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Commentary of Surat ul-Waqi'a on advent of Zaman - Versese 41-50

41 And those of the left hand, how wretched are those of the left hand!

42 In hot wind and boiling water,

43 And the shade of black smoke,

44 Neither cool nor honorable.

Those at a loss in this world are grouped together and cast aside for their crimes. The beings that have not evolved and polished them­selves in this existence are left to be recycled, fired and finished. They experience hot wind and boiling water, the opposites of tranquility, joy, stability and ease.

Allah's judgement is the perfect judgement. He is the All-Forgiving. He knows how to find and segregate those who are the doubtful cases. Some of the great seers, such as Mulla Sadra and Ibn al-`Arabi, often describe the situation of the `in-between.' Although the zone of the `in-between' begins in the next life, in the zone of non-time, its enact­ment can be imagined to be in time because it is the interspace, the `in-between' of this life and the next, after the segregation.

Some of these seers talk about the purification of people by fire.

Ibn al-`Arabi gives the fire seven different categories. A person may be put to fire in order to experience it, in order to give him a final chance to ask for forgiveness. Knowledge of the categories of fire may be of use, but may also result in unnecessary speculation. Being brought up in such a materialistic world, man immediately wants to subcate­gorize and contain everything, like the so-called scientists who run around the world collecting beautiful birds and butterflies to fill yet another biological museum. This is not the way to the attainment of inner knowledge. It is not by accumulation.

Traditions have reported that there are people who may be judged by men to be evil but by Allah's judgement are good. We cannot overlook someone's crime within shari`a (outward path); judgement in this zone of life can only be according to shari`a, not beyond it. Allah will have His own judgement on the subtler, hidden aspects of transgression, but shat is not our domain.

45 Surely they were before that made to live in ease and plenty.

46 And they persisted in the great violation.

"Surely they were before that made to live in ease and plenty." Mutraf means living luxuriously and recklessly in this world. It implies going beyond one's needs. Being reckless with nature's generosity, one becomes covetous and abusive. Zakat (charity, purification by giving) acts as a natural cure against the greed that often besets man. The Prophet, salla-llahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, was asked why zakat was two and a half percent. He said that in following Allah's justice and nature's intention, one finds that for every thousand people there are twenty-five truly destitute ones who are unable to provide for themselves and have to be carried by the rest.

If Allah loves someone He causes him trouble so as to awaken him. Out of love for one's land one causes it trouble by ploughing it, turning it upside down. The business of the heart (qalb) is to be maqlub (turned) so that it gives up and becomes free.

A mutraf loves the world and is content with it. Though the mutraf has invested wrongly, he is reinforced in his error by material success. The Qur'an advises the people of the right to leave him alone for his time will be short. He is far from Reality and unable to see that this life is going, to come to an end. He has not invested in the next abode. Allah says that when He wants to destroy a culture or a people that have transgressed, He unleashes the mutrafln (plural of mutraf). They know-exactly how to manipulate the system. They are the ultimate parasites. By their transgression within the worldly system, justice is established. The ecology has a perfect mechanism of replen­ishing itself. The transgression of the mutrafin will cause a reaction and they will be destroyed along with the elements and products of their transgression. It is a cybernetic, ecological cycle of destruction and self-rejuvenation, destroying an order that is not conducive to rejuve­nate and resuscitate the order of nature. People are not destroyed by winged creatures descending and blowing fire on them. They are destroyed by the creature within and amongst themselves. Those who have a measure of detachment and reflection can see it repeated con­tinuously in the history of man, because nothing changes. The sunny of Allah never changes. The law that governs existence is absolutely firm and is the foundation upon which everything else is built.

The permanency of the laws reflects an aspect of Allah's mercy, in that man is given something to rely upon. Man's laws have no such mercy or permanency. If the people who died a hundred years ago in America were to return, they would be imprisoned within a day, be­cause they would have no idea of how to approach and negotiate the cumbersome, complicated laws of today. The true laws are unchanging laws. They come from the one and only true foundation of this exis­tence and the next.

The mutrafun often meet to decide about the billions in the world who are barely surviving. The well-off and those who are at ease discuss the plight of the have-nots in this world in an academic and abstract way. When the high-tech cultures study the ways and means of helping the have-nots, it is out of self-interest rather than out of equity and justice. They are concerned about poverty, because if it were left to become too widespread it could cause revolution and the loss of their potential markets. To stabilize the situation they make a token effort to help the poor in Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Africa. The Qur'an says: "They persisted in great violation." The mutrafun have persisted in violating the laws of Allah.

47 And they used to say: What! when we die and have become dust and bones, shall we then indeed be raised?

48 Or our fathers of yore?

The deniers of the akhira (next life) think that this life is all that there is; therefore they want to grab all of it here and now in sensual pleasures and indulgences. There are two attitudes towards the next world. The first trusts that this world is not an end, but rather, a prelude to a never-ending world. Its people follow this trust until they know it directly. They are the believers. The man of trust regards this life as a training-ground for entry into the non-time zone. The second attitude towards the next world is held by the man without trust. He is greedy because there is nothing else for him but this life. He becomes increasingly covetous. He does not seek to obtain the qualifications for entry into the garden of the next life by sharpening his awareness, and increasing his joyfulness, abandonment and freedom. He is programmed to seek freedom but seeks it within the physical world. This is a perversion. Man is a seeker by nature, but if he believes that this life is the end, his motivation for action takes on a dimension that brings on chaos. This is the difference between the believer and the non-believer.

Man's disbelief in the akhira manifests in greed and aggressiveness. Today it is considered desirable to be aggressive and ambitious, In the past, if a person were described with those qualities, he would have been denounced. Now `ambitious and aggressive' means he is the first candidate to be employed.

In every man there is a yearning to live forever. But he does not reflect that this yearning is from Allah beaming within him, telling him to come back to his source. It is a constant signal from the heart whose meaning is foreverness. Whatever good a man does, he will want to preserve forever. The call of Allah is from within, to come to know the meaning of foreverness, because He is the Forever. There is only He, la huwa illa hu ( literally: There is no he but He). The point is missed, however, and the beam of light is dulled.

The world is attractive. Once you have dipped one toe in it you are pulled into its current and become completely engulfed. Human beings today are engulfed by the situation they are in. All are caught in the high-tech factory of modern life which does nothing other than spew them out after a lifetime of slave-like service, rejected and dejected. The best of them, their leaders, metamorphose into names of streets, stadiums and squares. The slaves follow habits, but the seeker breaks habits and becomes free of the system of enslavement.

49 Say: The first and the last,

50 Shall most surely be gathered together for the appointed hour of a known day.

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

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