Monday, November 28, 2011

Chapter 52, Al-Toor (Mountain of Toor)


Chapter 52, Al-Toor (Mountain of Toor) (part 1 of 3)

By Kamil Mufti

This chapter of the sacred scripture takes its name from the opening verse in which God takes an oath by Mt. Toor. It is a mountain beside which God spoke to Prophet Moses.
What an honour it is for a person if God speaks to him directly! Sometimes one thinks, “Why does God not speak to us also?” The truth is that God speaks to all human beings through the Quran, yet most people ignore it! They do not take the trouble to find what the Quran says to them!

The purpose of God’s communication is to give us conviction in the truth of Islam and to guide us to the path of right conduct. When we listen to God’s words we are convinced that this world has not been created without a purpose. We understand that it is a test and there is a reward for the righteous and a painful end for those who deny the message. To ensure that we don’t take this warning lightly, God takes some powerful oaths:
“By the oath of Mount Toor (the mountain where God spoke to Moses)
and the written book (that has the record of every person’s actions in this life) which is in an open manuscript (it will be available for reading on the Day when the dead will come back to life) and by the oath of the ‘The Frequently Visited House’ (refers to a place directly above the sacred Ka’ba around which angles go in circles)
and by the oath of the “raised roof” (the sky)
and by the oath of the swelling ocean.” (Quran 52:1-6)

Even a simple statement from the Lord of the Worlds would have been enough. If He has taken five oaths, then it must be so we pay close attention to His warning. The purpose of that warning is to tell us of the terrible punishment:
“Indeed, the punishment of your Lord shall take place (on the Day when all will be judged). There shall be none to prevent it.” (Quran 52:7-8)

What will happen on that terrifying day?
“(It will be) The day when the sky shall tremble uncontrollably…and the mountains will fly through the air (as dust particles after being reduced to dust).” (Quran 52:9-10)

If we are deluding ourselves by saying things like: “Well, I am not convinced” or “It doesn’t make sense to me,” then listen to what God says to all those who question the true warnings:
“Destruction be to the rejectors (who deny the coming judgement) on that day (the Day of Judgement).” (Quran 52:11)

Have you ever thought why do some people believe and some do not? After all they are all made of bones and flesh, so what’s the big difference? Why do people who are otherwise intelligent and capable, don’t believe in God’s words? The Quran states:
“(The rejectors are) those who are in (empty) discourse amusing themselves.” (Quran 52:12)

Those who reject faith are busy enjoying themselves. They do as they please with little concern for the day when they will have to account for everything they did.
In this world people continue to enjoy their lives and are honored by the society even if they disobey God and anger Him all the time, but in the Hereafter they will be treated according to their deeds and their faith:
(Do not forget) The Day when they will be forcibly shoved into the Fire of Hell. (Quran 52:13)
And all their denial and their logics will be of no use:
“(It will be said to them:) ‘This is the Fire you used to deny!’” (Quran 52:14)

They amuse themselves by making fun of those who follow the true religion by accusing them of being brainwashed. But on that day when they will be thrown into the fire, they will be asked:
“‘Is this magic (as you used to say about the miracles of the prophets and the books God gave them) or are you unable to see?’ (Today you are unable to deny it’s existence!).” (Quran 52:15)

God is not unjust. In this world, the path of righteousness might not be pleasant at times, but keep in mind that the bumps on the road are a mere test from God. When people around you start blaming the religion and saying, “If your religion was so good then why are you being treated like this?”, “Where is the success you say God has promised?”, then remember that this world is not the place where we can see all the outcomes of our deeds. The results will be shown in the life that comes after death, when those who led a frivolous life spend in vanities will be told:
“Enter into it! Whether you bear it with patience or you do not, it will make no difference to you! (In any event, your suffering will be the same.) You are being punished only for what (sins) you used to do.” (Quran 52:16)

Those punished won’t be punished without reason! When those who led a righteous life will be presented with the amazingly beautiful Paradise:
“Truly the righteous shall be (enjoying themselves) in Paradise and it’s bounties, enjoying what (blessings) their Lord gives them. (One of the greatest blessings is that) their Lord saved them from the punishment of the Blaze (Hellfire).” (Quran 52:17-18)

While people all around them were only concerned with the physical pleasures of the world - money, sex, and alcohol to name a few - these God conscious people remembered that life is not made just for enjoyment but is a test of obedience. Thus, their reward will be the eternal enjoyment of Paradise, the unending pleasure:
“(They will be told:) “Eat and drink to your heart’s content, this is the reward for your good deeds.” They will be reclining on couches arranged in rows and We shall marry them to fair maidens with large, wide eyes.” (Quran 52:19-20)

