[76:3] We showed him the two paths, then he is either appreciative, or unappreciative.
God cites in the Quran all kinds of examples and teach us the history of the previous generations for the mere purpose of reflecting and taking heed. Ignoring the wisdom behind these lessons or heedlessly repeating the same mistakes of those who preceded us makes us fall in the category of the unappreciative creatures:
[24:34] We have revealed to you clarifying revelations, and examples from the past generations, and an enlightenment for the righteous.
[59:21] ..... We cite these examples for the people, that they may reflect.
[17:41] We have cited in this Quran (all kinds of examples), that they may take heed. But it only augments their aversion.
[29:43] We cite these examples for the people, and none appreciate them except the knowledgeable.
Throughout the true history in Quran, God teaches us that many communities/generations were annihilated by God's will as a result of their own transgression. It has been a repeated pattern that those who reject God's message and His proofs, or lose their guidance and transgress the limits set by God face disastrous consequences that are divinely planned and carried out in a predetermined time:
[17:58] There is not a community that we will not annihilate before the Day of Resurrection, or inflict severe retribution upon them. This is already written down in the book.
[16:36] We have sent a messenger to every community, saying, "You shall worship GOD, and avoid idolatry." Subsequently, some were guided by GOD, while others were committed to straying. Roam the earth and note the consequences for the rejectors.
[18:59] Many a community we annihilated because of their transgressions; we designated a specific time for their annihilation.
[28:58] Many a community we annihilated for turning unappreciative of their lives. Consequently, here are their homes, nothing but uninhabited ruins after them, except a few. We were the inheritors.
[17:16] If we are to annihilate any community, we let the leaders commit vast corruption therein. Once they deserve retribution, we annihilate it completely.
[17:17] Many a generation have we annihilated after Noah. Your Lord is most efficient in dealing with the sins of His servants; He is fully Cognizant, Seer.
New communities substitute those who reject or fail to uphold the clear teachings of God. This is easy for God to do. Quran was given to the Arabs for years, but their later generations have lost their guidance and failed to uphold its commands. They have decided to fall into idol worship, and divide into sects by following other sources/entities besides God's! They are now incurring wrath after wrath.. They are disregarded in the darkness, leading the most undignified life along with millions of Muslims who are following them blindly on the east side of the world. All brands of disasters -natural, economical, or social- are hitting them according to God's plans in specific times.
God has substituted them with a new generation that has been blessed to receive a guiding teacher and witness a physical proof of the Quran's authenticity- our generation. We were brought back to the message of God alone, and to the light of Quran, and nothing but the Quran. This has been God's system since Noah; God's systems are unchangeable:
[6:6] Have they not seen how many generations before them we have annihilated? We established them on earth more than we did for you, and we showered them with blessings, generously, and we provided them with flowing streams. We then annihilated them because of their sins, and we substituted another generation in their place.
[21:11] Many a community we terminated because of their transgression, and we substituted other people in their place.
[4:133] If He wills, He can annihilate you, O people, and substitute others in your place. GOD is certainly able to do this.
Based on all the above wisdom, we should come to the conclusion that receiving the message and witnessing "the Truth" brings up a decision-making responsibility . We either decide to be unappreciative, and face the consequences, or appreciative, a decision that needs constant validation through our actions:
[30:34] Let them be unappreciative of what we have given them. Enjoy temporarily; you will surely find out.
Miracles Bring Greater Responsibility* [2:211] Ask the Children of Israel how many profound miracles have we shown them! For those who disregard the blessings bestowed upon them by GOD, GOD is most strict in retribution. *2:211 The Quran's mathematical miracle is a great blessing, and brings with it an awesome responsibility (please see 5:115).
Greater Miracles Bring Greater Responsibility
[5:114] Said Jesus, the son of Mary, "Our god, our Lord, send down to us a feast from the sky. Let it bring plenty for each and every one of us, and a sign from You. Provide for us; You are the best Provider."
[5:115] GOD said, "I am sending it down. Anyone among you who disbelieves after this, I will punish him as I never punished anyone else." *5:114-115 The Quran's overwhelming miracle (Appendix One) is described in 74:35 as ``One of the greatest miracles,'' and brings with it an uncommonly great responsibility.
Moment of Death Predetermined [3:154]....GOD thus puts you to the test to bring out your true convictions, and to test what is in your hearts. GOD is fully aware of the innermost thoughts.
[47:31] We will certainly put you to the test, in order to distinguish those among you who strive, and steadfastly persevere. We must expose your true qualities.
