The Bounty Of The Earth and The Sky
 

The VERSE NO.22 reminds some GIFTS and GRACE of God that worth many thanks and gratitudes: First, it points out at the creation of the Earth which is made as resting place for us. Such a wonderful fast and easy moving mount that carries man upon its back, and travels with a delirious and dazzling speed, through the infinite space, without the least vibration and throbbing or thrilling! Such a mount is of surety one of the great gifts of Allah to man. Its GRAVITY gives you a chance and opportunity to move wherever you want, or to have rest whenever you like. It gives you chances to work, to build, to farm and many other functions. Have you ever thought that without the attraction of gravity you had to wander in the air up and down and out of control?

The VERSE, then refers to the SKY, as another gift and grace of God saying: ``And He made the sky a canopy for you.'' Here by SKY, the ATMOSPHERE, or the air envelope around our planet is wanted, which is held to it by gravitational attraction and it is extended to several hundred miles. Though it seems to be insubstantial, but in realty it has enormous mass with a total weight estimated to be 5000 million, million tons, exerting a pressure upon the earth's surface avaraging about 15 Lb. per square inch.

Had this huge SPHERE OF AIR not surrounded the earth, meteoric showers would have made IT inhabitable, and it could not be a resting place for the creatures, as it is said in the VERSE NO. 22.

Then it refers to the GIFT OF RAIN; saying: `And He sent down water from the sky wherewith He brought forth fruits for your sustenance.' Indeed is water a great, if not the greatest, Gift and bounty of our Merciful Lord. It is the source of life, the foundation of all the flourishing and cultivations and material bounties. It is a sign and indication of GOD'S extensive MERCY, that covers and encompasses all things, and also of HIS infinite POWER and KNOWLEDGE. HE easily brings

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out from the pure, colourless water hundreds of thousands of fruits, foods, flowers of various colour, smell, and taste; for man and animal. This is one of the most lively and vivid reasons and proofs of HIS existence. `Then do not set up compeers to Allah knowingly.'

IDOLATRY IN ITS VARIOUS FORMS

Generally, to compare or liken any entity, in power, effects or characters to God, is a form of POLYTHEISM, which sometimes creeps in the hearts of man, as an ant may creep upon a black stone in a dark night! The COMPEERS, or the false gods might be; idols, superstitions, and natural phenomena. They may also be the pride of race and birth, the pride of rank, power, and wealth, when are set as rivals to God or compared with His attributes.

(( 23 ))

23- AND IF YOU ARE IN DOUBT CONCERNING THAT WHICH WE HAVE SENT DOWN TO OUR SERVANT, (THE PROPHET) THEN PRODUCE A CHAPTER LIKE IT, AND CALL YOUR WITNESSES APART FROM ALLAH IF YOU ARE TRUTHFUL.

(( 24 )) 24- BUT IF YOU DO IT NOT, AND NEVER SHALL YOU DO IT, THEN GUARD YOURSELVES AGAINST THE FIRE WHOSE FUEL IS MEN AND STONES PREPARED FOR UNBELIEVERS.

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THE COMMENTARY
THE HOLY QURA"N, AN ETERNAL MIRACLE


Blasphemy may sometimes be rooted in misunderstanding the nature of prophethood and miracles. Here an eternal miracle is pointed to, namely the Glorious Qura"n, saying: ``And if you are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down to our servant, then produce a chapter like it.''

Here is a particular test. God has put many chapters before you. Can you produce at least one single chapter like it? By that, Qura"n calls to challenge all those who reject the idea that there is REVELATION, and that, it is from God. This is to make a reason against them out of their inability and failure. Not themselves alone, but if there be any one apart of Allah, who may inspire spiritual truth in such a noble language, let them bring their works forth or help you in doing that - ``Then call your witnesses apart from Allah if you are truthful.''

In the following verse, (NO. 24) the book denies their ability of doing that EVER! ``But if you do it not, and NEVER shall you do it, then guard yourself against the fire the fuel of which is MEN & STONES, prepared for the unbelievers.''

STONES AS FUELS!?

