We will continue with our study of Section Ya-Seen of the Qur’an from where we left off. We can notice that the message is being presented to us within the context of a story which I must relate to my being. Knowing the story by itself does not really help me. Many scholars have speculated a lot of details in interpreting the story mostly under the influence of Jewish scholar’s (Isra’iliyyat) narration of the stories. We will concentrate on the teachings of the Qur’an as they relate to me, how I can improve my living with the message confidently.
Let’s continue with the following verse:
يَـٰحَسْرَةً عَلَى ٱلْعِبَادِ ۚ مَا يَأْتِيهِم مِّن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا كَانُوا۟ بِهِۦ يَسْتَهْزِءُونَ
36:30 Oh sorrow upon such humans who are created to worship God alone! No messenger comes to them, but they ridicule him.
The word “يَـٰحَسْرَةً” is translated as “Oh sorrow” as one would express using “what a pity” in terms of feeling sorry for something. It is unfortunate what humans are doing, they are created to worship God alone. The word “عِبَادِ” is translated in many ways, sometimes as slaves, mostly as servants but serving what? The translation above clarifies the meaning of the word as “humans who are created to worship God alone”. The word “عِبَادِ” has something to do with worship, i.e. being the one who performs worship which applies to all created beings. However, within the context of this verse, it is addressing human beings. Generally, the Qur’an employs the word “عِبَادِ” referring to every single being of the universe as they are created to worship God. The gist of worshiping God is to acknowledge who my Creator is. Within their own capacity, the creatures present their acknowledgment in different ways. For example, the Qur’an mentions about the worship of the birds with the word “صَلَاتَهُ ” mentioning that they pray within their own capacity.
أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُۥ مَن فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ وَٱلطَّيْرُ صَـٰٓفَّـٰتٍ كُلٌّ قَدْ
عَلِمَ صَلَاتَهُۥ وَتَسْبِيحَهُۥ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌۢ بِمَا يَفْعَلُونَ
“Do you not see that all those who are in the heavens and earth praise God, even the birds as they spread out their wings? Each knows its own way of prayer and glorification: God has full knowledge of what they do.” (24: 41)
I must look at the universe and see the examples where all the beings demonstrate prayer within their capacity. For example, sheep, trees and stars have their prayers. How do they pray? By declaring the glorious qualities of their Creator in their beings. Every being glorifies the qualities of their Creator in the way that they are created.
Human beings also glorify the qualities of their Creator in the way that they are created. As far as the worship of my body is concerned, it is not based on my choice. My body worships God like the rest of beings in the universe such as a bird’s worship. Their coming into being is how creation is realized. I must take notice of this worship by studying creation. I must also see how my body declares the glorious qualities of its Creator in the way it exists and functions.
A major aspect of human beings is the ability to choose. They are given free will through which they are expected to use their human qualities. These qualities are not of the type of physical being like the body. In their own existence, human qualities declare their existence. We are using them daily and thus cannot deny their existence. If we think about it, creation is amazingly wonderful where I have an immaterial side which I am sure exists, but I cannot show its existence materially. When it comes to the universe, I must see the spirit of beings which is the way they exist declaring the qualities of their Creator. As far as human beings with free will are concerned, we must declare our worship according to our given capacity. Human worship must be declared according to what God has taught to his appointed messengers who are our teachers to train human beings on how to practice this worship using the given free will. There are multiple ways to perform our worship such as not telling a lie, being kind and not arrogant, praying 5 times a day, fasting, giving to charity, all of these we are aware of.
Those human beings who did not take the opportunity to receive the message that the messengers brought to them. By dismissing their messages essentially they eliminate messengers from their lives, this is a way of killing the messengers who begged them as we saw in the earlier verses: How can I not worship your Lord. Can I have any other being to be the source of my existence, as the provider of my needs? Is it possible to worship anything other than Him alone? Nowadays how do people kill the prophet? By ignoring the prophet and his message where the historical messenger himself no longer exists but his message always exists. However, by ignoring the message, they kill the messenger as far as their responsibilities are concerned. We must be careful not to kill the prophets by ignoring their message. When we kill the messenger, in fact, we kill our spirit and start living only with our body ignoring the capacity of the needs of our human qualities.
