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Lesson 54

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Lesson - 54

Aal Imran (Family of Imran)

"Those who disbelieve (kafaru), neither their wealth nor their children will avail them aught against Allah. And they will be fuel for fire.

As was the case of the people of Pharaoh (aal-i-firaun), and those before them! They rejected (kazabu) Our messages, so Allah destroyed them on account of their sins. And Allah is Severe in requiting (evil).

Say to those who disbelieve: You shall be vanquished (sataghlabun), and driven (tuhsharun) together to hell; and evil is the resting place.

Indeed there was a sign for you in the two hosts (which) met together in encounter — one party fighting in the way of Allah and the other disbelieving, whom they saw twice as many as themselves with the sight of the eye. And Allah strengthens with His aid whom He pleases. There is a lesson in this for those who have eyes." (Ch. 3:9-12)

Summary of the previous lesson

With these verses begins the second section of the chapter Aal-Imran. I have given two lessons on the previous section. As I have stated, this Chapter deals mainly with Christianity and its followers. The important subject matter of the preceding section was that revelation from Allah The most High contained both decisive and allegorical verses. We discussed the Divine wisdom behind the rule that interpretation of the allegorical verses was always subject to the authority of the decisive ones, and how one could benefit from such an arrangement. It was pointed out that contrary to this, pursuit of only the allegorical verses and their interpretation in accordance with ones wishes, misguided people and caused dissension. All of these basic principles were discussed. It was pointed out that Christianity and its followers, by not adhering to these principles, have faltered and gone so far astray that they serve as an example to illustrate such deviant behavior. That is why the Holy Quran refers to them in the words wa-la-dhaleen, i.e., those who go astray (1:7). It is inappropriate on their part to show such lack of concern and audacity in this matter only because Allah does not hold them accountable in this life for their beliefs. This was also to warn the Muslims that they should not adapt a similar course in the matter of decisive and allegorical verses. In the end of the last section, there was a general warning that all generations past and present will be gathered and questioned about their beliefs, on the Day of Resurrection. It is therefore not righteousness to innovate a matter of belief or faith out of what our desires dictate. Such behavior, not only leads the individual concerned to go astray, but also leads others on to this path, by setting a wrong example.

Consequences of going astray

The Christian nations today have in general lost faith in God and the Day of Accountability. Even those religious minded people who profess such a belief are lulled into a sense of false security because of the Christian doctrine of atonement. They believe it is enough to declare faith in the sacrifice of Christ for the atonement of their sins and that his intercession on their behalf will save them on the Day of Judgment. Lack of such concern for accountability leads them to act according to their desires. This behavior is further strengthened by pride in the superiority of their monetary resources and numerical strength. One is amazed at the wisdom of the Holy Quran which leads it to discuss such behavior in the very first verse of this lesson. This verse states:

"Those who disbelieve (kafaru), neither their wealth nor their children will avail them aught against Allah. And they will be fuel for fire."
Man earns and accumulates wealth for the benefit of his children. The Holy Quran states that both of these will ultimately fuel the fire which Allah, the Most High, will impose upon these Christian nations, from time to time. This will be a consequence of the evil actions committed by them in this worldly life as a result of lack of concern for accountability on the Day of Judgment. I interpret this fire as the conflagration of war. This interpretation is supported by the Holy Quran in verse (5:64) which states:

"Whenever they kindle a fire for war Allah puts it out."
The Arabic commentary Ruh al-Mu`ani states regarding this verse that it was customary amongst the Arabs to light a fire on an elevation or a hill to indicate a declaration of war.

Such a chastisement was brought upon the Christian nations in the form of two world wars. The fire that rained from the earth and the sky during these wars was unique in that it had never before been witnessed by mankind. God save us from the destructive consequences of a conflict now if the arsenal of modern atomic and hydrogen bombs were to be deployed. These deadly confrontations would not have been possible without the great monetary resources of the Christian nations. In previous ages wars could be fought with bows, arrows and swords which did not require a great commitment of financial resources. In the present day and age, however, the weapons of war are so costly that only the great wealth and earnings of the western nations can support such undertakings. In comparison to them the possessions of the Muslim nations are meager and they rely heavily upon the Christian nations. That is why these nations are fearless of consequences of their actions and strive to sustain their dominance.

