By October 1, 2023 Read More →

Section Al A’raf – Part 64

We will go over the last few verses of section Araf (Cognizant). In the last verse we studied to forgive the disbelievers, not compete with them but to enjoin kindness.  We should also stay away from the ignorant (fools) in the sense that careless, mindless people who do not know what they are doing in this world and do not want to listen to the message.

Let’s continue with the following verse:

وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنِ نَزْغٌۭ فَٱسْتَعِذْ بِٱللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

7:200 If you are tempted by Satan, then seek refuge with God. Surely, He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing

The word “ نَزْغٌۭ ” translated as “temptation” means to be deluded to the wrong side, deviating away from the truth. When that temptation happens, I must seek refuge with God with the understanding that He is always with me, hears me, knows me as He is the One who creates me, is giving me existence. He is the One who will create the result of my choices and attitudes that I have taken. He must know what He is doing in this universe, what will be created tomorrow as from my perspective, I do not know what will be created for me tomorrow. 

Whenever we attempt to do something right, an alternative is also presented which is inevitable at the same time. An example for the alternative is: I can say something harshly which is not soft and kind. I have the option of choosing one over the other. No one can say that Satan doesn’t touch me; getting the temptation from Satan is very human. Another example, when we are attempting to study the Quran, thoughts may start coming to divert me away into all directions. Thoughts may come that “oh look, I am studying the word of God, I am so good”. According to the Quran, such thoughts that tempt me into doing something wrong are satanic whereas anything good is an inspiration. We are given the options to choose between right and wrong, there are always alternatives. 

What is the solution when the verse says to seek refuge with God? Is it like saying “please God, protect me from the wrong, protect me from the harm”. Even when I ask for protection, it doesn’t happen, harm may still come. In practical terms, it doesn’t mean just to use the verbal form of seeking protection but my mind and feelings should bring the belief in God as Him being my Creator and that of the universe. I don’t see Him doing His acts in physical terms, but it is my conclusion upon investigating the acts in the universe where I have to remember God as the Lord of the universe. There is only one way of referring to the existence of the universe which is to its Source of Existence. 

In order to seek refuge with God, I would have to define God for myself, i.e. God being my Lord and the Lord of the universe. The universe is referring to the source of its existence, i.e. God. This Creator gave me the sense of questioning things and falling into doubt which is human. When it comes to my mind, I would reflect on “la ilaha illallah” seeing if the thing in the universe has any quality to be the way it is. God has made me to inquire what is going on in the universe. He must answer my questions. For example, in reading the Quran, if something doesn’t make sense I will question and think about it by remembering that “I am reading the Word of God whose attributes are all Absolute. I am not reading a “person’s” statement, thus, I will think about the verse I am reading in terms of His Absolute capacity. Then I will see that the verse makes sense now. That is why we are advised by the Qur’an that when we intend to read the Qur’an we should seek refuge with God first. That means remember that God is speaking with His Absolute Knowledge, and I have to reflect on the verse according to the capacity of the Speaker. If I am reading a law book written by an author who is a lawyer, of course I cannot read it as if it is written by a mechanic. That is why we are asked to seek refuge with God before even starting reading the Qur’an by remembering the capacity of the Author. After remembering the Absolute Knowledge of the Author of the Qur’an, if it makes sense to me I will continue with my understanding as  much as I can. That may be the reason for those who read the Qur’an having an already accepted idea that it is written by a person who introduced it to us, namely, Muhammad, that they find it strange and unacceptable, just because it talks about things that a person cannot have anything to say about or it would sound as if just personal speculations. 

The necessity of belief in an Absolute Being disqualifies all other alternatives. Whatever comes to my mind as an alternative apart from the Creator of this universe has to be a part of this universe. None of the parts of the universe can get out of His Will, i.e. All the parts of the universe must be subject to His Will. Any idea that tries to delude us would be disqualified if I remember the fundamental belief in the necessary existence of the Creator. Whatever alternative comes, I would realize that they are just baseless, non-existent suggestions. For example, I should question what is “accident,” or what is “nature?” There is no sign of “nature” in the universe acting independently according to its choice. It is just a “name” people invented to attribute the existence of the universe to this notion which does not have any existence of itself. All of these alternate ideas apart from the Creator of the universe do not exist. The whole universe is full of signs pointing to its Creator. For example, in reading a book, it is crazy to think that the meaning in the book is coming from the ink, imagining that its “nature” is producing the result of information, found in the “nature” of the letters. Belief and confirmation of the Creator of the universe makes all the other alternatives as non-existence. Anything that comes to our mind such as this is good for my prosperity, good for my health, they are not the source but are arranged by my Lord. Whatever medicines that I may be taking for my cure are given the qualities to be a means of health for me and all this is arranged by following God’s work, including the researchers who are investigating His work, whether they admit it or not. 

