By February 27, 2023 Read More →

Section Al A’raf – Part 37

The Quran can be studied from many different perspectives such as from the grammatical perspective, historical, eloquence, rulings and laws. No one can claim to have covered the Quran from all these different perspectives. The way that we are studying the Quran is to make the message relevant to our living here, by making it practical. We will continue with the next few verses of section A’raf (cognizant):


تِلْكَ ٱلْقُرَىٰ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ مِنْ أَنۢبَآئِهَا ۚ وَلَقَدْ جَآءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُم بِٱلْبَيِّنَـٰتِ فَمَا كَانُوا۟ لِيُؤْمِنُوا۟ بِمَا كَذَّبُوا۟ مِن قَبْلُ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يَطْبَعُ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِ ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ

7:101 These are the communities that we tell you about their stories, and their messengers certainly brought them clear evidence, but they would believe in what they had already called a lie. That is how God puts a seal on the hearts of the disbelievers.

The word “عَلَيْكَ”, translated as “to you”, which is in singular form indicating that a particular person is reading the message. This can mean the first recipient of the message, the prophet (pbuh) and the people around him and now to me when I am reading it. 

What is the significance of this message? Why am I being told this? 

I have to read the message for myself as a single individual. The verse mentions that messengers were sent to bring the messages of our Creator. Has a messenger come to me physically? No, but the message of the messenger (pbuh) is with me along with the summary of the message of the previous prophets. The verse continues by mentioning that the message comes with “clear evidence”. If I am to receive the message, it must be clear to me. I have to read the message from the perspective of the purpose of the message. The purpose of the message is not to teach me how to deal with my life in this world, such as doing many practical things. While doing anything I have to think what is the point in doing this. The message will not teach me to cook a meal and provide the list of ingredients and the process to follow. I have to ask why am I doing whatever I may be busy with? The Quran deals with the matter of what the thing means for me to question who arranged this order? When I enjoyed the meal, how did I enjoy it? The Quran teaches this relationship with the meal, with the things in the universe, how am I going to see my relationship with them. The Quran teaches me to be just to myself and others, be balanced in my relationship with the universe. What should I learn from the order that I see in the universe, how does it affect my life? We have to know what we are expecting to gain from the message of the Quran. 

I have a lot of questions that no one can answer except the One who made me. None of the philosophies, scientific theories can answer my human existential questions as they are just speculation but the speech of the One who made me must answer. 

The verse mentions that communities to whom the clear message was brought to, did not believe in it and called it a lie. Why do they call it a lie? The Quran mentions that the universe does not belong to us, human beings. I have to acknowledge the real owner of anything that I have. I am just a beggar using the already created things in the universe. I follow the order that I find operating in the universe. For example, by putting a kettle of water on fire. The fire is not my creation, water itself needs to be created, heat is created, air is created, electricity is created. Who is arranging all these things? Who can create sleep so that I may rest at night, who creates the air that I breathe, who creates energy in my body that I enjoy? All the qualities are perfect and are evidence created by my Creator for me. The message of the prophets brings the news to me that I have a Lord. If only I am honest to myself would I realize this.

To be arrogant is knowingly denying the truth. When the Quran mentions that “God puts a seal on the hearts of disbelievers” it is because when I don’t accept the message knowingly and  freely, I put the seal on myself by denying it. We develop habits in this life based on the things that we do. If I keep denying the truth, rejecting it, calling it a lie, then that can turn into a habit. For example, for a year, I wake up at 6 AM daily. Then I will build this habit and will no longer need to set the clock to wake me up at that time. That habit is sealed, I physically prayed for it and it is given to me. 