The Holy Quran states that their war machinery and arsenals will not help them against Allah the Most High. In these internal conflagrations of war levied upon them by Divine will, the youth of these nations will be drafted and consumed. That they were in fact brought about by Divine commandment is established by two distinct signs. Firstly, by the prophecies of the Holy Quran and the Hadith (also by the revelations of the Reformer of this age, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad). Secondly, despite the fact that these nations are acutely aware of the destructive consequences of such conflicts, and try their best to avoid them, they are nevertheless dragged helpless and fearful into their midst.

It is true that in the verse above the Arabic word kafaru means those who disbelieve and does not specifically refer to the Christians. It is, however, equally true that it also applies to those who disbelieve and confront Allah and can therefore be applied to the Christian nations. The disbelievers of Arabia, when they tried to annihilate Islam and the Muslims by means of the sword, were consumed by the fire they ignited. Because the chapter Aal-Imran specifically deals with the Christian nations, this verse is, therefore, in particular applicable to them. Their wealth and children also became the fuel of these fires as prophesied amazingly by the Holy Quran fourteen hundred years ago.

Similarities between the Pharoah and the Christian nations

The verse that follows states:

"As was the case of the people of Pharaoh (aal-i-firaun), and those before them! They rejected (kazabu) Our messages."
They rejected the messages of Allah and committed evil deeds, as a consequence of which Allah, the Most High, held them accountable in this very life. The exemplary punishment thus meted upon them went down in history. I would first like to draw your attention to a few points regarding this verse. The Arabic word aal-i-firaun used in this verse has been ordinarily and mistakenly translated as the children of Pharaoh. It is correctly and appropriately translated as people of Pharaoh. It would be easier to understand this when we consider that when we evoke blessings upon aal-i-Muhammad during the obligatory prayers it includes not only the descendants of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) but also his followers. The other question that arises in ones mind is why this comparison with Pharaoh was made by the Holy Quran? Pharaoh was the most powerful king of his time. He subjugated the Israelites and for a long period of time and issued orders for their male progeny to be killed while allowing their female children to live. He became so inebriated by the strength of his imperial power and kingdom, that he proclaimed himself god and was eventually destroyed as a result of his evil actions.

If we study the history of the Christian Colonial Powers, we find close parallels with the history of Pharaoh. The Christian nations of this day have already succumbed to the accountability and chastisement of Allah the Most High. A hundred years ago, however, at the zenith of colonial power, their condition was such that they were dominating the whole world and no one could stand up to them. It was said that the sun never sets over the British Empire. They dominated the land and the sea and the map of the world appeared red with British colors, as a consequence of this supremacy. From amongst the subject nations those who showed manly courage and stood up to them were dealt with by imprisonment and thus eliminated. Those who exhibited feminine qualities and became weak and submissive were left alone and thus survived. This demonstrates the similarity to Pharaoh's treatment of the Israelite male progeny. Those who flattered them and served them well with feminine acquiescence were given entitlements in the British Raj like Khan Sahib, Rao Sahib etc. In this day and age, the Christian nations are openly spreading atheism either by completely denying the existence of the Divine Being, or by stating that there was no God, or if He was there at one time, He is (may Allah protect us from saying so) now dead. Even prior to this they tried to assume the position which fell only into the Domain of the Divine. What does God expect from mankind after all? Only this that submission should be shown to him with humility. This was exactly what the Christian colonial powers demanded of their subjects. God also wants that His commandments should be obeyed, and people after being made aware of His reward and chastisement should act righteously. The Colonial Christian Powers expected similar behavior from their subjects. They expected them to be humble and submissive, to be acutely aware of the masters pleasures and displeasure, and to do their bidding. They felt empowered to reward and punish, give life or bring destruction upon a nation and to provide them with food and sustenance according to their wishes. These were the powers of God which the colonial Christian nations tried to assume and impose upon their subjects. This resemblance with the Pharaonic attitude is therefore quite striking.

