23 The Believers (Al-Muminun): Poems based upon the Quran
The primary theme of this Surah is humanity being sent numerous Messengers who were disbelieved, and the subsequent consequence of destruction for those communities who refused to believe Allah’s warnings. This closely parallels the Qur’an’s warning of what will happen to non-believers on the Day of Judgement.
In verses 12–16, is a description of the formation of a human from the time of its conception to its development into a fully formed human being. However, what makes humans different than animals is Allah’s gift of intellect for understanding spiritual knowledge, and more importantly His Spirit. This is expressed in verse 14, “…later We made him into other forms.” Subsequently, it is our responsibility to utilize our intellects to His service, and deeply understand our position in His creation as being formed with the physical and the spiritual. With this knowledge comes action — not to pursue the material world with its temporary pleasures, but to constantly pursue pious submission to Allah so we may fulfill our purpose on earth. Ibn Al-Arabi posits, “The goal of all human life is the realization of the perfection and completeness implicit and potential in the human state, so that each human birth presents yet another precious opportunity for the fulfillment of one’s original potential to be, on the one hand, the faithful representative of cosmic servanthood, and on the other, the perfect transmitter of spiritual dominion…one of the aims of this human opportunity should be to become, as far as possible, the perfect instrument for God’s self-awareness in the reflected image that is the Cosmos.”
Humans were not created in a meaningless sense by God, otherwise we would be as animals pursuing only our base instincts for survival. Verses 112–115 state, “He will say, ‘How many years were you on earth?’ and they will reply, ‘We stayed for a day or a part of a day, but ask those who keep count.’ He will say, ‘You stayed but a little, if you had only known. Did you think We had created you in vain, and that you would not be brought back to Us?” The teaching of these verses explains our very short existence on earth compared to eternity, in which then the next logical question would be, ‘Why then did you not live as if you wanted to live eternally in Paradise, but preferred instead following your base desires and passions for such a short time on earth?’ Verses 70–71 states the non-believers hated the truth brought to them by the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), “but if the truth were in accordance with their desires, the heavens, the earth, and everyone in them would disintegrate.” If everyone followed their own desires, Allah’s created order of existence would be nil, and chaos would triumph. What and how Allah created is for our own good, but we refuse to acknowledge this truth, and prefer instead to wander around blindly until the Day of Judgement and as this Surah emphasizes — by then it will be too late to seek repentance. For people were given the truth through the Messengers he sent to teach humanity, but many refused to believe.
Ibn Al-Arabi: “…that human who completely forgets and has forgotten himself, that is his humanity, as being also divine, so that he forfeits that state and becomes ‘lowest of the low,’ dissipated and dispersed in the infinite multiplicity of the cosmos, since it is only by that Divine Spark within him that he may preserve his unity and integrity as a human.”
The arrogant refuse to follow Allah’s truth,
but those who stand in awe of Him pursue the truth.
He races to give you good things in abundance,
so those who are pious race towards good for truth.
Part of your being is made from the dust of earth,
while His Divine Spirit within leads you to truth.
The unbelievers denied Allah’s Messengers,
whose only purpose was to save you with the truth.
It is Allah who gives day and night, life and death —
if you don’t see, how can resurrection be truth?
The ummah is to be united within One,
and yet your strife filled sects is destroying His truth.
Those who follow the lust of desires live in vain,
while spiritual meaning leads to Allah’s one truth.