Ayaat 16 – 19 – He is Able to seize however He wills
In these ayaat we will learn more about Allah’s gentleness and mercy in dealing with His creatures. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is able to punish them because some of them disbelieve in Him and worship others besides Him, yet He is forbearing, He pardons, and He gives respite for an appointed time without hastening.
He says, “Do you feel secure that He who in the heaven would not cause the earth to swallow you and suddenly it would sway? Or do you feel secure that He who in the heaven would not send against you a storm of stones?” (67: 16-17). The meaning of these ayaat is that our survival and well-being on the earth are all dependent upon Allah’s grace and bounty. We are not strutting about on this earth by our own will and power. We are under His protection for each moment of our life. Otherwise, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala at any moment may cause such an earthquake to occur as may make this earth to become our grave instead of the cradle that it is, or may cause a windstorm to blow razing all our towns and settlements to the ground.
And if all that happens then we will know how His warnings and admonitions are. These are the warnings either given through the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam or the Qur’an. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala not allow us to live our lives heedlessly and surrender to Him before we are held accountable for our deeds, aameen.
“Do they not see the birds above them with wings outspread and folded in?” (67: 19). Each bird that flies in the air does so in the protection of the All-Merciful God. He it is, Who has given to each bird the form and structure by which it became able to fly. He it is, Who has taught each bird the method to fly. He it is, Who has made the air obey the laws by which it became possible for the heavier than air bodies to fly in it. And He it is, Who upholds every bird in the air, otherwise the moment Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala withdraws His protection from it, it drops to the ground.
“Indeed, He is, of all things, Seeing,” (67: 19) meaning that this is not confined only to birds, but whatever exists in the world exists because of Allah’s guardianship. He alone provides the means necessary for the existence of everything, and He alone keeps watch that everything created by Him is provided with what is beneficial and suitable for it.
Ayaat 20 – 27 – No One can help or grant Sustenance except Allah
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala addresses the idolators who worship others besides Him, seeking help and sustenance from them. He rebukes them for what they believe, and informs them that they will not attain that which they hope for.
He asks, “…who is it that could be an army for you to aid you other than the Most Merciful?” (67: 20). Notice that Allah’s Name Ar-Rahman has been used and not Allah. This is a reminder for the deniers that He Who is Ar-Rahman, Whose blessings and favors you have been enjoying is the One that you are denying? Then who besides Him can save you from His torment? “The disbelievers are not but in delusion,” (67: 20), a deluded person thinks something good is going to come out of what they are doing and there may be external factors which support their claim, but they are really following a road to danger.
“Or who is it that could provide for you if He withheld His provision?” (67: 21) meaning who is it that can provide for you if Allah cuts off your sustenance. There is no one who gives, withholds, creates, provides and helps other than Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala alone, Who has no partner. This proves that they know this, yet they still worship others besides Him. therefore, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “But they have persisted in insolence and aversion,” (67: 21) meaning they persist in their transgression, lying and misguidance, abstaining and fleeing away from the truth. They do not listen to it nor do they follow it.
“Then is one who walks fallen on his face better guided or one who walks erect on a straight path,” (67: 22). This is a parable which Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala made of the believer and the disbeliever. So the condition of the disbeliever is like one who walks prone on his face. This is like a person walking bent over on his face (with his head down) instead of walking upright. This person does not know where he is going or how. Rather, he is lost, astray and confused. Is this person more guided or he walks erect on a straight path? This person who walks upright is on a clear path and he is straight within himself while his path is straight as well. This is their likeness in this world, and their likeness will be the same in the Hereafter. So the believer will be gathered (on the Day of Judgment) walking upright upon the straight path and the vast and spacious Paradise will be opened up for him. However, the disbeliever will be gathered walking down on his face to the Hellfire.
“Say, ‘It is He who has produced you and made for you hearing and vision and hearts; little are you grateful,’” (67: 23) meaning He initiated your creation and endowed you with intellect and power of reasoning. How little you use these abilities that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has blessed you with to obey Him, to act according to His commandments, and avoid His prohibitions.
We are human beings and not cattle. We were not meant to follow blindly whatever error and deviation we found prevailing in the world, without considering for a moment whether the way we have adopted was right or wrong. We had not been given the sense of hearing that we may refuse to listen to the one who tries to distinguish the right from the wrong, and may persist in whatever false notions we already have in our mind. We had not been given eyesight that we may follow others like the blind and may not bother to see whether the signs scattered around us testified to the Unity of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, which the Messenger of God preached about, or whether the system of the universe is Godless, or is being run by many, gods simultaneously. Likewise, we had also not been given this knowledge and intelligence that we may give up thinking and understanding to others and may adopt every crooked way that was enforced by somebody in the world, and may not use our own intellect to see whether it was right or wrong. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has blessed us with knowledge and intelligence, sight and hearing, so that we may recognize the truth, but we are being ungrateful to Him in that we are employing these faculties for every other object than the one for which these had been granted.
“Say, “It is He who has multiplied you throughout the earth, and to Him you will be gathered,” (67: 24). He spread and distributed us all throughout the various regions and areas of the earth with our differing languages, colors, shapes, appearances and forms. We will come together after this separation and division. He will gather us all just as He separated us and He will bring us back again just as He originated us. Then while informing of the disbelievers who reject the final return, and doubt concerning its real occurrence, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “And they say, ‘When is this promise, if you should be truthful?’” (67: 25). The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam informed his people that no one knows the time of the Day of Judgment exactly except Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. He has commanded the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to inform us that it is real and it will definitely occur, so beware of it. In this connection, one should understand that only an ignorant person could raise a question about its occurrence, for even if it is told, it does not make any difference. For example, the exact time when a person will die is only known to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, however, all know that everyone has to die one day. This knowledge should be enough for us to pay heed to our lives and live it consciously. “I am only a clear warner,” (67: 26) meaning the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is only obligated to convey, and verily he has performed his duty of conveying the news to us.
Then Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “But when they see it approaching, the faces of those who disbelieve will be distressed,” (67: 27). When the Day of Judgment begins, and the unbelievers witness it, and they will see that the matter has drawn close, because everything that is to occur will occur even if takes a long time. So, when what they denied occurs, it will grieve them because they will know what is awaiting them there (in Hell) of the worst evil. It will surround them and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will command what they were not able to reckon or fully comprehend to come to them. Then it will be said, “This is that for which you used to call,” (67: 27) meaning that you hastened for.
We see refuge with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala from a life and death of ghaflah, aameen.