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Interpretation of Sura al-Fatir - Verse 28

28.“And of the people and beasts and cattle are of various colours likewise; verily only those of His servants fear Allah who have knowledge, verily Allah is Mighty, Forgiving.”

Commentary

The difference of the colours of human beings and animals is one of the signs of the Power and Greatness of Allah.

Having some knowledge and awareness over the secrets of existence is a preparation for reaching the position of fearing Allah.

This verse refers to the variety of colours in men and in other living animals. It says:

“And of the people and beasts and cattle are of various colours likewise; …”

Yes, although human beings are all from the same parents, they have diverse races and colours completely different. Some of them are as white as snow while some others are as black as ink. Even in one race, there is also difference of colours. If we look carefully of the twin children who have passed the different stages of foetus with together and have been in the bosom of each other from the beginning, they are not sometimes completely in the same form from the point of colour, though they are from one father and one mother and their life-germ has combined in a single moment, and they have fed from one kind of food.

Besides the outward features, their innate colours, their characters, their attributes and qualities, their talents and tastes may be completely different so that they all with together form a single unit with the whole needs.

In the world of moving creatures, there are many thousands kinds of insects, birds, creepers, sea-animals, different desert wild animals that, with all their specialties and wonders of creations, each of them is a sign of the Power and Greatness and Knowledge of the Creator.

After stating these signs of Unity, finally, as a conclusion, it implies that the matter is like that.

And, since enjoying from these great verses of creation is for the wise and knowledgeable servants more than others, at the end of the verse, it says:

“… verily only those of His servants fear Allah who have knowledge, …”

Yes, from among all of Allah servants only scholars are those who gain the high rank of ‘fear’, that is, the fear of responsibility accompanied with perception of the greatness of the position of their Lord. This state of ‘Fear’ is the result of contemplation on the extroversive and introversive verses of the Qur’a-n, and knowing the Knowledge and Power of Allah and the aim of His creation.

Ra-qib in Mufrada-t says: “The word /xas(yat/ means a ‘fear’ mixed with veneration, and it is often used in some instances which originate from knowledge and awareness of something.” Therefore, in the Qur’a-n, this rank is counted specialized to the learned ones.

We have repeatedly said that this is a fear because of the responsibilities that one has in front of Allah: a fear that he may not fulfil his own duties well. Furthermore, in principle, perceiving the greatness, that greatness which is unlimited and infinite, for a being that is limited, such as man, causes fear. Upon the commentary of this verse, Imam S?a-diq (a.s.) in a tradition said: “The purpose is that there are some scholars whose deeds are consistent with their words. The one whose saying and deed are not consistent is not knowledgeable.” 38

Another tradition announces: “The most learned one of you is the one whose fear to Allah is the most.” 39

Shortly speaking, from the view and logic of the Qur’a-n, the ‘learned ones’ are those scholars and authorities that the light of knowledge has made their whole selves enlightened with the light of Allah, faith, and piety, and they intensively feel responsibility unto their duties and they fulfil them more than the others.

At the end of the above verse, as a short reasoning upon what was said, the Qur’a-n says:

“… verily Allah is Mighty, Forgiving.”

His Veneration and endless Power is the origin of the fear of the learned ones; and His Forgiveness, which is the sign of His unlimited Mercy, is the cause of their ‘hope’. Thus, these two holy names keep the servants of Allah between ‘fear’ and ‘hope’. And we know that the constant movement toward development is not possible without being qualified with these two characters.

Notes:

38. Majma'-ul-Baya-n, following the verse.

39. Ibid

Adopted from the book : "The Light of the Holy Qur'an; Interpretation of Surah al-Fatir" by : "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and a Group of Muslim Scholars"

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