7) سورة الأعراف
المص (الأعراف: 1).
كِتَابٌ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ فَلاَ يَكُنْ فِي صَدْرِكَ حَرَجٌ مِنْهُ لِتُنذِرَ بِهِ وَذِكْرَى لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ (الأعراف: 2).
اتَّبِعُوا مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعُوا مِنْ دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ قَلِيلاً مَا تَذَكَّرُونَ (الأعراف: 3).
وَكَمْ مِنْ قَرْيَةٍ أَهْلَكْنَاهَا فَجَاءَهَا بَأْسُنَا بَيَاتًا أَوْ هُمْ قَائِلُونَ (الأعراف: 4).
فَمَا كَانَ دَعْوَاهُمْ إِذْ جَاءَهُمْ بَأْسُنَا إِلاَّ أَنْ قَالُوا إِنَّا كُنَّا ظَالِمِينَ (الأعراف: 5).
فَلَنَسْأَلَنَّ الَّذِينَ أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَنَسْأَلَنَّ الْمُرْسَلِينَ (الأعراف: 6).
فَلَنَقُصَّنَّ عَلَيْهِمْ بِعِلْمٍ وَمَا كُنَّا غَائِبِينَ (الأعراف: 7).
وَالْوَزْنُ يَوْمَئِذٍ الْحَقُّ فَمَنْ ثَقُلَتْ مَوَازِينُهُ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمْ الْمُفْلِحُونَ (الأعراف: 8).
وَمَنْ خَفَّتْ مَوَازِينُهُ فَأُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِينَ خَسِرُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا يَظْلِمُونَ (الأعراف: 9).
وَلَقَدْ مَكَّنَّاكُمْ فِي الأَرْضِ وَجَعَلْنَا لَكُمْ فِيهَا مَعَايِشَ قَلِيلاً مَا تَشْكُرُونَ (الأعراف: 10).
وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَاكُمْ ثُمَّ صَوَّرْنَاكُمْ ثُمَّ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلاَئِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا ِلأَدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلاَّ إِبْلِيسَ لَمْ يَكُنْ مِنْ السَّاجِدِينَ (الأعراف: 11).
قَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلاَّ تَسْجُدَ إِذْ أَمَرْتُكَ قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِنْ نَارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِنْ طِينٍ (الأعراف: 12).
قَالَ فَاهْبِطْ مِنْهَا فَمَا يَكُونُ لَكَ أَنْ تَتَكَبَّرَ فِيهَا فَاخْرُجْ إِنَّكَ مِنْ الصَّاغِرِينَ (الأعراف: 13).
قَالَ أَنظِرْنِي إِلَى يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ (الأعراف: 14).
قَالَ إِنَّكَ مِنْ الْمُنظَرِينَ (الأعراف: 15).
قَالَ فَبِمَا أَغْوَيْتَنِي لَأَقْعُدَنَّ لَهُمْ صِرَاطَكَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ (الأعراف: 16).
ثُمَّ لَآتِيَنَّهُمْ مِنْ بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ وَعَنْ أَيْمَانِهِمْ وَعَنْ شَمَائِلِهِمْ وَلاَ تَجِدُ أَكْثَرَهُمْ شَاكِرِينَ (الأعراف: 17).
قَالَ اخْرُجْ مِنْهَا مَذْءُومًا مَدْحُورًا لَمَنْ تَبِعَكَ مِنْهُمْ لَأَمْلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنْكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ (الأعراف: 18).
وَيَاآدَمُ اسْكُنْ أَنْتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ فَكُلاَ مِنْ حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا وَلاَ تَقْرَبَا هَذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنْ الظَّالِمِينَ (الأعراف: 19).
فَوَسْوَسَ لَهُمَا الشَّيْطَانُ لِيُبْدِيَ لَهُمَا مَا وُورِيَ عَنْهُمَا مِنْ سَوْآتِهِمَا وَقَالَ مَا نَهَاكُمَا رَبُّكُمَا عَنْ هَذِهِ الشَّجَرَةِ إِلاَّ أَنْ تَكُونَا مَلَكَيْنِ أَوْ تَكُونَا مِنْ الْخَالِدِينَ (الأعراف: 20).
وَقَاسَمَهُمَا إِنِّي لَكُمَا لَمِنْ النَّاصِحِينَ (الأعراف: 21).
فَدَلاَّهُمَا بِغُرُورٍ فَلَمَّا ذَاقَا الشَّجَرَةَ بَدَتْ لَهُمَا سَوْآتُهُمَا وَطَفِقَا يَخْصِفَانِ عَلَيْهِمَا مِنْ وَرَقِ الْجَنَّةِ وَنَادَاهُمَا رَبُّهُمَا أَلَمْ أَنْهَكُمَا عَنْ تِلْكُمَا الشَّجَرَةِ وَأَقُلْ لَكُمَا إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لَكُمَا عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ (الأعراف: 22).
قَالاَ رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَا أَنفُسَنَا وَإِنْ لَمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنْ الْخَاسِرِينَ (الأعراف: 23).
قَالَ اهْبِطُوا بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ وَلَكُمْ فِي الأَرْضِ مُسْتَقَرٌّ وَمَتَاعٌ إِلَى حِينٍ (الأعراف: 24).
قَالَ فِيهَا تَحْيَوْنَ وَفِيهَا تَمُوتُونَ وَمِنْهَا تُخْرَجُونَ (الأعراف: 25).
يَابَنِي آدَمَ قَدْ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ لِبَاسًا يُوَارِي سَوْآتِكُمْ وَرِيشًا وَلِبَاسُ التَّقْوَى ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ ذَلِكَ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ (الأعراف: 26).
يَابَنِي آدَمَ لاَ يَفْتِنَنَّكُمْ الشَّيْطَانُ كَمَا أَخْرَجَ أَبَوَيْكُمْ مِنْ الْجَنَّةِ يَنزِعُ عَنْهُمَا لِبَاسَهُمَا لِيُرِيَهُمَا سَوْآتِهِمَا إِنَّهُ يَرَاكُمْ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لاَ تَرَوْنَهُمْ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا الشَّيَاطِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ لِلَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ (الأعراف: 27).
وَإِذَا فَعَلُوا فَاحِشَةً قَالُوا وَجَدْنَا عَلَيْهَا آبَاءَنَا وَاللَّهُ أَمَرَنَا بِهَا قُلْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْفَحْشَاءِ أَتَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ (الأعراف: 28).
قُلْ أَمَرَ رَبِّي بِالْقِسْطِ وَأَقِيمُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ عِنْدَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَادْعُوهُ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ كَمَا بَدَأَكُمْ تَعُودُونَ (الأعراف: 29).
