Sura Nabaa (The Great News) No. 78 (Verses 6-16)
 

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6. Have We not made the earth as a (wide) expanse?

7. And the mountains as pegs

8. And We created you in pairs,

9. And We made your sleep for repose,

10. And We made the night as a covering

11. And We made the day for (seeking) livelihood,

12. And We built above you seven firmaments

13. And We made (therein) a blazing lamp,

14. And We sent down from the clouds water in abundance

15. That We may bring forth thereby grain and plants,

16. And gardens of luxurious growth?




Commentary:

These verses are, in fact, an answer to the questions of the rejecters of the Resurrection, and those who differ on /aba'-in-'azim/ 'the Great News' since, these verses mention a portion of the wise order of this world of being and its reasonable gifts, which have a very effective function in Man's life. They are, on the one hand, a few of the clear Signs of Allah's power over all things; including the rebirth of the dead, and on the other hand, they point to the fact that this Wise order cannot exist in vain since, if with the end of this material world all other things end, too, this life will certainly be in vain.

Thus, these verses can be considered as some reasons for the Resurrection from two points of view: (1) Through the 'reasoning of power', and (2) through the reasoning of knowledge'.

In these eleven verses, twelve important blessings are pointed out, mixed with grace and affection and accompanied with reasoning and stimulation of the sentiments. As bare rational reasoning is not quite sufficient, sentiments and affections are needed.

first, it begins with the earth and says: Have We not made the earth a (wide) expanse?

The term /mihad/, as Raqib cites in his book, Mufradat, means 'a level and tidy place'. It is derived from the term mahd 'a bed, cradle'. Some commentators and philologists have rendered it to mean 'bed', which is both soft and comfortable.

The use of this term, for the earth, is full of meaning because, on the one hand, most parts of the land are so smooth and level that man can build houses thereon and prepares gardens and farms thereabout.

On the other hand, all his necessities are found over the Earth or hidden on its insides in the form of raw materials and valuable mines.

And, then again, the earth swallows up man's refuse, and the corpse of the dead are burned in it; (because of their dissolution and the absorption of their various microbes in the soil) , to be vanished by the wonderful properties of dust.

Furthermore, the Earth, itself, rotates and then rotates around the Sun by which the days and nights and the four seasons of the year appear and these, too, play an important role in Man's life.

In addition, the earth stores up, under its surface, much of the water that falls down from heaven nd then, gradually, distributes it through springs and subterranean canals.

In short, everything useful for the comfort of the creatures living on the land, is supplied on this smooth bed; the Earth. The importance of this great blessing will be made clear only when some slight changes happen to it.

Then, in order that the importance of the mountains may not be forgotten, in contrast to the smoothness of the surface of the Earth, it says: And the mountains as pegs?.

Mountains have deep and expanding formations joined together under the ground. They, armor-like, protect the Earth's surface against the inner pressure caused by the central molten lava, and the outer pressure resulting from the moon.

Also, mountains stand as lofty walls in the way of terrible storms, and as safe abodes for men to rest, therein. If they were not so, Man's life would be quite uncomfortable under the constant strikes of violent storms.

In addition, mountains are the source of sweet water as well as different precious mines.

Adding, still, to all of the above, the mountains' peaks; like gears of a wheel, restrain, by friction, the thick air mass around the globe, as if dragging it along with themselves.

Some scientists say that if the surface of the Earth were a flat plain, then, when the globe turns, the air would slide over it and great storms would develop. This constant turmoil would make the surface too hot and uninhabitable.

After mentioning these two phenomenal blessings of Allah, it refers to the spiritual signs of Allah and says: And we created you in pairs.

The term /azwaj/ is the plural form of the term /zauj/ which means 'mate, companion, a couple, and gender (husband or wife) ' from which not only is a man created and through which his generation survives, but also his spouse is counted as the reason for his spiritual tranquillity, as Sura Rum, No. 30. verse, 21 says: And among His Signs is this, that He created for you males from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts)

In other words, the genders (masculine and feminine) are the complement of each other then, they become complete and this makes them a whole.

Since the term /azwaj/ also means: 'kinds, species, and classes', some commentators have rendered it to mean: 'the variations in Man from the point of color, race, language, different spiritual levels and talents'; which are signs of Allah's greatness and the cause of perfection in societies.

