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Tafsir as-Saranbi- Surah 14. Ibrahim , Ayah 1
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ الر ۚ كِتَابٌ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ لِتُخْرِجَ النَّاسَ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَمِيدِ
Alif, Lam, Ra. A Book. We have sent it down to you so that you may take mankind out of every darkness into the Light, by the permission of their Master onto the Path of the Mighty, the Praised.
With this beautiful ayah this beautiful Surah begins. This ayah has three parts. The first is just three letters of the Arabic alphabet. As we mentioned previously Allah (swt) Knows best the meaning of these letters. They do not form any word that is known in the language. Rather they are just three letters which even when recited are each supposed to be pronounced individually. So only Allah (swt) Knows their true meaning, but we can still take some benefits from them. First they remind us how this Quran is in the Arabic language since these are Arabic letters. Thus we see how the Arabic language is the key to understanding this Book. The best that we can provide here in English is only the surface of the meaning. There will always be much that is lost in translation. In order to get a full understanding of this Book you need to know the Arabic language. So we all need to make our best effort to learn it. Now of course you do not need to become a scholar of the language overnight. Leaning a new language is not at all easy, especially a language as deep and rich as Arabic. Not only do you need to learn all the rules of grammar and the deep vocabulary, but there are certain nuances which can only be gained from experience. So realize that it will take time. Still you should commit yourself to the effort. Because as we see from this ayah it will please Him. He placed these Arabic letters here only so that you would be reminded it is an Arabic Quran.
Another benefit of these letters is that they remind us of the Quran's Miracle. The Quran's challenge. As we saw in our tafsir of Surah Baqarah, Allah (swt) challenges all of mankind to try and produce even a small portion of this Quran if they think that it from any other than Him (swt). And yet in over 1500 years no one has been able to do it. Not even a small portion. They have not been able to do it despite the fact that this Quran is in the Arabic language. The same language which every single human is capable of learning and imitating. So realize from these letters that this Quran was not sent in some alien or unknown language. Rather it was sent in a language that man knows, a language that survived through the centuries. A language that he can understand, a language that he can use. To express any thoughts or ideas that may come to his heart. Why then has he not been able to reproduce this Quran? Not even a small portion of it? When it is in his very language. Does this not show beyond the shadow of a doubt that this Book is indeed from Allah (swt)? Because if it were from a human being, any human being, then other human beings would have been able to match it. If not the entirety of it then at least a portion of it. The composition of this Book is a collection of Arabic words brought together to form meanings. And yet no human being has ever been able to imitate it. Despite Arabic being a human language. How can this be so if its author was human? Even if that human was a genius do you still think it is possible for him to have written a book that no one in all these centuries has been able to match even a tiny portion of. Despite the fact that they have tried to on numerous occasions. They wanted so much to imitate this Book but they have not been able to. This is what Allah (swt) reminds us of by beginning with letters of this language. He reminds us that this Book is the Truth. It is from Him.
The second part of this verse is also very short, but it has a depth of meaning. It is just His words "A Book". The word "Book" here means both the Quran itself and the Law of Islam. We say this because the Arabic word kitab could mean a Book or it could mean a Law. Both meanings are possible in the language. So Allah (swt) begins this Surah by telling us of this Book and this Law. Because that in essence is what this Din is. This Din is the Book and the Law which comes from it. This is the Message that Allah (swt) sent to us through the Prophet (saw). It is a Book wherein He speaks to us. He tells us what He wants to say. And it is a Law wherein He tells us what He expects of us. He tells us how we can serve Him. Thus by believing in what He tells us in His Book and obeying what He tells us in His Law we can make manifest our submission to Him. Our love for Him. This is the essence of the Message He sent to us. It is tenets of faith which must be believed in and it is a code of law which must be followed.
So this is what He tells us at the beginning of this Surah. Just by saying this one word "kitab". He reminds us of what should be our purpose in reading this Quran. We are not seeking to be entertained. We are not looking for a "spiritual high". Even the blessings and the reward which comes from simply reciting should not be the primary reason we approach this Quran. Rather it should be to learn its Book and to follow its Law. With every ayah that we learn we should be asking ourselves how we can journey closer to Him through that ayah. If the ayah gives us some news then we should believe in it with the utmost certainty and we should see how we can journey closer to Him through that belief. If it commands us to do something then we rush to do it and if it forbids us from something then shun it. This is how the Quran can be for us the Book and the Law that He intended it to be.
