What the Qur'an Teaches: A universal bond
04 Mar 2010 10:31 GMT
 
By Naushad Shamim Al-Haq Published: Feb 18, 2010 2:43 PM Updated: Feb 18, 2010 2:43 PM In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever Merciful Those who bear the Throne and those around it extol their Lord’s limitless glory and praise, and have faith in Him, and pray for the forgiveness of all believers: “Our Lord! You embrace all things with (Your) grace and knowledge. Forgive, then, those who turn to You in repentance and follow Your path, and shield them from the suffering in the blazing fire. And, our Lord, admit them to the gardens of perpetual bliss You have promised them, together with the righteous from among their ancestors, spouses and offspring. You alone are the Almighty, the Wise. Shield them from all evil. Anyone whom on that day You shall shield from evil, You shall have graced with mercy. That will be the supreme triumph. (The Forgiving, Ghafir; 40: 1-3)

A relevant point is that even the angels carrying God’s throne and those surrounding it, who rank among the forces of faith in the universe, remember the believers among human beings, mention them in God’s presence and pray for their forgiveness. They also pray to Him for the fulfillment of His promise to those believers with whom the angels share their bond of faith: “Those who bear the Throne and those around it extol their Lord’s limitless glory and praise, and have faith in Him, and pray for the forgiveness of all believers.”

We do not know what this throne is: We have no image of it. Nor do we know how those assigned to carry it do so or how the others are present around it. It is futile to try to determine something, which is beyond the reach of human understanding or perception. No purpose can be served by arguing about something over which God has not provided information. All that can be said concerning this fact is that there are some creatures who are close to God, and these “extol their Lord’s limitless glory and praise, and have faith in Him.” Although the fact that they are believers can be taken for granted, this is specifically mentioned in the Qur’an to emphasize the bond between them and human believers. Having extolled God’s limitless glory, these servants of God pray for the believers among humanity, requesting the best that one believer can ask for another.

They begin their supplication in a very polite way, in the process teaching us how to couch our own prayers. They say: “Our Lord! You embrace all things with (Your) grace and knowledge.” As they address God, they make clear their request that God bestows His grace on people, that they are relying on the fact that His grace embraces all, and that His knowledge encompasses everything. Thus, they do not make any assumptions; they simply refer to God’s grace and knowledge. “Forgive, then, those who turn to You in repentance and follow Your path, and shield them from the suffering in the blazing fire.” (Verse 7) This reference to God’s forgiveness and people’s repentance corresponds to the opening of the surah where God is described as the One who forgives sins and accepts repentance. Likewise, the reference to the “suffering in the blazing fire” corresponds to the earlier description of His retribution as being severe.

These servants of God continue with their supplications, praying now for the admission of believers among human beings into heaven, in fulfillment of His promise to His good servants: “Our Lord, admit them to the gardens of perpetual bliss You have promised them, together with the righteous from among their ancestors, spouses and offspring. You alone are the Almighty, the Wise.” (Verse 8) Admission into heaven is a great triumph and means a life of bliss. When there is added to this the company of righteous ancestors, spouses and offspring, another dimension of bliss is thus granted. Moreover, this is an aspect of the unity of all believers. It is in the bond of faith that fathers, spouses and offspring are united. Without it, all their ties are severed. This part of their supplication highlights God’s attributes of power and wisdom. It is this combination that determines how people are judged.

The supplication continues: “Shield them from all evil. Anyone whom on that day You shall shield from evil, You shall have graced with mercy. That will be the supreme triumph.” Having prayed for their admission to heaven, this prayer refers to the most important point in the whole difficult process. It is evil deeds that ruin people and lead them to their doom. When God shields a believer from evil, He actually shields that believer from the consequences of such evil. This is the great mercy on the Day of Judgment, and it is only the first step to bliss and happiness. This shielding from evil is indeed the great triumph.

As the carriers of the throne and those surrounding it address their prayer to God appealing for His grace to be bestowed on believers, their brethren in faith, the unbelievers find themselves in a totally different capacity. Everyone is looking for support, but none is to be found. In fact all bonds with all beings and things in the universe are severed. They are called out so that they can listen to the rebuke coming from all directions. The arrogance they demonstrated in this life is turned now into humiliation. They want to place their hopes in someone, but none is available to encourage their hopes. ¬



-- Arab News


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