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Commentary of Surat ul-Waqi'a on advent of Zaman - Versese 71-82

71 Have you considered the fire which you strike?

72 Is it you that produce the trees for it, or are We the producers?

Shajar means tree. In Islamic culture the tree traditionally symbolizes the tree of life; its branches symbolize all the aspects of creation connected to one trunk which reaches down under the ground to its roots which draw up nourishment for the entire organism. Does man know the root of life? Does he know its meaning? Has he created it? Has he created fire? All that he has done is to rub two sticks to­ gether to get a spark; he has done nothing. He is simply an experi­encer - Allah is the Munshi', the Producer. Life's origin lies with the one and only Reality to Whom everything belongs anyway.

73 We have made it a reminder and an advantage for the wayfarers of the desert.

74 Therefore glorify the name of your Lord, the Great.

Tadhkira is from dhikr, which is remem­brance, awareness and a way of passage. Tadhkira in modern Arabic means a ticket. It is to remind whoever stops you at the gate that you are allowed to get into the next situation. It is the qualification for entry based upon reminding the ticket collector.

The password for the door to glorification is the Name, the ism. At the door, upon being received, the Name is given. A man of sidq, a man of truth, says: Allah, or, my Lord. It is said in the traditions that when the aya "Therefore glorify the name of your Lord, the Great" came upon the Prophet, salla-llahu `alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, he made it the way of worship. He asked the Muslims to say, "subhana rabbi-l-`azimi wa bihamdih" when they went into ruku` (bowing), because one does ruku' after standing and witnessing this life, the next life, the fire, the garden, and the origin. Whoever praises the one and only Reality is heard, because Reality is the All-Knowing. Having done that, one falls down and obliterates one's profile. It is then, when one is at one's lowest, that one can speak of the Highest, Al Ala - subhana rabbi-l- Ala wa bihamdih. In that state of obliteration the eyes are on dust, while one's inner eye sees the greatness of Al- A la, the Highest, the Mightiest.

75 But nay! I swear by the falling of stars;

76 And most surely it is a very great oath if you only knew;

"But nay! I swear by the falling of the stars," means I swear by the truth of it, by the positioning of it. Mawaqi` (position, place where something falls down) is from waqa'a, to fall. Nujum are stars, or anything that has light - I swear by the light, by the self-effulgent light of this message, this spark of truth that ignites in the heart of the believer. The evidence is that the message hits the right switch in the heart and lights it up. Everyone is a star, different, yet the same. It is an oath of the truth of physical reality. It is an oath attesting to the perfection of the positions of all things in this creation. The fixed position of the stars are a manifestation of the order of the cosmos. These fixed positions are, in fact, dynamic. They are not rigid, but interact with their environment.

77 Most surely it is an honored Qur'an,

78 In a book that is protected;

The Qur'an is that which is worthy of being read. It is that which has been gathered - the exposition of Reality. It encompasses what can be experienced and comprehended of Reality. It has immediate use in teaching one to live correctly, harmoniously and joyfully.

The Qur'an cannot be reached or understood if approached through the circumscribed limits of duality. If the reader is burdened by the affliction of duality, caused and nourished by his non-submission, then the Qur'an is veiled to him. As the pure exposition of Reality, the Qur'an can only reflect the degree of purity of the reader's heart.

79 None shall touch it save the purified ones.

The Qur'an is subtle. It contains what man imagines can be con­tained and more. So how can one touch it? One can only come to know it if one stops knowing anything else, and by complete abandonment and submission lets go into the Qur'an - there is only the Qur'an. This is the essence of the meaning of Islam.

In the existential situation there is duality. Existential knowl­edge and information are based upon a seeker and a sought. Something that has a defined domain, such as a language, can be acquired. This is existential knowledge and is informative; it is based on time, thinking capacity, and patience. But the knowledge of Truth cannot be acquired in this fashion. It can only be acquired by allowing it to emerge, be­cause it is already there rooted in the heart. The knowledge of Truth is not nourished because man nourishes everything else other than it. His energy has been diverted towards otherness, towards existential matters, and the self-effulgent knowledge of the Book has not been given its due attention. Truth is the substratum of existence and it upholds the cosmic event which man experiences in his short life.

80 A revelation by the Lord, of the worlds.

Allah is the Lord of the two worlds, the physical and the non­physical - this world which man experiences, and the next world where he is subject to the effects of his previous intentions. He will experience and become his intentions, nothing more. In this world, the gross prevails over the subtle, while in the next the subtle becomes obvious and everything that was once hidden in one's heart becomes a suhufan munashshara, a spread-open book.

81 Do you then hold this announcement in contempt?

82 And to give (it) the lie you make your means of subsistence.

The story of the dunya (this material world) and the akhira of this life and the next, is about purification. The human being can be likened to water which is by nature pure. As it flows it collects grains of sand. When the water is harnessed in a reservoir, the grains settle and the water reverts back to its pure nature. If the water is constantly kept in agitation the entire ecology of the water life is destroyed. Like water, human beings must harness themselves so that they can observe their wrong actions and avoid them. Otherwise their individual and societal ecologies will be disrupted and destroyed. The harness is the 'aql (intellect, reason).

The moment the eternal absolute silence was broken by the rise of creation there was a tune. The song of iman is the Qur'an and is continuously heard as growth moves on biologically. If we are not tuned to the song of iman.

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

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