, I can corrupt my spirit by claiming ownership of these qualities and use them on petty things to satisfy my egoistic side in this world. Trust is given to me in order to understand the source of my existence and the source of existence of all the qualities manifested in the universe. Get to know this source of existence and communicate with Him.
Why is it that humans are spreading corruption on earth? The other things such as mountains, sky, stars don’t have the free will as human beings do. The other things don’t show within their capacity with the claim that the thing itself is doing the things that it does. No such signs are in them as they are completely following the order in which they are created and placed as. The thing has no quality by itself but shows how it has been created by their Maker. They obey completely the demand and will of their Maker. For example, can the paint claim ownership of the art in the painting? The paint used in the painting would say “not at all, I have nothing to do with the art observed in this painting.” Human beings have to watch their free choice which can go either in the right or wrong direction.
Tags: Belief, Feelings, human qualities, Life, Lord, Quran, Secularism, Straight Path, Waste, Worship