How can a piece of stone be the fuel for a fire? It may mean that the fire of Hell is kindled in the self and soul of the guilty people - a fire that consumes both the WORSHIPPERS of the false god, as well as their idols that were made and carved out of stones. Perhaps the fire of punishment mounts right up to the hearts and minds of the sinners - On their very seat of affection, pity, and understanding! This is also mentioned more clearly in another chapter of the Holy Book, namely HUMAZA (THE SCANDAL MONGER) as follows:

``The fire of Allah, that is kindled and mounted on the hearts.'' QURA"N - S 104: 4-5 Contrary to the fires that are kindled down here, the fires kindled in the life to come, start up in the hearts and minds and come out from in!

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WHY DO THE PROPHETS NEED TO BRING MIRACLES?

The prophets should be able to do something extraordinary by bringing miracles that no one else can; to use it as a sign and proof of their truthfulness. In our case the HOLY QURA"N, is the everlasting and eternal miracle of our prophet; apart of his numerous other miracles. This miracle of his is, an everlasting, rational, speaking, international and spiritual one.

Those prophets who were before Mohammad (AS) had to be with their miracles, in order to establish them and to gain full recognition and acceptance for them. But the Holy Qura"n is a permanent and self- explanatory miracle, that needs not to be introduced or established by the prophet. Many hundreds of years after our prophet, the BOOK is remained lively and up to date; as a source of a religion, as a valid law, as a document and reference for commandments, and full of astonishing miracles. The Holy Book has broken the borders and the walls of time and space, manifested in that very form which the scripture had more than one thousand and four hundreds years ago, shedding the light of truth and knowledge upon our age, as it shed upon the ARABIC PAGAN ERA! Evidently an international and everlasting religion should have a permanent and original document relied upon as a basis, proof, and support, (which is the role that QURA"N has played throughout the history of Islam.

QURA"N'S SPIRITUALITY

The miracles of the prophets before Mohammad (AS) were in a material state or manner, such as raising a dead body, or making a baby to speak in the cradle, or curing a deaf or blind. All such miracles had a material source and bed that could be felt or sensed. But as for the HOLY QURA"N, and its noble and amazing language, which is composed of the ordinary alphabetical letters, and goes so deep into the hearts and minds, making thought and wisdom to bow themselves in this respect, is something that should be considered a little deeper, and with more care.

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(( 25 ))

25- AND GIVE GLAD TIDINGS TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE AND DO GOOD DEEDS, THAT FOR THEM AWAITS GARDENS UNDERNEATH WHICH BROOKS FLOW. WHENEVER THEY ARE GIVEN SOME FRUITS THEREFROM, THEY SAY: ``THIS IS WHAT WAS GIVEN TO US BEFORE. (BUT THESE ARE SO MUCH BETTER) FOR THEY SHALL BE GIVEN THE LIKE; AND THEY HAVE THEREIN SPOUSES FURIFIED, AND THEY ABIDE THEREIN FOR EVER.''

THE COMMENTARY
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE HEAVENLY BOUNTIES


This one is an antithesis to the last verse, in which fire was the symbol of punishment, and in this, garden is the symbol of felicity. It promises that: `For those who believe and do good deeds, there awaits gardens of bliss underneath which streams of crystal water flows. We know that GARDENS that lack permanent water, will have not fruitful trees, vivid vegetations and lively plants. Therefore the gardens of bliss in PARADISE, have their own source of water and rivers flow underneath the trees therein.

Pointing to various fruits of the gardens, the verse adds that whenever they are given some fruits therefrom, they say: ``This is similar to what was given to us before.'' The fruit of goodness is goodness. They are similar in shape, but much better in degree of taste, colour, scent and fragrance.

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Another gift of the GARDENS OF BLISS that is promised here is clean spouses. Spouses who are clean spiritually as well as bodily. They live in that abundance and affluence for ever and beyond the realm of time.

CLEAN SPOUSES

The only qualification that is mentioned here, for the spouses that are in paradise, is their cleanliness. They are said to be free from whatever sullies or defilements, or dirt, and were purified from moral defilements too. From this, we may conclude that the first and most important condition for choosing spouses is their cleanliness, as it is narrated that the apostle said: ``Aviod any beautiful green grass that grows in a dunghill?''

