ON THE LAST SECTION QUR`AN
Chapter 80: Surat 'Abasa
Then when He pleases, He raises him to life again.
Truth will be exposed
and known – meaning here and now. Anshara (to resurrect from
the dead), derives from nashara, meaning
'to unfold, spread
out, publicize whatever he did that pleased him',
preferring to hide those deeds which did not. We all participate in
this dissimulation. Most crimes are committed in the dim light of
night, as if the criminal is already trying to hide his misdeeds.
Those who like darkness do so because it hides things which deep
down they find shameful.
No! But he has not done what He commanded him.
This means that man has
tried to go against the order of creation. Everything will unfold,
however, as it has been ordained.
Then let man look to his food!
Ta'ām does not
broader meaning includes everything from which we derive
nourishment. It refers to what we can assimilate from our taste of
That We pour down the water, pouring [it] down in abundance.
Then We cleave the earth, cleaving [it] asunder.
Then We cause the grain to grow in it,
any type of
berry or kernel'.
It is related to the word hubb, which means
Hubb is the unique link between a mother and her
child. It is a conduit. A human can only say he loves if that
conduit is completely open. Love is based on commitment and
constancy. All creation is founded on it, for everyone is either a
lover or a beloved. We love life while we are beloved of death.
And grapes and green fodder,
fodder', that is,
any herbage that is edible, and 'inab refers to grapes which
are attractively bunched, inviting man to pick them.
And the olive tree and the palm tree,
Why does Allah mention
these two trees in particular? Palm and olive trees have always been
links between different ages. They are both symbolic and practical.
They are planted with future generations in mind. Many generations
feed on the same trees. Every part of both the olive and palm tree
is usable and storable; the trunks for houses and roofs, the fronds
for rope and matting, and the fruit for food, oil and even medicine.
The Arabs, as well as the early Christians, had little other than
these trees which served them so well.
And dense gardens,
And fruits and grasses,
A provision for you and your cattle.
With these verses we go
into another realm. These verses speak of plentiful and rich
gardens; matā' means
Provision is that which helps you to move from one point to another,
from one stage to the next, from the womb to the tomb.
But when the deafening cry comes,
(deafening cry) is a reference to the second cycle of movement or
the process of creation in reverse. Whenever cries and shouts are
mentioned in the Qur`an, they herald the reversal of the earth's
movement and development as we know it, and the beginning of the
resurrection of those energy forces, the arwah, the
plural of rūh, which means
The Day when a man flees from his brother,
When that Day comes, it
will not only be the end of this cycle, but also the beginning of a
new one. At that instant, man will run away from even his brother.
Yawm in the Qur`an does not mean
alone, but also
symbolizes all those persons with whom one has a close affinity.
And his mother and his father,
He will also flee from
his own mother and father. The implication here is that a person
will abandon those whom he loves dearly, his mother and father;
otherwise, running away from them would have no meaning in this
And his female companion and his children,
His wife and children
are also those people whom he loves, with whom he shared and enjoyed
On that Day every man of them will have an affair that shall
For every one of them on
that Day, there will be a concern which will occupy and consume
them, and there will be no room for anything else. When the whole of
existence is shattered and shaken up, when the absolute becomes
manifest, then only the individual will remain. This will transpire
beyond the boundaries of time, and man will not be given a chance to
be philanthropic or on his best behavior.
Faces on that Day will be bright as dawn,
from safara, which means
'to remove the
veil, to travel'.
When one is moving one is exposed. Sufūr means
'unveiling of the
face', that is,
having nothing left to hide.
that they are not in kufr (covering up, ingratitude), but,
rather, they are open and at ease, in complete self-abandonment. If
one is free now, one is free forever; if one is fulfilled now, one
is fulfilled forever. It says in the Qur`an,
'A garden which
encompasses the heavens and the earth' (3:133).
This garden is in the heart, and the key to its gate is abandonment.
Laughing, rejoicing at the good news.
All the messengers were
charged with giving the good news (bushrā), which is that man
emanates from an eternal source whose path goes from Allah to Allah
and whose duty is to leave the state of sleep for that of
wakefulness. Mustabshirah derives from istabshara,
rejoice, be delighted (at good news)'.
It means that men will have been given the good news again. At
that time, it will be fully confirmed that the good news was the
totality of creation, and that man is the representative of the
Creator. He therefore encompasses the characteristics of the entire
creation in his genes. The whole story of the cosmos exists in the
microcosm of man.
And faces that Day, dust will be on them.
comes from the verbal root ghabara,
'to elapse, pass,
be bygone', and
in its more intense related form, ghabbara, meaning
'to soil, or cover
with dust'. Dust
is something that descends and adheres to a surface to which it does
not belong. This verse says that their faces will be covered with
dust, meaning that they will have allowed their eternal, pure
reality to be covered with something foreign on it.
Darkness will cover them.
"to come over or
is the root of tarhaquhā. Murhiq, which is from the
same root, means
The implication of this ayah is that one will be oppressed by this
blackness. This is a description of the basic duality, indicating
the happiness of those who are in abandonment and the misery of
those who are not. These conditions are polarized and exaggerated
here into black and white so that they can be clearly seen.
These are the ones who cover up, the wicket.
Those beings who have
been encompassed by this gloomy, black tiredness are those who are
in degenerate kufr. This is the description of an act, i.e.,
covering up, which does not occur within a normal arena of action;
rather it occurs at the level of pure psyche, or rūh
(soul, spirit). This is why even the most sophisticated human
language can only allude to it. Knowledge of it can come about only
when the rūh, which in fact is man's true self, is
recognized. That is why it is said that if one truly knows oneself,
one knows one's Lord.
This is the whole
purpose and meaning of a spiritual path, of reflection. If
reflection does not lead to this point, it will at best give an
experience of transcendence. If it does not lead to this
realization, it may at least make one a better Muslim or a better
Christian. But the message from all the prophets, including the
prophet Muhammad, sall-llāhu 'alayhi wa ālihi wa sallam,
is tawhīd, the independent Oneness of Allah, and the
oneness of man's own reality.
End of the Surah