By March 26, 2024 Read More →

Section Ya-Seen – Part 15

Let us continue with our study of Section Ya-Seen of the Qur’an where we last investigated the situation of the people of Paradise. Before those verses, the Qur’an was mentioning the situation of those in Hell. The subject shifted from there to the position of the believers and we will see in the following verse the subject changes again. The Qur’an always presents the case in black and white terms to make things clear and not to confuse the minds of its readers. This is the reason why the Qur’an follows this way of presenting that allows ordinary human beings to learn the truth. 

The purpose of the Qur’an is to show the direction a human being should take in their living here. We can be aware of the truth based on the abilities that our Creator has given to us. Everyone has different levels of realizing the truth, of accepting or rejecting the truth. Everyone reacts in different ways; some are very strict about their religious responsibilities whereas there are some who are extremely adamant to accept the truth. Nowadays, most of the people are indifferent. There are some believers who don’t take religious responsibilities seriously, i.e. whenever they have the time to engage in something they partake in it. We can know and practice as much as we learn and hear. However, the levels are different for everyone. The Qur’an does not speak to a certain level but gives guidance using extreme levels of denial or of belief. This allows us to see clearly which path one needs to follow and the path we take will be at a certain level of either belief or denial.

After describing the situation of the people of Paradise, let’s examine the following verse:

وَٱمْتَـٰزُوا۟ ٱلْيَوْمَ أَيُّهَا ٱلْمُجْرِمُونَ

36:59 “But stand aside today, O you criminals.”

The word “مُجْرِمُونَ” indicates those who are committing a serious crime. This is one of the severest words used here in terms of the other bad actions. In the Arabic language there are many words for doing something wrong, but “مُجْرِمُونَ” translated as criminal is the severest crime that one can be committing. They might not have killed or harmed anyone so what crime do we think the Qur’an is mentioning in this verse that they might have committed?

One aspect is denying the prophetic message and the purpose in human existence. Another aspect is one may deny to worship God, the Creator of the universe. By rejecting their Creator, the Creator of the universe, what crime can one be committing in these matters? 

We find ourselves with many abilities, senses that we use in our everyday living but for what purpose? If something is telling me the truth and I deny it, wouldn’t that constitute a crime? I have all the evidence in my existence pointing to my Creator, and yet I may fall low by denying my Creator. I am insulting all the feelings, reasoning, intellect within me by reducing the precious evidence to meaningless things, everything is reduced to purposeless beings. For example, I may reduce a diamond to a piece of ordinary glass which is an insult to the value of the diamond.

To expand this further, by denying my spiritual side that looks for meaning, I am insulting everything in the universe. I am denying their rights as they are evidence pointing to their Creator. The Qur’an mentions by using the word “تسبيح” as the announcements that every being is making which point to the Absolute qualities of their Creator. I am given the free will to either confirm or deny the truth. For example, a person is suffering from some illness and the Doctor gives a prescription that cures this illness. If this person rejects that prescription and rips it apart, isn’t that an insult to the Doctor? The Doctor is trying to help, wouldn’t he feel offended? 

When one denies the Creator of the universe, they are denying the value of all the beings in the universe, the meaning manifested in all the beings. We understand that beings in the universe are represented by angels as conscious beings. All the angels carry the message of their Creator, presenting them in a created form to conscious human beings. How can I deny their meaning and regard them as meaningless beings? How can I say that they are “naturally” happening? 

The denial of God extends to insulting the rights of every single being in their existence. That is the reason that whoever does this is a criminal, or “مجرم” in the words of the Qur’an. For example, by killing a man, one denies that man’s right to live in this world, doesn’t see them as deserving to live. A denier of God turns the whole universe into a dead body by claiming that they don’t deserve to have a meaningful existence. They are seen as dead beings. The beings are not seen as announcing the qualities of their Creator, as signs that point to their Creator but seen as dead matter. Isn’t this a big crime?

Another question that one can ponder over is the phrase “وَٱمْتَـٰزُوا۟ ”, translated as “stand aside”. Why does the Qur’an describe the Hereafter as the day of separation? The groups of people are mixed together and are told to stand aside as separate groups. For example, a group of people are in a room and the facilitator mentions those holding college degrees to be on one side which is how the separation is made. The Qur’an describes the Hereafter by mentioning separation about 6 times: 

هَـٰذَا يَوْمُ ٱلْفَصْلِ ۖ جَمَعْنَـٰكُمْ وَٱلْأَوَّلِينَ
“This is the Day of separating the truth from falsehood.  We have gathered you and earlier generations.” (77:38)

The people of Paradise and Hell are compared by contrast clearly in black and white terms. One group is 100 percent white, and the other is 100 percent black, there is nothing in between. This is how the Qur’an describes the complete separation of the truth from falsehood. We must pay attention to the message of the Qur’an, learn from it, and live accordingly. In our practical lives, there are levels and degrees among individuals, one cannot be 100 percent white (confirmation of the truth, pure) or black (denier of the truth, corrupted) in black and white terms. 

