All these signs and gifts we receive from Allah (SWT) as we have read about in sura Ya Sin. It is only by Allah’s (SWT) will that we can build boats or planes or anything of our technology. As Allah (SWT) tells In the next ayah:
36:43 وَإِنْ نَشَأْ نُغْرِقْهُمْ فَلا صَرِيخَ لَهُمْ وَلا هُمْ يُنْقَذُونَ
wa-in nasha/ nughriqhum fal[a] [s]areekha lahum wal[a] hum yunqa[th]oon(a)
If it were Our Will, We could drown them: then would there be no helper (to hear their cry), nor could they be delivered,
If we had not received the intelligence to understand all the natural laws that Allah (SWT) had put into this world, none of these would work. But yout it is up to us to see them, Allah has given us the ability to see but it is up to us to take advantage of what he (SWT) has given us. And we remember that it is only by Allah’s will, insha’allah we say always, that even when we do understand, that we are then able to do anything, but his mercy:
36:44 إِلا رَحْمَةً مِنَّا وَمَتَاعًا إِلَى حِينٍ
ill[a] ra[h]matan minn[a] wamat[a]aaan il[a] [h]een(in)
Except by way of Mercy from Us, and by way of (world) convenience (to serve them) for a time.
Allah (SWT) has given man all these wonderful things in nature and utilities produced by the skill and intelligence which Allah (SWT) has given to humanity. Had it not been for these gifts, human life would have been precarious on the sea or land or in the air. It is only Allah’s (SWT) mercy which saves humankind from destruction for its own follies. And that saving, or the enjoyment of these utilities and conveniences we should not consider as eternal, they are only for a time. We are on probation. And do we hold this knowledge of Allah’s mercy in our hearts? Are we thankful for each and every breath? For these gifts, are we aware? Do we have Taqwa of where our lives truly come from?
36:45 وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اتَّقُوا مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَمَا خَلْفَكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
wa-i[tha] qeela lahumu ittaqoo m[a] bayna aydeekum wam[a] khalfakum laaaallakum tur[h]amoon(a)
When they are told, “Fear you that which is before you and that which will be after you, in order that you may receive Mercy,” (they turn back).
Do we listen to this? Do we look at our past actions and consider them in terms of our eternal life? Allah is giving us a clear message here. We should consider them and use them to improve our actions in the future. “in order that you may receive Mercy” but if we are engrossed with this life. If we do not realize that all this around us is only temporary. And the life after this is eternal, if we ignore that then we have rejected this help, we have rejected this message and we have turned back from improving our actions in the future and gaining the mercy of Allah.
36:46 وَمَا تَأْتِيهِمْ مِنْ آيَةٍ مِنْ آيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ إِلا كَانُوا عَنْهَا مُعْرِضِينَ
wam[a] ta/teehim min [a]yatin min [a]y[a]ti rabbihim ill[a] k[a]noo aaanh[a] muaari[d]een(a)
Not a Sign comes to them from among the Signs of their Lord, but they turn away therefrom.
There is an expression in English “There are none so blind as those who will not see” What are we doing in our lives to make sure that we do see? Are we active seers? And not only with our eyes but with our intelligence and with our hearts with those facilities that Allah (SWT) has given us? Do we not realize that we would have been given these abilities for this very purpose? As it says in the Hadith Qudsi “I was a hidden treasure and longed to be known so I created the creation in order to be known” Are we not part of creation? Are our senses and our intelligence and our emotions part of creation? Are we using them to know our creator or are we rejecting, turning away from every sign?
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ أَنْفِقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقَكُمُ
اللَّهُ قَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنُطْعِمُ مَنْ
36:47 لَوْ يَشَاءُ اللَّهُ أَطْعَمَهُ إِنْ أَنْتُمْ إِلا فِي ضَلالٍ مُبِينٍ
wa-i[tha] qeela lahum anfiqoo mimm[a] razaqakumu all[a]hu q[a]la alla[th]eena kafaroo lilla[th]eena [a]manoo anu[t]aaimu man law yash[a]o all[a]hu a[t]aaamahu in antum ill[a] fee [d]al[a]lin mubeen(in)
And when they are told, “Spend you of (the bounties) with which Allah has provided you,” the Unbelievers say to those who believe: “Shall we then feed those whom, if Allah had so willed, He would have fed, (Himself)?- You are in nothing but manifest error.”
The spending that is indicated here is spending in the benefit of others. Over and over we are asked to spend a portion of what we have been given for those less well off. Allah (SWT) has given us everything we have. And, in addition has shown us that we are being tested. Again and again we are reminded that abundance is as much of a burden or test as is lack or want. And those of us who have been given much have been given that in order that we might spend a portion of it on those who do not have. But these people are the ones in error as they deny this and forget they are on probation. That their actions are being recorded and they attempt to turn the tables on those that are reminding them, calling their message clearly false, but in truth it is they who are in error.
36:48 وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هَذَا الْوَعْدُ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
wayaqooloona mat[a] h[atha] alwaaadu in kuntum [sa]diqeen(a)
Further, they say, “When will this promise (come to pass), if what you say is true?”
36:49 مَا يَنْظُرُونَ إِلا صَيْحَةً وَاحِدَةً تَأْخُذُهُمْ وَهُمْ يَخِصِّمُونَ
maa yanz.uron ‘illaa s.ayh.ah waah.idah ta’khudh -hum wa- hum yakhis.s.imon
They will not (have to) wait for aught but a single Blast: it will seize them while they are yet disputing among themselves!
And then further endanger them selves with their arrogance saying this, that if this is true then when will it happen? When will be see the proof? And the answer is, neither you nor we know when this time is. Allah (SWT) alone knows and it may come sooner than you expect, it may come right now while you are arguing instead of cleaning up your act. Instead of neglecting the opportunity you are being given you are squandering it.
We must not squander our opportunities. We must be aware of our good deeds and our bad deeds. We must remember that every breath we take is only by permission of Allah (SWT) and that only Allah knows when our end is due.
We do not need to know. If we are behaving like Muslims every moment in our life then there is no need to know. There is a story of Umar, that a person asked him what if he were planting a tree when he found out that the world would end in 10 minutes. He said that he would continue planting the tree. This is because he knew that his life was a life of a Muslim. That whatever he did, be it plant a tree, or give zakat or breath, or go to prayers or eat, whatever he did, he did it with the knowledge of a Muslim and so, just because he knew that that world would end in 10 minutes it did not mean that he needed to change anything in his behavior. So when the unbelievers ask when this will happen – to me that means that in reality they have a lot to worry about!
We are all here human, and human beings make mistakes, we fail to live up to our high ideals at times and you know Allah’s mercy outweighs his wrath. And so we have a chance for tauba and we have a chance to look at our actions and we have a way of systematically examining ourselves and our actions and our intentions. We can do this moment by moment, remember astaghfir’allah when you do something you know to be wrong and then turn away from it with a sincere intention not to do it again. Struggle with yourself constantly. We are all bombarded with influences in our lives that try to turn us from the straight path. And frequently we do! At those times we examine ourselves, we struggle to overcome our weaknesses. Muhasaba is the self-examination that can lead us to tauba, to judge ourselves before we are judged, it is rahma that Allah (SWT) has given us to help us improve.
And I encourage all of you as well as I encourage myself to go from here today, remembering these ayah from Ya Sin, to remember to practice this muhasaba and to be aware of the influences in our lives that draw us away from Allah (SWT) and to consciously repent and turn back to the straight path, back to Allah (SWT) anytime we feel compelled in the other direction.
Wa allahu alim.