- Al-Raqīb – The All Watchful
“O people! Be mindful of your Rabb1 (The Sustainer) who created all from a single person2 and from him, He created his mate and from the two both He created countless men and women. And have the full consciousness of Allah3 through whom you demand your mutual rights and (do not terminate the relation of) the womb (kinship). Indeed Allah is ever4 All-Watchful (43)5 over all of you.”
The two Arabic words Rabb and Allah – as used in the above verse – are generally translated in English as God for Allah and Lord for Rabb respectively.
These are two very deep and meaningful attributes of the Supreme Being. Rabb has been used for the non-material Creator of all the world as well as the material humans. The book has been revealed to direct the living of the humans by the Creator. In order to know your relationship with the non-material Creator you have to understand yourself the nature of how and why you were created as revealed by the Creator.
Here Allah (God) is giving the directive to the humans to abide by two important facts of life. Firstly Allah is the Creator, Controller and Caretaker of all the humans both in this life and then also in the life hereafter. Secondly all the humans have to believe in the true concept that the first woman to give birth by having sexual relation with the first man is also a part of the first man. Thus all the humans are actually children of the one male human named as Adam by Allah.
So the important ideas mentioned by the words marked by numbers are explained below:
1, 2 & 3.
All humans are one and the same by birth. That the woman (Hawwah) came into being from the first man (Adam) enables all human beings to be the children of one man as his original parents (father and mother). This fact makes it necessary for all humans, in spite of having many differences in customs and manners of living differently, to deal with fairness and good will as they are members of one global (very large single extended) family.
This information also then directs that everyone is governed by the Great Almighty God (Allah), who as the reckoner of one and all, will decide the eternal future of the humans in the Hereafter (life after death). Hence every human has to undergo accounting of their plans and actions in this world being declared to Allah for the recompense. Thus the dealings of one person with the other also influence the destiny of humans in the next life.
- Allah (God) is the one who controls and manages all the living and non-living created by Him. He regulates and manages with the perfect planning. So from this point of view Allah gives another directive in this clause that humans shall have the full consciousness of the Supreme Almighty God (Allah) to follow and act upon His directives.
- The attribute Al-Raqīb clearly indicates that He always was, is and will be watchful over all the humans consistently. Hence all humans should also in every period, passed and present, undergo full submission to Him and follow His directives in the life in this world to get a nice recompense in the next eternal life. The word ‘ever’ is actually the translation of the Arabic word ‘kana’ which indicates this divine characteristic of Allah in every time past, present and future.
- Al- Mujīb – The Answerer
“And to the Thamud (We sent) their brother Sāleh (as) he said, ‘O my people, worship Allah! You have no deity other than Him. He is the One who brought you into being from the earth and settled you here1 so ask forgiveness of Him and then turn to Him in repentance2. Indeed my Rabb is very close (to you) and the Answerer (Accepter) of your forgiveness (44)3.’
“They said, ‘O Sāleh!. You were among us a person before for having great hopes from you4. Do you (now) forbid us to worship what our fathers worshipped5 so indeed we are in great doubt and we are having suspicion concerning that to which you call us6.”
(Hūd, 11:61 & 62)
The proof for ‘worship Allah! You have no deity other than Him’, is the polytheists themselves also accept that Allah is their Creator. Taking this as the reality, Saleh uses it as an agreement that Allah is the One who has bestowed upon the humans their existence composed of the non-living material molecules. Moreover Allah is the only One who provided you the means and facilities to settle in this world with this proof. Saleh directs his people to consider only Allah as their one deity. No one else has any reason to have the right of being considered as the deity of the heavens and the universe.
Hence for the great offence that you have been committing until now of worshipping and submitting yourselves to other than Allah, now you have to ask forgiveness from Allah.
This last part of the verse no. 61 is the refutation of the great misconception of the polytheists. They wrongly consider Allah just like theirs kings, rulers and the top human authorities that ordinary public person cannot approach. Hence for the Supreme Being God (Allah), according to their misunderstanding, they establish intermediaries to approach the highest ruling personality – God. This misunderstanding has been strengthened by the preaching of the pseudo-religious people who thrive on such a hierarchy.
The Prophet Saleh shatters this ignorance of the polytheists through two sound ideas. Firstly that Allah is QARĪB (very close) so that even every ordinary person can approach Him very easily. Secondly the same Allah is MUJĪB (The Answerer), no. 43 who listens to every sincere repentance and forgives all the past follies, mistakes and sins provided the person repents and is determined not to commit them again.
The people in response objected to Saleh in a peculiar way. Let us express their satirical objection in their way of thinking.
They say, “Observing your intelligence, wisdom and pleasant dealings with us gives us great hope that we may consider you as our benefactor and well-wisher. We expect that you would assist us in our wealth earning, property, material achievements, happiness and contentment in comparison to people of other groups but by your insistence on this new issue about the Oneness of God and the Resurrection we have become utterly disappointed. Alas now we have changed our opinion about you.”
The people express this type response in every era when a person admonishes the wrong practice of the people and advises them to perform the virtuous right things. This was also the style of thinking of the people of the Quraysh about the Prophet Muhammad when he commenced the deliverance of the message of Allah to them.
Their reaction still goes on; “Moreover it is a great evil that you stop us for our holy pious and spiritual practice of worshipping and respecting our ancestors. We are very satisfied and happy to follow their noble and pious religion and you are directing us to leave this practice.”
So this logic is used as to argue their case of being on the right track and for Prophet Saleh being wrong.
They further expressed their annoyance: “We are now very confused.” They express the points of doubt or suspicion. The reason is that the people have a very different concept. They had their own different rituals and practices, which were going to be abolished if the advice of Saleh was accepted. Let us know the reason for their worries when the message of Allah is revealed to the human beings. It is a fact that the human nature contains both virtuous as well as evil components as revealed by Allah in the Quran:
“And by the soul and He who proportioned (balanced and reformed it). Then He inspired the soul (with inception of) its wickedness and its righteousness. The one who purifies it will indeed be successful and the one who corrupted is to fail.”
Therefore every human being, however far they may be from the correct thinking, commonly feels uneasiness or restlessness, though their feelings in detail are different among themselves. Having the invitation, either through a right person or through the divine scripture, compels all the humans to have some throbbing in their hearts. It all depends upon the comparative personality, behaviour, conduct and way of living in this world that the understanding of truthful ideas should be very high for the people who are capable to admire, appreciate, respect and act upon such advice while others still have worries and confusion.
Continued in AMUST issue #114 May