When The Sky Will Split
 

VERSE NO.2526

The argument still continues about the fate of the sinners, and their great anguish and hardship in the Day of Dooms: ``Remember the Day in which the sky with clouds is rent asunder, and the angels are sent down one after another. (successively).'' As to the meaning of the fissure and split of the sky, what can it mean? We know well that there is not a thing as sky around us, to be split or rent asunder. Therefore, by splitting the sky we may take it to mean that the visible world will split and give way to the unseen world [ 397 ]

to appear through the said cleft or crack. In other word; today we see the sky remote, vacant, and without any inhabitants, except some clouds of various forms and densities, and being a field for the birds to fly. But tomorrow, when the wonderful incident of Resurrection occurs, things overhead will appear to us differently! The sky will appear to be inhabited by the angels, Jins, and other creatures.

The verse then applies to a clear characteristic of the Resurrection Day in which the real commander and the true giver of order will prove to be the Merciful to Whom always belongs the dominion of the sky and the earth, and the rulership of everything.

(( 27 ))

27- AND THE DAY WHEN THE OPPRESSOR WILL BITE HIS HANDS, SAYING: ``WOULD THAT I HAD TAKEN A WAY WITH THE MESSENGER OF GOD.''

(( 28 ))

28- O, WOE IS ME! WOULD THAT I HAD NO TAKEN SO AND SO FOR A FRIEND.

(( 29 ))

29- VERILY HE STRAYED ME FROM REMEMBRANCE (QURA"N) AFTER IT HAD COME TO ME. AND SATAN HAS ALWAYS BEEN PERFIDIOUS TO MAN.

[ 398 ]

THE COMMENTARY
OCCASION OF THE REVELATION


In the life time of our prophet there were two intimate friends whose name were, ``UQBA'' and ``ABI''. Whenever Ugba returned from a journey, it was his custom to hold a party and invite some of the neighbouring people to dinner. In one of such parties the prophet too, was invited. His holiness attended the party but refused to eat anything there! Ugba was an idolater declared as unclean by Qura"n, and therefore the prophet could not dine with him. He asked the prophet why, and the prophet said that he would not serve anything until he would testify to the Oneness of God, and to admit his prophethood.

Ugba uttered the word of testimony and the prophet ate with him. When ABI his intimate friend heard of Ugba's testimony, became cross with him and reproached him for his recantation. Uqba denied his recantation and said to ABI; ``An honourable man was my guest, and said that he would not have my dinner unless I testify to the Oneness of God and his prophethood. To please him I did that nominally and merely in pretence, and I believe not in my utterance and testimony!''

ABI said to him: ``If you want my friendship continued, you must go to Mohammad and abuse him somehow, and maltreat him.'' Uqba did what his friend wanted to please him, and became an apostate! Later on, in the Battle of Badr, Uqba was killed, and then in the battle of Ohud, his friend Abi was also slayed. The above verse revealed about the above mentioned friends, but the words here are general, and we are interested in its general sense of meaning.

EVIL FRIEND STRAYED ME

VERSE NO.2729 There are strange sceneries in the Resurrection Day, some of [ 399 ]

which have been pointed to in the previous verses. Here another sight of the scene has been referred to, and that is the pity and regret that the sinner has to suffer: ``And the Day when the oppressor will bite his hands, saying; would that I had taken a way with the Messenger of God.'' When the sinners and oppressors think of their past, and remember the opportunities that they had but took no care of them. They will be ashamed of themselves and their behaviour. This is why the Resurrection Day is also called the Day of Rue and Regret. The sinner blames himself for befriending those who caused his perversion and astray.

Without any doubt, one of the important factors that makes up man's characteristic and personality is the company who keeps. He takes most of his moral characters, virtues, customs, and thoughts, from his associates and comrades. A Persian poem, very famous, is: ``Tell me the company you keep;

And I will tell you who you are.'' As a matter of fact, friends are dangerous as enemies, because after their friendship there is nothing so dangerous as to have them for enemies. John Gay has among his Fables:
``An open foe may prove a curse,
But a pretended friend is worse.''

Very often the role of friend in one's prosperity and progress is much more effective than any other factor. True that prosperity gives us friends, but adversity proves their friendship.

