Rafed English

Interpretation of Sura al-Fatir - Verse 45

45.“And if Allah were to seize the people (to punish them) for what they have earned, He would not leave on the back of it any creature; but He gives them respite till an appointed term. So when their term expires, then verily Allah is seeing with respect to His servants.”

Commentary

Allah is patient and He forgives people and gives them respite, and does not immediately punish the wrong doers in this world for their evil actions.

Allah’s giving respite to the sinners is a wisely action.

The abovementioned verse, which is the last verse of Sura Fa-tir, concludes the earnest discussions and serious threats previously mentioned in this Sura with Allah’s grace and mercy upon the people on the earth, in the same manner that this Sura began with the Mercy of Allah on humankind.

Thus both the beginning and the end of the holy Sura are consistent in stating the Mercy of Allah.

More over, the previous verse which threatened the guilty faithless persons to the evil fate of the formers brings this question forth for many of them, as well as others, that if the manner of treatment of Allah is the same about all of the arrogant ones, then why He does not punish this arrogant polytheistic nation.

In answer to this question, the Qur’a-n says:

“And if Allah were to seize the people (to punish them) for what they have earned, He would not leave on the back of it any creature; …”

In that case, there will be sent down so many frequent punishments, and lightning, earthquakes and tempests will destroy the unjust ones in a form that the earth will not be a suitable place for anyone to live on. Yet, the verse continues saying:

“… but He gives them respite till an appointed term. …”

But this patience and respite of Allah has an account. It lasts until when their appointed term has not come, but when their appointed term reaches, He will recompense everybody, as the verse says:

“… So when their term expires, then verily Allah is seeing with respect to His servants.”

He (s.w.t.) both sees their deeds and is aware of their intentions.

Here, there arise two questions the answer of which is made manifest by what was said.

The first is that: Does this general command envelop Divine prophets, friends of Allah, and righteous ones, too?

The answer of this question is clear, because these kinds of ordinances refer to almost the mass of people and the decisive majority of them, and surely the Divine prophets, Imams, and righteous ones, who are in minority, are out of this circle. Shortly speaking, every ordinance has an exception and such ones are as exceptions of this ordinance.

The second is that: Does the application of the Qur’a-nic term /da-bbah/ (creature), mentioned in the above verse, refer to non-human creatures, too? That is, will they be destroyed as the result of the punishment upon human beings?

The answer to this question will be made clear in regard to this point that the philosophy of the existence of other living creatures is for the benefit of men from them, and when the human generation is whipped out, their existence will not be necessary. The Arabic word /da-bbah/ is derived from /dabi-b/ in the sense of ‘to work slowly’, but from the philological point of view it refers to any living creature, and sometimes the Arabic word /dawa-b/ is used for the animals fit for riding, in particular.

At last, we put an end to this discussion with a tradition from the Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) which has been recorded upon the commentary of this verse. According to this tradition, the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) says: “Allah, the Mighty, the Glorious, has implicitly said: ‘O’ the children of Adam! It is by My will and desire that you have been created free and you can wish for yourself whatever you wish; and it is by My Will that you have possessed a kind of will that you can decide for yourself whatever you will.

You have got strength by means of the bounties I gave you and you have committed sins; and it was by means of My Power and Safety that I gave you and you could do the obligations I commanded you. Therefore, due to your good actions, I am prior to you yourself, but due to your sins, you are prior to Me.

By means of the bounties I have given you, the good things ceaselessly come to you from My side, and the vice and wretchedness always come to you from yourself because of your treacheries. I have never neglected you for warning and advising and I did not punish you immediately at the time of your pride and negligence, but I gave you enough respite that you might repent and improve yourselves.” The verse says:

“… but He gives them respite till an appointed term. So when their term expires, then verily Allah is seeing with respect to His servants.”

Then, the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said that this is the same thing that Allah says: “And if Allah were to seize the people (to punish them) for what they have earned, He would not leave on the back of it any creature …” 50

O’ Allah! Appoint us among those who come forth before lasting the respites and return to You, and enlighten their dark past course by the light of good deeds and attracting Your consent.

O’ Allah! If Your Grace had not encompassed us, the fire from inside of our evil deeds would have swallowed us into its bottom; and if the ray of the light of Your forgiveness had not been showered on our heart, the army of Satan would have occupied it.

O’ Allah! Protect us from any kind of polytheism, and lit the torch of sincere Faith and Unity in our heart, and increase the light of piety in our speech and deeds.

Notes:

50. Nu-r-uth-Thaqalayn, Vol. 4, P. 370

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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