Safar / Rabi-Ul Awwal 1422 H
Volume 15-05 No:185
Allah will reward those who are grateful to Him. No human being can die except by Allah’s leave, at a term appointed. If one desires the reward of this world, We shall give him of it and if one desires the reward of the life to come, We shall give him of it and We will reward those who are grateful (to us).
(The House of Imran, "Al
Imran"; 3: 144-145)
Commentary by Sayyid Qutb.
Translation: M A Salahi & A A Shamsi
In the last issue, we commented on the first of these two verses and we explained that it refers to a particular incident which took place during the battle of Uhud. When the Muslim army fell in disarray, someone shouted out that the Prophet (Pbuh) was dead. This increased the confusion among the Muslim army and many of the companions of the Prophet started to move away from the battlefield aiming to go back to Madinah. Despair overtook them. This Quranic verse reminds them that earlier prophets and messengers had died, but Allah’s faith remained. Anyone who turns away, harms no one, but himself. Those who remain steadfast reap the benefits of their perseverance and the blessings of following the divine guidance. Moreover, they will be rewarded in the hereafter for their gratitude to Allah.
It appears to us that this verse has a specific purpose which Allah wants to accomplish, making use of the incident itself. He wants to wean the Muslims away from clinging to the Prophet in person, when he was alive among them. He wants them to have their link directly with the spring which Prophet Muhammad has not caused to gush forth, but has only pointed out, calling on people to benefit by its flowing water. Prophets and messengers before him also pointed it out to people and called on them to drink their fill from it. It seems that Allah wants to take them by the hand and establish their strongest tie of all. The Prophet has not established it himself, but he only put people’s hands on it and left them to hold tight to it and nourish it. It also seems to us that Allah wants Muslims to feel that their first allegiance is to Islam.
have their covenant made directly with Allah and for its fulfillment, they are
accountable to Allah directly, without any intermediary. Thus they are better
able to appreciate their direct responsibility which is not forfeited by the
death or killing of Allah’s messenger. They are responsible to Allah for their
covenant with Him. It may be that Allah also wanted to prepare the Muslim
community for this great shock, whenever it happened. He knew that its effect on
them was bound to be greater than they could cope with. It was His will
therefore to give them this piece of training and to make their first allegiance
to Him and His eternal message before they were totally overwhelmed by the
baffling shock. They were indeed totally shocked when the event took place. Umar
himself drew his sword, threatening everyone who claimed that the Prophet had
died. Only Abu Bakr whose relationship with His Creator and His will was direct,
firm and solid was able to withstand the shock. When he recited this verse to
remind of it, those who were baffled and overwhelmed, returned to their senses.
At that moment, this verse was an overwhelming address by Allah. This is
followed by a telling touch on the secret of man’s fear of death. That fear is
made to disappear through a clear explanation of the nature of life and death
and Allah’s overall design behind this cycle of life and death and the test
and reward of human beings.
A person who concerns himself only with this world and seeks the rewards and fruits of this life chooses for himself a life similar to that of worms and animals. He then dies at the end of his appointed term. On the other hand, a person who looks up to the higher horizon enjoys the life of a man whom Allah has honoured and placed in charge of the earth. This is how the Quran views the essence of life and death.
No human being can die except by Allah’s leave, at a time appointed. Every human being dies at a certain moment which is set in advance by Allah. Fear, cowardice, staying away from the battlefield and clinging to life do not lengthen one’s time on earth in any way. Nor do courage, heroism in battle and fulfillment of one’s obligations shorten one’s lifespan at all. What use is cowardice when death occurs only at the appointed time? When this point is clear in one’s mind, one no longer thinks of death as one decides on fulfilling the duties and obligations imposed by faith. Greed and cowardice lose their effects and one is able to persevere and overcome any adversity relying on Allah who alone decides when every human being dies. We then move a step forward. If everyone’s lifespan is determined in advance and no one can do anything about it, then everyone’s thoughts should turn to the hereafter and consider what he aims at. Does he want to give his full attention to his life on earth and neglect the duties of faith? Or does he want to look up to a higher level and to a life which has a greater scope than this present life?
Everyone must remember that his choice does not affect the length of his life on earth. “ If one desires the reward of this world, We shall give him of it and if one desires the reward of the life to come, We shall give him of it.” Greatly different are the two lives and their pre-occupations. A person who concerns himself only with this world and seeks the rewards and fruits of this life chooses for himself a life similar to that of worms and animals. He then dies at the end of his appointed term. On the other hand, a person who looks up to the higher horizon enjoys the life of a man whom Allah has honoured and placed in charge of the earth. He also dies at the appointed time. No human being can die except by Allah’s leave, at a term appointed. We will reward those who are grateful to us. These appreciate the blessings and honour Allah has bestowed on man to elevate themselves above the level of animals. They show their gratitude to Allah for His blessings by fulfilling everything that faith requires of them.
This is how the Quran views the essence of life and death and the end of human beings as they choose for themselves and determine their pre-occupation which can be either petty like those of worms or great like those of man. In this way, the Quran turns the attention of a human being’s fear of death and worry about duties when he has no say in regard to his life and death, to make him concentrate on what is of much better use for him and in which he can exercise his free choice. He may choose either limiting himself to this world or the happiness of the life to come. Whichever choice he makes, he will receive the appropriate reward for his choice from Allah.Top