The above occasion of revelation will show us how a man may reach the critical stage of beginning a prosperous life, when he is suddenly knocked down by the ignorance of a friend: ``O, woe is me! Would that I had not taken so and so for a friend.'' The first lesson that we may learn from this verse is to take care, not to choose an evil friend or comrade who may lead us astray from the path of truth. It is a tested proverb that, old friends are better than the new ones; and a friend in need is a friend indeed.

[ 400 ]

(( 30 ))

30- AND THE MESSENGER SAID: ``O, MY LORD! SEE THAT MY PEOPLE HAVE ABANDONED THIS QURA"N.''

(( 31 ))

31- AND SO HAVE WE MADE FOR EVERY PROPHET AN ENEMY FROM AMONG THE SINNERS, AND YOUR LORD SUFFICES FOR A GUIDE AND HELPER.

(( 32 ))

32- AND THE NON-BELIEVERS SAID: ``WHY HAS NOT THE QURA"N BEEN SENT DOWN TO HIM ALL AT ONCE?''

SO DID WE TO STRENGTHEN YOUR HEART BY IT, AND WE READ IT TO YOU GRADUALLY. (BY AND BY)

(( 33 ))

33- AND THEY DO NOT BRING TO YOU ANY SIMILITUDE, EXCEPT THAT WE BRING TO YOU THE TRUTH, (ABOUT IT) AND A BETTER EXPLANATION.

(( 34 ))

34- THOSE WHO WILL BE GATHERED ON THEIR FACES (HEADLONG) TO HELL, THEY HAVE THE WORST OF PLACES, AND THE MOST ASTRAY OF WAY.

[ 401 ]

THE COMMENTARY
O, MY LORD! PEOPLE HAVE ABANDONED QURA"N


VERSE NO.3034 The first verse of the above passage consists of the prophet's complain, that people have not received the glorious Qura"n as they should: ``And the Messenger said: O, my Lord! See you that my people have abandoned this Qura"n.'' This complain of our prophet is still valid and also applies to Muslims of our time. The Holy Qura"n which is the code of life, and the means of rescue, and the cause of progress and success, has been forgotten. Muslims have put aside this wonderful book that is full of vital programmes of social life, and yet for penal laws and regulations Muslims stretch their begging hand to non-Muslims!

This is when all the Islamic world consider their Divine Book as a treasure of truth which is expressed in the most eloquent and beautiful way. The Holy Qura"n is a wonderful Book that lowers for the layman and common people to understand it, and grows deeper and higher for the learned researchers, but unfortunately we Muslims print and publish the Book in utmost beauty, and we respect it so much that, when we want to go on a journey we pass from under Qura"n, and for blessings, we put it in the dower of our bride in marriage. In spite of all that, few and rare are those who ponder over its wonderful verses, or those who perform its commandments and follow its vital injunctions.

In many Islamic countries, there are so many showy and ostentatious schools and centers, that make people learn Qura"n by heart and recite it from memory, while their thought is focussed on the East or West, and their laws are taken from non-believers! They use Qura"n as a shield, or as a cover to conceal their wrongs. Ay! Today too, the prophet cries out that: ``O, my Lord! See that my people have abandoned this Qura"n.'' [ 402 ]

The next verse is to comfort our prophet that, in spite of all the hostilities of the enemies, and the negligence of the Muslims, God's guidance and help will suffice:

``And so have We made for every prophet an enemy from among the sinners, and your Lord will suffice for a Guide and Helper.'' Sin is hostile by its nature, and works against truth. This was a reason that the prophet's enemies, and those who injured all the godly men, were always among the sinners. On the other hand, their hostility has always been rendered ineffective by God's support and Guidance of those who work for His cause. Finally, the non-believers have raised up the question here that, why has not Qura"n been sent down to him all at once?

To answer the above question, three reasons have been given as follows:

1) In order to strengthen the prophet's heart, so as to fulfil his great and dangerous duty.
2) The verses revealed gradually as the occasions demanded from time to time.
3) To answer the questions that were raised up in accordance with various incidents that occurred:

``And they do not bring to you any similitude except that We bring to you the truth about it, and a better explanation.''

(( 35 ))

35- AND VERILY WE GAVE MOSES THE BOOK (TOWRA"T), AND MADE HIS BROTHER AARON AS A MINISTER WITH HIM.