Then, it refers to 'sleep' a grand divine gift to Man, and says: And We made your sleep for repose,.

The term /subat/is derived from /sabt/which originally means 'discontinue, rest' and then it was used for the 'suspension of work' for the purpose of resting, and that the term 'Saturday' in the Arabic vocabulary is called /yaum-us-sabt/ because it had been affected by the custom of the Jews who stopped working on Saturday.

Thus, the term /subat/ narrowly refers to the stopping of most of Man's physical and mental activities when he sleeps. The very temporary stopping of activity causes refreshment and improvement for the tired organs, strengthening the soul and the body, renewing one's pleasure, removing any fatigue and uneasiness, and consequently, making Man ready to start working again.

Though one-third of the human beings' lifetime is occupied by sleep and they have always been entangled with the question of 'dreams', still they wonder about the mysteries of sleep. Even yet, it is not exactly known why that at a special moment the mind fails to work well, the eyelids droop and all the limbs come to a peaceful state.

But, one thing is definitely known and that is: sleep is of great importance to one's health, and that is why psychiatrists try to make their patients' sleep normally and regularly, because it is impossible to cure them without it.

Those who do not sleep enough are pale, withered, nervous, and dull. On the contrary, those who sleep normally, when they rise they feel, in themselves, much pleasure and vitality.

After a tranquil sleep, study progresses very quickly and mental activity and physical endeavors are often more successful. These facts show the important functional role of sleep in Man's life.

There are few tortures, for a person, that are as painful as compulsory sleeplessness. Experiments have shown that Man's tolerance for lack of sleep is very little and soon he loses his health and becomes sick.

The aforementioned statements about the importance of sleep mean, of course., a balanced sleep, because, over sleeping, like gluttony, is one of the graceless behaviors which causes various sicknesses.

It is interesting that there is not a certain time limit for the natural length of sleep in all persons, but everyone should find the amount of sleep that one needs regarding his physical and mental activities and according to one's own experience.

And stranger still is when human beings are placed in a difficult situation where they must stay awake for a long time. Their perseverance for sleeplessness increases, temporarily, so that sometimes they decrease their sleep to one or two hours, but it has often happened that when the circumstances have changed, Man, both spiritually and bodily, has demanded the recompense of that sleeplessness and has taken it back.

There are, of course, a few rare individuals who are able to go without continuous sleep, for months at a time. In contrast, there are some people who fall asleep even when they are walking on the street or when they are speaking with another person. Surely, this state is very dangerous for them, especially if there would be no one to look after them. Obviously, these kinds of people are sick and sooner or later they will be faced with physical and spiritual difficulties.

In short, this wonderful characteristic, which appears in Man and is called 'sleep', contains many mysteries and is perceived as a 'miracle''.

Although the above mentioned verse is about 'sleep', as a divine blessing, it seems that death, and wakefulness could, also, symbolize Resurrection, so the verse could be a hint to both of them.

Then, again, concerning sleep, it speaks about the blessing of 'night' and says: "And We made the night as a covering".

Following immediately after that, it says: And We made the day for (seeking) livelihood.

Contrary to the duelists (because of being uninformed about the secrets of Creation, where they thought that the light of day is good and the darkness of night is evil and they believed in a separate god, for both of them, while thinking that the former originated from 'God' and the latter from Satan) we should give a bit more thought to it, then we will recognize that both of them are great blessings and are the origin of other blessings, as well.

According to the above verses, the gloom of night is a cloth and covering over the body of the Earth and over all living creatures residing on it. Night, compulsorily, stops the exhausting activities of the life and makes the gloom of darkness, which is actually peace, calmness, and tranquillity, dominate over everything in order to give the tired limbs a chance to recover and the gloomy spirit a chance to revive, since a good and quiet sleep is more likely to be obtained in the dark.

Besides this, when night comes, the sunshine disappears. If the sun were to shine continuously, all plants and animals would die from its heat, and the Earth could not be a dwelling place for them.