A practical example is to wake up for morning prayers (fajr) where sleep will look very sweet and the satanic whispering comes to me, to tell me sleep is so sweet and not to wake up, stand in front of my Lord, to thank my Creator for welcoming me into this new world. The other alternative to the prayer is to sleep which is a satanic whispering. Which one should I prefer where one of them has no reality at all. Although it may seem that my feelings are real and inclining me to sleep but it is just my laziness, no real reason to follow this alternative which would keep me away from what I am created for. Stand in front of my Lord who is my Creator, the Owner of my body, Owner of my sleep, Owner of my life, Owner of the day that is coming up. I have to present my gratitude to God, thank him for this creation, to keep me protected on the beautiful day that is starting for me, which I am getting ready to experience. If I remember that the Owner of my body is asking me to wake up, no one should stop me.  If I am not able to wake up then I do not know what God means to me, I would be having a weak definition of God which I need to watch out for. If I have the correct definition of God, that is when I will be able to seek protection from Him. However, we can sleep after thanking the Creator of sleep, or organizing our sleeping time in such a way that it should be easy for us to wake up for worship of God, e.g. going to sleep early if possible.

Another practical example is if I have to take an international flight and set the alarm clock for early in the morning at 5 AM. I have already paid for the ticket, prepared for it by having my luggage ready the night before and went to bed early to be able to wake up early. All the preparations I did are nothing but prayers to my Lord and were answered. This can be seen as the analogy for our early morning prayers. Do I think the rights of the Creator of the universe is not worth waking up for when I can wake up for a flight? I have to be aware of my Owner on a firm basis when I am saying “oh God, please help me, save me from harm”. 


إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّقَوْا۟ إِذَا مَسَّهُمْ طَـٰٓئِفٌۭ مِّنَ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنِ تَذَكَّرُوا۟ فَإِذَا هُم مُّبْصِرُونَ

7:201 Those who are conscious of God when an evil thought from Satan touches, reflect on its reality and remember Him, then immediately they begin to see [things] clearly.

Seeking refuge with God means to remember Him, the Lord of the universe, i.e. those who are conscious of God. When I remember Him, I start to see things clearly. The word “تَذَكَّرُوا۟  ” translated as “reflect on its reality and remember Him” has two meanings where one is through the tongue, and the other is to reflect and remember Him through the mind and feelings. Belief in God must first be assimilated as an intellectual activity, a perception and then the feelings come in. Reasoning and the heart/feelings accompany each other to see the reality that this universe must have a Creator.  Just like I go through stages in school, I go through stages in my “Reflection on creation and remembrance of Him” which goes through my tongue to my human feelings throughout my life. I should analyze my life with the sense of love, dislike, fear, hatred, hopes, compassion, etc. and see whether I am satisfied with my understanding of the Lord of the Universe, that these senses are coming from Him. Does “la ilaha illa Allah” provide me with a cure for my fears? One has to go through this process of reflection. If someone doesn’t go through this process then the remembrance of God may not work with the results for him by just saying with the tongue.  

With remembering Him, one starts to see things clearly. The word used is “مُّبْصِرُونَ” which is translated as “seeing clearly”. It is not only to see by the eyes but with human insight, i.e. all the human qualities including the reasoning and feelings which is what reflection is supposed to be. 


وَإِخْوَٰنُهُمْ يَمُدُّونَهُمْ فِى ٱلْغَىِّ ثُمَّ لَا يُقْصِرُونَ

7:202 even though their [disbelieving] brothers would like to draw them ever further into error, and then they do not cease [doing so].

