Allah’s Compassion and Generosity
In these ayaat, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala mentions how He favors His servants, saving them during times of need, in the darkness of land and at sea, such as when storms strike. In such cases, they call on Allah alone, without partners, in supplication.
The word zulumati [ظُلُمَـتِ] is the plural of the word zulm which means darkness. Here in the ayah, the expression has been used to refer to the many darknesses found on land and sea, such as, the darkness of night, the darkness of rain clouds, the darkness of dust storms and the darkness under the waves of the sea.
When the Arab mushrikeen found themselves in deep trouble during the land trips or sea voyages they would forget all about their idols and call out to Allah instead. They would confess to their helplessness, admitting openly that no one other than Allah could really save them from such catastrophe. At such times, they would make promises that should Allah save them from this catastrophe they would definitely take to the ways of following truth and being grateful. In other words, once rescued, they would be grateful to Allah, would take Him as their real rescuer and helper, never ascribing any partner to His Divinity because no one they have been worshiping came up to help them in their hour of need.
Therefore, in the ayah the Prophet sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam is being asked to inquire from them who delivers them from their distress and possible destruction? Since their answer was already known as they could have not denied the fact that no one but Allah came to their help, therefore Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says in Ayah 64,
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala commands the Prophet sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam to tell these people that it is Allah alone who delivers them from the distress that they called Him for, and every other distress or anxiety that they may face in their lives. But the problem was that despite seeing open signs and finding solace after distress, they would return to Shirk and start idol worshiping. Strange betrayal and fatal ignorance indeed!
This is not just the behavior of the disbelievers but Muslims too. We are not prompt in remembering Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala in our hour of trials despite having faith in His Absolute power. When we are struck by a calamity our attention is riveted only to material support which we hope would get us out of trouble. For example, when we are unwell we are relying upon medicine or the doctor. When someone is caught in a storm, he’s relying on the rescue team. We are so impressed and engrossed by the asbaab [reason or cause] that we somehow don’t think of Allah and may be committing shirk.
– When a person is saved from a difficulty he should thank Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. After relief has been provided people begin thanking others instead of Allah. He made the asbaab work for us. He sent the people to rescue us. He made the medicine work for us. Therefore, we should thank Him before we thank the people.
– Showing humility and imploring Allah at the time of difficulty arouses the Rahmah [mercy] of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala.
– We learn that du`as can be made in two ways: openly and privately. A person who is in the habit of making praying doesn’t shy away from doing so in public. On the other hand, the one who barely prays he shies away from even making sajdah before Allah.
– We also learn about the permissibility of making du`a loudly as well as privately. Making du`a loudly doesn’t mean shouting or showing off. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala can hear even the slightest whisper.
– When a person makes promises to Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala and commits to do something then he should act on his commitment. For example, people say, “If I’m taken out from this difficulty I’ll become regular in prayers or I’ll give regular sadaqah,” but when they have been rescued they forget their promises or say, “We only made an intention.” This is ingratitude.
DOWNLOAD PDF: Al Anaam Ayaat 63 and 64