The third part of this ayah is the largest. Here our Master tells us why He has sent us this Quran, He says "We have sent it down to you so that you may take mankind out of every darkness into the Light". Let us look at each part of this ayah individually Insha Allah. First notice how He describes this Quran as something that He has sent down. The use of this verb shows us how this Quran is not of this world. This Book and this Law is not of this world. One benefit we can take from this is to realize the loftiness and the greatness of this Quran. It is high above anything of this world. Because this world is filled with corruption. This world is tainted with sin. So whatever is to be found in this world will not be pure. It will not be clean. Rather it will be flawed. It will have mistakes. It will have weaknesses. This can be said both for the people of this world and for the ideologies and systems that they invent. But this Quran, this Perfect Book, this Complete Din, is not of this world. So it is not tainted with such imperfections. How then can we leave its systems and its way of life for what we know is flawed and imperfect? How can we leave what has been sent down from the heavens above for what is lowly?
And yet when we follow a secular, man made law instead of the Divine Law which our Lord sent down to us this is exactly what we are doing. When we form a government and we run an economy based on our limited minds instead of on the guidance that He sent then this is exactly what we are doing. Even on an individual and personal level, when we think we know best how to live. When we think some of the laws in the Quran are outdated and not applicable for "modern" times then this is exactly what we are doing. We are preferring the mud of this earth to the purity of the heavens. Is it then any surprise why we have so many problems both as a society and as individuals? We have preferred darkness to Light.
This then brings us to what He tells us next. After telling us how He has sent this Book down from high in the heavens He tells us its purpose. It was sent down only to bring mankind out of every kind of darkness and into the Light. How great is this purpose? How tremendous is this purpose? Do you now realize the value of this Quran? Both as a Book and as a Law this Quran brings people out of darkness and into the Light. As a Book it answers our most fundamental questions. Several are the books to be found in this world, but is there any book which will tell us for certain what we are doing on this earth? Is there any book which will tell us from where we came and where we are going? Is there any book which will tell us why this universe exists? Is there any book which will tell us about the Divine and about His attributes? Can any book answer these questions with certainty? How much of a relief and a peace is it to the heart when these questions have been answered? Is this in and of itself not a light? When you have this light then you can see. And based upon this sight, based upon this knowledge, you have peace and contentment. Whereas when you are in darkness then you are ignorant. You have no idea about the reality that surrounds you. You do not know the origin of mankind and you do not know what awaits after death. You do not even know who your Creator is, you do not know why you have been placed on this earth. And this causes you misery. Even if you are not aware of it you are in misery. And this misery leads to selfishness and indifference. You live only for yourself. For your desires and your pleasures. You do not care for making yourself into a better person. You do not care for the sufferings and difficulties of others. You do not even want to discover your Creator. You do not care about anything except your base desires. You become lower than an animal. This is the darkness that many today are in.
In how many ways is Islam a Light and in how many is all that is other than it darkness. First on an individual level, this Din allows us each and every single one of us to know the Divine. To build a strong and personal relationship with Him. To journey to Him through each moment of our lives. Is this not a Light? Just to know Allah (swt) and to be near to Him. Does not just feeling His Presence close to you take away all your fears and worries? How can you be anxious or nervous about anything when you know that He is near to you and that He will take care of you? How can you be sad about anything when you know that everything which happened to you is only what He has decreed for you? And even in those things which might displease you He has placed good in it for you if you are sincere and true to Him. Is this not a Light? The Absence of Fear and Sorrow. The Contentment and Peace in the heart. There is nothing in this world which can offer a peace like this. Search far and wide if you want to. You will never find it. This Din allows you to completely annihilate yourself. To not be consumed by your passions and egos. Rather to rise above them. To live instead for Him. To submit completely to Him. The believer realizes how every situation in life, every moment which he encounters is a creation of his Lord. And he is one who does not desire anything else except His Lord. So for his Lord's sake he makes himself content with every situation that presents itself to him. He overcomes whatever discomforts he may feel. He rises above whatever may upset or anger him. He realizes how all needs is his Lord. Is this not a station of Light? A station of peace and fulfillment. A station of knowledge and enlightenment. And conversely if you do not have this station. If you are consumed by yourself and your desires then is this not darkness? Darkness is to be blind to Him. Darkness is to only see this world. Darkness is to be consumed by self.