The reality of our lives is that our pleasure is incomplete without our families. That is why we celebrate holidays and personal achievements with our family members. God will join all the family members who followed the righteous path even if they are on different levels according to their deeds. Those on the lower ranks will be raised in level to be united with their parents, children, and spouses.
“We shall unite the true believers with those of their descendants who follow them in their faith, and shall not deny them the reward of their good deeds - everyone is responsible for his deeds.” (Quran 52:21)

Chapter 52, Al-Toor (Mountain of Toor) (part 2 of 3)

By Kamil Mufti

It is a thoughtful reminder that we should not only be concerned with getting into Paradise for ourselves, but should think about helping our families and friends join us. The following verses speak of joy and playful activities that are enjoyed to their fullest with our loved ones:
“(Continuing with the bounties of the faithful in Paradise, God says:) In addition (to all the other bounties mentioned), We shall grant them (an abundance of) fruit and meat (which they shall have) as (and when) they desire (without delay or interruption). There (in Paradise) they will pass around (to enjoy) a cup (of pure drink) in which there is no (fear of) absurd talk and sin (the wine of Paradise will not intoxicate people). Their young (servants in Paradise) shall wait on them (serving them whatever they wish), appearing to be (like) concealed (preserved) pearls (because of their beauty and refined manners).” (Quran 22- 24)

Another pleasurable activity is to sit with family and friends and remember the good old times. Paradise will provide an opportunity to do that as well:
“They (the people of Paradise) will face each other asking questions.” (Quran 52:25)
They will remember the good deeds they did in this life to gain God’s pleasure. The finest among them was that they feared God even when they were around their families:
They will say, “Before this (in the world) we used to be fearful (of Hell as we sat) among our families.” (Quran 52:26)

Someone might question what is so special about being around one’s family? But if you think you will realize that it is easy to act right when you are with like-minded people or those whom you respect, or even those who look up to you. On the other hand, when you are alone with your family members, who know you intimately, in front of whom you have no need to fake piety, then being aware of God and not doing or saying what might displease God, really shows your true faith. The main characteristic of these God conscious people is that they do not take credit for themselves. They believe it all to be a favour of God. So in Paradise too they will express the same sentiments:
“However, Allah favored us and saved us from the punishment of the scorching wind (of Hell).” (Quran 52:27)

It’s important that we keep praying to God alone and have faith that He will enable us to follow the right path if we remain true to our commitment. This is what the people of Paradise will remember:
“Indeed, before this (in the world) we always used to pray to Him (to save us from Hell). (God answered our prayers because) He is certainly the One who treats with kindness, the Most Merciful." (Quran 52:28)

Although the verse above is so clear, and faith in one God is such a simple matter, but those who stubbornly deny the truth can make a thousand excuses, simply because they don’t want to lose pride in their own “principles” and petty philosophies of life much like the disbelievers of the city of Mecca. The Meccan pagans would use any tactic to prove that this Quran is nothing but poetry that the Prophet was just making it up or maybe he was under some sort of spell.
“So (O Muhammad) continue reminding (and advising people about God) for, by the grace of your Lord, you are neither a fortune-teller (who receives news form the jinn) nor a madman (as the unbelievers claim). Or (besides saying this) do they say, ‘He (Prophet Muhammad) is a poet whose calamity of time (death) we are eagerly awaiting?’ Say, ‘Wait (to see my success), for I am also waiting with you (to see your disastrous end).’” (Quran 52:29-31)

Therefore, in the following verses God asks them a series of questions in a powerful interrogative style, to make them ponder over the foolishness of their allegations against the person whom they had known all their life to be a man of integrity:
“Or is their intelligence (of which they are proud) commanding them to do this (to reject faith despite being shown proofs) or are they (not accepting faith because they are) a rebellious nation?” (Quran 52:32)

Is it really possible that the Quran could be fabricated? Don’t they have any sense?
“Or are (they rejecting faith and the Quran because) they (are) saying, ‘He (Prophet Muhammad) has forged it? The fact of the matter is that they refuse to accept faith (and will not accept despite every proof shown to them).” (Quran 52:33)

If it is so simple, then why don’t they bring a scripture like this?
“Let them produce a speech like it (the Quran) if they are truthful (in their claim that this Quran is forged by a mortal).” (Quran 52:34)

