كَيْفَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَكُنتُمْ أَمْوَتًا فَأَحْيَـكُمْ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
How can you disbelieve in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala when you were lifeless and He brought you to life; then He will cause you to die, then He will bring you [back] to life, and then to Him you will be returned.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala testifies to the fact that He exists and that He is the Creator and the Sustainer Who has full authority over His servants, How can anyone deny Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala ‘s existence or worship others with Him while; they were dead and He gave them life, He brought them from the state of non-existence to life.
This ayah begins by expressing surprise at those who insist on being ungrateful to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and on denying Him. On the face of it, the disbelievers had never denied Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala but only the Prophet salAllah u ‘alayhi wa sallam, all the same, the Qur’an equates such a denial with the denial of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala Himself.
Then, the ayah reminds man that once he was “dead” (amwat), or that he had no life. He existed, if at all, in the shape of billions of lifeless particles aimlessly floating; Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala brought them together, made them into a man, and gave them life.
The ayah proceeds to warn him that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will take away his life, and then give it back to him a second time. This second life refers to the Day of Judgment when Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will collect the lifeless and scattered particles of each and every man again, and give him a new life. Thus, the first ‘death’ or ‘state of lifelessness’ was at the beginning before man received life from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala; the second death comes when a man completes the life-span allotted to him; and the second life will be given on the Day of Judgment.
ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
The ayah ends by telling man that he will ultimately go back to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. This, of course, refers to the Resurrection when all men will rise from their graves and assembled for giving an account of their deeds, and be finally punished or rewarded according to what they had been doing in the world.
According to this ayah, the chief blessing of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for man is life, for without life he cannot profit from any other blessing. This is obvious enough. But the ayah counts death too as a blessing. It is so, because physical death is the door to the perpetual life of the other world after which there is no death.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has described our whole life journey, and if we truly reflect on it, it scares us because we realize that no matter how much we travel, in the end we will return to Him and be held responsible for what we did.
It is said in Surah Al-‘Inshiqāq ayah 6,
“O forgetful human, surely you are returning to your Lord a truly returning, then you will meet Him”. (84:6)
هُوَ الَّذِى خَلَقَ لَكُم مَّا فِى الاٌّرْضِ جَمِيعاً ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى إِلَى السَّمَآءِ فَسَوَّاهُنَّ سَبْعَ سَمَـوَاتٍ
It is He who created for you all of that which is on the earth. Then He directed Himself to the heaven, [His being above all creation], and made them seven heavens, and He is Knowing of all things.
Evidence of Allah ‘s Ability
After Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mentioned the proofs of His creating humans, and what they can witness in themselves as proof of that, He mentioned another proof that they can witness, that is, the creation of the heavens and earth.
This ayah indicates that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala started creation by creating earth, and then He made heaven into seven heavens. This is how building usually starts, with the lower floors first and then the top floors. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala created this land for us and provided for all our needs and then He created the sky and created seven perfect skies. And this land and sky work to fulfill our needs to provide us with livelihood, fruits, vegetation etc. And indeed Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala knows everything.
In recounting the blessings which man has received from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, ayah 29 refers to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala having created for man “all that the earth contains.”
This small phrase comprehends all kinds of benefits, which accrue to him from the earth and its produce. Then, the ayah speaks of the creation of the sky and its division into seven skies or heavens, as they are usually called in English. In this context, the Qur’an uses the Arabic word, Istawa which initially means ‘to stand upright, to climb’, and thence signifies ‘to turn or pay attention to something’, and, in a wider sense, ‘to take a straight and firm decision which nothing can hinder’. The implication here is that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala being Omniscient and Omnipotent, it was not at all difficult for Him to create the universe, once He had decided to do so.
This ayah is of the Mutashaabihaat, which means they are not clear in our limited human understanding. So we accept them as they are.
وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
“And only He is knowledgeable over everything.” He is telling us that only He has complete knowledge of everything, so we should admit that we couldn’t know everything. It is a sign of our humble imperfection and a sign of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala’s perfection and vast knowledge and power.