Not only is the Book a Light in that it tells us about Him and grants us the peace of being near to Him, but it is also a Light in that it tells us that there is a reason for our existence. As we will see later Insha Allah, there is a purpose behind the creation of this universe. There is a purpose behind our lives on this earth. We have not been given knowledge, and the gift of speech, and the earth has not been subjugated for us for no reason. No, rather there is a purpose. There is a meaning to life. Why do we live and die? Why do we feel pain? Why do we feel so much? Is it all for nothing? Is there no greater purpose other than to eat, drink, defecate, and copulate? Those who live only for these things, those who do not see a reason for their living are steeped in darkness. They are in an abyss that is so deep they do not even realize they are in it. But when you know your purpose. When you know exactly why you were created and placed on this earth. Then is this not a light? A light in your heart which is the peace and contentment. And a light by which you can live. At every moment you live for a purpose far greater than the satisfaction of your desires. Life is not just about feeding your lower soul. Rather life is about Him. Worshipping Him, praising Him, glorifying Him, serving Him by taking His Message to the people and establishing His Law on earth. You live for this purpose. It is the light by which you walk on the path, which leads to Him. Your entire life, every moment is part of the journey to Him. And this purpose that He has given you t light in this journey. Because at every moment you can do one of these things. At every moment you can in some way worship Him or glorify Him or serve His Cause. Compare this now with the rest of mankind. Those who do not see this great purpose to their existence. Those who allow moment after moment to pass by and their hearts are with other than Him. How thankful then do you have to be for this Light?
Now just as the Quran is a Light when we come to it as a Book which teaches us what to believe, it is also a Light when we take it as a code of Law which teaches us how to live. It shows us the life that will give us peace and contentment.
The life in which we will find tranquility and fulfillment. You see we as human beings, in our arrogance and our ignorance, think that we know best how to live. We think we can judge for ourselves what is good for us and what is bad for us. But of course this is a completely wrong assumption. We do not know what is good and what is evil. The knowledge that we have about the world around is very limited. For example take any object. Take a pen for example. What can you tell about that pen based on your senses? You can tell its shape, it size, its color, maybe its brand and type. But can you tell if that pen is good or evil? Can you sense the good or the evil of that pen like you can sense its color and shape? Of course not. Perhaps you can pass a judgment on it and say that it is good but that will only be your opinion. It will not be a definitive conclusion based on tangible evidence. Someone else may come and say that the pen is evil. Suppose it was not a pen, suppose it was a glass of wine. Suppose it was a gun. For these examples definitely there are some people who would say that they are evil and some who would say that they are not. The point is that we as human beings have no way to judge if an object is inherently good or evil. The same can also be said for actions that we do. Is marrying more than one wife good or evil? Is a woman showing her beauty to the public good or evil? Is capital punishment good or evil? Is abortion good or evil? For all these actions and much more there will be differing opinions among the people. This is because we think we know what is good but we do not. Our knowledge is far more limited than we can ever realize.
This is why we need the guidance that He has sent. We need Him to show us the way. What is right and wrong, what is good and bad. This is because as He has told us time and time again, He Knows and we do not know. He is the One Source of all Knowledge. He is the All Knowing. He is Perfect both in His Knowledge and Wisdom and His Love and Mercy. How then can we not look to Him for guidance? And when we do then is this not a light? Is this not a better way to live?
