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What the Qur'an teaches: Between comfort and hardship

Published: 16/09/2010 09:31:00 PM GMT
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What the Qur'an teaches: Between comfort and hardship

Published: Sep 16, 2010 22:35 Updated: Sep 16, 2010 22:35

In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever Merciful Man never tires of asking for good (things), but if evil fortune touches him, he abandons all hope, sinking into despair. Yet whenever We let him taste some of Our grace after hardship has befallen him, he is sure to say, ‘This is but my due!’ and, ‘I do not think that the Last Hour will ever come; but even if I were to be taken back to my Lord, the best reward awaits me with Him.’ We shall most certainly give the unbelievers a full account of what they did, and We shall most certainly give them a taste of severe suffering. When we bestow Our blessings on man, he tends to turn aside and stay aloof; but as soon as evil touches him, he turns to prolonged prayer. Say: ‘Have you ever thought if this be truly a revelation from God and yet you deny it? Who could be more astray than one who places himself so far in the wrong?’ Clearly expounded, Fussilat; 41: 49-52



Unbelievers never take any precautions to ensure that they come out successful on the Day of Judgment. Yet man is always eager to achieve every good thing. He fears what brings him harm. How come then that what may happen to him in the life to come remains uninteresting to him when its happiness is supreme and its punishment so severe? At this point, the surah shows the unbelievers their naked reality, without cover or disguise: “Man never tires of asking for good (things), but if evil fortune touches him, he abandons all hope, sinking into despair. Yet whenever We let him taste some of Our grace after hardship has befallen him, he is sure to say, ‘This is but my due!’ and, ‘I do not think that the Last Hour will ever come; but even if I were to be taken back to my Lord, the best reward awaits me with Him.’”

Man is so insistent in his requests, urging and repeating, appealing for what he feels to be good for him. Indeed, he never tires of this. Yet should misfortune befall him, even in the slightest way, he loses hope and sinks into despair.

He feels his burden too

heavy, thinks that God’s grace has abandoned him. All this comes

about because his relationship with God is not strong enough in his heart.

Yet should God grant him something of His grace after he has suffered some harm, he will be so elated that he will forget how this grace was given to him, and he will not give due thanks. On the contrary, he will consider that he has deserved this grace and that he should have it forever. He will even dismiss the Day of Judgment thinking that it will never come: “I do not think that the Last Hour will ever come.” (Verse 50) He will boast of his own position, thinking that he deserves favoritism with God. He will even go further than this, denying the Day of Judgment and, thus, disbelieving in God. Nevertheless, he thinks that should he be returned to God, he will have a secure position with Him: “Even if I were to be taken back to my Lord, the best reward awaits me with Him.”

This betrays no small degree of arrogance. Here the surah issues a suitable warning to those who are so arrogant: “We shall most certainly give the unbelievers a full account of what they did, and We shall most certainly give them a taste of severe suffering.”

Man is always moving to extremes. If God bestows His grace on him, he blows his own trumpet and behaves with arrogance. When harm or misfortune befalls him, he sinks low and collapses. He will pray insistently, prolonging his prayer. How accurate this description of man’s inner thoughts is! No wonder; it is a description by God who created man and knows the subtle workings of his mind. He knows that man will continue to follow round and circular ways, unless he is guided to the right path.

Now that they face their own naked reality, the question is put to them about what they would do if it is proven that the message they deny is actually God’s own message? Are they really prepared to expose themselves to the consequences of such rejection: “Say: ‘Have you ever thought if this be truly a revelation from God and yet you deny it? Who could be more astray than one who places himself so far in the wrong?’” It is a possibility to be reckoned with. Have they taken any steps to deal with this should it come true?

The surah does not give an answer. They are left to reflect upon these questions as a wise person should certainly do. ¬




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