Commentary of Surat ul-Mulk on advent of Zaman - Versese 1-10
- :Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri
21 Blessed is He in Whose hand is the kingdom, and He has power over all things,
2 Who created death and life that He may try you-which of you is best in deeds; and He is the Mighty, the Forgiving,
The creation is based on the Creator's love for what He created. And what He created was from Him, sustained by Him, supported by Him, to Him. When that love is made manifest to the created, he tastes joy and blessedness. The source and transmission of that joy and blessedness exist at all times. It is only the created who inadvertently block it. The entire creation is a result of the blessedness of He Whose creation is His kingdom. Everything in it is in His hand and comes from His power. Every creational entity, therefore, derives its power directly from the Creator.
Allah created the experiences of life and death. In this life, man is put into situations in order to be purified of any additions which are perversely taken on. The bala (affliction) is a necessary test which moves him, with knowledge, into higher degrees of purity. Affliction (balwa) is his means of eliminating the barrier of desires and expectations existing between himself and the Creator. Affliction teaches the created being to live freely, acknowledging the gift of life given to him. The best of actions are those which are done with no expectations. They are purely and simply fi sablli-llah (for the sake of Allah).
The first manifestation of creation is life. The experience of life is meaningful only if there exists its opposite, the experience of death. These experiences are such that everyone goes through them. Just as there is outer life and death, so is there inner life and death. When the heart is hardened it is as if dead. When it is flowing and turning, it is alive. Life and death exist in both the sensory and in the meaning.
"And He is the Mighty, the Forgiving." Whether or not man is content with his life does not change Allah's station with him. Through afflictions, growth of wisdom blossoms in him. Man learns to solicit forgiveness from the Ghafur (the Forgiving). The recognition of one's transgressions and mistakes is in itself a door to forgiveness. If one knows one's faults, if one has seen them and experienced them, then one is on the way to being forgiven. It follows that if one is in awareness, one will be unlikely to repeat past mistakes.
3 Who created the seven heavens one above another; you see no 'incongruity in the creation of the Beneficent God; then look again, can you see any disorder?
4 Then turn back the eye again and again; your look shall come back to you confused while it is fatigued.
The kingdom of Allah is manifest in seven layers, seven different phases or modes of heaven. Each layer is placed upon another, in visibly connected yet retaining its own characteristics. It is also found amongst the ahadith (prophetic traditions) and the sayings of the Imams that the earth has seven layers. In fact, there is a common supplication in which it is said: Rabbu-s-samawati-s-sab`i wa rabbu-l aradini-s-sab'i, the Lord of the seven heavens and the Lord of the seven earths.
"You see no incongruity in the creation of the Beneficent God." Futur is from fatara, to cleave, split open. Fitra is the original crack-the origin of man's rise to life. The Rahman (the Merciful) encompasses everything under His rahma (compassion). Allah's rahma is upon all creation, while His rahm is upon the mu'min (believer). Under the Rahman, the Merciful, there is nothing in creation that cannot be placed. There is no disjointedness within it. Everything makes sense to man if he develops the right sight and abandons clumsy judgement. Allah says "Then turn back the eye again and again," because though man looks often, he does so without insight. The Qur'an challenges man to look again in order to see if he can find any fault. The more one looks, the more one discovers the perfection of what appears to be layer upon layer of the laws and sensory connections which hold the cosmos together.
Doubt arises in man when he begins to reflect. At first, his reflections are unclear and do not connect with his core. But the more he reflects, the more likely it becomes that he will see the pure mercy that will bring him realization and understanding. Sight will come back to him and he will be unable to find fault.
"Your sight shall come back to you spurned while it is fatigued." Khasi' means spurned, base, vulgar, rejected. Hash means exhausted, desperate or fatigued. If he reflects, man will not be able to see fault. His sight will show nothing other than the Rahman Whose manifestation is in the complete perfection of His creation. There will be nothing out of place. Creational entities will interconnect in the most precise manner. It will confirm that the All-Pervading manifests His rahma. In other words, man's faculty of reason and insight will come to see the perfection of creation.
5 And certainly We have adorned this lower heaven with lamps and We have made these missiles for the Shaytans, and We have prepared for them the chastisement of burning.
6 And for those who disbelieve in their Lord is the punishment of hell, and evil is the 'resort.
7 When they shall be cast herein, they shall hear a loud moaning of it as it heaves,
8 Almost bursting for fury. Whenever a group is cast into it, its keeper shall ask them: Did there not come to you a warner?
9 They shall say: Yea! indeed there came to us a warner, but we rejected (him) and said: Allah has not revealed anything; you are only in a great error.
10 And they shall say: Had we but listened or pondered, we should not have been among the inmates of the blazing fire.
The lower heaven is that heaven which is perceivable by man. The other heavens, it is implied, are beyond visible recognition. They are based on energies or subtle forces that hold the cosmos together. The stars decorate the lower heaven, which displays myriads of dynamic exchanges, whether seen or inferred by observation.
"And certainly we have adorned this lower heaven with lamps and we have made these missiles for the shaytans. " Rajama the root of the word for missiles, is to stone, curse. There are several meanings that can be given to this phrase. One is that the evil unseen forces of shaytan (satan) cannot penetrate beyond the lower heaven. Another meaning is that it indicates that those people who use supernatural powers and magic are afflicted and are unable to penetrate beyond a limit.
All forms of shaytan or deviation lead one to the adhabu-s-sa`ir, the chastisement of the blazing fire. Those who are in the state of shaytan - denying the Lordship, covering up, disbelieving in the fact that there is a Sustainer by whom we are guided to our fullest possibilities - will earn the state of eternal fire, than which there is nothing worse. Masir, a place of arrival or final destiny, comes from sara, which means to become, implying `timeness.'
The sighing or moaning that is uttered when a being enters jahannam (hell) is a final expression called shahiq (sighing, sobbing). Shahaqa means to inhale, sigh deeply, gulp, moan. When in the final abode, beings emit the sound of mourning in an environment which is forever changing, never sustaining or stabilizing -the reverse of janna (paradise).
In the ever effulgent fire, churning and turning with its anger, increasing as it is fed, a voice reflects or a memory comes forth to ask: Were you not informed about this state? Were you not warned that you were preparing yourself for this dreadful end? The questioners are the keepers of the fire, its permanent angels or guardians.
Those who are questioned answer: We did not hear. We denied the existence of Reality. We denied Allah. We ascertained that there was no Reality and assumed those who were reflecting the voice of Truth to be in error.
There is nothing other than justice in this world and the next. If man does not hear the voice of wisdom which will guide him in this world and show him how to live in a manner that will keep him from harm - if he does not heed that wisdom, he will be afflicted in this life. But there is a higher state, one in which there is belief in and recognition of Allah. If that state does not come about, the punishment will be both in this world and the next - when relative time stops and absolute timelessness begins.
This is not theatrical language. There is instantaneous, out-of time communication between entities. In this life the deniers put up a barrier between the faculty of hearing and that of understanding what can be heard. They block the exercise of the natural faculty of reason, that innate sense with which everyone is endowed. They misinterpret for the sake of convenience, sentimental attachment, or emotionalism, or for the love of the dunya (world in a negative material sense).
Adapted from the book: "The Mercy of Qur'an and the Advent of Zaman" by: "Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri"
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