For example He (swt) commands us in this Din to behave with the people in the best way possible. We have been told that there is nothing heavier on the scales than good character. So if we want to fill our scales then we should be the best to everyone. We should be kind and respectful towards them. We should never speak to them words which will hurt them or upset them in any way. We should be humble towards them. We should overlook their faults and mistakes. We should fulfill the trusts and obligations that we have towards them, We should greet them with peace and we should pray for them in their absence. We should not mock them or insult them or say anything which might hurt them. This is how we should behave with those around us. Just think how beautiful both their lives and our lives would be. If only we would do this then would we ever have fights or arguments? Would we ever lose our temper? Would we ever become sad or feel betrayed? When we realize that even our good behavior with others is also part of our worship. When we deal with them not for their sake or for ours but only for His. When we seek nearness to Him through our good treatment of them. And we should be good to them even if they are not good to us. Not everyone in this world will be nice to us. Not everyone will treat us fairly. And the natural reaction would be to become angry with them or to harbor some ill feelings towards them.
But suppose we forgive and forget for His sake. We do this because we know this is what will please Him. And His Pleasure of us is far more important than our ego. Just think then how tranquil our lives would be. If we no longer became upset on account of what people did to us. How much pain and misery, how much anger and rage would we be spared? How much purer would our own hearts be when they are filled with thoughts of Him instead of the complaints of our lower souls? And when we respond to their evil with our good then perhaps their attitude towards us may change. Perhaps they might treat us better, perhaps they might even become our friends and supporters. And this in turn would bring even more happiness into our lives, even more light, how beautiful is this Din?
Now although Allah (swt) wants us to the best to all those around us, He (swt) especially wants us to be the best to our families. Our family members are whom we should give the most of our time to, the most of our love to. The most of our compassion and forgiveness to. We should humble ourselves before them. We should treat them with the utmost of respect and understanding. We should always be asking how we can serve them instead of asking how they can serve us. The closer a family member is to us the greater are the rights that they can demand from us. Just think now. If you could behave with all your family members in this way. Would you still have fights with them? Squabbles and arguments. Would you ever raise your voice at them or even become upset with them? Would it ever even happen that they become displeased with your or you with them? No this would be very rare. Rather your family would come together. The love, the peace, the harmony amongst you would increase. Your family might even become the family that He expects it to be. A family of His worshippers. A family dedicated to serving His Cause on the earth.
Another way the Law of this Quran is a Light is that it shows us the correct relationship we need to have with this world. There are two extremes which are wrong. One is that of consumerism, materialism, and hedonism. This is the plague that affects most of the masses in the world today. Their only concern is feeding themselves and satisfying themselves. They spend all the moments chasing the material things of this world. These things haunt their heart. You have probably seen many of such people. Their time is spent making money only so that they can acquire more of these things they desire. They are caught in the constant cycle of desire and despair. They keep desiring the things of this world and this desire causes them despair. Because they are never satisfied. Even if they get one thing which they desire they are soon hungry for something else. And this yearning kills them. Every moment when they think about this thing they want but cannot have it hurts them. They cannot break free of this cycle. They are so addicted to these things. The other extreme is asceticism and monasticism. And while the first extreme is what the masses have adopted this is what many of the religious people have adopted. These seek to renounce the world completely. They purposefully live a life of poverty and deprivation. Sometimes even denying themselves the most basic of comforts and needs. Of course this way is wrong as well. It is a reaction to the other extreme. Islam on the other hand is the balance between these two extremes. It is the middle path. We are taught that we can partake in the things of this world but we cannot be consumed in our desire for them. We live for something much greater than them. We live only for Him. And since He is always with us when we think of Him we are not dying in our yearning. And even when we partake we are grateful to Him, so even this is a means to Him.
And just as Islam is a Light for the individual it is also a Light for the society. The laws of this Din create a society of justice and equality. A society of peace and mercy. It does so in several ways. First it destroys the corrupt idea of a nation state. It does not allow for a state to be established based on tribal or nationalistic affiliations. Rather it reminds us that all mankind are brothers. All mankind is one. Why then do we need to divide ourselves into separate countries? Why do we need to carve this earth up into with artificial borders which Allah (swt) never placed upon her? Such is what man has done today now that he has turned away from the Divine guidance. Even Muslims are guilty of this. So you find two countries fighting each other. Even within countries you find tribes and groups fighting each other. How much suffering and pain have these conflicts caused? How much has been lost in terms of human and natural resources? In addition to military conflicts these barriers and divisions also cause political and social conflicts. How much anger and hatred is there in the world today because we still see our fellow man as different. In addition it also causes the exploitation and subjugation of certain races and nations by others. I am better than you because my skin is lighter than yours so I am going to use you and exploit you and steal all your wealth. This has been the thinking of the West and it continues to this day. Read history. Read about the conquest of the New World. Read about the Age of Imperialism. Even today Western nations continue to occupy and control third world nations. They think that they are superior only because of who they are. Islam came to destroy such thinking. It came to remind us that we are all brothers and sisters. We can live united under one flag. As one nation. Following the Law of our Creator. The only way in which one of us is better than another is in nearness to Him.
