By June 5, 2024 Read More →

Section Ya-Seen – Part 25

We will continue with the next few verses of Section Ya-Seen of the Qur’an. We last investigated verse 77 mentioning that man should question and realize that he was created from a single cell. We had discussed why human beings become fierce adversaries to their Creator, i.e. man openly challenges and becomes a fierce adversary to the Creator of the universe. We understood that unbelief entailed hostility to one’s reality of being created and thus leads to hostility towards their Creator. The next verse further delves into how this arrogance continues with arguing about resurrection.

وَضَرَبَ لَنَا مَثَلًۭا وَنَسِىَ خَلْقَهُۥ ۖ قَالَ مَن يُحْىِ ٱلْعِظَـٰمَ وَهِىَ رَمِيمٌۭ

36:78 Now, he argues about Us while he overlooks how he himself was created. He says, “Who will give life to decayed bones?”

This verse mentions that not only some of them argue against their Creator, but they also argue about the news of the message of the Qur’an that human beings will be recreated, that they will be brought back to life after death. The argument they bring is how will the dead bones be given life without thinking about how they themselves are created now. The Qur’an explains the reason why some people are doubtful and may deny resurrection because these people don’t think of their existence in this world as to how they were created. We will investigate two different concepts presented in this verse.

What can be the main reason for people not to believe in the reality of the hereafter or resurrection? If we pay attention to the verse, the answer is very clear and simple. Everyone can agree to the fact that the body decays, but how can I be convinced that someone can give life to the decayed body? Will this decayed body be given life again? The Qur’an indicates the question as strange by giving the reason that consider your own creation first, how were you created? They overlook how they were first created in the form of a body. Look into the present situation, how do you exist? The question about resurrection does not even apply if one does not understand their creation, their existence. Again, “how do you explain your creation in the first place?” The Qur’an reasons in the verse: “while he overlooks how he himself was created.”, and then he says, “Who will give life to decayed bones?” With these kinds of verses the Qur’an teaches us that we too have to reason in the same way and, if we want to share our belief, we have to give the physical examples from the already existing universe.

How do we define “death”? Death is when the physical body of a person does not function anymore. Life is no longer in the body which is ultimately subject to decay. However, the human spirit does not change. The spirit does not die and is what is subjected to Resurrection. We can take the spirit as created in the form of law which is not subject to change and death principles. As long as the spirit is preferred to exist, it keeps existing, having a potential that is immeasurable. The human body is subjected to death thus resurrection must be applicable to the body. 

The verse says that if someone does not question his creation, his existence right now, forgets his creation, he can easily deny resurrection. He will say that “I am losing my body and there is no way to get it back again” without thinking how his body came into existence in the first place. Existence is the most essential subject we must be clear and comfortable with. We must always remember existence in our personal and social life. What is the existence of my feelings, movement of matter, trees, life, feelings, consciousness etc. All the qualities that we see in the universe must first be questioned through their existence. Materialist people do not take notice of the source of existence, they don’t like to talk about it. They just present a superficial idea with technical language to fool the masses: “the things adjust themselves”. They can only defend their ideologies by not noticing the source of the existence of things. How could the orderly existence of the universe come into existence without a conscious choice? They try to explain the motion and the explosion of matter, the quality of choice within matter itself, by escaping the question of the source of existence as they have no answer. They can easily say “matter is acting in this way, life came into existence out of matter, life has inherent qualities to choose and adapt to its environment.” They claim that matter and energy have inherent qualities to them. In a recent AI (Artificial Intelligence) session with a popular tool, the question was posed: “Materialists claim that matter has inherent qualities. Where did matter inherit those qualities from? They are just claiming with no evidence demonstrating the source of existence of inherent qualities coming from matter itself.” There was no answer to the question, but the tool presented a statement politely by defending a materialistic worldview saying that “you are being unfair.They are trying hard to find out the explanation of their existence. Research is continuing.”

