What the Qur'an Teaches: An appeal by a compassionate believer
24 Apr 2010 01:31 GMT
 
By ROMULO TANGBAWAN Published: Apr 23, 2010 21:30 Updated: Apr 23, 2010 21:30 In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever Merciful Anyone who does a bad deed will be requited with no more than its like, whereas anyone, be it man or woman, who does righteous deeds and is a believer will enter paradise where they will receive blessings beyond reckoning. My people! How is it that I call you to salvation, while you call me to the fire? You call upon me to deny God and to associate with Him others of whom I have no knowledge, the while I call you to the Almighty, the All-Forgiving. There is no doubt that what you call me to is not fit to be invoked either in this world or in the life to come. To God is our return, when the transgressors shall find themselves in the fire.

You shall then remember what I am telling you now. As for me, I commit myself to God: God is well aware of all His servants. God delivered him from the evils of their scheming, whereas grievous suffering was to encompass Pharaoh’s folk: before the fire they are brought, morning and evening, and then on the Day when the Last Hour comes, it will be said: “Cast Pharaoh’s people into the worst suffering.”

(The Forgiving; Ghafir: 40: 40-46)

We have been discussing the argument of the believer who lived in Pharaoh’s household when he defended Moses’ case. He states for his people the rule that governs reward and punishment in the life to come: “Anyone who does a bad deed will be requited with no more than its like, whereas anyone, be it man or woman, who does righteous deeds and is a believer will enter paradise where they will receive blessings beyond reckoning.” It is out of God’s grace that good deeds will be rewarded in multiples, while bad ones are requited with no more than what they actually are. God is fully aware of people’s weaknesses, the temptations to which they are exposed and the impediments they have to face when they try to adhere to His guidance. Therefore, He multiplies their good deeds and makes them a means to erase their bad ones. If, after the reckoning, they attain admittance into heaven, God grants them blessings beyond all ken.

The believer expresses his amazement that he should call them to what saves them from punishment, while they call him to what will lead him to the fire: “My people! How is it that I call you to salvation, while you call me to the fire?” Needless to say, they did not call on him to throw himself into a fire, but they called on him to associate partners with God. The two are synonymous. Therefore, he states the other call in the next verse: “You call upon me to deny God and to associate with Him others of whom I have no knowledge, the while I call you to the Almighty, the All-Forgiving.”

The difference between his and their calls cannot be wider. His call is clear, straight, requiring them to believe in God, the Almighty, the All-Forgiving. He calls them to believe in the One God, whose work in the universe testifies to His oneness, limitless ability and infinite power. They should believe in Him so that He will forgive them, as He is the One who forgives all. How does this contrast with what they call him to do? They call him to disbelieve in God, to associate with Him beings of whom he has no knowledge: idols, myths, legends and paradoxes.

The believer then states in all clarity that those alleged partners have no say on any matter in this present world or in the life to come. All shall return to God Almighty when those who transgress the bounds will be the dwellers of fire: “There is no doubt that what you call me to is not fit to be invoked either in this world or in the life to come. To God is our return, when the transgressors shall find themselves in the fire.”

Thus the basic facts of the true faith are laid down, clear, free of all ambiguity. This believer unhesitatingly states them in front of Pharaoh and his noblemen, although until then he had kept secret the fact that he believed in God. Now he declares his faith openly. What is left for him, then? Nothing other than to surrender himself to God. He has stated the truth as he knew it in the depths of his heart. He warns them that they are certain to remember his words when remembrance will avail them nothing. All matters are referred to God: “You shall then remember what I am telling you now. As for me, I commit myself to God: God is well aware of all His servants.”

The argument is now over, for the believer from among Pharaoh’s household has declared the word of truth, which remains clear and valid for the rest of time.

The surah does not dwell on what happened between Moses, Pharaoh and the Children of Israel after this, up to the point of Pharaoh’s drowning while Moses and his people were saved. Instead, it affords some glimpses of what happened thereafter, indeed, after life itself: “God delivered him from the evils of their scheming, whereas grievous suffering was to encompass Pharaoh’s folk.”

This present world is over, and we see the first event that succeeds it. We see the believer who stated the truth being saved from Pharaoh and his aides’ scheming. They could not cause him any harm in this world, nor after it. By contrast, Pharaoh’s folk were engulfed by suffering: “Before the fire they are brought, morning and evening, and then on the Day when the Last Hour comes, it will be said: Cast Pharaoh’s people into the worst suffering.” ¬



-- Arab News


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