Another way in which this Din is a Light for the society is that it has systems in place to look after the people. Before the dark times, when we actually implemented the Divine Law upon the earth, Allah (swt) had opened up the treasures of this earth for us. The Islamic State was the wealthiest nation in the history of mankind. So much wealth did the State have that it did not even have any poor people. There was no one to give Zakat to. There was no one to give charity to. Everyone had enough. Everyone was provided for. The Khalifah actually had to send money to the destitute living outside the State in order for Muslims to fulfill the obligation of Zakat. Not only did everyone have enough but everyone also had a salary. The state would actually give money to each and every citizen. Not for any work that they did. Just for being a citizen. And anyone could be a citizen. The borders of the state were always open. Anyone could enter and leave as they please. You did not need a visa. There were no border patrols. There were no illegal aliens being smuggled in trucks and cargo containers. Because the land itself was pleasing to Him. Because there was only on the land that which pleased Him, He provided for that land more and more. There was no hunger. There was no need. This was the Light. Compare this now to the darkness that man finds himself today now that he has left the Law of his Creator. Even in the West where all the wealth is concentrated, 25% of the population live below the poverty line. And even the West will admit that around the world 25,000 people die from hunger every day. Every single day. How many children have died in the time it took you to read this sentence? Died only from hunger. And this is despite all our technological and scientific advancements. This is despite the fact that this earth has more than enough to feed all the people on it for centuries. Compare now and see. The darkness and the Light.
Yet another way in which this Din is a Light is that it shows us the correct place of men and the correct place of women. Mankind today is lost and in darkness. And one of the worst manifestations of this is the role that women play in the society and the overall relationship that men and women share. How far is it from what Allah (swt) intended? How far is it from what is pleasing to Him? How far is it from what is right? Today women especially have forgotten their place. They are in the worst of darkness. They have abandoned the role for which He created them. They have allowed themselves to become objects. A thing to be ogled and looked upon by the eyes of wolves. Allah (swt) created our sisters to fulfill the most important of roles. A role which no one else except them can fulfill. And that is the raising of our future generations. From where can our children get the love, care and attention that they deserve? Who will bring them up in the proper way? Who will teach them about Him, about His Din, about the way He would like them to be? Of course it is our sisters. Yes brothers do have a role to play in being good fathers, but the task of bringing up children is primarily the responsibility of our sisters. Today they have abandoned this role. Today they have left their children in the hands of day care and strangers. Can these give children what they need in terms of love and culturing? Of course not. Can you then just imagine what the psychological impact and the impact on the Din of these children is? Is it then any surprise why our children are so lost? Why they do not in any way contribute to the good of the society? They feel like their parents have abandoned them. They feel like their parents care more for wealth and the material things than they do for them. They become distant from the Divine for no one taught them about Him. They have hearts so hard and so cold. So dark.
And when our sisters abandoned their role as mothers. When they left their homes. When they decided to compete with men in the real world. Then they found nothing but pain and misery. First they found that they could no longer afford to be modest. Modesty and shyness should be deeply ingrained in the soul of every good and decent woman. But many of our sisters have lost it completely. Rather they have found that in order to secure a proper place for themselves in a man's world. In order to compete and make it up the corporate ladder they need to show more skin. It has been proven even in studies conducted by the West that women who dress more provocatively are more successful. They allow the whole world to look at their bodies. They allow all men to look at them as much they please. Sometimes not even to seek the material things. Sometimes just because they feel like it. They get a certain kick and thrill out of showing their bodies off. A sick and perverted pleasure. Driven only be ego and lusts. Since they are showing themselves off. Since the whole world is looking at them and checking them out. They decide that they no longer need to be only for their husbands. Rather they allow several men to touch them before marriage. Sometimes even while they are married. And of course even the husbands also have affairs. Since they are exposed to temptations all around them it becomes difficult for them to stay faithful to their wives. Then marriage for both parties soon becomes a joke. Nothing more than something on paper. That is why most marriages today end in divorce. Again what is the effect that this has on the children and on the society? How many tears are cried over break ups and cheating partners? Marriage is no longer about helping each other to raise a family. Rather it is about egos and competition. Very few are the marriages where love survives. Very few are the marriages that endure.