The prophets are exceptions to this as they are pure, preserved from being polluted. They are on a special mission to present the guidance of God. They must not have any shade of impurity in them as they are chosen by God for an important mission. God cleans any shades to make it 100% pure. For example, there are quite a few verses in the Qur’an mentioning that the prophet has done this way whereas it should have been done another way. This must not be understood as the “ sinning” of the prophet but a mistake which one was unaware of because he was not informed by God, there was no regulations about it. In the case of the prophets, God corrects his mistakes for us to learn how we should correct our mistakes.

Sinning means deliberately choosing and acting against the truth. For example, God asks the believers to pray, and I choose not to pray. When I learn from the Qur’an and the prophetic teachings, know the truth and act against it, that is sinning. However, if someone may be newly introduced to Islam and does not know about some of the requirements, for example, ritualistic prayers  and he is not praying, he is not sinning. They are responsible once they learn the truth. We must be careful in reading the Qur’an and take the mention of sinning applying to me when I don’t follow the truthful path. When the prophets are corrected by God, they follow that correct way. This is an example set for me where if I do something wrong by mistake, I must seek forgiveness and never do it again.

أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ يَـٰبَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ أَن لَّا تَعْبُدُوا۟ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنَ ۖ إِنَّهُۥ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّۭ مُّبِينٌۭ

36:60 “Children of Adam, did I not make a covenant with you not to worship Satan, who is clearly your enemy,”

The verse uses the term “عْهَدْ” translated as covenant. What is that covenant and do I remember signing a contract with my Creator? Since I do not remember signing any contract with God, what is this verse telling me then? A contract is commonly understood as an agreement between two parties. For example, I sign a contract to pay a certain amount for the service someone does for me. Paying on time is to uphold the contract and fulfill the obligations of the contract. However, what is this contract that the Qur’an is mentioning which is referenced in quite a few verses? This contract is mentioned in the sections referencing the Children of Israel. Many scholars mention that God made a covenant between Him and the Children of Israel. We must understand that all those examples are for the readers and followers of the Qur’an and must be applicable to us. The Children of Israel don’t read the Qur’an in general. I must keep my covenant with my Lord.

I must realize that I am a created being just like the rest of the universe and have a Lord. My conclusion is that there is no deity worthy of worship but my Lord (لا إله إلا الله), who is the Lord of the universe. This should lead me to worship my Lord. What makes me a human being is my spirit. If there was no spirit, then I would only be “mindless matter.” The spirit is given to me by my Creator with the capacity to get to know Him. The spirit allows me to have the potential where I am entered into a contract with my Lord on how I will be using the tools and abilities given to me. The contract is active when I am given a spirit which consists of intelligence, conscience, feelings, etc. which allow me to easily realize the truth. 

There is an element of the spirit which is free will that I use to choose. I can choose to keep the contract between myself and the Creator of my spirit by using the tools to get to know my Creator. This spirit within me comfortably understands that “لا إله إلا الله” is correct. I have another option for my free will to choose to ignore reality. Those who break their covenant with God reduce the human being to a living, speaking, social animal. They deny the spirit and say that they have a mind which develops by itself. To deny the spirit relates to the earlier verse regarding criminals which leads to breaking their covenant with God. 

Human senses such as the sense of love is a covenant within me to understand that my Creator is a loving Creator, the sense of justice to understand that my Creator is a Just Creator. This is how my contract with my Lord must work. I must acknowledge my Creator using the abilities given to me. For example, in our prayers we mention that “You alone do we worship and from You alone do we seek help”. By realizing that, I am also keeping my covenant with my Lord.

The covenant is used to worship God only and not anything else such as Satan. I can clearly understand that Satan represents any option that advocates anything which does not have any reality to break the contract with my Lord. Satan encourages to own all those qualities that are given to me by my Creator and break my contract with Him. 

The phrase “لَّا تَعْبُدُوا۟ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنَ” is translated as “not to worship Satan”. What does worshiping Satan mean? I am given free will to either uphold the contract or break the contract with my Lord. I can break the contract by denying my spiritual side which is given to me to communicate with my Creator. If I uphold the contract with my Creator, then this is called worship and if I ignore the contract then that is being a criminal. 

The last phrase is “ِ إِنَّهُۥ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّۭ مُّبِينٌۭ” translated as “(Satan) is clearly your enemy”. Do I experience Satan being my enemy? We know that we have free will with the option to obey the terms of the contract with my Lord or choose to break that contract. I must be careful not to be carried away by Satanic ideas which are prevalent. Living beings cannot be results of the actions or choices of unconscious matter that does not have free will to choose. We are given free will to either accept or reject such fallacy. For example, the covenant asks me to pray to God alone. I must be careful with the Satanic whispering which says, “you are sleepy, tired, busy with other things”.  We have the free will to reject these whisperings and hold tight to our contract with God. 

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