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Lesson 56

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Lesson - 56

Aal Imran (Family of Imran)

"Say: O Allah, Owner of the Kingdom, Thou givest the kingdom to whom Thou pleasest, and takest away the kingdom from whom Thou pleasest, and Thou exaltest whom Thou pleasest and abasest whom Thou pleasest. In Thine hand is the good. Surely, Thou art Possessor of power over all things. Thou makest the night to pass into the day and Thou makest the day to pass into the night; and Thou bringest forth the living from the dead and Thou bringest forth the dead from the living; and Thou givest sustenance to whom Thou pleasest without measure." (Ch. 3:25,26)

Allah the Real Source of All Power

The Creator of the heavens and the earth is obviously their Owner, and is therefore in reality their ruler. Man comes into the world empty handed and departs to his grave without any material possessions. The question that comes to mind is why is it that apparently man seems to be the ruler while Allah, the Most High, appears to be in the background? The Holy Quran, which is truly an amazing book, provides the answer to this important question in the following verse:

"And when thy Lord said to the angels, I am going to place a ruler in the earth" (2:30).

This of course is a reference to mankind. Man should therefore not forget that he is only the delegate of the real Sovereign — Allah. A delegate who does not act according to the directions, or proves himself incompetent, is liable to be removed by the true Master, Who can deprive him of his power in the land. History bears testimony to this that many a great emperor, president or prime-minister who looses his political power, certainly does so reluctantly, thus proving that there is a Higher Power in control Who brings this about. The real proof of Allah The Most High being the, "Owner of the Kingdom," is this, that He can give power to rule the land to whom He wants, when He wants and likewise deprive him of it.

It is then stated in the next verse:

"And Thou exaltest whom Thou pleasest and abasest whom Thou pleasest."
The greatest attraction in power and government is that of fame and honor. The Holy Quran, however, tells us that attaining a position of power does not guarantee honor and respect for you. I have personally observed this, that a well respected person when he becomes a prime minister etc., is initially paid homage by the people and they turn out to celebrate his presence with colorful processions and loud proclamations. Very soon, however, he becomes the target of their criticism, falls from his position of grace and quite frequently is either forced to give up his power or returns home abased after loosing badly in an election. Some of them are imprisoned or even end up on the gallows. Those who perform good deeds while in office and instead of working for their own selfish motives work selflessly for their nation do, however, receive respect and honor. Thus in the verse under discussion besides saying that Allah The Most High exalts whom He pleases and abases whom He pleases, it is stated, "In Thine hand is the good." When Allah, the Most High, gives power to an individual or a nation, it is for their own good, if however they become involved in vice and rebel against Allah, they are deprived of their power. He does this also for the benefit of His subjects, for a wicked and cruel ruler brings his nation to great grief.

In the Quranic text that follows, it is stated:

"Thou art Possessor of power over all things."
When a person or a nation is in power, they presume that they are in total control. In reality they do not possess the ability to either maintain their power or safeguard their honor. We witnessed the truth of this verse, that Allah is the Possessor of power over all things, in the creation of Pakistan. The Muslims were not only in minority, but also weak and lacking in material strength. The Hindus who were in great majority, were against the creation of Pakistan, and had declared their willingness to lay down their lives to prevent this from happening. The Sikhs who were a strong, warrior nation also had their swords drawn in resistance to this idea. Even the British, who were the rulers at the time, were against this. In fact the whole world opinion under the influence of British and Hindu propaganda was not in favor of this idea. A group from amongst the Muslims called the nationalists were also against the creation of Pakistan. Allah the Most High in Whose hand is all the goodness, did what He had willed for the benefit of Islam and the Muslims in the subcontinent. He informed his righteous servants of this ahead of time, and Pakistan came into being despite severe opposition. No doubt Allah is Possessor of Power over all things.

Allah the Source of Life and Sustenance

The next verse is:

"Thou makest the night to pass into the day and Thou makest the day to pass into the night; and Thou bringest forth the living from the dead and Thou bringest forth the dead from the living; and Thou givest sustenance to whom Thou pleasest without measure."
The incidents mentioned in this verse occur everyday before our eyes, but we seldom think in terms of Whose intervention and handiwork they clearly signify. Who can remove the deepest darkness of the night besides Allah and bring forth the brightness of daylight? The night makes a man either totally useless, or at least affects his performance. In the bright light of the day when he is working efficiently and earning wealth, he may not wish for the night to come, but Who can prevent this from happening? Similarly human beings, animals and plants evolve from a state of nothingness to living organisms while at the same time living things die. All of this being quite essential although mankind is totally helpless in the face of these events. While discussing life and death, I am reminded of the scientific truth that cells within the human body are constantly undergoing a cycle of death and regeneration. In fact within a period of three years, major portion of the cells within the human body are regenerated. Thus the process of life and death is itself being carried out every moment within the human body. Similarly the whole human race is making a constant effort to find abundant and better sources of food, which man cannot improve or increase with his own effort or authority. I would like to mention over here that the Arabic word for sustenance (rizq), does not only stand for food items, in fact all that is given to man by Allah is included, and wealth is at the top of this list. Who can earn whatever he desires? It is my lifelong experience and observation that those given wealth in abundance are frequently not superior in capabilities or intellect to those who are not. In fact it is true that Allah gives abundance of sustenance to whom He desires.

This external physical cycle of life and death has been described to explain inner and spiritual matters. You might remember that in the previous verse, it was stated that Allah, the Most High, Who is the real owner of the Kingdom, can give it to whomsoever He pleases. Like individuals, nations that become independent are able to govern themselves. In this verse they are cautioned not to forget God on receiving independence and sovereignty. Not only can they lose such liberties once again, but the outbreak and the mitigation of difficulties, which has been allegorically likened to the night and the day, is also in the hands of Allah. He can bring such difficulties upon them in order to chastise them or to test their abilities. They should show repentance, remain patient and steadfast, and ask for Divine protection, in the face of such difficulties, for He not only brings in the darkness of the night but also replaces it with the brightness of the day. Similarly, after remaining in bondage for centuries, when a nation becomes dead, it is advised not to despair but instead to work hard and beseech Allah's assistance for only He can bring the dead back to life. On the other hand, although a nation may have gained its freedom and the dark night of difficulties and hardships may have dissipated, life may still become miserable if the means of one's sustenance are constrained. Sustenance (rizq) does not only signify food and drink, but stands for wealth and all the blessings which are given to man by Allah, the Most High. One can only enjoy liberty and self rule when he gets all of this. However, on being given all of this, i.e., freedom, independence, respect, a living nation and abundance of sustenance, man has a tendency to loose awareness of the Divine. This, despite the fact that nations who received such blessings in the past, were deprived of them because of ingratitude, misdeeds and rebellion against God. The history of human race bears witness to this fact. If upon being blessed with similar favors, we, as Muslims also loose awareness of the Divine, commit evil deeds and manifest rebellion towards God then we stand to face a similar fate. There is another aspect of the meaning of these verses which is closely linked to our times. This if Allah pleases, I will discuss in the next lesson.
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