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Commentary of Surat ul-Ankabut on advent of Zaman - Versese 1-10

1 Alif Lam Mim.

2 Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, we believe, and not be tried?

3 And certainly We tried those before them, so Allah will certainly know those who are true and He will certainly know the liars.

There is a purpose in creation, a visible, subtle, and deep purpose, which is to discover the meaning of existence. However, man must trust in Allah in order to fully commit himself to the quest. No matter how hard man may try to reckon and calculate the purpose of this existence, he will not succeed without iman (trust); which has its root in the heart. Deflection from this ultimate source will only result in fitna, which is trial, affliction and discord. Fitna implies superficial trial or affliction. It is a plot, that seems charming and captivating; but a plot can be easily discovered - it is not substantial. A fatin is a woman who decorates herself to attract a man, hiding what may be a most dreadful character. No matter how man reckons or calculates, he will be afflicted in a superficial way so that his Imam his trust, becomes more real and certain of the absolute and not of the relative. Trust begins in the outward and existential but leads to the inward. There is no separation of the deep inner reality and the outer reality because they are a continuum. There is no end to Reality. It is only for the sake of illustration that we talk about the outer and the inner. Fitna is derived from the verb fatana which amongst other things, means to prove. Dinar maftun is a gold coin that has been tested and proven to be true gold. Imam Has­san, `alayhi-s-salam ( upon him be peace), defined fitna as that which proves man's reality, his divine origin, by what appears to be affliction, turmoil and trouble. Divine mercy puts man through processes that appear to be undesirable and troublesome, showing man that he has no power over anything. Man has, in fact, no claim over anything except the witnessing and the recognition of the one and Only - La ilaha illa-llah

4 Or do they who work evil think that they will escape Us? Evil is it that they judge!

5 Whoever hopes to meet Allah, the term of Allah will then most surely come; and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.

6 And whoever strives hard, he strives only for himself; most surely Allah is Self-sufficient, above (need of) the worlds.

7 And (as for) those who believe and do good, We will most certainly do away with their evil deeds and We will most certainly reward them the best of what they did.

Man in his arrogance and cleverness thinks that he can escape from the prescribed laws governing existence. He thinks he can cheat Allah and imagines himself as a separate entity, which is shirk (associating other-than-Allah with Allah). The nature of he who has complete and utter trust is that he does not see himself; he sees only one higher Self. He sees himself and his actions only as an outer mani­festation of oneness. He has absolute security, certainty, serenity and independence by having discovered dependence on Allah. The opposite of this tawhid (divine unity) is man's imagination that he exists alongside Allah. Full dependence on Allah brings about inde­pendence because man becomes independent of other-than-Allah.

Love of Reality guides and draws man towards tawhid. If he claims trust in Reality, that claim will be put to the test. It is Allah's mercy by which He helps man to recognize the degree of his sincerity and honesty. The iman of the early followers of the Prophet Muham­mad, salla-llahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam was tested; pressure was exerted upon them by the pre­vailing system which saw this revolutionary message as a threat to its own survival. Many families urged their relatives who followed Muhammad, salla-lla`hu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam (peace and blessings be upon him and his family), to return to the traditional, inherited and ignorant ways. Some had one or both of their parents threaten to take their lives and the lives of their offspring in order to deflect them from diving deeper into their belief.

For those who remain in iman is the promise that they will come to know Allah and the truth of the Resurrection. The more they exert themselves in this life, the closer they will get to this state of knowl­edge. The mu'minun (believers) are given a clear code of conduct. By righteously doing their utmost they will be amply re­warded.

8 And We have enjoined on man goodness to his parents, and if they contend with you that you should associate (others) with Me, of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them; to Me is your return, so I will inform you of what you did.

9 And (as for) those who believe and do good, We will most surely cause them to enter among the good.

The first thing a child witnesses is his parents. If he does not show loyalty towards them, he cannot show loyalty in a subtler way towards Allah. A child's rebellion against his parents is a rebellion against all those who have physical power over him and sustain him. If a child is rebellious against his parents, he is likely to be rebellious against anything. The parents may be, from a spiritual point of view, mis­guided, but the child can only be qualified to reflect upon or witness that when his own self-guidance begins to emerge. Irrespective of anything, the child should have compassion for them.

Under all circumstances, a person is advised to be respectful to his parents. It does not mean he is to be under their domination, but when their names are mentioned, he should ask for their forgiveness. After all, they were the means by which he had come about. Regardless of whether one is good or bad one still has the mercy of the Creator upon him. Allah is the invisible origin from which man has come forth through his parents.

There are various degrees of iman. A true mu'min regards every­thing that happens to him as his destiny. It must be, for it has occurred and is itself the proof of its truth and reality. It has occurred not out of a whim but from Reality. A mu'min takes knowledge from everything, whether it appears to be good or bad. If he has not identified himself with a specific, fixed viewpoint, he will derive knowledge and benefit from affliction.

10 And among men is he who says: We believe in Allah; but when he is persecuted in (the way of) Allah he thinks the persecution of men to be as the chastisement of Allah; and if there come assistance from your lord, they would most certainly say: Surely we were with you. What! is not Allah the best knower of what is in the breasts of mankind.

Adapted from the book: "The Mercy of Qur'an and the Advent of Zaman" by: "Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri"

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