How do I build habits and get rid of poor habits? When I deliberately think about what I am doing is wrong, I decide to stop. However, it happens slowly and gradually. For example, to wake up at 6 AM, how will I be able to do it? Slowly I will set the alarm clock to wake me up at 7 AM and then a little earlier. After a week, I start to get used to it. The Quran calls this “sunnatullah”, the way God’s order works. When I decide that I am not going to deny the truth, I ask for forgiveness from my Creator. Slowly, I will be accepting the truth and adapting to my life gradually. The change takes place gradually as the Quran and prophetic message tell us. We learn, grow, and die gradually. Most of the things happen gradually. Sudden changes are very rare. We experience that our Lord is generous to us, teaching us gradually, making the path easy for me. The verses from section Lail (92), (the Night) “وَصَدَّقَ بِٱلْحُسْنَىٰ فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُۥ لِلْيُسْرَىٰ” which are verses 6 and 7 mentions that the one who confirms the truth, We will make the path easy for this person. Whoever confirms the truth will have an easy path to get the satisfactory answers. Trusting God gives me hope and whatever I work for, I will be doing it in a satisfactory way. That means that when I trust in God, trust in the Creator of the universe, trust in His help, then the path becomes easy for me where I will find the way in what I am seeking especially for my eternal life. 

For example, I want to be more connected with my Lord in my prayers but I am struggling with concentrating on them. I should not give up my prayers; the concentration will develop gradually, I should keep on trying. We should understand that the hearts being sealed off doesn’t mean that I have lost my free will, I still have it. I have the choice to not insist on my wrong choices, try not to go back to my old unwanted habits. The Quran describes the path to the truth as easy and that of falsehood and disbelief as “aqaba”, as in climbing a high hill that needs a lot of effort, i.e. harder. We see the change in the minds and hearts of the enemies of the prophet (pbuh) happened gradually where they became friends and followers of the prophet (pbuh).


وَمَا وَجَدْنَا لِأَكْثَرِهِم مِّنْ عَهْدٍۢ ۖ وَإِن وَجَدْنَآ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَفَـٰسِقِينَ

7:102 We did not find most of them true to their covenant, but We found most of them to be defiantly disobedient.

We can refresh our understanding of the “covenant with God” which we have studied before. I am given existence here for a purpose which is part of the covenant I have with the One who gives me existence. I can be negligent and have to be careful with my being. No one can ever be perfect. Perfectionism is the enemy of human progress where I may think that I have to be the best in something, otherwise I will leave it. This does not help me make progress. I am guided by my Lord as much as I try. I cannot change overnight. For example, by going to the gym, I cannot change overnight but after some time I will see a difference; consistency is important. 

My spirit is the covenant with my Creator. The Quran describes this in a very delicate way where the creation of everything shows gradual development in the form of a seemingly causal chain of events such as the growth of a tree and bearing fruits. We may call them laws but they are part of the order of how God creates. However, in the creation of the human spirit, human feelings, there is no gradual development. For example, I have to water the plant for it to grow which takes months and years and shows gradual development. The human spirit is created with no cause and effect but directly from God, manifesting God’s qualities as reflected in the body of human beings. This spirit does not accept any limitations. This is not explicitly stated in the Quran but the grammatical structure used in the Quran shows that the spirit does not have any gradual development in its original potentiality in existence. But we use the potential and turn it into the ability to progress as shown by the rest of the universe. The covenant is open, wide and limitless. My Creator directly enables me to acknowledge Him when I use my free will to see who the source of existence of anything is. My mind may take some time to reason about it but my feelings immediately capture it. My mind takes time to realize that I am a created being who needs an Absolute Creator. When it comes to my feelings, on the spot, no hesitation, no gradual development for the spirit. 

For example, the sunlight is always there. If I close my eyes, I won’t see the light but as soon as I open it, the sun is there. The presence of God is already with me as long as I open my heart to Him. This covenant is within me, I don’t have to wait for days, months as it is already there. If one is “fasiq”, defiantly disobedient, he would be claiming that there is no light, I don’t see it when it is always there. One of the prophetic sayings is that “God’s throne is in the believer’s heart”, meaning that God’s manifestation is already within me. I have to keep the eyes of my heart open. For example, the sharper the image a camera lens is able to capture, the better it is. What is the capacity of my human feelings? My feelings are limitless. I have to make progress within recognition of God’s qualities. The satisfaction of feelings takes time and depends on consistency. The Quran reminds human beings to reflect within themselves on creation; I have to keep my lens of the heart open. There are endless degrees of reflecting on the manifestation of God’s absolute qualities, i.e. endless degrees of learning, and the resulting paradise must also have endless degrees.


ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَا مِنۢ بَعْدِهِم مُّوسَىٰ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَآ إِلَىٰ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَإِي۟هِۦ فَظَلَمُوا۟ بِهَا ۖ فَٱنظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَـٰقِبَةُ ٱلْمُفْسِدِينَ

7:103 Then after them we sent Moses with Our messages to Pharaoh and his counsels, and they unjustly rejected them [the messages.] Consider what happened to those who used to spread corruption.

This story of the interaction between Moses and Pharaoh is directly related to my practical life. Generally, each prophetic example addresses one aspect of my life. The message in the story of prophet Moses and Pharaoh addresses my social life, the people I interact with either in my family or community. How do I keep my trust in God in my personal and social life? How do I challenge the values in civilization that make no sense to me? We are constantly bombarded ideologically so I have to watch out. Even the religious sources may limit the message of the Quran, the message of the prophets. We thank and pray for whatever the sincere contributions are made. However, we need to look for those that address belief matters relating to the problems of this age as to why do I believe in God, why do I need the prophets, why believe in the hereafter, why believe in the angels, why do I need to pray?

For existential questions, I should study the story of Yusuf and Adam where their stories explicitly mention and address human existential concerns in my life. The story of Moses is more on my social life and keeping my trust in God.

The verse is addressing me to pay attention to what happens by unjustly rejecting the message and by spreading corruption. Moses’ first message to Pharaoh (his stepfather) is to worship the Lord of all the worlds. He is challenging his stepfather, the one who raised him. We notice a similar situation in the story of Abraham and his father? I have to check my relationships in my life. Am I able to challenge my father if he makes a suggestion which does not make sense to me (31: 15)? I have to respectfully disagree. I cannot blindly follow religion from anyone, I have to find my own religion and confirm it. I cannot inherit my father’s belief, I have to use my own criteria, and think about it with a sincere intention. When I am being told something, I should not react or take a negative attitude but assess it whether it makes sense or not and kindly disagree when it does not make sense.


وَقَالَ مُوسَىٰ يَـٰفِرْعَوْنُ إِنِّى رَسُولٌۭ مِّن رَّبِّ ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَ

7:104 Moses said, ‘O Pharaoh, I am a messenger from the Lord of all the worlds,

Moses is talking to his stepfather by saying “I am a messenger from the Lord of all the worlds”. He is inviting his stepfather to see who owns the universe, who is the source of the existence of the universe? Who is taking care of all the things here, the order that we see operating? 

We have to be careful in our relationships by not taking anything that my elders would tell me. I have to be impartial and see whether what is said makes sense.

Moses says that “I am not speaking from myself but from the Lord of all the worlds.” Who is the real owner of the land that I am in, I didn’t create the earth, the river, the water? The first message is to introduce to his stepfather the Lord of all the worlds. 


حَقِيقٌ عَلَىٰٓ أَن لَّآ أَقُولَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلْحَقَّ ۚ قَدْ جِئْتُكُم بِبَيِّنَةٍۢ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ فَأَرْسِلْ مَعِىَ بَنِىٓ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ

7:105 I have no right to say anything but the truth about God. Truly, I have come to you with an evident sign from your Lord. Let the children of Israel go with me.’

Prophet Moses is saying that “It is not my message but God’s message”, where God is described as the Lord of all the worlds. I have come to you with an evident sign from your Lord. I am introducing this but you have to face your Lord now. There is evident sign from “your” Lord, the one who gave existence to you when you were nothing. The universe is given existence by your Lord which is His clear sign. The evident sign, “Bayyinah” should not be abstract only but should have material demonstration. The Quran is “bayyinah”, speech with the support of physical demonstration in the form of the acts in the universe. I have to unite what the universe says and the speech of God. In the story of Moses, one aspect of the staff of Moses is the universe, its wood side, and the other aspect is the message of the Creator, the signs in the creation of the staff,  functioning at the same time. The message must be applicable to me now. At that time, the staff may have acted in a miraculous way but I have to transfer the message to my living conditions, i.e. see the signs in the universe which are miraculous. 

The phrase “Let the children of Israel go with me” means there should be no slavery, no cheating, no human exploitation anymore, no claiming superiority over anyone anymore. Everyone is free and you should let them enjoy that freedom.

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