When he was asked what do you mean by that sort of grass? he answered: ``It is the simile of a beautiful woman who grows in a contaminated and corrupt family!''

THE MATERIAL AND SPIRITUAL BOUNTIES IN PARADISE.

Though in so many verses, the material bounties of PARADISE is pointed off; many times, spiritual gifts, too, are mentioned besides. As an instance, we read the following verse: ``Allah Has promised the believing men, and the believing women, Gardens underneath which rivers flow. They abide there for ever. He has promised them goodly mansions in the GARDENS OF ETERNITY, and yet the greatest of all that, is; GOD'S GOOD PLEASURE - that is the supreme felicity.'' QURA"N - S 9: 72

(( 26 ))

26- ALLAH IS NOT ASHAMED TO STRIKE A SIMILITUDE ABOUT A GNAT (WHICH IS APPARENTLY A SMALL CREATURE) OR ABOVE IT.

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AS FOR THE BELIEVERS, THEY KNOW THAT IT IS THE TRUTH FROM THEIR LORD, BUT THE UNBELIEVERS SAY: `WHAT COULD ALLAH MEAN BY THIS PARABLE BY WHICH HE MISLEADS MANY AND LEADS MANY? BUT NONE IS MISLED BY IT SAVE THE EVILDOERS.

THE COMMENTARY
OCCASION OF REVELATION


When in the S 29: 41 the similitude of the SPIDER was used, and similarly in the S 22: 73 the similitude of the FLY was struck, a group of PAGANS criticized and mocked and said: `What sort of Divine inspiration is this, by which similitudes of gnat, spider, and fly are struck and used! So was the above verse (NO. 26) revealed to answer their childish question in an exalted language.'

DOES GOD EVER STRIKE SIMILITUDES?

The verse admits that HE DOES, saying: ``Allah is not ashamed to strike a similitude about a gnat or some creatures above it.'' Similitude is a means of manifesting some facts by comparison, and in order to despise and disclose the weakness and inability of the claimants, it is closer to eloquency to use irony, and to choose for the parable something of the weakest and of the lowest of the creatures as an instance of this we read in the HOLY QURA"N:

``O, People! A similitude is struck. Then listen to it. Those on whom you call apart from Allah, can never create a FLY, though they should all gather for it. And if the fly should snatch away anything from them, they are not able to take it back from it, weak are the SEEKER AND THE SOUGHT.'' QURA"N - S 22:73

As for the meaning of the phrase: `OR ABOVE IT' in the verse NO. 26 the commentators have two ideas: One group understand it to mean: ``ABOVE THE GNAT IN WEAKNESS OR SMALLNESS.''

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Some others believe it to mean: ``LARGER AND MORE POWERFUL THAN THE GNAT.'' We think the first idea to be the correct one. The verse is then continued defending its simile by saying: ``As for the believers, they know that it is the truth from their Lord.''But the unbelievers have thought it to be a cause of schism and separation by saying: ``What could Allah mean by this parable, by which He misleads many, and leads many?!''

It is then immediately added as an answer to the unbelievers that stumbling and offence only occurs as the result of sinner's own choice of the wrong, and therefore, `none is misled by it save the evil-doers.'

(( 27 ))

27- THOSE WHO BREAK ALLAH'S COVENANT AFTER IT IS RATIFIED, AND MAKE CUT WHAT ALLAH HAS COMMANDED TO BE JOINED, AND DO MISCHIEF ON EARTH, THEY SHALL BE THE LOSERS.

THE COMMENTARY
THE REAL LOSERS


Here in this verse, three significances of the unbelievers are added to their misguidance which was mentioned in the last verse. 1) They are those who break Allah's covenant after it has been ratified. Men have entered into different covenants with Allah: The covenant of knowing Him, and worshipping none besides HIM. The covenant of not following SATAN; and also their own caprices and carnal desires. But they have broken such covenants and promises, and have obeyed their wishes and passions.

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WHERE WAS THE COVENANTS FIXED?