It has been nineteen long years since God's messenger of the covenant left us to High Heaven. He was "killed" after putting a whole community back on track and restoring the message of worshiping God alone and following Quran alone. It is we, and no one else, who were handed this heavy responsibility of holding the torch for both ourselves and others. It is about time to look back and reflect on these 19 years. What have we accomplished, and what have we failed to accomplish? What went right and what went wrong? What exactly has consumed our energy? and was that the right cause to waste our energy on? Have we been united on the One Ultimate Truth? Have we been a righteous community that advocates righteousness and forbids evil according to Quranic standards? Have we been striving and mobilizing in one voice, one direction to spread the truth we were handed? Or, we have been disputing simple straightforward facts/commands and our ego has been holding us back and sticking us to the ground? It is about time to analyze every step of the way, until the current one we are at. It is about time to become so honest with our souls, look up straight at the mirror, and determine if we are worthy of the truth, or capable of fulfilling this great responsibility. It is about time to learn from our mistakes, gather our strength, and utilize whatever we are blessed with to correct our path, move forward, and truly validate our convictions.
If we were appreciative of the special knowledge and guidance we have received, and the proofs we have witnessed, then our utmost goal should have been one and the same - UPHOLD and SPREAD God's Truth. Have we been doing that? to what extent? Can we do more? How can we improve or do better, God willing?
If we claim that we are seeking our inner strength and soul's salvation, this salvation is unattainable without upholding God's Truth (6:51.) If we are striving to be righteous, we cannot achieve this righteousness if we are selectively following some teachings and disregarding others based on convenience (2:189.) We lose our souls when we disregard God's revelations, SOME or ALL, just like the majority of previous generations has done:
[15:90] We will deal with the dividers.
[15:91] They accept the Quran only partially.
[7:9] As for those whose weights are light, they will be the ones who lost their souls* as a consequence of disregarding our revelations, unjustly.
Christians, too, Must Obey God's Messenger [5:14] Also from those who said, "We are Christian," we took their covenant. But they disregarded some of the commandments given to them. Consequently, we condemned them to animosity and hatred among themselves, until the Day of Resurrection. GOD will then inform them of everything they had done.
[9:112] They are the repenters, the worshipers, the praisers, the meditators, the bowing and prostrating, the advocators of righteousness and forbidders of evil, and the keepers of GOD's laws. Give good news to such believers.
[6:51] And preach with this (Quran) to those who reverence the summoning before their Lord - they have none beside Him as a Lord and Master, nor an intercessor - that they may attain salvation.
[2:189] .....righteousness is attained by upholding the commandments and by being straightforward. You shall observe GOD, that you may succeed.
Mobilizing or striving in the cause of God is AMONG the crystal clear teachings and commands set in the Quran. It is an obligation toward the truth God has blessed us with, or else we are not worthy of it. We are not above the rule - it is so easy for God to substitute us with others who will love God the most and strive in His cause with their money and lives. God teaches us that the truthful believers are always eager to do so, while the weak ones, are always apt to find excuses that is unfounded in the Quran to stay behind. In doing that, they tend to divide the believers and create a negative force to hold them back from pleasing God and serving their souls.
God has cited for us the examples and the history of all the previous messengers and the minority of believers who strove and mobilized to support them.This history is not cited to entertain us, but to set the righteous precedents for us on how we should handle the Truth. Have we been doing that after witnessing and believing in God's messenger of the covenant? Striving/mobilizing to PROCLAIM the Quran to the world as the Ultimate Truth is how we support God the way the disciples did. We are invited by God to follow their example (61:14). God took a covenant from all of us, recipients of the scriptures, to proclaim His Truth ( 3:187). True believers are the ones who keep their covenants with God (13:19-20). Have we been keeping our covenant?
[5:54] O you who believe, if you revert from your religion, then GOD will substitute in your place people whom He loves and who love Him. They will be kind with the believers, stern with the disbelievers, and will strive in the cause of GOD without fear of any blame. Such is GOD's blessing; He bestows it upon whomever He wills. GOD is Bounteous, Omniscient.
[9:38] O you who believe, when you are told, "Mobilize in the cause of GOD," why do you become heavily attached to the ground? Have you chosen this worldly life in place of the Hereafter? The materials of this world, compared to the Hereafter, are nil.
[9:39] Unless you mobilize, He will commit you to painful retribution and substitute other people in your place; you can never hurt Him in the least. GOD is Omnipotent.
