Al-Ghashiya · Juz 30 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Ghashiyah Ayaat 21-26

A Da’ees Mission

Ayaat 21-26

Having dealt first with the Hereafter, and pointing out some apparent aspects of the universe, the Surah now addresses the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and after him every caller who calls people to Allah. The address begins with the importance of reminding people about Allah: “So remind.” [88:21] Remind them, then, of the Hereafter and the universe, and all there is in each of them. Your specific task is to remind people, and you have no other role. This is indeed your mission for which you have been suitably equipped.

“You are not over them a controller.”[88:22] A da’ee has no control over people’s hearts. He cannot compel them to adopt the faith and practice Islam as was taught by Rasoolullah. Men’s hearts are in the hands of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. Jihad, which means striving for Allah’s cause and which was later made a duty of the Prophet and all Muslims did not aim at converting people to Islam by force. Its only aim was to remove all hindrances in the way of the Islamic message, so that it could be delivered freely, and people would not be prevented from listening to it or be persecuted for doing so.

We find a repetition of this statement: “You are not over them a controller,” throughout the Qur’an. There are several reasons for this emphasis, the first of which is to relieve the Prophet [and after him the da’ees] of the heavy burden of directing the course of the Islamic message once he has conveyed it. He must leave it to Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala to decide its course. The urgency of the human yearning to win victory for the truth and to get people to benefit from its absolute goodness is so keen that such repetition is required to make the advocates of this message distinguish their own desires and ambitions from their mission. When this distinction is clear, they proceed in fulfillment of their duty, regardless of the response and consequence. Thus advocates of Islam do not worry themselves over who has accepted the faith and who has not. They are not charged with this burden, which becomes particularly heavy at times of adversity, when a favorable response becomes a rarity and enemies abound.

The delivery of Allah’s message is not the end of the matter as the disbelievers will not be left alone. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says whoever turns away from His message he will be afflicted with great punishment. Every soul has to eventually return to His Creator, and He will administer retribution.

The Prophet’s role and the role of every subsequent advocate of Islam [da’ee] is thus completed. They have only to remind and the reckoning will be made by Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. If a person does not listen to reason, he may not. You have not been appointed to force the will of the deniers. Your only task is to distinguish the right from the wrong for the people and warn them of the consequences of following the wrong way; so this is the task you should continue to perform.

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