The construction of this phrase “إِخْوَٰنُهُمْ ” translated as “their brothers” is used with “disbelieving brothers”. The word brother is generally understood as biologically coming from the same parents, they only  inherit the property of their parents. One aspect of the brothers is in terms of “believing brothers”, that is when people share their belief, they are referred to as brothers, as they are also created beings like myself with ties to the same Creator. This “brother” concept can be extended to the rest of creation where I see that all of creation is a result of His acts of creation. They are also my brothers as created beings, i.e. I am also the brother of the tomato as we are made by the same Creator. The brothers having the same point of reference as their Absolute Source of existence are referred to as “Ikhwan u kainat”. This understanding of brotherhood is the foundation of environmental consciousness. For example, if I waste a tomato I am expected to feel that I have killed my “brother” for no reason. When I eat it in order to benefit from it, that will be a mutual cooperation between “brothers” because the tomato is created to serve me and when I benefit from it I will be fulfilling its purpose of creation. Both sides become beneficiaries. In the context of “disbelieving brothers”, the verse hints at the satanic ideas and people referred to as “Ikhwan u shaiyatin” (brothers of Satan.) All the elements working with Satan, all doubts, alternative ideas, non-existent imaginations attack us from all sides, where we may fall into error. That is their duty to invent an excuse and offer it to us to justify our error. For example, the false idea may come where I may think that “you don’t need to ask for forgiveness because you have no sin, you are perfectly doing your duties”.

The phrase “يَمُدُّونَهُمْ فِى ٱلْغَىِّ” translated as “draw them further into error” can be understood as follows: If one lives with the understanding that there must be a Creator of the universe but at the same time gives a small possibility to natural forces having some sort of effect. For example, the cells are made by God in such a way that they are acting by themselves. When I eat food, which goes into the stomach that is created by God, one may think “but the stomach is acting by itself”, i.e. functioning independently as if the stomach’s Creator has left it alone and is not dealing with it anymore. This gives the possibility of being drawn further into error. One may continue this understanding by saying that the tree is giving the fruit, the earth is rotating and revolving by itself, and the list goes on. Later on, one may forget God altogether and see nature and the universe as doing all the favors for me as a result of natural laws. If I can explain things in this way then why would I need God anymore. That is what we may hear: “I can explain the things within the order of the universe using natural laws, why would I need God as I can explain the functioning of the things”. However, the one who made all the things has set them to function according to His order which is the result of being created in this way. The order is nothing but our perception of how the things are perfectly created by a Conscious Being. The order does not have any real existence from itself. What does not exist in itself cannot be the source of existence of another thing or of themselves. The fundamental elements of the universe, namely, particles have no consciousness or feelings so that they will decide about anything, they are just bound to follow the way they are created. This goes with the concept of “natural laws” which is again used by us to describe how we see the universe is created in such a perfect order, so that we are communicating with it with no confusion. We know that if I do something the expected result will be according to the way the universe is created. 

An example is when I study the computer and learn how the pieces work. Does that qualify that there is no engineer of the computer? I learnt how the computer functions as it was organized, arranged by “the engineer” of the computer. The computer is an analogy for the universe. Anything that is within the universe and we see it as working perfectly is because it has been made in that way by its Creator. The engineer of the computer makes the computer and leaves it as it is whereas the universe is completely being renewed at every moment. When we look at the existence of a tree, how it goes from its sampling stage to a huge tree over several years declaring the manifestations of its Maker. The tree is being taken care of meticulously, renewed in its existence at every moment of its life span. At the end when the tree leaves this exhibition hall of the universe, it has many seeds that are growing declaring the awesomeness of their Maker at every stage of their existence. These are all miracles in the universe demonstrating to us the qualities of their Maker that convinces us that He has left no gap, no crack or discordance in the order of creation. With all of this evidence, there is no way to fall into the satanic brothers’ whisperings.

The phrase “لَا يُقْصِرُونَ” is translated as “they do not cease [doing so]. Whenever I say a statement that is correct, immediately this right statement is accompanied by alternative options which are non-existent, which are referred to as the satanic brothers’ whisperings.