For the same reason, the Holy Qur'an has frequently emphasized on this matter. Once, it says: Say, see you? If Allah were to make the Day perpetual over you to the Day of Judgment, what god is there other than Allah who can give you a Night in which you can rest?... (Sura Qasas, No. 28, verse 72) . And after that it adds: It is out of His Mercy that He has made for you Night and Day, that you may rest therein, and that you may seek of His Grace..., (Sura Qasas No 28, verse 73) .

It is noteworthy that, in the Holy Qur'an, many great things have been made oath to, once, but night' has been made oath to seven times, hich illustrates the importance of the darkness of night, since we know that an oath is made for important affairs.

Those who make the night bright with artificial light and sit up all night long and sleep during the daytime, instead, become rather afflicted and sickly.

People, in villages, who sleep soon, at night, and get up early in the morning, lead healthier lives.

Night has other useful advantages, too. For instance, the period after midnight and before dawn is the best time to pray and supplicate to Allah and a very good occasion for self-perfection and devotional acts as Sura Zariyat, No.51. verse 18, about the qualities of the Righteous, says: And in the hours (wee hours of the morning) of early dawn, they (were found) praying for forgiveness.

The light of the day, too, is a unique blessing. It produces movement, such as, preparing Man for effort and endeavor, and causing the plants and animals to grow under its rays. Then, the above sentence which says: And We made the day for (seeking) livelihood, is truly so complete and meaningful that it does not need any further explanation.

In conclusion, the duration of the day and night and the precise regularity of their gradual changes, is one of the Signs of Allah in Creation. Moreover, it is counted as a natural calendar for the arrangement of Man's life timetable.

Then, from the Earth our attention is turned to the heavens and it says: And We built above you seven firmaments.

The number 'seven', here, may be a multiplication figure which refers to the numerous celestial spheres, groups of systems, galaxies and the different firmaments, in the existing universe, which have a firm nature and are created massive and strong. Or, it may be a figure of quantity in the sense that what we see from the galaxies belongs to the first sky, as Sura Saffat No 37, verse 6 states: We have indeed decked the lower heaven with beauty (in) the stars', and beyond that there are six more skies that are far from Man's reach.

It is also probable that the phrase /sab'an sidada/ 'seven firmaments' refers to the several layers of the atmosphere surrounding the Earth which, in spite of being apparently transparent, is so dense that it protects Earth from the continually falling meteorites. As soon as one of them enters Earth's atmosphere it becomes hot enough to burn, because of its violent contact with the protecting layers and then it turns to ash and comes down slowly over the land. If this layer of atmosphere did not exist, our cities and farms would be exposed to the invasion of these meteorites day and night.

Some scientists have calculated the denseness of the atmosphere, surrounding the Earth, as being more than one hundred kilometers thick, and equal to a steel ceiling ten meters thick! And this is only one of the commentaries for the phrase /sab'an sidada/ 'seven firmaments'.

After a short description about the creation of the heavens, attention is paid to the Sun, the great world-illuminating gift, and says: And We made (therein) a blazing lamp.

The term /wahhaj/ is based on the term /wahaj/ which means 'light and heat' issuing from fire. Therefore, the term with this sense 'brightly burning' used for the Sun, points to a couple of great blessings that are the origin of all material gifts of this world, that is 'light' and 'heat'.

The light of the Sun not only lights Man's surrounding environment and the whole solar system, but also is very effective in the growth of living creatures.

Its heat, in addition to the effect that it directly has on the lives of human beings, animals and plants, is the main cause of the existence of clouds, winds, and rainfall necessary for the irrigation of dry lands.

Because of its ultraviolet rays, the Sun is very useful in destroying microbes. If it were not, generations of living creatures would perish in a short time.

The Sun constantly illuminates the whole world, free of charge, with its warm, bright light and from an appropriate distance. It is neither so hot and burning, nor so cold and dim; and it offers itself to all of us.

If we compare the value of energy, produced by the Sun, with the price of other sources of energy, it adds up to a very large sum. Let us assume that we grew an apple tree with artificial light and energy. Each apple would cost an extraordinary amount. But now, indeed, we receive this worldly productive light, freely, from /siraj-an-wahhaj/ 'a blazing lamp'.