Accountability in this life not on basis of belief

The third point which is noteworthy is that Allah does not hold one accountable in this worldly life on the basis of his faith or belief. I have discussed the wisdom behind this in my discussion on the verse:

"There is no compulsion in religion" (2:256).
If someone therefore only denies the truth, he is not held accountable for it in this world but in the Life Hereafter. In the verse under discussion, the disbelievers (whether they be those from amongst the tribes of Makkah or the Christian nations) have not been blamed for not accepting the truth. They were blamed for rejection (kazabu). Such rejection involves spreading false propaganda and lies about the truth (i.e., it was falsehood ) so that others may not accept it . It also includes attempts to annihilate the truth or the supporters of truth as was done by the disbelievers of Makkah. The attempts of the Christian propagandists through false allegations against Islam and the founder of Islam or by means of character assassination also fall under this category. This is a very serious offense, for which Allah mandates accountability even in this life. If Allah, the Most High, did not chastise those who attempt to eliminate the upholders of truth, or cause their power to lessen, it would eventually lead to annihilation of the truth and its adherents, something that Allah does not allow. Besides rejection of the truth in the manner described above, the disbelievers of Makkah, similar to the rampant moral depravity so visible in the western society today, were also guilty of other evils mandating immediate accountability.

The next verse states:

"so Allah destroyed them on account of their sins. And Allah is Severe in requiting (evil)."
Allah held them accountable for their sins in this life. His chastisement is severe, although it takes a long time for it to come. Only the one who has experienced such chastisement can speak for its severity. The verse after this states:

"Say to those who disbelieve: You shall be vanquished (sataghlabun), and driven (tuhsharun) together to hell; and evil is the resting place."
The Arabic letter sa as in sataghlabun indicates an occurrence in the near future, in this case it indicates the occurrence of this vanquishment within the lifetime of the disbelievers. When this verse was revealed, the strength and power of the disbelievers of Makkah was such that no one could have imagined that it would be broken so soon. The situation of the Christian nations was analogous to this. The Arabic word tuhsharun means to be driven out of ones resting place towards conflict. The Christian nations were likewise driven to war in areas of the world where they had no concern and had to face bloody conflict, for example in North Africa, Korea and Vietnam. They were driven to death helplessly in the "evil resting place." These fiery conflicts were replaced by the cold war, financial crisis and other difficulties.

A sign in the Battle of Badr

The closing verse of this lesson is:

"Indeed there was a sign for you in the two hosts (which) met together in encounter — one party fighting in the way of Allah and the other disbelieving, whom they saw twice as many as themselves with the sight of the eye. And Allah strengthens with His aid whom He pleases. There is a lesson in this for those who have eyes."

The battle which is called a sign in this verse was the Battle of Badr. The Holy Quran had prophesied regarding it in verse (54:45):

"Soon shall the hosts be routed, and they will show (their) backs."

This sign was also prophesied in the Bible, which is read by the Christians. Isaiah 20:13-17 states:

"The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye traveling companies of Dedanim. The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled. For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the greivousness of war. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail: And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the Lord God of Israel hath spoken it."
These biblical verses clearly speak of the flight of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) from Makkah and the Battle of Badr a year later.

On one hand was a well equipped and experienced force of the Makkan disbelievers. Facing them was a group of three hundred and thirteen Muslims which included children, young and old men who did not even have enough swords (the minimum fighting equipment of the day) to go between them. The outcome of this historic conflict, a clear victory for Muslims, was certainly miraculous.

Similarly in this age during the colonial times particularly in India we witnessed on one hand a well trained army of Christian missionaries, who had the backing of the government and its resources at their disposal. Facing their vitriolic onslaught against Islam and the Holy Prophet were the Founder of the Ahmadiyya movement (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) and a few of his followers who did not possess any material resources. The help of Allah was, however, with them and the result was a clear victory over the enemy. For those with spiritual insight, there is a great admonition and a sign in these events. Such spiritual insight is, however, a faculty of the heart. This discussion will be continued in the next lesson.
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