فَرِيقًا هَدَى وَفَرِيقًا حَقَّ عَلَيْهِمْ الضَّلاَلَةُ إِنَّهُمْ اتَّخَذُوا الشَّيَاطِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ مُهْتَدُونَ (الأعراف: 30).
يَابَنِي آدَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِنْدَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا وَلاَ تُسْرِفُوا إِنَّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ (الأعراف: 31).
قُلْ مَنْ حَرَّمَ زِينَةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي أَخْرَجَ لِعِبَادِهِ وَالطَّيِّبَاتِ مِنْ الرِّزْقِ قُلْ هِيَ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا خَالِصَةً يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ كَذَلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الآياتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ (الأعراف: 32).
قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّي الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَالإِثْمَ وَالْبَغْيَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَأَنْ تُشْرِكُوا بِاللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَأَنْ تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ (الأعراف: 33).
وَلِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ أَجَلٌ فَإِذَا جَاءَ أَجَلُهُمْ لاَ يَسْتَأْخِرُونَ سَاعَةً وَلاَ يَسْتَقْدِمُونَ (الأعراف: 34).
يَابَنِي آدَمَ إِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُمْ رُسُلٌ مِنْكُمْ يَقُصُّونَ عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِي فَمَنْ اتَّقَى وَأَصْلَحَ فَلاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ (الأعراف: 35).
وَالَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا وَاسْتَكْبَرُوا عَنْهَا أُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ (الأعراف: 36).
فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ افْتَرَى عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا أَوْ كَذَّبَ بِآيَاتِهِ أُوْلَئِكَ يَنَالُهُمْ نَصِيبُهُمْ مِنْ الْكِتَابِ حَتَّى إِذَا جَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُنَا يَتَوَفَّوْنَهُمْ قَالُوا أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ تَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ قَالُوا ضَلُّوا عَنَّا وَشَهِدُوا عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ أَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا كَافِرِينَ (الأعراف: 37).
قَالَ ادْخُلُوا فِي أُمَمٍ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ مِنْ الْجِنِّ وَالإِنسِ فِي النَّارِ كُلَّمَا دَخَلَتْ أُمَّةٌ لَعَنَتْ أُخْتَهَا حَتَّى إِذَا ادَّارَكُوا فِيهَا جَمِيعًا قَالَتْ أُخْرَاهُمْ ِلأَولاَهُمْ رَبَّنَا هَؤُلاَءِ أَضَلُّونَا فَآتِهِمْ عَذَابًا ضِعْفًا مِنْ النَّارِ قَالَ لِكُلٍّ ضِعْفٌ وَلَكِنْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ (الأعراف: 38).
وَقَالَتْ أُولاَهُمْ ِلأَخْرَاهُمْ فَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ عَلَيْنَا مِنْ فَضْلٍ فَذُوقُوا الْعَذَابَ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَكْسِبُونَ (الأعراف: 39).
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا وَاسْتَكْبَرُوا عَنْهَا لاَ تُفَتَّحُ لَهُمْ أَبْوَابُ السَّمَاءِ وَلاَ يَدْخُلُونَ
الْجَنَّةَ حَتَّى يَلِجَ الْجَمَلُ فِي سَمِّ الْخِيَاطِ وَكَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُجْرِمِينَ (الأعراف: 40).
7.Al ARRAF AYYAH 1—40
(7:2) This is a Book revealed to you. ! Let there be no impediment in your heart about
it.2 (It has been revealed to you) that you may thereby warn [the unbelievers], that it may be a reminder to the believers.3
1.The word ‘Book’, in this context, signifies this very surah, al-A’raf.
2.The Prophet (peace be on him) is directed to preach his Message without fear and hesitation, and to disregard his opponents’ response. Such opponents may well be offended by his preaching of the Message, or may, hold it to ridicule, or go about maliciously twisting it, or acting with greater hostility. All this notwithstanding, the Message of Islam must be preached.
The Arabic word haraj (which we have translated as straightness), signifies an intractable bush.
(See Ibn Manzur. Lisan al ‘Arab and Firuzabadi, al-qamus, q.v. ‘Harajah’.) ‘Straightness or constriction in the breast’ refers to the reluctance of a person to go ahead in the face of opposition. The following Qur’anic verse would seem to allude to this mental state of the Prophet (peace he on him): ‘We do indeed know how your heart feels distressed at what they say! (al-Hijr 15: 97). What painfully concerned the Prophet (peace be on him) was to find out how he could direct a people, whose adamancy and opposition the o truth had reached such high proportions, to the Right Way. The same state of mind is again reflected in the Qur’anic verse: ‘Perhaps you might feel inclined to part with a portion of what has been revealed to you, and your heart feels straitened lest they, say: “Why is a treasure not sent down unto him; or why does an angel not come with him?” ‘ (Hud _ 11:12).
3.The main purpose of this surah is to jolt the people out of their heedlessness and to warn them of the dire consequences that will follow if they reject the call of the Prophet (peace be
on him). Additionally, this surah also seeks to serve as a reminder to the believers – a purpose which is achieved, incidentally, by the warning made to the unbelievers.
(7:3) [0 men!] Follow what has been revealed to you from your Lord and follow no masters other than Him. Little are you admonished.
4.The central theme of the whole surah, and of the present discourse, is the guidance which man needs in order to live a wholesome life, the knowledge which he requires in order to understand the reality of the universe and his own being and the purpose of his existence; the principles which he needs to serve as the basis for morality and social life as well as culture and civilization. In this regard man should look to God alone and follow exclusively, the Guidance which He has communicated to mankind through His Messenger. To look to anyone other than God is dangerous for it has always spelled disaster in the past, and will always spell disaster in the future. In this verse, the word awliya’ (masters) refers to those whom one follows, regardless of whether one idolizes or curses them, and whether one acknowledges their patronship or strongly, denies it. For further explanation see Tafhim al- Qur’an, (al-Shurai 42, n.6).
(7:4) How many a township We have destroyed! Our scourge fell upon them at night, or when they were taking midday rest.
(7:5) And when Our scourge fell upon them their only cry was: ‘We are indeed transgressors. ‘2
5.People can learn a lesson from the tragic fate of those nations that spurned God’s Guidance. and instead followed the guidance of others; and they also became so degenerate that their very existence became an intolerable burden on the earth. Eventually, God’s scourge seized them. and the earth was cleansed of their filthy existence.