Besides any gift and grace of God, there lays a natural covenant that can be recognized by conscience and instinct. For God's loving care we at least owe HIM gratitude and obedience which is a sort of natural covenant, the words of which is uttered in the language and laws of creation. But the sinner who knows this before he darkens his own conscience, forsakes the path of truth, and even resists the grace of God that comes to save him! He breaks the covenant of Allah by using his power and abilities in the way of mischief and falsehood, and this is why his case becomes hopeless, and the loss of felicity and bliss will be his.

2) The verse also signifies that: ``They cut out what Allah has commanded them to have it joined!'' These are the joints of families and friends. The connections with society and some social affairs; And having communications with the Divine Leaders. 3) Their third sign, which is signified by the verse is doing mischief on the earth.

THE IMPORTANCE OF OBSERVING THE BONDS OF RELATIONSHIP

Though the above verse commends to observe and pay regards to all the COVENANTS WITH ALLAH, but the observance of the bonds of relationship has got a clear cut importance in Islam. It means to join, to help, and to be good to kindreds and relatives, and cutting such relationship is a SIN MOST HEINOUS, so much so that, Imam SAJJAD (AS) says to his son: ``Do not befriend one who breaks the bonds of relationship because QURA"N has announced him a CURSED and far from GOD'S MERCY!''

(( 28 )) 28- HOW DO YOU DISBELIEVE IN ALLAH, SEEING YOU WERE

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DEAD, AND HE GAVE YOU LIFE. AGAIN HE WILL CAUSE YOU TO DIE, AND HE SHALL GIVE YOU LIFE AGAIN, AND TO HIM YOU WILL RETURN. (THEREFORE, NEITHER YOUR LIFE IS YOURS, NOR YOUR DEATH; ALL IS GOD'S) (( 29 ))

29- IT IS HE WHO CREATED FOR YOU ALL THAT IS IN THE EARTH, THEN HE PROCEEDED TO THE SKY, AND FASHIONED IT INTO SEVEN FIRMAMENTS, AND HE HAS KNOWLEDGE OF ALL THINGS.

THE COMMENTARY
THE MYSTERIOUS GIFT OF LIFE


To complete the reasons for theism, and knowing the existence of God, which came in the past verses, (NO. 21 & 22) a proof is brought here, that no just and fair heart can deny it. The proof is our mysterious life! The verse says: ``How do you disbelieve in Allah, seeing you were dead, and HE gave you life?!''

God has brought you into being. The mysteries of life and death are in HIS hands. Before this mortal life of yours, you were an inanimate being; just like the stones, the soil, the wood, and etc. You were entirely bereft of life, spirit, and consciousness. You were not endowed with understanding and knowledge. But now you are! you live! you know! you feel! Such affairs of life are so mysterious and amazing that millions of learned, and man of knowledge and wisdom, have tried to disclose the secrets and reveal the mysteries of life, and have failed, even to discover a millionth of the secrets and hidden matters! Can

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anyone, with the least common sense, ascribe such a wonderful and mysterious phenomenon to be the work of the inanimate nature, which is void of knowledge, wisdom, sight and sense? This is where and why we assert and insist on our assertion of theism, and our belief in God's is existence, and manifestation as the CREATOR and RULER of the universe, who has given us life and will cause us to die.

The verse then brings forth another evidence: ``THAT OF DEATH And again He will cause you to die.'' Therefore you should come to know that your life and death, is in the hands of Allah. The verse then puts on the carpet, the idea of RESURRECTION and the raise of the dead bodies: ``And He shall (ONCE AGAIN) give you life, and to HIM you will return.''

That is to say: When you die on this earth, that is not the end. You were of HIM, and you must return to HIM. Return to HIS MERCY. Return to HIS infinite bounties, and immeasureably extensive space and worlds that are above you and around you! And this is the main secret of life: Coming from HIM and Going to HIM.

Resurrection and raise of the dead, is not something impossible or even difficult in the nature. If we ponder over the life which is bestowed on us - before it, we were not anything worthy of mention. Though the words, DIFFICULT & EASY are meaning-less in the realm of power of God, we can still deduce and conclude that; giving life to something that already exists, though dead, is much easier than giving life to a non-existence, as it is our case at first.

The verse then ends with the phrase: ``TO HIM YOU WILL RETURN'' which TO HIM may mean to HIS BOUNTIES, GIFT and generally to HIS MERCY.''