We must have noticed that even believers don’t emphasize the importance of existence when interpreting the universe. Some Christian scientists tried to challenge the materialistic ideology by questioning from the design perspective, not from the existential perspective. Although a good commendable effort they cannot go into existence as they have the concept that God created the universe in the beginning and set everything in motion. Only the Qur’an emphasizes on creation and existence where at every moment creation is renewed, i.e. the Absolute Being, takes care, maintains creation anew at every moment.

The verse uses the phrase “وَنَسِىَ خَلْقَهُۥ”, which can be translated as “overlooks his existence, how he was created”. Once we question our existence, only then we can talk about Resurrection. If someone pays attention to the fact that one needs to exist, matter needs to exist, then Resurrection becomes inevitable where the spirit needs a new body. When we understand that the source of existence is needed for whatever is happening in the universe, there is no way to explain this Existence Giver within the context of the universe. 

We must pay attention to the message of the Qur’an using “نَسِىَ خَلْقَهُۥ”, if they “overlook their existence”, only then can they deny Resurrection. Without questioning the source of existence, matter would exist by itself, matter develops itself, material body fails to keep its existence, and at the end death happens. In this understanding, Resurrection is not possible as matter couldn’t keep its existence. Thus, the question raised by disbelievers on who is going to give life to decayed bones, is only valid after ignoring the source of existence, i.e. there is no Creator to matter and their being. 

We must pay attention to creation in order to understand that we are given existence by an Existence Giver known as God. Only by accepting that God is the initiator of my every moment renewed existence, creator of my being, my life, then I would have no problem to understand that I would be recreated by the same Creator. My spirit needs a body, it is created with that need. My spirit does not exist by itself but comes from my Creator just like everything existing in the universe needs a Creator. As we studied, the spirit is not subject to death; whoever arranged the spirit in the body will take care of my spirit upon separation from this body. Thus, Resurrection is necessary. The Qur’an addresses these materialistic interpretations of existence prevalent during this time. 

A question we must ponder over: Do I really believe that I am going to die? How about my feelings that do not want to die? How do I reconcile them? My feelings come from my spirit that tells me that it doesn’t want to die. Whoever created me gave me these feelings of not wanting to die. While giving me this feeling, this Creator still gives death to my body and keeps renewing its existence yet another similar but not the same way. The spirit says that I don’t want to have a body that is subject to death. The one who creates the body puts that body subject to death. Is this setup useful or does it put us into trouble? Can we be happy to be created in this way? Only through death, my spirit acquires eternity. If there was no death, then my spirit will say: “I am happy. I am enjoying my existence as I am.” When I realize the reality of the death of my body, I would say: “Oh the One who gave my spirit the desire for permanent life, you must have some wisdom to give me this sense. I am coming to You, as I know that matter cannot do anything, only You can satisfy my need. You are very Wise; You want me to turn to You to let me know that I need You. That is why You gave me the sense to dislike death, illness, and being in need. However, You created me with a body that gets sick, gets old and is subjected to death so that I will never forget that You exist as my Existence Giver. You are my refuge. I cannot trust the whole universe that cannot give me life, give health. Only You and nothing else can do it. You are inviting me to be in contact with You. I cannot put my trust in anything, money, authority, fame, none of them can help me, none can save me, only You the Owner of the universe can save me. You are teaching me to be in connection with You, not to disdain myself to worship and expect anything from created beings. They are like me and are all subject to death. Other human beings, created beings are all subject to death. I can be happy only by understanding that I am perfectly created at every moment. We are not created to worship the created beings but to turn our worship, expectations, hopes to our Lord, the Creator of the universe and the human potential which encompasses the universe. That is the wisdom, benefit of being created with this contradictory position, desiring permanent satisfaction and facing death without reaching it. This is beautifully arranged by my Creator to search for an answer to this contradiction. I must be thankful to my Creator.

