Wednesday, 21 April 2010

By the (steeds) that run, with panting (breath) [al-'Aadiyaat 100: 1-7]

In the Qur’an, there is a relationship between oaths and what follows the oaths. When Allah ta’ala swears by something, it shows the importance of the object He is swearing by and that object will be elevated. Furthermore, whatever comes after the oath is very important as well. There are many examples in the Qur’an, here are two of them:

Allah ta’ala says in Suratul ‘Aadiyaat,

وَالْعَادِيَاتِ ضَبْحًا
فَالْمُورِيَاتِ قَدْحًا
فَالْمُغِيرَاتِ صُبْحًا
فَأَثَرْنَ بِهِ نَقْعًا

فَوَسَطْنَ بِهِ جَمْعًا

By the (steeds) that run, with panting (breath),
Striking sparks of fire (by their hooves),
And scouring to the raid at dawn
And raise the dust in clouds the while,
Penetrating forthwith as one into the midst (of the enemy).

(Surat ul ‘Aadiyaat 100:1-5)

Makkee/Makkan surahs have amazing imagery, and these first five verses are dedicated to horses in battle.

1400years ago, when there was no TV, movies, picture books, all that was available was one’s imagination, especially when the audience of the Qur’an were people from a desert with nothing to look at. Allah (azza wa jal) is painting a magnificient scene in the mind of the Quraysh:

The horses being described here are feminine (الْعَادِيَاتِ), why? The Arabs preferred the female horses in battle because they were faster. Allah (azza wa jal) is describing the horses in the morning time, when there is still moisture in the air and instead of the dust rising as it does in a desert, the moisture causes the dust to settle.

Imagine: these horses who are fast by nature, running so fast that they are causing the dust to rise up–even with the moisture, sparks are flying even though there is moisture on the rocks, and they don’t see infront of them because of the dust in the air–not knowing if there is an enemy or spear waiting on the other side.

Think of the amazement of the non Muslims listening to the Prophet alayhi salaatu wa salaam recite these verses…Anyone amongst them who has a horse realized how loyal their horse is to them; how it will even die for its owner just out of submission to the master.

Then right after these amazing images, Allah ta’ala says:

إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لِرَبِّهِ لَكَنُودٌ
Indeed man is not loyal to his Rabb! (100:6) 

Just as this horse submits to its master, going into the enemy range without even knowing what is there, completely loyal to the Master…Allah ta’ala reminds them: man is not loyal to his Rabb [Master].

Not only that he’s not loyal but also:

وَإِنَّهُ عَلَىٰ ذَ*ٰلِكَ لَشَهِيدٌ
And to that fact he bears witness (100:7)

Man bears witness to the fact that he is not loyal! He knows! How? Allah azza wa jal just reminded them of the loyalty of the steeds/horses to their owner in the previous verses; if your horse submits to you, then why do you not submit to your Owner?


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