In all these ways and more mankind today is in darkness. Not one darkness but several. Darkness upon darkness. Darkness within our souls. Darkness in our relation to this world. Darkness politically. Darkness economically. Darkness in how we deal with the opposite gender. Darkness in how we raise our children. Darkness in our families. Darkness in our business. Darkness in every aspect of our lives. And this Quran is the Mercy that our Creator and Master has sent to us to take us out of all of these darknesses. The beauty and the imagery of the language in this verse simply cannot be translated or properly conveyed. It is as if all mankind is sinking and drowning in these darknesses. An ocean of black mud that is surrounding them from all sides and submerging them. But above this darkness there is a Light. A bight, shining light. That light is this Quran. This Quran is then pulling up out of that sea of darkness those who hold on to it. If only you hold on to this Book it will pull you out of that abyss.
Not only can we save ourselves with this Quran but we can save others as well. This Quran is the life preserver that we can throw down to them. They can grab hold of it and we can pull them out from the darkness. This is why Allah (swt) sent down this Book. So that all of mankind can attain salvation through it. Can you even begin to fathom the tremendousness of it? How then can you neglect it? How then can you fail to study it and reflect upon it? How can you not allow it to become the very purpose of your life? Can you not see that this Book is the salvation for all mankind? Both in this life and the next. How then can you just sit on it? How can you fail to call the people to it? How can you not work to return it to its rightful place in the society? Can you not see the people around you drowning in darkness? Why do you not want to save them? How will you answer Him if you do not?
Also notice from this part of the ayah how Allah (swt) uses the plural for darkness but He (swt) uses the singular for the Light. This shows us that while there are many darknesses there is only one Light. In fact there is one Light and all that is other than it is darkness. Islam is the Light and every other religion, ideology, and system of government is darkness. So we as Muslims cannot be content with secular democracies just as we cannot be content with dictatorships or monarchies or communist regimes. They are all the same. They are all darkness. Why? Because they all deny to Allah (swt) His rightful place. As Lord, Master, and Sovereign. There is only one system that is acceptable to Him and that is the One which He Himself has revealed. Why is it that we as Muslims today find it so difficult to accept this fact? When it comes to belief we all agree that there can be only one Truth. We do not believe like the secularists do that there is Truth in all religions. We do not believe that they are all just different paths up the same mountain. We know that the Christian is wrong when he says that God has a son or that Jesus is Lord, and we know the Hindu is wrong when he claims the idols he worships have power and we know the atheist is the most misguided of them all. Yet when it comes to the systems emanating from that atheist belief. When it comes to secularism then we are willing to compromise. We say that a secular democracy is an acceptable form of government even though this takes the sovereignty away from Allah (swt) and gives it to the whims and desires of the human being. We need to realize that these are all the same. They are all darknesses. They are all most displeasing to Him. And we can see how this is so? Just look at the world. Just look at these democracies. Just look at how much suffering and deprivation is in them. The only hope for both us and them is to return to the Light.
So we as Muslims today need to realize our place. We are part of the greatest nation ever raised up for mankind, and we are followers of the greatest of messengers. And we have been charged with continuing his mission, we have been given the greatest of responsibilities. And that is to establish the Divine Kingdom upon the earth. To bring back the Khilafah and then to use that as the vehicle to carry Allah (swt)'s Message to all mankind. So that we can bring them out from every kind of darkness and into the Light. The Light is submission to Him. The Light of seeking nothing at every moment except Him. This is the Light that takes away all pain. This is the Light that will bring peace and contentment for everyone. Because we would all then realize that what matters is pleasing Him. At every moment of our life if we know that He is pleased, if we know that this moment is what He has chosen for us, then we also are pleased. Because of our love for Him. Because of our yearning for Him we also are pleased. Life is not about pleasing ourselves but pleasing Him. We seek to bring this realization, this peace, this felicity to all mankind.