We don’t want to talk about death because existence is taken for granted. We are not aware of our existence. One may not see that they are an honorable guest of the Owner of the universe. Human honor is ignored. Everyone is aware how wrong it is to expect satisfaction from dead things. The rich, poor, dictators all die, what is the point in living at the end when it becomes zero. The secular or materialistically minded people are living in an imaginary world and are dragged into it.  I may deny my reality and expect the people around me to respect me rather than gaining the respect of my Lord. That is why we need to be grounded in belief, the most precious bounty for us. Without belief in God, life becomes a source of torture.

قُلْ يُحْيِيهَا ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنشَأَهَآ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍۢ ۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ خَلْقٍ عَلِيمٌ 

36:79 Say: “He who first brought them [bones] into being gives them life again: He has knowledge of every act of creation.

Do we think the argument in this verse satisfies everyone? The words “أَنشَأَهَا” (constructed) and “ كُلِّ خَلْقٍ ” (every act of creation) are used which is an interesting rhetoric of the Qur’an. The emphasis on bringing bones into being and giving them life is slightly different in meaning from “creating” them. The term “أَنشَأَهَا” indicates to build up. For example, by building an apartment complex which was not there before, the structure is now built. Similarly, the bones are now built up to give a structure as a being. The bones are not just given existence, but they are also given a structure, there is a formation into a certain shape of new existence, i.e. there is a new existence every moment from scratch. Creating is broad and general but the word “أَنشَأَهَا” draws our attention to the fact that they were constructed. I was in the form of a cell, created in a perfect construction and taken into the process of building up, by consciously and wisely changing its construction. Not only created but given a perfect form, given a structure. The One who first constructed the bones into beings is the One who gives life again, having knowledge of every act of creation, every stage of construction. He knows what He is doing by creating in a constructive way where specialty is needed at every stage such as an infant, a young person and then as an old man. We see the results in created forms. This is the way Qur’an argues by saying that one needs to first pay attention to their creation in a perfectly arranged way, being constructed then you will not find any difficulty in seeing that Resurrection will definitely happen; the spirit needs it. The One who creates my spirit, my body and then takes away my body will definitely create another body for my spirit. Otherwise, it would be a contradiction in Him being the Lord, Sustainer, Creator of the universe. It is impossible that I would not get a new body.

Does this argument satisfy everyone if they don’t deny or ignore creation? This can be satisfactory as long as one acknowledges their being created and structured into a form. Some of us may say that I do believe in God and Resurrection, but the news of death still frightens me. If I am told that I will die tomorrow, I would be worried, become pale, lose my appetite and energy. This happens due to the weakness of belief in creation, not necessarily my belief in God. I must realize that I am created, that is my reality. If I am created then there must be a Creator which is a corollary, a necessary conclusion.

We should notice the verse uses the term “يُحْيِيهَا”, translated as “Gives life to them [bones]”. This means that He knows what He is creating. The created beings definitely witness that their Creator knows what He is doing because every creation is taking place wisely as deliberate arrangement. Since He is the creator of my living body, He can definitely create another living body since that is needed for my spiritual side. 

Materialist people say that belief in the Hereafter and Resurrection is wishful thinking. They say it is somewhat of an imagination.  However, everyone is born with this need, every animal is created with this need. We can think about this need as intelligent beings who can think, I may learn from others. How about every animal, when they feel threatened, they run to save their lives. Did they learn from someone else, their environment, or were they made this way? None of the animals want to die, there is no exception. Materialist people have a biased idea about their reality just to deny the Creator of the universe and the Hereafter. If someone consciously denies their Creator, denies the Hereafter, they deserve Hell as they are not using their human qualities. Everyone is created with the ability to understand their reality, but they don’t want to use this ability and remain obstinate and arrogant.

These verses beautifully explain the reason for belief in Resurrection where everyone can easily understand. The reason for believing in Resurrection is not presented much by the Muslim public speakers. They mostly talk about the hereafter and being judged by God and getting ready for this Day of Judgement. We must appreciate the teachings of the Qur’an where it explains in a reasonable way this concept of belief in Resurrection. We must benefit from the teachings of the Qur’an to consolidate our belief based on evidence.


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