(( 36 ))

[ 403 ]

36- THEN WE SAID: ``GO YOU TWO, TO THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BELIED OUR SIGNS. THEN WE DESTROYED THEM UTTERLY.

(( 37 ))

37- AND THE PEOPLE OF NOAH, WHEN THEY BELIED THE MESSENGERS, WE DROWNED THEM AND MADE THEM A SIGN FOR PEOPLE, AND WE HAVE PREPARED FOR THE OPPRESSORS A PAINFUL PUNISHMENT.

(( 38 ))

38- AND D, AND THAMUD, AND THE COMPANION OF RASS (A PEOPLE WHO WORSHIPPED PINE TREE), AND MANY GENERATIONS BETWEEN THEM.

(( 39 ))

39- AND FOR ALL OF THEM WE STRUCK SIMILITUDE (AND WHEN OF NO USE), WE BROKE THEM ALL TO UTTER DESTRUCTION.

(( 40 ))

40- AND VERILY THEY HAVE PASSED BY THE TOWN ON WHICH IT RAINED A BAD RAIN. HAVE THEY NOT SEEN IT? YES. BUT THEY DON'T EXPECT THE UPRAISING. [ 404 ]

THE COMMENTARY

SO MANY LESSONS, AND SO MUCH NEGLIGENCE!!

VERSE NO.3540

In order to console the prophet and believers, and to threaten the enemies and objectors, Qura"n alludes to the fate of the past nations who rejected truth and belied their apostles, and finally were punished and destroyed. Among them were the people of Noah, A"d, Thamud, and the companions of Rass. Their story here has just been mentioned to illustrate how arrogant and ignorant they must have been that they were afflicted so badly.

They rejected the clear signs of their LordMerciful Lord, and followed the way of Satan to polytheism and idolatry, rejecting their apostle's advices and warnings, and thus they ruined their self and soul, and their whole existence: ``And the people of Noah; when they belied the Messengers we drowned them and made them a sign for people.... And A"d, Thamud, and the Companions of Rass, and many generations between them were all destroyed.''

Not only the contemporaries of Hazrat Mohammad (SA), but the past generations too, had little respect for their prophets. Of course, they could never frustrate God in His plan. On the contrary, the rejectors of truth and non-believers, were those who suffered a painful punishment and who were wiped up for their wrong deeds and wrong faith.

The people of A"d were those to whom the prophet, Hood was sent, and Thamud were the people of Salih. There are some arguments, as who the companions of Rass could have been?

The Arabic word, ``RASS'' means a light effect, and also it may mean, an old well, or a shallow water pit. Perhaps the Companions of Rass have had many wells, which when dried and got no water, they lost their lives.

[ 405 ]

Some commentators believe that, the Companions of Rass were a people who lived in YAMA"MIH, and a prophet named HANZALIH was sent to them, but the people rejected by casting him in a deep well and covering its top! Some commentators have known these miserable people to have been the remnants of A"d and Thamud.

Another view about the Companion of Rass is a narration from HAZRAT IMAM REZA (AS) that; they were a people who worshipped a certain kind of PINE TREE. They had twelve towns at the bank of a river named RASS. Each town had taken its name as one of the 12 solar months of Persians such as, FARVARDIN-ORDIBEHESHT-KHORDAD and etc. They offered sacrifices to their god pine tree, and prostrated themselves before it and cried for salvation!! When they were submerged in their idolatry and sank in blasphemy, Allah sent to them an apostle from among the Israelites. When they belied their prophet and rejected him, he prayed to God, and the main pine tree dried and withered up. They took the event as a sorcery from their apostle and approved to slay him. They cast him down to the bottom of a deep well and put the cover on! And so was their apostle martyred.

The Arabs contemporary to our prophet, passed by the ruins of the towns that were overthrown by the wrath of God:- ``Verily they have passed by the town on which it rained a bad rain....'' This may refer to Lut's story and destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the ruins of which were present in the life time of our prophet. These were a couple of the five cities in the Dead Sea area, the destruction of which is associated in Qura"nic tradition with the time of ABRAHAM.