وَإِذَا لَمْ تَأْتِهِم بِـَٔايَةٍۢ قَالُوا۟ لَوْلَا ٱجْتَبَيْتَهَا ۚ قُلْ إِنَّمَآ أَتَّبِعُ مَا يُوحَىٰٓ إِلَىَّ مِن رَّبِّى ۚ هَـٰذَا بَصَآئِرُ مِن رَّبِّكُمْ وَهُدًۭى وَرَحْمَةٌۭ لِّقَوْمٍۢ يُؤْمِنُونَ

7:203 When you do not produce a miraculous sign for them, some [people] will say, “Why do you not choose something [make it up]? Say, “I only follow whatever is being revealed to me from my Lord. This [revelation] is an insight from your Lord and a guidance and grace onto people who [are willing to] believe.

The word “ايَةٍۢ” is translated as “a miraculous sign” is used in many places in the Quran and has three meanings referring to the verses of the Qur’an, to creation and to the miraculous events of the prophets. The phrase “قَالُوا۟ لَوْلَا ٱجْتَبَيْتَهَا” translated as “They say, why do you not choose something [make it up]” which means to basically come up with something, just make up something. The phrase “أَتَّبِعُ مَا يُوحَىٰٓ إِلَىَّ مِن رَّبِّى ۚ” translated as “I only follow whatever is being revealed to me from my Lord”, i.e. I cannot do anything or say anything but follow what has been revealed to me and that is what I follow. I cannot make up a sentence which doesn’t have the quality of coming from God, being eternal that never changes. Whatever I say today can be modified in the following days, there is no permanence in it. In creation, I cannot give existence to anything, I only use what has already been created. Coming up with miracles is also not up to me but it is up to my Creator possessing Absolute qualities, who is the One that established the order of the universe and only He can change it.

The phrase “هَـٰذَا بَصَآئِرُ” translated as “an insight” referring to what has been revealed from your Lord. The one who created you has given insight to you, where you can comfortably understand it, absorb it, digest it in your mind and feelings, i.e. be fully satisfied if you use your human qualities. If I use my human qualities with the revelation from my Lord, I will be guided in the best way possible. My human qualities and feelings will take me to connect with my Lord. He is the One who created my feelings, I can grasp and understand this, be completely satisfied and not feel contradicted in my existence.

The word “يُؤْمِنُونَ” is translated as “those who [are willing to] believe”. The form of the word indicates that it is continuous, i.e. believe and continue to believe. I have to keep the intention of being a believer continuously, not just being satisfied temporarily. As long as I search for it, I will be satisfied and continue to believe.


وَإِذَا قُرِئَ ٱلْقُرْءَانُ فَٱسْتَمِعُوا۟ لَهُۥ وَأَنصِتُوا۟ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

7:204 When the Quran is recited, listen to it attentively and quietly, so you may receive mercy.

To paraphrase this verse, when God speaks to me, pay attention to what He says. The word “ٱسْتَمِعُ” means to carefully see that it is my Creator who is speaking to me. I should question who is speaking to me. To be quiet using the word “وَأَنصِتُو” means to think about the matter, don’t come up with alternate ideas from material scientists’ explanations for example. Did I investigate their ideas and do they stand any ground to be the truth? If one is satisfied with their deceptive answers which are based on imaginary concepts such as “nature” then they don’t have to look for an answer in the Quran.

Try to understand what it says first. Evaluate whether it makes sense or not. There must be a criterion to decide whether it makes sense or not. The alternatives are assumptions and speculations such as “things are acting” by themselves. The things are following the order in which they are given existence. Ask them: “Is there anything accidently working? Why do you work in a lab and look for the order in what you are investigating? The fact that you are looking for an order shows that nothing is happening accidentally. Please don’t come up with unsubstantiated ideas. “

The word “وَأَنصِتُو” is translated as to “keep quiet” which is very important not to come up with alternate baseless and unsubstantiated assumptions.

وَٱذْكُر رَّبَّكَ فِى نَفْسِكَ تَضَرُّعًۭا وَخِيفَةًۭ وَدُونَ ٱلْجَهْرِ مِنَ ٱلْقَوْلِ بِٱلْغُدُوِّ وَٱلْـَٔاصَالِ وَلَا تَكُن مِّنَ ٱلْغَـٰفِلِينَ

7:205 Remember your Lord deep in your soul with humility (beseeching/humbly) and awe, and without raising your voice in the morning and in the evening, and do not be one of the heedless. 