The phrase “مَا يَأْتِيهِم مِّن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا كَانُوا۟ بِهِۦ يَسْتَهْزِءُونَ” translated as “No messenger comes to them, but they ridicule him.” The attitude of taking the prophet as an ordinary man speaking strange things, implying that he has some problems in him. They don’t come up with a substantial response to the message of the prophets, any reason to reject the message of the prophets. They make up accusations and fabrications. Nowadays, people claim that they have a substantial response to the prophets. We unfortunately swallow this and use their vocabulary in our daily life. They keep using and propagating on every occasion to kill the effects of the prophetic message. How do they do it? By using phrases in daily life such as “Natural laws, Random development, chance, accident, happens to be like this,” they insult the message and thus the messenger. In a way they say that the messenger is a liar, obsessed by a strange being, a poet expressing his emotions and ideas that have no reality. These vocabularies that the material scientists use attack the message of the prophets. It is no longer the philosophers who are effective but the material scientists who oppose the message of the prophets. They have become the authority in our social life, normalizing for the masses many of their interpretations. For example, if you are teaching somewhere and are impartial in your interpretation, they will accuse you for not speaking openly about their dominant ideas. They normalize their vicious interpretations to others and feel comfortable in society doing all sorts of shameful activities in public. They publicize and impose their shameful ideas on other people to accept them. This aggressive practice of strange baseless ideas has shaped the structure of the current civilization which we must watch out for.
أَلَمْ يَرَوْا۟ كَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا قَبْلَهُم مِّنَ ٱلْقُرُونِ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهِمْ لَا يَرْجِعُونَ
36:31 Have the deniers not considered how many peoples We destroyed before them who never came back to life again?
Generally, people mention that those deniers of the prophetic message were destroyed historically by disasters, floods and epidemic illnesses. The Qur’an describes the events literally in this way. How about in my day and age with much more aggressive vice prevalent by the interpretation of material scientists? We can understand that acting in contradiction to oneself will result in psychological disturbance, they must feel the spiritual pain within themselves. We don’t see this disturbance physically, nor do we see any physical destruction happening to them. What we know through history and observation is that, when the general public with very few exceptions try to prevent the messengers from spreading their messages, many generations have been destroyed, faced death. We can take lessons from them. Generations have gone and have not come back to this world.
The subject of this verse is that of denial where we can see how the deniers overcome their feelings by denying the punishment after their death. If I define my existence as bodily only and then think about death, wouldn’t it be easy to overcome the stress of death? This is the only life we have according to the term “YOLO” standing for you only live once. Some material philosophers say that we are going to die but would not feel pain. Why? When I die, it’s the end of life as they only see themselves as the body and deny the concept of their spirit which represents their human consciousness and feelings.
When life is taken out of the body, when it becomes dysfunctional, the spirit cannot use this body anymore. My Creator separates the spirit out of my body. For example, the law of freezing is operating on water. When there is no freezing atmosphere or water anymore can the law of freezing operate? No, it needs water to be in the freezing atmosphere to operate. This is all arranged within the order of the universe and is observable. Similarly, my spirit is also subject to the law or in the terminology of the Qur’an “أَمْرٌ”, principle, command or law of God. When it is separated out of the body it remains as an “أَمْرٌ” (law-like state of existence). The body can no longer operate and remains as a mass of matter only without spirit and life. The deniers of the message say that on death they disappear from existence and do not feel anything. For example, if someone cuts a dead body, would the dead body feel anything without life and spirit? I must be careful about how I define myself. However I define myself, I will be treated accordingly. If I reduce myself to body only then God will treat me accordingly as body only where the spirit would be left with no satisfaction. The Qur’an informs us of the next creation where the spirits are given new bodies and the spirit of the denier will yearn for satisfaction but the body will experience only the lack of it. The spirit of a denier will receive the lack of satisfaction according to the level of his obstinacy in denial. On the other hand, the spirit of believers will be given bodies which will be able to function and receive the satisfaction of the rewards according to the level of his confirmation of belief and acting on it.
There is a difference between life and spirit. Life is a general principle; it is a “law” where every living being is endowed with this principle of creation of God. Whereas everyone gets their individual spirit, specific to each, has its unique personality. Every being is given their own individual capacity according to their creation. My life is like someone else’s life whereas my feelings are not like theirs. In the classical age, many Muslim scholars were wondering about what the spirit is. Some Muslim scholars defended that each species of animal has a special spirit particular to their species. Practically, it may seem to appear so but there is no need to delve into the spirit of different species of animals. As far as I know, I have been given an individual spirit different from anyone else’s. My spirit is custom made for me whereas my life is like someone else’s life.