VERSE NO. 29

After reminding the gifts of life and pointing at resurrection and Dooms Day, other extensive and various bounties of HIS, is brought into minds saying:

``It is He who created for you all that is in the earth.'' This verse explains the wonderful destiny of MAN, who is created to be Allah's VICEGERENT on earth - a position that is higher than that of the angels,

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because all that is created on the earth and also in the skies are said in the BOOK, to have been created for the MAN! The incredibly extensive depths of space above and around man which is only a small part of God's plan: ``HE proceeded then to the sky, and fashioned them into seven firmaments''

The Arabic word ESTVA" (TRANSLATED: HE PROCEEDED) means to have dominance and sovereignty over something.

THE SEVEN SKIES

As for the question that what is meant here by the NUMBER(7)? We think that the exact SEVEN in number is intended, and it can be proved from other verses. The undermentioned verse clearly indicates that all the planets, stars, asteroids, or whatever might be, are all stationed within the realm and bonds of the first sky; as follows: ``HE then formed the sky into seven firmaments (SKIES) in two days (PERIODS), and to each sky He assigned its duty, AND WE ADORNED THE LOWER SKY WITH BRILLIANT STARS AND SECURITY, that is the ordering of the All-mighty, the All-knowing.'' QURA"N - S 41: 12

Therefore the lowest of the seven skies is that which we can see overhead, which contains all the stars planets, suns, moons, and all the heavenly bodies that one can see with his eyes or can't see.

The upper six skies are now unknown to us, and we know not much about them. Perhaps in future, science and knowledge, may come to discover what do they have, and on what a nature they stand, revealing some of their secrets.

(( 30 ))

30- AND WHEN YOUR LORD SAID TO THE ANGELS: `I WILL CREATE A VICEROY ON THE EARTH'. THEY SAID: `WILL YOU PUT THERE ONE WHO WILL DO EVIL, AND SHED BLOOD?' (THE

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CREATURES THAT LIVED ON THE EARTH BEFORE MAN; MISUSED THEIR EMOTIONAL NATURE, WHICH RESULTED IN DOING EVIL, MISCHIEF AND SHEDDING BLOOD! IF THE AIM IS TO WORSHIP OUR LORD THEN) WE CELEBRATE YOUR PRAISE AND SANCTIFY YOU. HE SAID: `I KNOW WHAT YOU DO NOT KNOW.' (( 31 ))

31- AND HE TAUGHT ADAM THE NAMES, ALL OF THEM; (THE NAMES AND INNER NATURE AND QUALITIES OF ALL THINGS) THEN HE PRESENTED THEM UNTO THE ANGELES, AND SAID: `TELL ME THE NAMES OF THESE IF YOU ARE RIGHT.'

(( 32 )) 32- THEY SAID:= `GLORY TO YOU! WE HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE, SAVE WHAT YOU HAVE TAUGHT US. SURELY YOU ARE THE ALL-KNOWING THE ALL-WISE.'

(( 33 ))

33- HE SAID: `O, ADAM! INFORM THEM OF THEIR NAME'S, AND WHEN HE INFORMED THEM OF THEIR NAMES; HE SAID: `DID I NOT TELL YOU THAT I KNOW THE UNSEEN THINGS OF THE SKIES AND EARTH? AND I KNOW ALL THAT YOU HIDE AND ALL THAT YOU REVEAL?'

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THE COMMENTARY
GOD'S VICEROY (CALIPH) ON THE EARTH


We have read in the preceding verses that God HAS created for MAN all that is on the earth. Verses from NO. 30 to NO. 39 give some details of three main important matters:

1) Informing the angels that HE is going to appoint a VICEGERENT (CALIPH) in the earth.
2) Commanding the angels to bow down and prostrate themselves before ADAM.
3) Describing the condition of ADAM in PARADISE, his fall from the GARDEN OF BLISS, then his repentance and turn-back, and finally his living with his children on the earth.

