Interpretation of Sura Hud – Verses 87-89

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SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) – 87. ” They said: ‘O Shu’ayb! Does your prayer command you that we should leave off that our fathers worshipped, or we(should forsake to do)what we like with our property Truly you are the forbearing, the right minded’. “

Commentary

Now let us look at how this obstinate people reacted in face of this Divinely reformist voice.

Those who idol- worshippers regarded their idols as symbols of their ancestral tradition and an emblem of their cultural identity, and who gained profit through fraudulent activity in their transactions, asked Shu’ayb if it was his religion of prayer that ordered him to encourage them to abandon the worship of that which their fathers had worshipped, and interfere in their transactions to make them lose their freedom in dealing with their own property. The verse says:

” They said: ‘O Shu’ayb! Does your prayer command you that we should leave off that our fathers worshipped, or we(should forsake to do)what we like with our property ? …”

The people of Shu’ayb wrongly thought that no one should set the minimum limits for proprietors, rights, regarding domination in their properties, when in fact financial affairs should always be governed by correct criteria. Such criteria are clearly elucidated by the Divine prophets otherwise society would see a great degree of corruption.

They wanted to know how could such a forbearing, patient and understanding man, have said such a thing. They said:

“… Truly you are the forbearing, the right minded’. “

Perhaps they thought that the particular movements and words of prayer would have had a negative effect on them, but if they truly meditated they would have found that prayer enlivens man’s sense of responsibility, virtue, abstinence, piety, and gratitude, and makes him remember Allah and His Court of Justice. For these reasons, man would be kept away from idol worship, blind obedience, short selling goods, and all types of fraud under the light of prayer.

88. ” He said: ‘O My people! Bethink you’ If I be upon a clear proof from my Lord, and He has provided me with fair sustenance from Him And I desire not, in opposition to you, to do that which I forbid you from it. I desire naught save reform so far as I am able. My success is only with Allah. On Him do I rely and unto Him I turn(repentant)’. “

Commentary

In the previous verse, the idol worshippers protested as to why they could not be free to dispose of their own property for good or, in this case, for evil. Shu’ayb(a.s.) answered that if he had kept them from doing this, it would have been for the good of their own lives and their community, and it was not because of such things as hostility, envy, short sightedness or other things. Individual interests must not be detrimental to the public interest. The verse says:

” He said: ‘O My people! Bethink you’ If I be upon a clear proof from my Lord, and He has provided me with fair sustenance from Him And I desire not, in opposition to you, to do that which I forbid you from it. I desire naught save reform so far as I am able. …”

They had to stop thinking that a comfortable life could only be gained through crooked dealings and sinful activity, and Allah’s prophets are an example that one could live a decent life without being polluted by these sins. We must keep in mind that he who commands others to what is good and dissuades others from what is bad must be a man of practice himself. The prophets themselves were not only planners and leaders; they themselves were the best examples of men of practice. Shu’ayb continues saying:

“… My success is only with Allah. On Him do I rely and unto Him I turn(repentant)’. “

89. ” And O My people! Let not(your)breach with me cause you to sin, lest befalls you the like of what befell the people of Noah, or the people of Hud or the people of Salih; and the people of Lot are not far off from you. “

Commentary

Shu’ayb advises his opponents that they should not burn their bridges behind themselves, i. e., because of their hostility to one person they should not destroy the destiny and happiness of themselves and their society. They should stop thinking that the tragic stories of their ancestors were simplistic and parochial in nature. The histories of many people are similar and correspond with each other.

We must note that Allah’s hands are always capable of meting out punishment. He can annihilate any nation anywhere regardless of what form they might take any time He wants. Just as He drowned the people of Noah(a.s.) , swept away the people of Hud by storm, blasted the people of S alih(a.s.) to extermination, and annihilated the tribe of Lot(a.s.) by assailing them with stones and overturning the land with them. The verse says:

” And O My people! Let not(your)breach with me cause you to sin, lest befalls you the like of what befell the people of Noah, or the people of Hud or the people of Salih; and the people of Lot are not far off from you. “

Adopted from the book : “The Light of the Holy Qur’an; Interpretation of Surah Hud” by : “Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and a Group of Muslim Scholars”

 

 

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