The words uttered by, the evil-doers: ‘We are indeed transgressors’, emphasizes two points, First, that it is pointless for one to realize and repent of one’s wrong-doing after the time for such repentance is past. Individuals and communities who allow the term granted to them to be wasted in heedlessness and frivolity, who turn a deaf car to those who invite them to the truth, have so often been overtaken in the past by God’s punishment. Second, there are numerous instances of individuals as well as communities which incontrovertibly prove that when the wrong-doings of a nation exceed a certain limit, the term granted to it expires and God’s punishment suddenly overtakes it. And once a nation is subjected to God’s punishment, there is no escape from it. Since human history abounds in such instances, there is no reason why people should persist in the same iniquity, and repent only when the time for repentance has passed.
(7:6) So We shall call to account those to whom Messengers were sent, and We shall call to account the Messengers (to see how dutifully they conveyed the Message, and how people responded to it).2
6.The words ‘call to account’ refers to the questioning people will be subjected to on the Day of Judgment. For it is the reckoning on the Day, of judgment that really matters.
Punishment dealt upon corrupt individuals and communities in this world does not constitute their true punishment. Punishment in this world is no more than what happens when a criminal, who has been strutting scot-free, is suddenly arrested. The arrest constitutes no more than depriving the criminal of the opportunity to perpetrate further crimes. The annals of history are filled with instances where corrupt nations have been punished, proving that man has not been granted absolute license to go about doing whatever he pleases. Rather, there is a Power above all that allows man to act freely but only to a certain extent, no more. And when man exceeds those limits, that Power administers a series of warnings in order that he might heed the warnings and give up his wickedness. But when man fails totally to respond to such warnings, he is punished.
Anyone who considers the events of history, will conclude that the Lord of the universe must have certainly appointed a Day of judgments in order to hold the wrong-doers to account for their actions and to punish them. That the Qur’an refers to the recurrent punishment of wicked nations as an argument in support of the establishment of the final judgment in the Hereafter is evidenced by the fact that the present (verse- 6 )- opens with the word so’.
7.This shows that on the Day of judgment Prophethood will be the main basis of reckoning. On the one hand, the Prophets will be questioned about the efforts they made to convey God’s Message to mankind. On the other hand, the people to whom the Prophets were sent will be questioned about their response to the message. The Qur’an is not explicit about how judgments will be made with regard to individuals and communities who did not receive God’s Message. It seems that God has left judgment – to borrow a contemporary judicial expression – reserved. However, with regard to individuals and communities who did receive God’s Message through the Prophets, the Qur’an states explicitly, that they will have no justification whatsoever to put forward a defense of their disbelief and denial, of their transgression and disobedience. They are doomed to be east into Hell in utter helplessness and dejection.
(7:7) Then We shall narrate to them with knowledge the whole account. For surely, We were not away from them.
(7:8) The weighing on that Day will be the true weighing: those whose scales are heavy will prosper.
8.This means that when the Balance is fixed on the Day of Judgement, ‘truth’ and weight will be identical. The more truth one has to one’s credit, the more truth one has to one’s credit, the more the weight in one’s scale; and vice versa. One will be judged solely on the basis of this weight. In other words, no consideration other than the truth will enter into the calculation. A life of falsehood, however long it lasted, and however full of worldly achievements, will carry no weight at all. Weighed in the Balance, the devotees of falsehood will discover that their life-long deeds do not even weigh so much as a birds feather. The same point has been expatiated upon in (al-Kahf 18:103-5) : ‘Shall We tell you of those who are greatest losers in respect of their deeds? It is those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they kept believing that they were acquiring good by their deeds. they are those who deny the Signs of their Lord and the fact of their having to meet Him (in the Hereafter). So their works are in vain and we shall attach no weight to them on the Day of Judgement.’
(7:9) and those whose scales are light will be the losers,2 for they, are the ones who have been unjust to Our signs.
9.For a full appreciation of this point it is necessary, to remember that man’s deeds will be
classified into positive and negative categories. The positive category will consist of
knowing the truth, believing in it, acting upon it, and striving to make it prevail. It is such
acts alone which will have weight in the Hereafter. Conversely, whenever someone follows
and goes after lusts or blindly follows other humans or Satan’s, his acts will be reckoned as
‘negative’. Such acts will not only be of no value at all, but will also have the effect of
reducing the total weight of one’s positive acts.
Thus, a man’s success in the Hereafter requires that his good acts outweigh his evil ones to
such an extent that even if his evil acts cause the effacement of some of his good acts, he
should still have enough left in his credit to ensure his scale is inclined towards the positive.
As for the man whose evil acts outweigh his good acts, he will be like the bankrupt
businessman who, even after spending all his assets, remains under the burden of debt.
(7:10) We assuredly established you in the earth and arranged for your livelihood in it.
(7:11) We initiated your creation, then We gave you each a shape, and then We said to
the angels: ‘Prostrate before Adam.) 1° They all prostrated except Iblis: he was not one of those who fell Prostrate.
10.These verses should be read in conjunction with
(al-Baqarah 2: 30-). The words in which the command to prostrate before Adam is mentioned may give rise to the misapprehension that it was Adam as such who is the object of prostration. This misapprehension should be removed by what has been said here. The text makes it very clear that prostration before Adam was in his capacity, as the representative of all mankind and not in his personal capacity.
The successive stages of man’s creation mare mentioned in the present verse (‘We initiated your creation, then We gave you each a shape’), means that God first planned the creation of man, made ready the necessary materials for it, and then gave those materials a human form.
Then, when man had assumed the status of a living being, God asked the angels to prostrate before him. The Qur’an says: And recall when your Lord said to the angels: ‘I am about to create man from clay. When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit then fall You down in prostration before him’ (Sad 38: 71-2).
Mention has been made in these verses, though in a different way, of the same three stages of creation: man’s creation from clay; giving him a proportionate human shape, and bringing Adam into existence by breathing into him God’s spirit. The following verses also have the same import:
And recall when your Lord said to the angels: ‘I am about to create man, from sounding clay molded into shape from black mud. When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall you all down in prostration before him! (al-Hijr 15: 28-9). It is quite difficult for one to appreciate fully the details of the origin of man’s creation. We cannot fully grasp how man was created out of the elements drawn from the earth; how he was given a form and a well-proportioned one at that and how God’s Spirit was breathed into him. It is quite obvious, though, that the Qur’anic version of man’s creation is sharply at odds with the theory, of creation propounded by Darwin and his followers in our time.