VERSE NO. 30

The verse NO. 30, indicates how GOD'S WILL was to create a VICEROY on the earth, so that his attributes and qualifications might be a ray, or a reflection of GOD'S ATTRIBUTES! ``And when your Lord said to the angels: I will create a VICEROY on the earth.'' The ARABIC word KHALIF translated, TO VICEROY, means agent, deputy, vicegerent, indicating an agent having or exercising delegated power. This could be a reason as to why the angels put forth question that:

``Will you put there one who will do evil and shed blood, while we celebrate thy praise and extol thy Holiness!?'' The angels might have had some knowledge of the nature and emotions of man that could result in mischief and bloodshed, but their information was not deep enough. They thought that such deeds and characters were not becoming to a creature who is GOD'S VICEGERENT (CALIPH). When the angels said so, God answered them in brief, and let the details to be explained later on.

The angels had no independent WILL of their own, (FREE WILL) and were not endued with power of passions and other emotions, and their perfection could in some way and some how, reflect the perfection of

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God; but it could not raise them to the dignity and rank of vicegerency (CALIPHATE). A perfect caliph should have the power of initiation himself, but whose independent actions always reflect the will of his PRINCIPAL; which in this case is God. In their judgement they only saw the mischief and bloodshed consequences of the misuse of the emotional nature by man. They could not guess that, out of the progeny of ADAM, might appear Men such as Mohammad, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, and Saints and godly persons, martyrs, and many extraordinary charitable patients, and self-denying men who have none and nothing but Allah.

THE ANGELS ON TRIAL (VERSE NO. 31)

By the favour of God, ADAM, had the aptness and natural suitability for the extraordinary purpose of being GOD'S VICEROY (CALIPH) on earth; because God had taught him the names and inner nature and qualities of all things. What a great honour was it to MAN!? Emam Sadiq (AS) was asked about the names that were taught to ADAM, and he said: ``That means the, lands, the mountains, the valleys, the beds of rivers, and everything, even the carpet which is laid here beneath us.''

ADAM, had also the ability of naming things giving each of them their due, and suitable names.

VERSE NO. 32

After that; God presented them unto the angels and said: ``Tell me the names of these things if you are right!'' The angels failed to answer the question and said: ``Glory to you! we haven't such that knowledge, we only know that which you have taught us.''

VERSE NO. 33

Now there came the turn of ADAM to explain the names and the nature of things to the angels; for, God ordered him saying: ``O, ADAM! Inform them of their names; and when he did that well and efficiently, God said to the angels: ``Did I not tell you that I know the unseen things of the skies and earth? And that I know all that you hide, and all that you divulge?'' So they made sure

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that MAN is the worthiest for being the caliph, and they bowed down their heads to admit that.

(( 34 )) 34- AND WHEN WE SAID TO THE ANGELS: ``PROSTRATE YOURSELVES BEFORE ADAM.'' THEY ALL PROSTRATED THEMSELVES, EXCEPT SATAN, WHO REFUSED AND BECAME PROUD AND BECAME OF THE UNBELIEVER.

(( 35 ))

35- AND WE SAID: ``O, ADAM! DWELL YOU AND YOUR WIFE IN THE GARDEN, AND EAT OF THE BOUNTIFUL THINGS THEREIN WHEREVER YOU WISH BUT APPROACH NOT THIS TREE, LEST YOU BE OF THE TRANSGRESSORS.''


36- THEN SATAN CAUSED THEM TO SLIP THEREFROM, AND BROUGHT THEM OUT OF THAT THEY WERE IN, (OUT OF THE GARDEN OF BLISS) AND WE SAID: ``GET YOU ALL DOWN, SOME OF YOU ENEMIES TO SOME OTHER. AND ON EARTH WILL BE YOUR DWELLING-PLACE, AND YOUR MEANS OF LIVELIHOOD FOR A TIME BEING.

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THE COMMENTARY
ADAM IN THE GARDEN OF BLISS (VERSE NO. 34)


To continue with explaining the dignity and high position of man, QURA"N, says: ``We said to the angels prostrate yourselves before ADAM. They all prostrated themselves except IBLIS, who refused and was haughty and became unbeliever.''

Yes! He was puffed up with pride, and because of his pride and disobedience he became unbeliever. In fact, anyone who is worthy for the office and position of vicegerency is to be esteemed in all respects. We usually respect the scholars and scientists who have learned some formulas and laws of science, why not him who has been taught so much about the names and nature of all being things?