For example, in current medical studies, they universalize the conditions experienced in someone to everyone as they mostly deal with bodily treatments. Whereas in Psychology, they admit that every human being needs treatment unique to them. The future of Psychology is directly related to human spiritual life. Muslim institutions must pay attention to this field. Rather than focusing on saving bodily life, they must address the much-neglected human spiritual life from a belief perspective.
The verse above indicates the attitude of those who are not paying attention to people who have died and never came back to life in this world again. Why don’t they consider this? In reality, people don’t die, only their body dies when it becomes dysfunctional. If a tool doesn’t work, we trash it. The same goes for the human body to respectfully bury it. For example, if someone loses their leg, do they feel the need for their missing leg? That feeling is their consciousness, which is only one of the many elements of spirit, for the missing leg; the spiritual aspect of human beings tells that to him. Consciousness is not like physical matter; it doesn’t die. It is like the common principle of creation which is always present and doesn’t die. When someone is given death which means life and spirit are taken away, there are many other beings that are given life and existence proving that the principle of creation never dies as long as the Creator wills it. The individual spirits of human beings are also not subject to death, they are taken back by their Owner.
The deniers do not consider the spirit and therefore the resurrection. For them, they do not see the dead body come to life again. Everyone gets a new body according to what they deserve in the next creation. The Qur’an gives the examples of denial where they will be blind, deaf and not able to receive any pleasure (2: 18). The description is that the person will be begging to see and hear but they won’t be able to because the eyes and ears will not be functioning any more and, since they denied the Creator of the body and reduced to random developments, they will be told in the next creation, “go and wait for your random development and give you a body as you will be pleased according to the expectations of your spirit. A new body is needed for the spirit in both Paradise and Hell. In the eyes of the deniers, the human body is not coming back. Why don’t they take notice of this? The reality of death goes against their human feelings, so it seems to be easier to ignore it but their spirit will experience only suffering from the lack of all their expectations of their spirit.
Whereas for the believers, they will say “I am not expecting my body from this universe again. I need a new body created by its Creator.” The spirit doesn’t get old and necessitates a new body to be given according to the capacity of the spirit, for it to function. The body existing in Paradise will be able to operate as much as one has acknowledged the qualities of his Creator while living in this life. For example, my eyes and vision are created by the All-Seeing One. We must make progress in recognizing the qualities of the Creator at the highest level possible while we have the opportunity of living in this world. The more I use my eyes here on earth while observing the creation and appreciate them and be thankful to the Creator of my eyes, the better qualified body my spirit will be given in the hereafter. My spirit will enjoy seeing the manifestations of God’s wonderful creation in the next creation.
وَإِن كُلٌّۭ لَّمَّا جَمِيعٌۭ لَّدَيْنَا مُحْضَرُونَ
36:32 Yet each and every one of them are brought before Us.
Individually, each and every one of us will be taken back to where we came from. Physically speaking, the body is made of earth and goes back to the earth whereas the spirit is from God’s spirit and goes back to Him.
For one denying their spirit doesn’t mean that their spirit will disappear from existence. As far as their worldly life is concerned, they can deal with this life on a temporary basis by denying their spirit. They can cheat themselves to escape the unbearable pain of denial of their reality. As a side note, some may claim to be humanitarian or altruistic by denying either God or God’s Guidance sent through the prophets who bring us the news of the next creation; their human spiritual side does not enjoy the eternal satisfaction of the next creation. Isn’t that a contradiction with the capacity of their human spirit?
If one thinks about it, it is reasonable to understand how immense our human potential is which cannot be satisfied in this universe. The spirit needs such satisfaction that the universe is not enough. I am continuously subject to change whereas my desire is not losing any ability and seeking out more and more, get better, improve further. I must see and understand what is going on in the universe, learn the details in every creature I encounter, discover the qualities of their Creator being manifested there. The capacity of the spirit is not from the universe, it goes beyond it, whereas the capacity of the body given here is from this universe and is satisfied with it.
Tags: Belief, Feelings, human qualities, Life, Lord, Quran, Worship, Ya Sin, Ya-Seen, Ya-Seen Series, Yasin