Darwinism explains man’s creation in terms of his evolution from a variety of non-human and sub-human stages culminating in homo sapiens. It draws no clear demarcation line that would mark the end of the non-human stage of evolution and the beginning of the species called ‘man’. Opposed to this is the Qur’anic version of man’s creation where a man starts his career from the very beginning as an independent species, having in his entire history no essential relationship at all with any non-human species. Also, man is conceived as having been invested by God with full consciousness and enlightenment from the very start of his life.
These are two different doctrines regarding the past of the human species. Both these doctrines give rise to two variant conceptions about the man. If one were to adopt the Darwinian doctrine, man is conceived as essentially a species of the animal genre.
Acceptance of this doctrine leads man to derive the guiding principles of his life, including moral principles, from the laws governing animal life. Given the basic premises of such a doctrine, animal-like behavior is to be considered quite natural for man. The only, difference between man and animal lies in the fact that animals act without the help of the tools and instruments used by humans, and their behavior is devoid of culture.
Were one to accept the other doctrine, man would be conceived as a totally, distinct category.
Man is no longer viewed simply as a talking or gregarious animal. He is rather seen as God’s Vicegerent on earth. What distinguishes man from other animals, according to this doctrine, is not his capacity to speak or his gregariousness but the moral responsibility and trust with which he has been invested. Thus, one’s whole perspective with regard to man and everything relating to him is changed. Rather than looking downwards to species of being lower than the human, man will turn his gaze upwards. It is claimed by some that however dignified the Qur’anic doctrine might be from a moral and psychological point of view, Darwinism should still be preferred on the basis of its being scientifically established.
However, the very claim that Darwinism has been scientifically established is itself questionable. Only those who have a very superficial acquaintance with modern science can entertain the misconception that the Darwinian theory of evolution has been scientifically, established. Those who know better are full, aware that despite the vast paraphernalia of evidence in its support, it remains merely a hypothesis. The arguments marshaled in support of this theory at best succeed in establishing it as a possibility, but certainly not as to an incontrovertible fact. Hence at the most what can he said is that the evolution of the species is as much a possibility as its direct creation.
(7:12) Allah said: ‘What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you to do so?’ He said: ‘I am better than he. You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.
(7:13) Allah said: ‘Then get you down from here. It does not behoove you to be arrogant here. So be gone. You will be among the humiliated.'”
11. Implicit in the Qur’anic expression (sagharin) is the idea of contentment with one’s disgrace and indignity, for saghir, is he who invites disgrace and indignity, upon himself.
Now, Satan was a victim of vanity and pride, and for that very reason defied God’s command to prostrate himself before Adam. Satan was, therefore, guilty of self-inflicted degradation. False pride, baseless notions of glory, ill-founded illusions of greatness failed to confer any greatness upon him. They could only bring upon him disgrace and indignity. Satan could blame none but himself for this sordid end.
(7:14) Satan replied: ‘Give me respite till the Day they shall be raised.’
(7:15) Allah said: ‘You are granted respite. ‘
(7:16) Satan said: ‘Since You have led me astray, I shall surely sit in ambush for them on Your Straight Path.
(7:17) Then I will come upon them from the front and from the rear, and from their right and from their left. And You will not find most of them thankful.’2
12. This was the challenge thrown down by Satan to God. What it meant is that Satan would make use of the respite granted to him until the Last Day, and he would do so in order to prove that nan did not deserve a position superior to his and this had after all been bestowed upon him by God. So doing, he would expose how ungrateful, thankless and disloyal a creature man is.
The respite asked for by Satan and granted to him by God includes not only the time but for also the opportunity to mislead Man and to prove his point by appealing to man’s weaknesses. The Qur’an makes a pointed statement about this in (Banu Isra’ il 17: 61-5).
These verses make it clear that God had granted Satan the opportunity to try to mislead Adam and his offspring At the same time it has also been made quite clear that Satan was not granted the power to lead men into error against their will. ‘As for my servants’, says the Qur’an, ‘you shall have no power over them! (Banu Isra’il 17: 65). Thus all that Satan can do is to cause misunderstanding, to make people cherish false illusions, to make evil and error seem attractive, and to invite people to evil ways by holding out to them the promise of immense pleasure and material benefits. He would have no power, however, to forcibly pull them to the Satanic way and to prevent them from following the Right Way. Accordingly, the Qur’an makes it quite plain elsewhere that on the Day of Judgement, Satan would address the men who had followed him in the following words: ‘I had no power over you except to call you; but you listened to me: then reproach me not, but reproach your own selves’ (Ibrahim 14: 22).
As for Satan’s allegation that God Himself caused him to fall into error see (verse 16), it is an attempt on the part of Satan to transfer the blame which fails squarely on him to God.
Satan’s grievance seems to be that God was responsible for his deviation insofar as He hurt Satan’s pride by asking him to prostrate before Adam, and that it was this which led him to disobey God. It is thus clear that Satan wanted to continue enjoying his vain arrogance and that he was incensed that his weakness – arrogance – was seen through and brought to full light. The underlying stupidity of the statement is too patently obvious to call for any refutation, and hence God took no notice of it.
(7:18) Allah said: ‘Go away from here – disgraced and expelled. I shall fill the Hell with all those that follow you.
(7:19) 0 Adam! Live you and your spouse in the Garden and both of you eat from it wherever you will, but never approach the tree or you shall become wrongdoers.’
(7:20) But Satan made an evil suggestion to both of them that he might reveal to them Their shame that had remained hidden from them. He said: ‘Your Lord has forbidden you to approach this tree only to prevent you from becoming angels or immortals.’
(7:21) And he swore to them both: ‘Surely I am your sincere adviser. ‘
(7:22) Thus Satan brought about their fall by deceit. And when they tasted of the tree, their shame became visible to them, and both began to cover themselves with leaves from the Garden. Then their Lord called out to them: ‘Did I not forbid you from that tree, and did I not warn you that Satan ‘is your declared enemy?’
(7:23) Both cried out: ‘Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You do not forgive us and do not have mercy on us, we shall surely be among the losers.’3
13 The narrative sheds light on the following significant points:
(i) Modesty and bashfulness are inherent in human nature. The primary manifestation of this instinct is seen in the sense of shame that one feels when one is required to expose the private parts of one’s body in the presence of others. According to the Qur’an, this bashfulness is not artificial, nor an outcome of advancement in human culture and civilization. Nor is it something acquired as some misguided thinkers contend. On the contrary, modesty has been an integral part of human nature from the very beginning.
(ii) The very first stratagem adopted by Satan in his bid to lead man astray from the Right Path consisted of undermining man’s sense of modesty, to direct him towards lewdness and make him sexually deviant. In other words, the sexual instincts of man were taken by Satan as the most vulnerable aspect of human nature. Accordingly, he sought to weaken man’s natural instincts of modesty and bashfulness. This devilish stratagem is still followed by the disciples of Satan in our time. For them, progress is inconceivable without exposing woman to the gaze of all and making her strip before others in one form or another.