[ 406 ]

The most probable view is that the valley of SIDDIM in which the cities were located is now under the southeastern end of the Dead sea. The tradition of the destruction suggests an earthquake accompanied by a dreadful cry and a shower of brimstone which destroyed all the inhabitants who were non-believers.

(( 41 ))

41- AND WHEN THEY SEE YOU, THEY TAKE YOU NOT EXCEPT IN MOCKERY, SAYING; IS THIS HE WHOM ALLAH HAS RAISED A MESSENGER!?

(( 42 ))

42- HE WAS WELL-NIGH TO STRAY US FROM OUR GODS, HAD WE NOT STOOD FIRM ON THEM.

AND SOON WILL THEY KNOW, WHEN SEEING THE TORMENT, THAT WHO HAS STRAYED FROM THE WAY.

(( 43 ))

43- HAVE YOU SEEN HIM WHO HAS TAKEN HIS CAPRICE FOR HIS GOD, WILL YOU THEN BE AN ATTORNEY FOR HIM.

(( 44 ))

44- DO YOU THINK THAT MOST OF THEM HEAR OR UNDERSTAND, THEY ARE NOT EXCEPT LIKE CATTLE, AND MORE ASTRAY IN THE WAY.

[ 407 ]

THE COMMENTARY
MORE ASTRAY THAN CATTLE
VERSE NO.41-44

In the above passage, another instance of the false logic of the polytheists has been pointed to and answered. When they saw the prophet, they ironically would say to one another:-

``Is this he who Allah has appointed a Messenger!?'' ``What a big claim!'' They said. ``What a strange word! Is it not ridiculous indeed?'' They were saying so while they had lived with the prophet for some forty years before his mission, and they had given him the title of, ``TRUSTWORTHY'' for his truthfulness. The pagans were in a conflict of mind and thought. From one hand, they ridiculed the prophet, and took him and his doctrine in mockery, and on the other hand, they feared to lose the creed and cult of their fathers and their inherited idols. This was because they knew that Mohammad (SA) was very serious in his call, and effective in his endeavours.

Then another weak point of the heathens has been pointed to in the next verse:- ``Have you seen him who has taken his caprices for his God? Will you then be an attorney for him?'' This is to say; if they scoff at you, and reject your call or show various kind of oppositions against you, it is not your fault or the weak point of your Message. It is their own fault that they do not follow a wisdom or a logic, and cannot understand. They even have no faith in God, and in fact their God is their caprices.

When instead of God, some people worship their caprices, impulses, and vain desires; it is difficult for reason to overcome and [ 408 ] prevail over the blind passion. Then, no one even a prophet can undertake any responsibility for such a lost class of people who have killed their own conscience, and have spoiled their internal instinct.

In other word, they are no more a human being, so as to be dealt with as a human. They are indeed like cattle, and even worse astray in the way of life.

(( 45 ))

45- DID YOU SEE HOW YOUR LORD EXPANDED THE SHADOW? HAD HE WILLED HE WOULD HAVE MADE IT STILL THEN WE MADE THE SUN A GUIDE OVER IT.

(( 46 ))

46- THEN WE COLLECTED IT TOWARDS US EASILY.

(( 47 ))

47- AND IT IS HE WHO HAS MADE THE NIGHT A CLOTHING FOR YOU, AND SLEEP A REST, AND MADE THE DAY A RESURRECTION.

(( 48 ))

48- AND IT IS HE WHO SENT THE WINDS AS GLAD-TIDINGS BEFORE HIS MERCY, AND WE SENT DOWN FROM THE SKY PURIFYING WATER.

[ 409 ]

(( 49 ))

49- SO AS TO REVIVE A DEAD LAND BY IT, AND GIVE IT TO DRINK TO WHAT WE CREATED OF CATTLE, AND SO MANY MANKIND.

(( 50 ))

50- AND VERILY WE CIRCULATED IT (QURA"N) AMONG THEM IN ORDER TO BECOME MINDFUL, YET MOST OF THE PEOPLE REFUSED ALL, EXCEPT DENIAL.

THE COMMENTARY
MOVEMENT OF THE SHADOWS

VERSE NO.4550 The above verses disclose some of the secrets of Monotheism through some of God's bounties.