Now some people may bring the argument that this part of the ayah is only addressing the Prophet (saw). They would say that it is his job and not ours to bring mankind out of the darkness and into the Light. They would use this as an excuse for their inactivity, for their laziness, for their not doing anything for this effort. But of course this thinking is wrong. Yes it is true that Allah (swt) did charge the Prophet (saw) with this mission. But He (swt) charged us with it as well. In Surah Ale Imran He clearly told us that we are the nation raised up for the guidance of mankind. And we ourselves can clearly see that there is still much of mankind who remains in darkness. The Prophet (saw) did his job to the best of his ability, but he (saw) only planted the seed. It is now up to us to finish his work.
Now even though Allah (swt) Himself has chosen us for this great task we can never be overly proud because of it. We can never allow the demons of arrogance into our hearts. We can never think highly of ourselves. Because He reminds us here that we would only be able to do what we have been commanded to do. We would only be able to bring people out of the darkness and into the Light "by the permission of their Master". Only if Allah (swt) allows it. Only if He wills it. We by ourselves are nothing. We are so weak. We are only human and the human was created weak. So we should not praise ourselves. We should not think that the salvation of mankind is because of us. No, we are but His slaves. We do not seek glory or praise because of our efforts. Rather we only seek Him. All that happens is only from Him.
And this is a terrible demon that we always have to watch out for. Especially those of us who work in this path. When we commit ourselves to Allah (swt), to working in His Cause, and when we see that this is indeed the right way, then we might have a tendency to look down on others, to think that we are better than others. Especially those who have not given themselves to Him like we think we have. We might think that because we are working in this path, because we are serving His Cause, because we are taking mankind out of darkness and into Light, then on account of this we are better than them. But of course this is a wrong thinking to have. First and foremost because we are not the ones to judge. Our job is not to judge, that is His. Rather our task is only to serve Him. And then to let Him decide who it is that served Him the best. It might even be that the person whom we are looking down is better in His estimation than we are. And it may even be that our arrogance is the primary reason for this.
Another benefit that we can take from His saying that we take mankind out of darkness and into Light only by His Permission is to see that the end results of our efforts are only with Him. We only take the first step but it is He Who brings the results. When we realize this fact then we are also saved from disheartenment and losing hope. Even when we do not see results for a long time. It has now been almost 100 years since the Islamic State was destroyed. And despite the fact that we have an Ummah of over a billion, we still have not been able restore it. We still are not even close. And in the meantime we continue to suffer. Our children are starving. Our women are being dishonored. Our men are being slaughtered. And worst of all is that day in and day out, the sun continues to rise and set over an earth where not even an inch is under the Divine Law. And the vast majority of mankind, even those who call themselves Muslims, continue to live in utter heedlessness of Him. When we see all this should we then lose hope? Should we then think that the victory will never come? Should we give up? No because we realize from here that the victory is not in our hands. The victory will only come when He gives His Permission for it to. So of course the only reason why it still has not come is because He has not granted Permission. And there is a reason for this. To implement the Divine Law upon the earth is a huge responsibility. To be His Viceroy upon the earth. This is a tremendous burden. He will not grant it to just anyone. First we have to prove ourselves to Him. We have to show Him that we want it. We have to show Him that we are worthy of it. When we do then He will grant it to us. In an instant. So we should never lose hope. Never think that it is impossible. If only we would sincerely make the effort. If only we as an Ummah would show Him our love for Him and concern for Him that He deserves.