(iii) Such is human nature that man scarcely responds to an unambiguous invitation to evil. Those who seek to propagate evil are, therefore, forced to present themselves as sincere well-wishers of humanity.
(iv) Man is naturally, drawn towards lofty ideals such as the attainment of superhuman positions and the securing of immortality. Satan achieved his first victory in his bid to mislead man by appealing to the latter’s inherent desire to attain immortality. Satan’s most effective weapon is to promise man a more elevated position than his present one, and then set him on a course that leads instead to his degradation.
(v) Here the Qur’an refutes the fairly popular view that Satan first misled Eve and later used her as an instrument to mislead Adam. (See Ibn Kathir’s comments on (verses 22-3 – Ed.) The A Qur’anic version of the story is that Satan attempted to mislead both Adam and Eve, and in Fact, both fell prey to his guile. At first sight, this might seem of trivial significance. However, all those who are acquainted with the impact of this version of Adam’s fall on the moral, legal and social degradation of women will appreciate the significance of this Qur’anic statement.
(vi) There is hardly any basis to assume that the forbidden tree had certain inherent qualities which could result in the exposure of Adam and Eve’s private parts as soon as they had
tasted its fruit. Instead of the forbidden tree possessing any extraordinary qualities, it was rather man’s disobedience to God which led to his fall from his original state. Initially, Adam and Eve’s private parts had remained hidden on account of special arrangements made by God. Once they disobeyed, they were deprived of that special Divine arrangement, and were left to themselves to cover their nakedness if they so wished.
(vil) This was a way, of conveying to mankind for all time that whenever he disobeys God, he will sooner or later be exposed; that man will enjoy God’s support and protection only so long as he remains obedient to Him. Once man transgresses the bounds of his obedience, he will be deprived of God’s care and protection and left to his own self. This idea is also embodied in many traditions from the Prophet (peace be on him). According to a tradition, the Prophet (peace be on him) prayed:
‘O, God! I seek Your Mercy. Do not leave me to my own care even for the wink of an eye!’ (Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 5, P. 421 – Ed.)
(vii) Satan wanted to prove that man did not deserve, not even for a moment, the superior status which had been granted to him by God. However, Satan failed in the very first round of his efforts to discredit the man. Granted, man did not fully succeed in obeying God’s command; rather, he fell prey to the machinations of his arch-enemy, Satan, and deviated from the path of obedience. Nevertheless, it is evident even in the course of this first encounter that man is a morally superior being. This is clear from many a thing. First, whereas Satan laid claim to superiority, man made no such claim rather a superior status was bestowed upon him by God. Second, Satan disobeyed God out of sheer pride and arrogance. But far from openly revolting against God out of his own prompting, the man was disobedient under Satan’s evil influence. Third, when man disobeyed God, he did so unwittingly, not realizing that he was committing a sin. ‘Man was beguiled into disobedience by Satan , who appeared in the garb of man’s well-wisher. It was Satan who persuaded him to believe that in the fruit of the forbidden tree lay his good, that his action would lead him to the heights of goodness, not to the depths of evil. Fourth, when Satan was warned, rather than confessing his mistake and repenting, he clung even more adamantly to disobedience. But when man was told that he had sinned, he did not resort to continued transgression as Satan did. As soon as man realized his mistake, he confessed his fault, returned to the course of obedience and sought refuge in God’s mercy.
This story draws a clear line between the way of Satan and the way that befits a man. Satan’s way is characterized by rebellion against God, by arrogantly persisting in that rebellion even after having been warned, and by trying to mislead the righteously disposed towards sin and disobedience. As opposed to this, the way that befits man is to resist the evil promptings of Satan and to be constantly vigilant against Satanic machinations. But, if in spite of all these precautions, a man does swerve from the course of obedience, he should turn, as soon as he realizes his fault, to God in penitence and remorse and make amends.
This is the lesson that God conveys to man through this anecdote. The Qur’an seeks to impress upon the opponents of the Prophet (peace be on him) that the way, they are following is the way of Satan. To become indifferent to God’s Guidance, to take Satan’s among men and jinn as their protectors and to persist in disobedience despite repeated warnings, amounts to adopting a Satanic attitude. It demonstrates that they have fallen prey to the snares of the arch-enemy and have been totally overpowered by him. This attitude will lead to their total undoing just as it led to Satan’s undoing. Anyone who has even an iota of understanding should heed and emulate the example of his fore parents, Adam and Eve who repented and made amends after their disobedience.
(7:24) Allah said: ‘Go down; “ you are enemies one of the other. For you there is dwelling and provision on the earth for a while.’
14.God’s command that Adam and Eve ‘go down! should not be misunderstood to mean that their departure from Paradise was by way of punishment. The Qur’an has made it clear many a time that God accepted Adam and Eve’s repentance and pardoned them. Thus the order does not imply punishment. It rather signifies the fulfillment of the purpose for which man was created.
(For elaboration see Towards Understanding the Qur’an, vol. 1, (al-Baqarah 0
(7:25) He continued: ‘You shall live there, and there shall you die, and from it you shall be raised to life.’
(7:26) 0 Children of Adam!!3 Indeed We have sent down to you a garment that covers your shame and provides protection and adornment. But the finest of all is the garment of piety. That is one of the signs of Allah so that they may take heed.
17. By referring to an important aspect of Adam and Eve’s story, the attention of the people of Arabia of those days was drawn to the evil influence of Satan upon their lives. Under Satan’s influence they had begun to see dress merely as a shield of protection against the inclemency’s of the weather and as a means of adornment. The basic purpose of dressing to cover the private parts of the body – had receded into the background. People had no inhibition about the immodest exposure of the private parts of their body in public. To publicly take a bath absolutely naked, to attend to the call of nature on thoroughfares, were the order of the day. To crown it all, in the course of Pilgrimage they used to circumambulate around the Ka’bah in stark nakedness. Women even surpassed men in immodesty. In their view, the performance of religious rites in complete nudity was an act of religious merit.
Immodesty, however, was not an exclusive characteristic of the people of Arabia. Many nations indulged in it in the past, and many nations continue to indulge in it even now.
Hence the message embodied in these verses is not directed just to the people of Arabia. It is rather directed to all men. Mankind, which is the progeny of Adam, is warned against this particular aspect of Satanic influence on their lives. When men show indifference to God’s Guidance and turn away from the Message of the Prophets, they virtually place themselves at the mercy of Satan. For it is Satan who makes them abandon way’s that are consistent with true human nature and who leads them to immodesty in the same way he did with Adam and Eve. Were man to reflect on this, it would become quite evident that when he is deprived of the guidance of the Prophets, he cannot even appreciate, let alone fulfil, the primary requirements of his true nature.