Parts of This Article
Chapter 52, Al-Toor (Mountain of Toor) (part 1 of 3)
Chapter 52, Al-Toor (Mountain of Toor) (part 2 of 3)

52. Surah At-Tur (The Mount)
1. By the Mount;
2. And by the Book Inscribed.
3. In parchment unrolled.
4. And by the Bait-ul-Ma'mur (the house over the heavens parable to the Ka'bah at Makkah, continuously visited by the angels);
5. And by the roof raised high (i.e. the heaven).
6. And by the sea kept filled (or it will be fire kindled on the Day of Resurrection).
7. Verily, the Torment of your Lord will surely come to pass,
8. There is none that can avert it;
9. On the Day when the heaven will shake with a dreadful shaking,
10. And the mountains will move away with a (horrible) movement.
11. Then woe that Day to the beliers;
12. Who are playing in falsehood .
13. The Day when they will be pushed down by force to the Fire of Hell, with a horrible, forceful pushing.
14. This is the Fire which you used to belie.
15. Is this magic, or do you not see?
16. Taste you therein its heat, and whether you are patient of it or impatient of it, it is all the same. You are only being requited for what you used to do.
17. Verily, the Muttaqun (pious - see V.2:2) will be in Gardens (Paradise), and Delight.
18. Enjoying in that which their Lord has bestowed on them, and (the fact that) their Lord saved them from the torment of the blazing Fire.
19. "Eat and drink with happiness because of what you used to do."
20. They will recline (with ease) on thrones arranged in ranks. And We shall marry them to Houris (female, fair ones) with wide lovely eyes.
21. And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in Faith, to them shall We join their offspring, and We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything. Every person is a pledge for that which he has earned.
22. And We shall provide them with fruit and meat, such as they desire.
23. There they shall pass from hand to hand a (wine) cup, free from any Laghw (dirty, false, evil vague talk between them), and free from sin (because it will be legal for them to drink).
24. And there will go round boy-servants of theirs, to serve them as if they were preserved pearls.
25. And some of them draw near to others, questioning.
26. Saying: "Aforetime, we were afraid with our families (from the punishment of Allah).
27. "But Allah has been gracious to us, and has saved us from the torment of the Fire.
28. "Verily, We used to invoke Him (Alone and none else) before. Verily, He is Al-Barr (the Most Subtle, Kind, Courteous, and Generous), the Most Merciful."
29. Therefore, remind and preach (mankind, O Muhammad of Islamic Monotheism). By the Grace of Allah, you are neither a soothsayer, nor a madman.
30. Or do they say: "(Muhammad is) a poet! We await for him some calamity by time.!"
31. Say (O Muhammad to them): "Wait! I am with you, among the waiters!"
32. Do their minds command them this [i.e. to tell a lie against you (Muhammad )] or are they people exceeding the bounds (i.e. from Belief in Allah to disbelief).
33. Or do they say: "He (Muhammad ) has forged it (this Qur'an)?" Nay! They believe not!
34. Let them then produce a recital like unto it (the Qur'an) if they are truthful.
35. Were they created by nothing, or were they themselves the creators?
36. Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, but they have no firm Belief.
37. Or are with them the treasures of your Lord? Or are they the tyrants with the authority to do as they like?
38. Or have they a stairway (to heaven), by means of which they listen (to the talks of the angels)? Then let their listener produce some manifest proof.
39. Or has He (Allah) only daughters and you have sons?
40. Or is it that you (O Muhammad ) ask a wage from them (for your preaching of Islamic Monotheism) so that they are burdened with a load of debt?
41. Or that the Ghaib (unseen) is with them, and they write it down?
42. Or do they intend a plot (against you O Muhammad )? But those who disbelieve (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism) are themselves in a plot!
43. Or have they an ilah (a god) other than Allah? Glorified be Allah from all that they ascribe as partners (to Him)
44. And if they were to see a piece of the heaven falling down, they would say: "Clouds gathered in heaps!"
45. So leave them alone till they meet their Day, in which they will sink into a fainting (with horror).
46. The Day when their plotting shall not avail them at all nor will they be helped (i.e. they will receive their torment in Hell).
47. And verily, for those who do wrong, there is another punishment (i.e. the torment in this world and in their graves) before this, but most of them know not. [Tafsir At-Tabari, Vol. 27, Page 36].
48. So wait patiently (O Muhammad ) for the Decision of your Lord, for verily, you are under Our Eyes , and glorify the Praises of your Lord when you get up from sleep.
49. And in the night-time, also glorify His Praises, and at the setting of the stars.
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