[47:38] You are invited to spend in the cause of GOD, but some of you turn stingy. The stingy are stingy towards their own souls. GOD is Rich, while you are poor. If you turn away, He will substitute other people in your place, and they will not be like you.
Better Believers Strive in the Cause of God [9:41] You shall readily mobilize, light or heavy, and strive with your money and your lives in the cause of GOD. This is better for you, if you only knew.
True Believers are Eager to Strive [9:88] As for the messenger and those who believed with him, they eagerly strive with their money and their lives. These have deserved all the good things; they are the winners.
[49:15] Mu'mens (believers) are those who believe in GOD and His messenger, then attain the status of having no doubt whatsoever, and strive with their money and their lives in the cause of GOD. These are the truthful ones.
The Weak Believers
[8:5] When your Lord willed that you leave your home, to fulfill a specific plan, some believers became exposed as reluctant believers.
[8:6] They argued with you against the truth, even after everything was explained to them. They acted as if they were being driven to certain death.
[61:14] O you who believe, be GOD's supporters, like the disciples of Jesus, son of Mary. When he said to them, "Who are my supporters towards GOD," they said, "We are GOD's supporters." Thus, a group from the Children of Israel believed, and another group disbelieved. We helped those who believed against their enemy, until they won.
[3:187] GOD took a covenant from those who received the scripture: "You shall proclaim it to the people, and never conceal it." But they disregarded it behind their backs, and traded it away for a cheap price. What a miserable trade.
Believers Versus Disbelievers
(1) The Believers [13:19] Is one who recognizes that your Lord's revelations to you are the truth equal to one who is blind? Only those who possess intelligence will take heed.
[13:20] They are the ones who fulfill their pledge to GOD, and do not violate the covenant. Gross Offense [2:159] Those who conceal our revelations and guidance, after proclaiming them for the people in the scripture, are condemned by GOD; they are condemned by all the condemners.
[2:160] As for those who repent, reform, and proclaim, I redeem them. I am the Redeemer, Most Merciful.
[2:174] Those who conceal GOD's revelations in the scripture, in exchange for a cheap material gain, eat but fire into their bellies. GOD will not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them. They have incurred a painful retribution.
[2:42] Do not confound the truth with falsehood, nor shall you conceal the truth, knowingly.
[18:29] Proclaim: "This is the truth from your Lord," ...
The above questions, and all the Quranic facts and verses of how we should handle the truth, and the consequences of not fulfilling our responsibilities are not by any mean listed as a threat, or to put us down, or to underestimate all the hard work of those who have been striving day and night to build up their souls and spread out God's truth. All the above questions are listed only for the mere purpose of stimulating our minds. They stand as an invitation for each and everyone of us to reflect and dig deep inside for his or her inner strength and qualities in order to take part and be actively involved. Each and everyone should be able to answer these questions, and we definitely will come up with different answers based on different levels of guidance, knowledge, and capabilities. However, if we are truly on the right track, standing in the right line to hold fast to the rope of God (Quran and nothing but the Quran), we shouldn't have any disagreements on our objectives as a community of submitters and recipients of the truth.
It has been 19 years, and I sincerely take this chance and ask us all to honestly spend some time evaluating our communities throughout these 19 years. Let's ask ourselves these questions. Let's share our perspectives and answers with each other, and try to focus on some goals, plans, or directions. Let's truly hold fast to Quran, validate our belief, and express our appreciation to the gift that God has blessed our generation with. Let's keep the examples and the true history narrated in Quran in front of our eyes, and take heed. Let's not repeat the grave mistakes of all the previous generations. Let's not take God's systems and plans for granted:
Most People Make the Wrong Choice
[7:96] Had the people of those communities believed and turned righteous, we would have showered them with blessings from the heaven and the earth. Since they decided to disbelieve, we punished them for what they earned.
[7:98] Did the people of today's communities guarantee that our retribution will not come to them in the daytime while they play?
[7:99] Have they taken GOD's plans for granted? None takes GOD's plans for granted except the losers.
[7:100] Does it ever occur to those who inherit the earth after previous generations that, if we will, we can punish them for their sins, and seal their hearts, causing them to turn deaf?
[7:101] We narrate to you the history of those communities: their messengers went to them with clear proofs, but they were not to believe in what they had rejected before. GOD thus seals the hearts of the disbelievers.
[7:102] We found that most of them disregard their covenant; we found most of them wicked.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.