(7:27) Children of Adam! Let not Satan deceive you in the manner he deceived your parents out of Paradise, pulling off from them their clothing to reveal to them their shame. He and his host surely see you from whence you do not see them. We have made Satan’s the guardians of those who do not believe. 1
16.These verses bring into focus several important points.
First, that the need to cover oneself is not an artificial urge in man; rather it is an important dictate of human nature. Unlike animals, God did not provide man with the protective covering that He provided to animals. God rather endowed man with the natural instincts of modesty and bashfulness. Moreover, the private parts of the body are not only, related to sex, but also constitute ‘saw’at’ that is, something the exposure of which is felt to be shameful.
Also, God did not provide man with a natural covering in response to man’s modesty and bashfulness but has inspired in him see (verse 26)the urge to cover himself. This is in order that man might use his reason to understand the requirements of his nature, use the resources made available by God, and provide himself a dress.
Second, man instinctively knows that the moral purpose behind the use of dress takes precedence over the physical purpose. Hence the idea that man should resort to dress in order to cover his private parts precedes the mention of dress as a means of providing protection and adornment to the human body. In this connection man is altogether different from animals, With regard to the latter, the natural covering that has been granted serves to protect them from the inclemency’s of weather and also to beautify their bodies. However, that natural covering is altogether unrelated to the purpose of concealing their sexual organs.
The exposure of those organs is not a matter of shame for them and hence their nature is altogether devoid of the urge to cover them. However, as men fell prey to Satanic influences, they developed a false and unhealthy notion about the function of the dress. They were led to believe that the function of dress for human beings is no different from that for animals, viz., to protect them from the inclemency’s of weather and to make them look attractive. As for concealing the private parts of the body, the importance of that function has been belittled.
Men have been misled into believing that their private parts are, in fact, like other organs of their body. As in the case of animals, there is little need for human beings to conceal their sex organs.
Third, the Qur’an emphasizes that it is not enough for the dress to cover the private parts and to provide protection and adornment to the human body. Man’s dress ought to be the dress of piety. This means that a man’s dress ought to conceal his private parts. It should also render a man reasonably presentable – the dress being neither too shabby and cheap nor overly expensive and extravagant relative to his financial standing. Nor should dress smack of pride or hauteur, or reflect that pathological mental state in which men prefer characteristically feminine dresses and vice versa: or that the people belonging to one nation mimic people of other nations so as to resemble them, thereby becoming a living emblem of collective humiliation and abasement. The Qur’anic ideal can only be achieved by those who truly believe in the Prophets and sincerely try to follow God’s Guidance. For as soon as man decides to reject God’s Guidance, Satan assumes his patronage and by one means or another manages to lead him into error after error.
Fourth, the question of dress constitutes one of the numerous signs of God which is visible virtually throughout the world. When the facts mentioned above are carefully considered it will be quite clear as to why the dress is an important sign of God.
(7:28) And when such people commit an indecent act they say: ‘We found our fathers doing that, and Allah has enjoined it on us.2 Say: ‘Surely Allah never enjoins any indecency.18 Do you say things regarding Allah that you do not know?’
17.This refers to the pre-Islamic Arabian practice of circumambulating around the Ka’bah in stark nakedness. The people of those day’s thought that nakedness during circumambulation had been enjoined by God.
18.The simple and succinct Qur’anic statement that ‘Allah never enjoins any, indecency’ (verse _29)stands as the overwhelming argument against many false beliefs that were entertained by the people of Arabia. For a fuller appreciation of this argument the following points should be kept in mind:
First, that the people of Arabia totally stripped themselves while performing certain religious rites under the mistaken notion that it had been so enjoined. But on the other hand they were agreed that nudity was a shameful thing so that no Arab of any standing could ever approve of appearing naked in any respectable assembly or market-place.
Second, notwithstanding their reservation about nudity, they strip peel themselves totally while performing certain religious rites on the ground that religion was from God. Hence there was nothing objectionable about performing a religious act in a state of nakedness for God had so enjoined them regarding the performance of that rite. Here the Qur’an confronts them with a clear question: How can they believe that God could order them to do something which involves nakedness and which they know to be inherently shameful? What implied is that God could not command them to commit indecency, and if their religion contained elements of indecency then this is positive proof of its not being from God.
(7:29) Say to them (O Muhammad): ‘My Lord enjoins justice; and that you set your faces aright at the time of every prayer; and that you call upon Him, exclusively dedicating your faith to Him. You shall return to Him as you were created.’”
19.The verse seeks to suggest that God has nothing to do with their foolish rituals. So far as the religion truly prescribed by Him is concerned, its fundamental principles are the following:
(1) That man should base his life on justice and righteousness.
(2) That man’s worship should have the right orientation, i.e. that it should he directed to God alone and should be free of every trace of devotion to others than God, that man should reserve his absolute enthrallment and bondage for the One True God alone. All these should have only one direction – the One that is truly worthy of worship.
(3) Man should invoke God alone to keep him rightly directed, to grant him help and succor, to favor him with protection and security. This should be done provided one’s life is oriented to serving God. Invoking help from God would be ludicrous if man’s life is based on unbelief, polytheism, disobedience to God, or serving a variety of gods other than the One True God. Such a prayer would amount to asking God’s help in strengthening one in one’s rebellion against Him.
(4) That man should have full conviction that in the same way as God caused him to he born in the world, He will also restore him to life after death and will make him stand before Himself so as to render an account of his life.
(7:30) A party He has guided to the Right Way, and for another party, straying is justly It’s due for they have taken Satan’s, rather than Allah, as their guardians, even though they think that they are rightly guided.
(7:31) Children of Adam! Take your adornment at every time of Prayer, and eat and drink without going to excesses. For Allah does not like those who go to excess.2!
20.The word Zina which occurs in this verse refers to full and proper dress. While performing Prayer people are required not only to cover the private parts of their body, but also to wear a dress that serves the two-fold purpose of covering and giving one a decent appearance.
The directive to pray in a proper and decent dress is aimed at refuting the misconception entertained by ignorant people down the ages that man should worship God either in a nude or semi-naked state or at least have a shabby and unkempt appearance while worshipping. In this verse, people are being told the opposite of this. At the time of worship they should not only be free from all kinds of nudity and indecency but should also be in a decent dress.
