Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
Yusuf Ali’s Translation of this Chapter.
Muhammad Asad’s Translation of this Chapter.
Their commentaries can only be read in verse by verse view
1. Our last Reading ended with the Messenger’s announcing, to everyone, the advent of Truth from their Lord, giving them the Freedom to Believe or to Deny, and warning Deniers of the consequences of their denial in the Hereafter. How distasteful the drink and how dismal the resting-place!
Today’s Reading opens with Verses 30- 31, where we read of ‘Those who have attained faith and done good deeds.’ We find such persons receiving the full earnings for their work in the Hereafter… and what earnings they are. How blessed the reward and how fine the resting-place!
Freedom comes with a huge Responsibility: Making the Right Choice!
2. However, when Affluence and Freedom combine, the Responsibility is much greater:
The Responsibility becomes:
To Subdue Arrogance each time it attempts to take hold, so as to be able to make the Right Choice!
The following parable offers many lessons, among which is a lesson centered around this Freedom of Choice: In that light, we notice the natural partnership of Affluence and Arrogance, and the potential of this lethal Merger, to render us completely blind.
(Put ‘arrogance’ in ‘Search this Site.’)
3. Read Verses 32- 44, narrating the famous parable of two men, in both Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Asad’s interpretations, but it is Ali who offers us valuable commentary about the affluent man:
As we saw, one man was obviously well-established in both wealth and family, someone who relied on his status and denied change (including the After-life). His over-confidence led him to imagine that, even in such an event, his Lord would continue to ‘indulge him’ as he had ‘indulged him’ in life. This might seem strange to many of us who cannot relate to the mentality of Affluence, but to the affluent and powerful Qureish, this was a parable that touched their very core!
Even today, when we look around at people who desire and fight for change in any society, we notice that such groups are rarely joined by the affluent, who are usually ‘worshippers’ of the Status Quo which maintains their ‘superiority.’ Change, to them, is a grave threat, and so it was to Qureish.
But there still is more to be learnt:
When the Affluent man first opens his mouth to speak (Verse 34), we notice his conceit and insensitivity. Remember that Arrogance was behind the first Disobedience ever committed!
Then, when he enters his garden (Verse 35), we notice something very important: THE MANNER in which he enters which is: while ‘wronging his own Self’ (وهو ظالم لنفسه)-. What does that mean? What is the single act by which we ‘wrong our own Selves?’ It is Shirk, ‘Associating with God,’ as mentioned in HQ 31:13. His Shirk here, as shown by what he voiced out loud to his companion (the other man), was in believing that something, other than God, would be capable of ‘eternal existence.’ He believed that nothing could destroy his garden.
Notice his companion’s response as he accuses him of ‘Denying his Creator,’ and teaches us all what to say, and how to show appreciation for God’s Bounty. He also hints at gifts that are more valuable than ‘your garden,’ and ends by announcing that the Creator is God, his Lord, with Whom he would never associate anyone or anything.
Obviously, this man had exemplary faith in God as well as the wisdom, courage, and eloquence to respond. The Qur’an does not mention any material wealth this man might have had, which should be an eye-opener for us all: He already had what truly counted... and his wealth was irrelevant!
A lot more could be said about this parable. Let us know your insight, dear Readers!
(For important information on the two kinds of ‘Shirk,’ see Posting of March 28th)
4. Verses 43-44 give us the Conclusion to everything in Life, including the perception of Affluence, which is just that: a Perception- a Mirage.
Verses 45-46 give us another parable with regard to this immediate, lowly Life, which seems to summarize the lessons learnt from the parable of the two men. We learn that material possessions and offspring are but the ornaments of the immediate lowly Life, while the Enduring Goodness (of Deeds) provides us with greater merit and holds far higher expectations!
PAGE 299 Arabic Qur’an.
5. Verses 47- 48- 49 take us to Resurrection, a time when the mountains and earth would have undergone so much change that they would seem totally unfamiliar. These powerful and expressive verses should make the most arrogant of us, humble:
They mention the ‘Gathering’ of every single person who had denied the appointed meeting, the ‘Mujrims’ (see Posting March 30th) the ‘Evil-Earners,’ who had ‘cut off’ for themselves, or extracted, the rights of others, marshaled before their Lord, fearful of the Compilation of their Deeds which leaves no deed unrecorded… and we hear their chilling calls of woe upon themselves!
6. Verses 50 – 51 remind us of the first Cognizant Human, ‘Adam,’ and his experience with Iblees, asking, how is it that some could take Iblees and his progeny -who were not made to witness the Creation of the Heavens and Earth, or even their own selves- as intimates/protectors, rather than God?
7. Verses 52- 53 return to scenes of the Hereafter, and challenge everyone who had committed ‘Shirk’ in life, to call upon these so-called ‘Shurakaa’ of God (His ‘Associates,’ - Creatures whom people had ‘worshipped’ or considered ‘divine’). The conclusion is that, when called-upon, there is no response, and the ‘Mujrims,’ the ‘evil-earners’ see the Fire and realize that it is their end, from which there is no escape.
And so concludes our Reading today, which was mainly about ‘Shirk,’ and also about realizing how blessed we are, and showing gratitude… at least by a gentle, humble, attitude!
Think: Just by being able to BE on this Blog, dear Reader, we are among the 7% of all people on earth who are educated (at a secondary level), and among the 3% who have an internet connection!
If you consider yourself ‘affluent,’ dear Reader, please be extra aware of the damage this can cause your children. The damage could be related to your being too busy to spend enough time with them, or to them spending too much time alone (separate rooms/ gadgets/ pastimes). Remember that families who HAVE to share end up being stronger, and more closely knit AND their children learn better social skills at an early age. Affluence, especially when we are born into it, makes us feel inherently distinctive and deserving; in effect, ‘preferred’ above others… and arrogant. Wealth does not necessarily bring happiness!
In “Raising Healthy Children in Families of Affluence,” the author states:
“The irony is that all the work that goes into building wealth that was expected to provide happiness can lead to great unhappiness. Our children are important to us. The rewards of success, however, bring challenges to our children’s emotional well being. By understanding both the limitations and advantages of wealth, parents can take important steps to guide their children toward appropriate values and create the warm, loving relationships that we all desire with our children.”
Our next Reading is from HQ 18:54-82
Congratulations, dear Self-Challengers:
We have just completed ½ of the entire Qur’an!
Peace unto all!