Living The Quran Marked by God Al-Dhariyat (The Scattering Winds) Chapter 51: Verses 33-34 "to bring down on them stones of clay, marked as from your Lord for those who transgressed all bounds."
These stones of clay, marked or made ready by God for those who
transgress the bounds, like Lot's people who transgressed the bounds of
human nature, truth and religion, may well be stones from a volcanic
eruption brought out from deep inside the earth. In this respect, they
are 'from your Lord,' aimed, in accordance with His will and
the laws He sets in operation, against any transgressors He has marked.
Thus, they are determined in time and place according to His absolute
knowledge and His will. There is nothing to prevent their being aimed,
within the framework of His will and laws, by angels.
Do we know the exact nature of God's angels? Do we know the
nature of their relation to the universe and its inhabitants? Do we
truly know the nature of the universal powers to which we give names
according to what we may see of their characteristics? Why should we
then question the news given to us by God, saying that He sent some of
these forces at a certain point of time, to aim some powers in a
particular form, against certain people, at a certain place? How can we
question such news when all our knowledge consists of some theories
and supposed interpretations concerning what appears to us of these
powers and forces? Their reality remains far removed from us. Let these
stones be volcanic resulting from an eruption nearby, or some other such
stones. What difference does it make? Both are the same in His hand, as
He has made both and the secret is known to Him. He may reveal the
secret when and if He so wishes.
Understanding the Prophet's Life Patiently Striving
Al-Bukhari narrated it with his sanad to Al-Zubayr Adi. He
said: "We came to Anas ibn Malik and we expressed to him our misgivings
about what we met from al-Hajjaj. Then he said: 'Be patient!' For indeed there will not come upon you a time except that what is after it is worse than it - until you meet your Lord. I heard it from your Prophet.'"
Some people have taken this hadith to justify sitting back
from taking action, from striving to reform, change and deliverance.
They have argued that the hadith demonstrates that human affairs are in
decline continually, in a permanent falling off, a successive decaying,
from one level to another level lower than it; it is not carried from
bad except to worse, nor from worse except to what is worse than that,
until the Hour stands over the evil ones of the people and all people
meet their Lord.
It is our duty to say that the predecessors among our
scholars held back from this hadith, regarding its 'generality' as
dubious. According to Ibn Hajar: "the referent of the times mentioned is
the time of the Companions, on the basis that it is they who were
addressed by that [hadith]. Then as for those after them: they were not
intended in the report mentioned."
As for the particular claim that the hadith implies an appeal
to silence before injustice, patience with abuse of power and tyranny,
and contentment with wrongdoing and disorder, and that it supports
negativism in the face of the arrogance of the tyrants in the earth - it
is rebutted by a number of arguments:
First: that the speaker of "Be patient!" was Anas. He inferred what he understood from the Prophet, peace be upon him. And a Muslim is free to adopt or leave the discourse of every individual except the one who was free of sin.
Second: Anas indeed did not command people to be content
before injustice and disorder, but only commanded them to be patient -
and the difference between the two is great. Contentment before unbelief
is itself unbelief, and before wrongdoing wrongdoing. As for patience,
it is all but indispensable; one is patient with a thing that one is averse to, while endeavouring to change it.
Third: One who does not have the capacity for resistance to
injustice and tyranny, has no way other than to seek refuge in patience
and long suffering. At the same time he must strive to make preparations
for appropriate action, for change, and to seize means and occasions,
to take help from all who share his burden of concern.
Fourth: patience does not forbid one from speaking
the word of truth, and enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong
before tyrants acting as gods. Yet there is no obligation to do so upon one who fears for himself or his family or those around him.
Thus it is not proper to understand the instruction to be
patient as meaning an absolute surrender to injustice and arrogance.
Rather: it means waiting and watching attentively until God gives his
judgment, and He is the best of judges. Compiled From:
"Approaching the Sunnah: Comprehension & Controversy" - Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, pp. 84-89
Blindspot! Elevating The Quran
Where they are inscribed on buildings or hung on walls, Quranic verses are generally elevated, in keeping with the superiority of God's Word over the words of humans.
The idea that ontological superiority is implied by physical elevation,
while dishonor can be signified by literally lowering a thing or
placing it under one's feet, may be universal. This accords with an
anthropocentric perspective, for as a human develops in strength and
maturity, he or she rises from the floor to become tall and erect. It is
also the experience of sages of many traditions that sacred insight can
best be found on the mountaintops. The Quran was first revealed to
Muhammad in a cave on a mountain, Moses spoke to God, on Mount Sinai,
the transfiguration of Jesus took place on a mountain (peace be upon
Apart from its symbolic implications, it is obvious that physically elevating precious objects can protect them from being trampled upon, knocked over, and dirted.
It is understandable, therefore, that Muslims are keen to ensure that
physical copies of the Quranic mushaf - the record of God's exact words
revealed to humanity - should be treated with respect. In most Muslim
cultures, this means that the Quran is never placed on the floor, is
usually stored on a high shelf, and even when stacked with other books,
the Quran is usually repositioned on top of the pile.
Among Muslims, the elevation of the Quran should inspire a feeling of reverence, humility, and submission.
Many Muslims express this deep feeling of love for the word of God by
wrapping their Quran in fine fabric or kissing it after taking it off
the shelf. Modernized Muslims might be uncomfortable with such gestures,
considering such reverence for the text of the Quran "superstitious"
and potentially distracting from the awareness of the absolute
transcendence of God. Such exaggerated fear of a slippery slope towards
idolatry has perhaps left some of these Muslims with rather dry approach
to faith. Traditional Muslim societies seem to allow more room
for emotional expressions of faith, and a close connection between the
body and the spirit. Certainly there can be excesses in this
direction as well: however, one cannot help but feel that the
traditional approach yields a richer spiritual culture in which the
sacred words of God infuse one's surroundings and have a deep visceral
effect on the individual.