The Sun is the star nearest the Earth, whose mean distance from it is nearly 93,000,000 miles (about 150,000,000 kilometers) ; its diameter is about 865,000 miles; its mass is about 322,000 times, and its volume more than 1,300,000 times, that of the Earth, and its density is about one-fourth that of the Earth. Its outer heat is about 6,000C.(10,000F) . (The Kelivin temperature scale uses a degree of which the unit of measurement equals the centigrade degree, but it is numbered from absolute zero, which is -273.16 C.) . All of these are arranged, in such a way. so that if they were a little more or a little less than what they are, it would he impossible for life to exist on the Earth.

Following the description of the gifts of 'light' and 'heat', it speaks of another important matter, about life, which closely relates to the subject of sunshine and says: And We sent down from the clouds water in abundance.

The term /musarat/ is the plural form of the word /mu'sar/ which is based on the term /asr/ in the sense of 'pressure' and the term is used with the meaning of 'clouds emitting or pressing out rain', as if to press itself to pour water.

Some others have said that it means ' the clouds that are ready to rain', because the form of the word used in Arabic texts denotes to readiness for something'.

Some commentators have said that /mu'sarat/ is not an adjective for the word 'clouds', it is an adjective for the word, 'winds' which press on the clouds from every side in order for it to rain.

The term /thajjaj/ is based on /thajj/ which means 'to pour abundant water, continuously' and also it is used, here, in the Arabic intensive form. So, on the whole, the meaning of the verse is that: 'We sent down, continuously, abundant water from the clouds emitting rain'.

Rain, by itself, has some benefits and merits when it falls: it makes the air fresh, it washes the dirt away, it decreases the heat of the weather; it even moderates the cold weather, it decreases the cause of diseases and it brings Man spirit and joy. But the following verses point to three other great benefits of rain; it says: That we may bring forth thereby grain and plants".

And gardens of luxurious growth.

Raqib cites in his book, Mufradat, that the term /alfaf/ denotes that the trees of this garden are so thick and entangled that they are joined to each other.

In fact, in those two previous verses, all of the foodstuff that grows on the land and which men and animals use have been pointed out, because a great part of it is compiled of grains /habba!, the vegetables and roots /nabata/ and, thirdly, fruits /jannat/.

It is true that in these two verses only three outstanding benefits of rain are mentioned, but its benefits, undoubtedly, are not limited only to these. Seventy percent of Man's bodyweight is made up of water; the main origin of all living creatures, as the Qur'an says: ...We made from water every living thing... (Sura Anbiya, No. 21, verse 30) . Therefore, water acts as the essential property in the life of living reatures, especially Man.

Not only Man's body, but also many factories are paralysed without water, and a lot of manufactures would fold, too, without the availability of water.

The beauty and the livelihood of nature is due to water, and the best commercial and economical trade routes, of the world, arc waterways.


Explanation:

The Relation Between These Verses and the Resurrection:

Through the above eleven verses, the greatest divine gifts and the most basic necessities of Man's life are pointed out, i.e. light, darkness, heat, water, land, and plants.

The statement about this precise regularity, on the one hand, is a clear proof of Allah's power over everything. Therefore, there would be no doubt for anyone as to how Allah can bring the dead to life again; as the Qur'an says, very clearly, for an answer to the rejecters of the Hereafter: is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like thereof?. Yes indeed! for He is the Creator Supreme, of skill and knowledge (infinite) ." (Sura Yasin, No. 36, verse 81) .

On the other hand, this great and lofty establishment certainly has a definite goal, which undoubtedly cannot be construed as the mere 'life of this word' or being satisfied by simply eating, drinking, and sleeping, but Allah's knowledge requires an aim higher than this goal and, in another sense, the first life is an admonishment for the Next Life, and is a stopover on Man's long journey, as Sura Mo'minun, No. 23, verse 115 verifies: Did you then think that We had created you in jest and that you would not be brought back to Us (for account) ?.

And, too, sleeping and wakefulness can be seen as a kind of death and rebirth, and the dry and dead lands that are revived by falling rains again and again, every year, are before our very eyes the incidents that refer to the Resurrection. They illustrate the Hereafter and the life after death. Sura Fatir No. 35, verse 9 attests to this idea. It, after pointing to the revival of the dead lands by rain, says: ... even so (will be) the Resurrection!.