Commentary of Surat ul-Waqi'a on advent of Zaman - Versese 51-60
- :Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri
51 Then shall you, O you who err and call it a lie!
In the Qur'an, a day (yawm) does not mean twenty four hours. It is said that the day of your Lord is like a thousand years of what you count. Elsewhere it is described as fifty thousand years. With Allah there is no time. Time is relative, as is shown by the phenomenon of travelling near the speed of light. "The first and the last shall most surely be gathered together for the appointed hour of a known day." There is a specific destiny for the outer world and for the inner world.
Those who have denied continue in their state of loss, into the zone of the beyond-time where the time dimension is erased and a state of perpetual turmoil lasts forever. The denier, having denied that his breath was given to him in order to glorify the One Who gave him breath, finds it to be timeless restlessness. In the state of everlasting loss, in the fire, nothing takes root. The more one attempts to contain the fire, the more it devours what is in and around it.
52 Most surely eat of a tree of Zaqqum,
53 And fill (your) bellies with it;
The individual is nourished from an everlasting bitterness, a tree of zaqqum that comes up from the bottomless pit of jahannam (hell). He experiences being lost in timelessness as if he was filling up his stomach with un-nourishing bitterness. He drinks without satisfaction.
54 Then drink over it of boiling water;
55 And drink as drinks the thirsty camel.
56 This is their gift on the day of requital.
Water is used to extinguish and reduce heat and is one of the elements that seeks to establish equilibrium. These elements or characteristics are: wet, dry, hot, and cold. If one is too hot, one is likely to go towards what is cool. Being too dry attracts one towards the wet. Man seeks to be in balance. Everything is kept in balance by the One. But at the appointed hour, the characteristics of the elements which served as equalizers in the physical creation are no longer applicable. Him are thirsty camels. This word is related to the word ha'im, meaning perplexed, mystified. In this life, man fills himself up with that which he considers necessary and without which he imagines he could not be happy. He abuses himself and nature by excessive consumption.
The description of the wretchedness of the "companions of the left" is that of jahannam, the fire. One of the derivatives of jahannam is jahnim, a bottomless pit, the state of zero gravity, the state of receiving the. very bad news that something you have cherished is no longer with you. Imagine someone suddenly being given news of multiple catastrophies, that everything which he had invested in, loved, or considered important for his tranquility, is gone - that is jahnim.
Man wants istiqrar, which is constancy, stability, and security. One finds in Arabic that a word is linked to many other words through its root. These words echo variations, make clear, and give greater depth of meaning to the initial word. Istaqarra ( verbal form of istiqrar) is to seek security or permanent residence. Iqrar is a foundation or settlement, and qarrara means to decide, report or relate. All these words belong to the same root as qarra, which means to establish, determine or resolve.
If a man is a man of truthfulness, he must admit that he is, ultimately, secure; for how could he seek the foundation of the origin of something that was not already in him?
The fact that man is seeking security is the proof that his origin or essence is secure, but he is looking elsewhere in ghafla, (heedlessness, stupidity). He thinks that his security lies with this fellow or with that job - that is ghafla. The fact that he is looking for security means that security is naturally attainable.
There is a story about a man, who one night lost his ring and went looking for it under a street lamp. After some hours, while people had collected around him to help, no trace of the ring had been found. Someone finally asked where he had lost the ring and he replied, "I lost it in there," pointing to his house. "Why, then, are we not looking for it there?" asked the inquirer, shocked. The owner of the ring replied, "Because there is no light in there." Man often looks where it is convenient for him to search. He does not look where the truth lies. It is human nature.
57 We have created you, why do you not then assent?
58 Have you considered the seed?
59 Is it you that create it or are We the creators?
Man's coming forth into the world is not an accident, it is purposeful. Accident is a description used to indicate an inability to understand a situation. Man has been created, why can he not confirm that? Why can he not accept this as true? Tusaddiqun is from saddaqa, to consider to be true.
Can man not see how procreation occurs? Did he create his offspring or is he simply a vehicle? He has not a clue concerning the amazing transformation that takes place in the womb. It is by the act of Allah. His act is simply an animalistic act.
60 We have ordained death among you and We are not to be overcome,
Adapted from the book: "The Mercy of Qur'an and the Advent of Zaman" by: "Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri"
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