21. God does not want to subject man to want and misery or starvation or to deprive him as such of the good things of this worldly life. On the contrary, it pleases Him that man should appear in good decent dress and enjoy the clean food provided for him by God. There is nothing sinful in that. As for sin, it consists in transgressing the bounds set by God. This transgression could be committed in both ways: by making the unlawful lawful, or by making the lawful unlawful.
(7:32) Say (O Muhammad): ‘Who has forbidden the adornment which Allah has brought forth for His creatures or the good things from among the means of sustenance?’ Say: “These are for the enjoyment of the believers in this world, and shall be exclusively theirs on the Day of Resurrection.’2 Thus do We clearly expound Our revelations for those who have knowledge.
22. Since it is God Himself Who has created all good and pure things for man, it obviously could not have been His intent to make them unlawful. Now, if there is any religion, or any ethical or social system which forbids those things, or considers them an insurmountable barrier to man’s spiritual growth, it has an intellectual orientation which itself is evident proof of its not having been prescribed by God.
This is an important argument which the Qur’an advances in refutation of false creeds. An appreciation of this argument would help one understand the Qur’anic line of argumentation as such.
23.All the clean and beautiful things created by God are meant, in principle, for the believers even in this world, for they are God’s faithful subjects, and it is fidelity to God that makes one deserve enjoyment of the things which are God’s. However, all men are under a test in this world. Hence even those who are disloyal to God have been granted respite to mend their ways and are, therefore, not denied His worldly bounties. In fact with a view to testing those disloyal to God these bounties are at times lavished upon them even more abundantly than on God’s faithful servants. But the character of the Next Life will be totally different. For one’s station there will be determined entirely by one’s righteousness and justice. God’s bounties in the Next Life, therefore, will be for the faithful alone. As for the unfaithful, those who were disloyal to God even though every fiber of their being was nourished by the sustenance provided by Him, they will have no share whatsoever of those bounties in the Next Life.
(7:33) Tell them (O Muhammad): ‘My Lord has only forbidden indecent acts, whether overt or hidden; all manner of sin;2 wrongful transgression; and [He has forbidden] that you associate with Allah in His divinity that for which He has sent down no sanction; and that you ascribe to Allah things of which you have no sure knowledge that they are from Him.’
24.For an elaboration of hidden and overt indecencies see Towards Understanding the Qur’an, vol. 11,(al-An’am, 6: nn. 128 and 131, pp. 290-2).
25.The word ithm denotes negligence, dereliction of duty. Athimah signifies the she-camel which, though capable of running at a fast pace, deliberately moves slowly. The meaning of the word, therefore, carries the idea of sin. Viewed in the context of man, the word convoy’s the sense of man’s deliberate neglect of his duty to God, his failure to pursue God’s good pleasure despite his having the capacity to obey and follow Him.
26.To exceed the limits set by God and to enter an area which has been declared out of bounds for man constitute rebellion and transgression. According to this definition of baghi, the charge of rebellion will apply to all those who act according to their whims rather than in accordance with the directives of God. It is applicable to those who behave as though they are the true masters of God’s Kingdom, claiming for themselves the prerogatives of God. It also applies to all those who usurp the rights of others.
(7:34) For every community there is an appointed term; and when its term arrives, they cannot tarry behind a moment, nor can they get ahead.
27.The expression ‘fixed term’ used in the verse should not give rise to the misconception that the term of a nation expires on a definite day, month or year. What the statement really means is that God has laid down a minimum proportion between the good and evil deeds of a nation. As long as that nation is able to maintain that minimum proportion, its existence is tolerated in order that it might be able to show its performance. Once a nation crosses that minimum limit, it is denied any further respite. (For the further explication of this point see (Nuh 71: 4-10 and 12.)
(7:35) Children of Adam! If Messengers come to you from amongst yourselves who rehearse to you My signs, then those who shun disobedience and mend their ways shall have nothing to fear, nor shall they grieve.
(7:36) And those who reject Our revelations as false and turn away from them in arrogance, they shall be the inmates of Hell; and there shall they abide.
28. Reference to the continuous unremitting punishment of the unbelievers occurs invariably on occasions where the Qur’an narrates the coming down of Adam and Eve from Paradise. See (al-Baqarah 2: 38-9 ); (Ia Ha 20: 123-4.) What has been said here should be considered in relation to the fact that at the very start of man’s earthly life he was informed of the evil results of unbelief. (See Towards Understanding the Qur’an, vol. 1, (Al ‘Imran 3:
(7:37) Who is more unjust than then he who invents a falsehood, ascribing it to Allah, or who rejects His revelation as false? Their full portion of God’s Decree shall reach them, until Our deputed angels come to them to take charge of their souls, and say: ‘Where are the deities now, those whom you invoked besides Allah?’ They will say: ‘They are all gone away from us.’ And they shall bear witness against themselves that they were unbelievers.
29. All men, whether good or bad, have been granted a definite term in this world which they will spend and obtain their share of worldly happiness and misery.
(7:38) Allah will say: ‘Enter the fire of Hell and join the nations of jinn and men that have gone before You.’ As a nation enters Hill, it will curse the one that went before it, and when all are gathered there, the last of them shall say of the first: ‘Our Lord! These are the ones who led us astray. Let their torment be doubled in Hell-Fire.’ He will answer: ‘Each will have a doubled torment; although you do not know. ’22
30. As it is, each group of people is followed, even as it is preceded, by others. A group which inherits an error of outlook and conduct from its predecessors passes on the same, in turn, to future generations. In addition, whereas a group owes its wrong-doing partly to the wrong-doing of its predecessors, it will also be held responsible for leaving behind an evil legacy for the future generations. The Qur’an, therefore, pronounces a double punishment on such a group: it will incur punishment for its own misdeeds and also for leaving behind such a legacy for the coming generations. A number of traditions elucidate this point.
According to one such tradition the Prophet (peace be on him) said: ‘He who introduces a misleading innovation which does not please God and His Messenger shall be held guilty for the sins of all those who follow that innovation without lessening in the least the burden [of sins] of those who followed the innovation,’ (Cf. Ibn Majah, Mugaddimat Bab Man Ahya Sunnah gad umitat, where the words are slightly different – Ed.) According to another tradition, he said: ‘The responsibility for all the murders committed in the world is shared by the first son of Adam [i.e. Cain] for he was the first to have innovated murder.’
(See Bukhari, Kitab al-Jana’iz, Bab Qawlih ‘alay al-Salam Yu’addhab al-Mayyit bi Ba’d Buka’i ahlih ‘alayh – Ed.)
We thus know that the individual or group responsible for introducing a wrong idea or practice is not only responsible to the extent of those sins, but shares the responsibility of the sins of all those who are influenced by him. As long as the evil effects of that influence continue, their sins will be continually added to his account. This also shows that a person is not only accountable for the good or bad deeds that he commits. In fact, he is also accountable for the influence of those deeds on others.
