Interpretation of Sura al-Fatir - Verse 37
37. “And they shall cry aloud therein (for help, saying:) ‘O’ our Lord! Take us out (so that) we will do good deeds other than what we used to do (before).’ (They will be said): ‘Did We not give you long life enough to remember therein for him who would remember?’ And (moreover) the Warner came to you. So (now) taste you (the fruit of your deeds), then for the unjust there is no helper.”
That which makes man to be a hellish person is impious deeds, and one day all wrong doers will be in powerlessness and seek for help.
This verse refers to another part of the painful punishment of the people of Hell and emphasizes on some sensitive points in this regard. It says:
“And they shall cry aloud therein (for help, saying:) ‘O’ our Lord! Take us out (so that) we will do good deeds other than what we used to do (before).’ …”
Yes, by observing the fruits of their evil deeds, they will regret deeply and they will cry loudly and ask for a respite. They ask Allah to return to this world in order to do righteous deeds.
The application of the Qur’a-nic word /s?a-lihan/, in an indefinite form, points to this fact that they did not do the least righteous deed, and its consequence will be those painful chastisements for these who had let no way for them toward Allah and were thoroughly full of sin. Therefore, performing some righteous deeds may also cause deliverance.
The application of the Qur’a-nic word /na‘mal/ (we will do), an Arabic verb in the future form which denotes to the continuation of their action, is also an emphasis on this very meaning that they used to do some impious deeds.
Yes, because of his pure nature, a sinner, at the beginning, understands the ugliness of his deeds, but gradually he will be accustomed to them and its ugliness will be decreased in him. Little by little, it goes beyond that and that ugly action will appear to him as a good action, as the Qur’a-n says: “… The evil of their deeds has been made fair seeming to them. …” 46 And sometimes the Qur’a-n says: “… While they think that they are working good deeds.” 47
However, for this request there will be given a conclusive answer to them from the side of Allah, as follows:
“… (They will be said): ‘Did We not give you long life enough to remember therein for him who would remember?’ …”
The verse continues saying:
“… And (moreover) the Warner came to you. …”
Now that the case is such and all the means of felicity have been available for you, but you did not enjoy them, you should be afflicted the chastisement here. It says:
“… So (now) taste you (the fruit of your deeds), then for the unjust there is no helper.”
This holy verse clearly indicates that they had not anything insufficient because they had enough respite, and there came to them necessary Divine Warners so that these two elements of awareness and felicity were ready for them, therefore, there was no excuse or pretext remained for them. If they had not enough respite, it could be an excuse; and if you had enough respite, but there might not came any teacher, trainee, leader, and guide to them, they would have a pretext, too; but with the existence of these two, what kind of excuse they may have!
The Qur’a-nic word /nao(i-r/ (Warner) in the verses of Qur’a-n usually refers to the Divine prophets and specially to the Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.), but some Islamic commentators have mentioned here a vaster meaning for it which encompasses both the Divine prophets, and the heavenly Books, and the awakening events like the death of friends and relations, and senility and weakness, in particular that in the Arabic language the word /nao(i-r/ has been abundantly used in the sense of senility.
This point is also noteworthy that in Islamic narrations there have been mentioned differently a limit in the lifetime which is enough for the man’s awareness and admonition. Some of them have rendered it to the age of sixty; as a tradition from the Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) indicates: “Whomever
Allah has given sixty years of lifetime, He has closed the way of excuse to him.” 48
This very meaning has also been narrated from Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (a.s.)
Another tradition narrated from the Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) indicates: “When the Day of Hereafter comes, a caller will call: ‘O people of sixty years old! (Where are you?) This is the same lifetime about which Allah has said: ‘Did We not give you long life enough to remember therein for him who would remember?’” 49
46. Sura At-Taubah, No. 9, verse 37
47. Sura Al-Kahf, No. 18, verse 104
48. Majma'-ul-Baya-n, following the verse
49. The commentary by Tabarsi-, following the verse.
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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