When I am paying attention to the message of my Creator, rejecting the satanic whisperings, is the opportune time that I can sit comfortably and with confidence with the presence of my Lord. There is no need to shout, feel the satisfaction within myself anytime. Take the reality into myself and digest it. The phrase “تَضَرُّعًۭا وَخِيفَةًۭ” is translated as “with humility and awe”. The awe is where I realize: “Oh God, I cannot really imagine You, I cannot liken You to anything, I can only say You are Absolute. The word “ضَرُّعًۭا” (humility) is when I feel: “I know everything is in Your Hand, created by You. What I need can only be provided by You. I have nothing and no one to hold on to in this world. I have nothing to trust in this world, neither my parents, the property, the wealth, the job, state, the children and the great wealthy people who are all temporary. I always depend on You and trust in You. Only You can satisfy my feelings for eternal happiness”. Anytime I interact with any part of this world, say a bird, always remember Him as His qualities are manifested in the existence of the bird, in your memory and feelings to be always with God, not be one of the “ٱلْغَـٰفِلِينَ”, i.e. heedless. 


إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ عِندَ رَبِّكَ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِهِۦ وَيُسَبِّحُونَهُۥ وَلَهُۥ يَسْجُدُونَ ۩

7:206 Those who are in the presence of your Lord are never too proud to worship Him. They praise His limitless glory and prostrate themselves before Him alone.

The phrase “إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ عِندَ رَبِّكَ” is translated as “those who are in the presence of your Lord” is to feel serenity, be in security with your Lord. I have to be with my God in my feelings, i.e. feel to be in peace with Him. We are always in His presence because as long as we are in this world, we experience His work and we are His guests, He is taking care of our needs. We only need to go and grab them by picking them up from the branches of the trees for example. We should not confuse the difficulties we are experiencing here in our present day life mixed up with many artificial needs and caprices that we have to work hard to obtain. Don’t bother thinking that whatever I am doing will be lost in the end, don’t despair; always be in the presence of your Absolute Lord, your being belongs to Him, He brought you into existence in this world and He will take care of your future. Those who are in His presence are never too proud to worship Him, i.e. they never forget that they are created beings. If I am always in the presence of my Lord, realize that I am His creature, keep Him in my mind and feelings wherever I am then I would never feel too proud to be in my worshiping state of mind. It should not be like when I need Him, then I would need to call upon Him as I am saying  “O my God, I need you now”, i.e. remembering God when I need something only. On the contrary, I am an “abd” worshiper of my Creator as long as I am given existence; I must always keep my Creator in my mind. 

The word “يُسَبِّحُونَهُ” is translated as “they praise His limitless glory”. This does not mean to simply go over the rosary, counting beads and speak out words of glorification. Just look at yourself and the universe around you and you will see what a wonderful creation is out there for me to reflect on. See whose work it is and glorify Him. A conscious believer always looks for the opportunity to glorify Him. 

The phrase “وَلَهُۥ يَسْجُدُونَ” is translated as “prostrate themselves before Him alone” which means to prostrate yourself before Him, i.e. humble myself before Him. I should admit that I am “la ilaha”, i.e. I cannot create anything. For example, in my prayers facing the Kaaba which represents God’s Oneness, Absoluteness where nothing can represent God, I declare that only through “la ilaha” can I represent God as “illallah”. When someone asks who God is? I say “la ilaha”, nothing of this universe can represent God. My existence represents “la ilaha”, I am not the creator of myself. When I bow in my “ruku”, I am declaring again “la ilaha”, that I am nothing like You. It is Your Greatness and I have nothing in comparison to You. In my prostration I am again declaring “I can only describe You by demonstrating in this position that I can claim nothing of my existence, it only belongs to You. That is how I can describe You, O my Lord! My prostration represents ‘la ilaha.’ You are ‘illallah’”

When I am bowing, I should turn myself to the Lord (illallah). I should declare that “I am nothing when it comes to You, my Lord and to this I prostrate”. We are representing the worshipful attitude of the whole universe in our prostration. The whole universe, the parts such as stars and galaxies are all like me, they are “la ilaha” where they declare that they are also not created by any part of this universe, but You who is the Creator and Owner of the entire universe. I am representing all of them in my consciousness that we are nothing as compared to You, “la ilaha”. I am prostrating on behalf of all of them where everything in the universe is like me. All of my life in the world must be the declaration of “la ilaha” and my prostrating to “illallah”.

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