This may be illustrated by considering the case of someone who indulges in unlawful sex. All those whose bad examples, evil company, and inducements to evil caused a man to To indulge in such an act have a share in the sin that he committed. The persons who influenced him, in turn, had been influenced by others. Were this chain of influence traced back to its ultimate origin, the blame would be fixed on the first person who demonstrated this unlawful way for satiating the sexual urge.
This does not detract from the fact that anyone who indulged in fornication is also accountable for the sin he committed. This is so because when he committed a sin he did so because he failed to make proper use of his capacity to distinguish between good and evil with which he had been endowed. He also did not pay due heed to the voice of his conscience and mobilize the power of self-control given him. Nor did he benefit from the knowledge of good and evil transmitted to him by pious men nor was he inspired by the noble examples of the God-fearing. Nor did he learn any lesson from the evil consequences of sexual misconduct. Instead, he totally succumbed to blind sexual lust which sought gratification at all cost. This relates to the responsibility of the person who indulged in sexual misconduct.
But there is another dimension of that person’s evil conduct – his propagation of that same evil among others which ruined the lives of countless people belonging to his own generation and to the generations that follow. It is also possible that he might have been afflicted by some general disease which he then communicated to his own generation and also to the generations that followed. His sexual misconduct might also have given birth to illegitimate children, unjustly passing on the burden of their upbringing to others, and making his offspring – without any justification – co-sharers in the fortunes and even the inheritance of others. The wrong that is thus perpetrated persists for many generations.
Likewise, it is also possible that the said criminal might, by his cunning, have led an innocent girl to sexually corrupt behavior. That in turn is likely to awaken evil propensities in her which wreck the lives and homes of countless families, even generations. Also, by setting an evil example for his children, relatives, friends and the society at large a fornicator is likely to cast a bad influence on people around him and infect others with moral corruption. The evil consequences of such an act thus linger on for a long time. The moral corruption that ultimately, engulfs the society owes its origin to the person who initially introduced an evil. Justice, therefore, demands that such a culprit should also be held responsible for the subsequent evils which may be traced back to his initial act of corruption.
The same holds true for good deeds. The reward for the heritage of goodness left behind by our predecessors from the earliest times should inevitably go to the credit of those men of the past who have continually transmitted that heritage to posterity down to our own time.
If our own generation takes good care of that heritage, enriches it and passes it on to the coming generation, it also deserves due reward for that. As long as our good acts leave a trace of good influence on history and continue to cast a good influence on people, mankind will reap the benefits of those acts.
This is the Qur’anic view of retribution. Every sensible person will agree that such a dispensation alone can ensure perfect justice. Appreciation of this concept should dispel the idea of those who believe that men can be fully rewarded or punished for their deeds within the confines of this worldly life. Likewise, such an appreciation should also dispel the views of those who believe that the transmigration of souls alone can ensure full justice to all men.
Such people have blundered because they have neither grasped fully the nature and consequences of human acts nor the nature and requirements of perfect justice. It is obvious that the consequences of individuals’ acts are not visible during their life-span – say sixty or seventy years or so. Instead, human activities, both good and evil, influence the lives of countless people belonging to countless generations. One cannot, therefore, be brought to justice during one’s own lifetime, since only a small part of the consequences of those acts have yet come to the surface. Moreover, the limited possibilities available in the present world are quite inadequate for bringing people to justice. Just consider the hideous crime of someone who pushes us to a world war. As things stand, the catastrophic consequences of such a crime would affect the lives of billions of men through the ages. Is there any punishment – physical, spiritual or material – which can be deemed even remotely, proportionate to that crime? Likewise, no worldly reward, however valuable, can adequately recompense for the noble services rendered by a philanthropist which will benefit numerous people for thousands of years.
Having viewed the question from this angle. one readily, concludes that there must necessarily be life in the Hereafter such that full justice can be meted out to everyone. Here all human beings are brought together, their full records are made available, and the reckoning is made by God Himself Whose knowledge embraces literally everything.
Additionally, men should be granted unlimited spans of life, and infinite possibilities should be made available for receiving compensation.
A little reflection on this will help us see how false the doctrine of the transmigration of souls is. Those who subscribe to this doctrine fail to realize that eternal life is needed to mete out recompense to people for the deeds they commit during their relatively brief spans of life. If one were to believe in the unending cycle of life and death it would become impossible to reward or punish anyone for his actions, for each span of life would go on accumulating endlessly. The arrears would never be cleared.
(7:39) Then the preceding ones will say to the succeeding ones: ‘You were in no way superior to us; taste, then, this torment for your deeds.’ #4
31.In addition to the above verse, the Qur’an elsewhere recounts the mutual incriminations of the dwellers of Hell. For example, it occurs in Sarah al-Saba’ in the following words:
‘Could you but see when the wrong-doers will be made to stand before their Lord, throwing back the word (of blame) on one another! Those who had been abased will say to the arrogant ones: “Had it not been for you, we should certainly have been believers!” The arrogant ones will say, to those who had been abased: “Was it we who kept you back from Guidance after it reached you? Nay, rather it was you yourselves who transgressed” ‘ (al- Saba! 34: 31-2). This means that since the misguided people themselves were not keen on receiving the right guidance, they fell victims even more to the forces of misguidance. Out of their own excessive worldliness they chose to follow their ungodly leaders. Granted that it was the forces of misguidance which had invented ideologies such as materialism, excessive worldliness, and nationalism. But when people were attracted to these false ideologies, they did so out of their own weaknesses. These forces of evil achieved success because what they offered was to the utmost liking of the people. Again, the people who were tempted to embrace counterfeit religious ideologies were themselves to blame for falling prey to them since there was an inner urge in them to accept such ideologies. Rather than submitting to the One True God and to rigorous moral discipline, they looked for deities that would help them to achieve their worldly purposes. Naturally, they invented deities of their own liking.
They also desired the intercession of those who would let them grow in worldliness and godlessness, and yet who would also ensure their redemption in the Next World. As they preferred a religion that would not make their life a bit dry, permissive religious cults which did not object to any kind of self-indulgence were developed. This establishes clearly that the external forces of evil alone are not to blame. The people who succumb to evil and error equally share the blame. This neither condones the role of those who seek to mislead others, nor detracts from the responsibility of those who choose to be misled.
(7:40) Surely the gates of Heaven shall not be opened for those who reject Our signs as false and turn away ‘ from them in arrogance; nor shall they enter Paradise until a camel passes through the eye of a needle. Do We reward the guilty ones.