The stress of the word here is, on the shadow and its blessings and manifold profits for Man and animal. These are manifested through the night and sleep and rest, through the day and raising to life and work, through the winds that act as heralds for God's Mercy which is the rain, and thereby the revival of the parched earth. In other word, whatever we see or we feel in this wide nature, if we go through it we shall find it to be a clear sign of our Merciful Lord. The sun and the moon, the day and the night, the light and the shade, the wind and the rain, and whatever else on which we point our finger, they are all signs and symbols which to some extent illustrate the Infinite Knowledge, Wisdom and Power of God. They all prove to work according to a general and universal plan accompanied with a unity of purpose throughout the universe:-

[ 410 ]

``Did you not see how your Lord expanded the shadow? Had He willd, He would have made it still. Then We made the sun a guide over it.'' The reference here is to the great usefulness of the moving shadows which do not stand still. Some commentators have known the shadow mentioned here to be the impressive phenomenon of light and shade, which may appear in the early morning before the sun rise. At first, the false dawn appears with its uncertain light, and long shadow followed by streaks of black in the East. After that, the true dawn will appear with beautiful colours of light and shade. These are merely due to the reflections of light, and are not made by the direct beams of sunlight.

Some other commentators are of opinion that the shadow mentioned here is the dark night itself, that creates for us the opportunity of rest and repose through our inevitable sleep. But the ending of the verse implies that the shadows are made and guided by the sun. This is to say that, if there was no sun and its light, shadow could have no meaning, and that we have to study shadow through its opposite and antagonist, which is the light.

If we go deeply through the matter, we see that the morning shadows are larger than those which appear about noon, and their lengths and directions are guided by the sun. As the sun rises higher and higher, the shadows contract, and become shorter and shorter. In the regions where the sun gets actually to Zenith at noon, there is no shadow left at the time because the substance that produces the shadow will then absorb it. Here a mystical opinion is that, everything and every material substance is a shadow which is cast by the only true reality, which is the light of God:-

``Allah is the light of the heavens and earth. The parable of His light is a niche in which is a lamp....'' [ 411 ] Therefore, God is the only light, and anything else whether concrete or abstract, are only shadows, depended and guided by the light. It is the light that gives length, size, form, or substance, to all things. Even the sun is nothing except a shadow of God's light.

Then comes the verse NO.48; the immediate reference of which is to the winds:- ``And it is He Who sent winds, as bearers of glad-tidings before His Mercy. And We sent down from the sky purifying water so as to revive a dead land by it....''

The roles of the winds is not hidden from us, knowing them to be the forerunners which are sent before, to announce the approach of the rain which is a great Mercy of God.

Had there been no wind, there would have been not a drop of rain and hence the calamity. So the winds are the heralds of God's Mercy.... the rain which is a distilled pure water for drink, and the best of purifying means too. A means by which a parched piece of land may quickly come to life, and grow plants and vegetations and all sorts of fruits, flowers and produces!

*****

Some expounders of Qura"n have taken the pronoun, ``IT'' related to the verb, circulated, (V.NO.50) to be the water that comes down as rain: ``And verily We have circulated it among them to be mindful.'' But some others, and among them HAZRAT AYATULLAH MAKAREM, have understood it to be the revelation of God which comes down from the heavens which in this case it is the Holy Qura"n.

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE

[ 412 ]

(( 51 ))

51- AND HAD WE WILLED, WE WOULD HAVE RAISED UP A WARNER IN EVERY TOWN.

(( 52 ))

52- SO DO NOT YOU FOLLOW THE NON-BELIEVERS, AND STRIVE AGAINST THEM BY IT (QURA"N), A GREAT STRIVING.

(( 53 ))

53- AND IT IS HE WHO HAS SET TO FLOW (IN PARALLEL) TWO SEAS. THIS ONE IS SWEET AND WHOLESOME, AND THE OTHER IS SALTY BITTER; AND HE HAS MADE A BARRIER BETWEEN THEM. (IT IS SO THAT, AS IF BOTH OF THEM SAY TO EACH OTHER); STAY ALOOF! (APPROACH ME NOT)

(( 54 ))

54- AND IT IS HE WHO CREATED FROM WATER THE MANKIND, AND MADE FOR HIM BLOOD AND MARRIAGE RELATIVES; AND YOUR LORD HAS ALWAYS BEEN ALL-,MIGHTY.