He is just waiting for us too. Once we do then He will grant Permission for the victory to come. He will grant Permission for the Divine Law to be reestablished on the earth. Then once the Khilafah is restored it can spread across the globe so that all mankind can be taken out of the darkness and into the Light. Its Light will shine through and save us from all the darknesses that we are drowning in. But only if and when Allah (swt) grants His Permission. Only when He brings it about. So we should always remember that our success is dependent on Him. Not only in restoring the Khilafah but in any good that we do. Even if you are carrying dawah on an individual level. Even if there is a certain person whom you want to convince him or her return to Allah (swt). You will not be able to unless He (swt) gives He Permission. We can only present the Message to them. We can only remind them. But it is He Who turns the hearts. And He will only turn the hearts of those whom He is pleased with. So if there is a loved one or a friend who is still lost despite your constant efforts in reminding them. If they still do not remember Him and worship Him even though you desperately want them to. Then please do not blame yourself. Do not think that you are failure. Realize that it is not in your hands. Rather what is upon you is only to make the effort. If Allah (swt) wants to He will grant His Permission for them to be taken out of the darkness and into the Light. If He is pleased with them. As He tells us here in the ayah He is their Lord and Master. They need to realize this fact. They need to be willing to give Him this place in their lives. If they do not. If they choose to be arrogant and rebellious. If they choose to reject the Message even after they are certain that it is the Truth. Then He (swt) will not guide them. He will not grant them Permission to be taken out of the darkness into the Light. No matter how much you desire. No matter how much you try.
This Quran. This Book. This Din. Not only does it allow us by His Permission to take mankind out of the darkness and into the Light. But as He tells us in the ayah it also allows us to take them "onto the Path of the Mighty, the Praised". Not only is this Quran a Light but it is also a Path. A Path which leads to Him. The way in which we progress on this Path is through our submission to Him. The more that we remember Him, the more that we strive to please Him, the more that we remain obedient to His Law, the closer to Him we become. And this Quran is what allows us to do that. Because how could we ever know what is pleasing to Him unless He tells us? How can we know the path which leads to Him unless He shows us? So by doing what He asks of us in this Book, by dedicating as many moments as we can to Him, is how we can journey on this Path. It is how we can come ever closer to Him. This is a Straight Path. A wide path. A path which all of mankind can walk upon. A path which leads directly to Him.
And just look at how He describes Himself here. We have translated these two Names of His as the All Mighty and the Ever Praised. However these two English words hardly do justice to the meanings of these Names. We say that He is All Mighty because He has all Power. He can do whatever He pleases. There is no one who can oppose His Decree, not even the slightest. He is the One with Whom is All Authority. He can do whatever He wants and there is no one who can stop Him or even question Him. This Name also means the One Who everyone is always asking of and who is worthy of being asked. It also means the One Who is worthy of Glory. Worthy of Pride. There is no one who is at His level. No one who is even close. There is no one who can even come near to Him unless He grants His Permission. Such is His Eminence. Such is His utter Majesty and Perfection.
He tells us here that He is also the Praised. The One Who is always Magnified and Glorified. The One Whose praises are sung day and night. All of creation is always glorifying Him and extolling Him. Every animal, every plant, every rock, every object, every particle of matter, every single thing is always remembering Him and praising Him to the utmost of its capacity. We are the only exception. We are the only ones who continue to pass moments of our life heedless of Him. But we are by far the minority. Even if six billion humans on this planet have forgotten Him, everything else has not. Every other thing continues to remember Him and praise Him. How many are the things that praise Him? How much is the praise that is sent up towards Him? Not only is it in the trillions upon trillions, but we cannot even count it. Such is His Majesty. Such is His Perfection. You see the rest of the creation are not blind to Him like we are. They see Him in all His Glory and Greatness. They see how Perfect and Pure He is. So they are overwhelmed by Him. They are drowned in Him. This is why they cannot allow a moment to pass except that they praise Him in it. They cannot help but be in love with Him. An endless ocean of love. Just as this Name means the One Who is always praised, it also means the One Who is always thanked. Can you even begin to fathom how much you owe to Him? Even if you spent your entire life just trying to enumerate all that He has given you, you would not be able to. How much then is the gratitude that you need to show to Him? And just as before all the rest of creation is far more cognizant of this than you are. This is why just as they are always extolling Him, they are also always thanking Him. At every moment they are showing their gratitude. They are acknowledging His countless favors upon them. Not for a moment are they heedless of His continuous favors.