Surah al-A`raf (The Elevated Places) 7 : 57
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(is) the One Who
(as) glad tidings
they have carried
We drive them
to a land
then We send down
then We bring forth
We will bring forth
1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems[ edit ]
Once more the sūrah gives us a panoramic scene of the universe raising it before our eyes to contemplate, but people often pay little attention to it and remain unaware of what it conveys. The idea that we have just discussed speaks of God’s grace, and the new scene provides an example of God’s grace in action. We see and feel it in the rain that pours down, the growing vegetation and the life that quickens: “He it is who sends forth the winds heralding His coming mercy, and when they have gathered up heavy clouds, We may drive them towards dead land and cause the water to fall upon it, and thus We cause all manner of fruit to come forth. Thus shall We cause the dead to come to life, so that you may keep this in mind.” (Verse 57)
All these are manifestations of what God’s Lordship brings about in the universe, in accordance with an elaborate plan. They are all of God’s own making. He then should be acknowledged by all human beings as their only Lord. It is He who creates and provides sustenance through the operation of the natural laws which He sets in motion as a sign of His mercy which He bestows on His servants. At every moment winds blow and cause the clouds to gather up, prompting a rainfall. But attributing all this to God’s action, as it is indeed the case, is the new element outlined most vividly in the Qur’ān as if we actually see it as we contemplate the portrayed scenes.
It is God who sends the winds as heralds of His forthcoming grace. The winds blow according to the natural laws which God has set in place in the universe, for it is a basic fact that the universe could not have initiated itself and set for itself these laws dictating its movement. The Islamic concept of existence, however, is based on the belief that everything that takes place in the universe is the result of a special act of will which brings it into the realm of reality, although it actually happens as a product of the operation of the natural laws God has set in operation. The initial commandments for these laws to operate is in no way contradictory with the belief that every single event that takes place in accordance with these laws is the result of God’s will. The blowing of the wind, in accordance with natural laws, is a single event that occurs as a result of a separate act of will.
Similarly, when winds gather up heavy clouds, they do so in accordance with the natural laws God has devised for the universe. Yet, this also happens by a separate act of will. Then God may drive these clouds, by yet another separate act of will, to a land that is dead, such as a barren desert, and He may cause the water in the clouds to fall upon it, by yet again a separate act of will, and thus He causes crops and fruits to come forth, by His own will. Nevertheless all these aspects happen as a result of the operation of the laws God has set in motion to give the universe and life their nature.
The Islamic concept of existence rules out the possibility that anything could happen in the universe involuntarily or by blind coincidence. This applies to the universe coming into existence for the first time, and to every single movement, change or amendment that takes place anywhere in the universe. It also rules out that it could take place in an impulsive, mechanical way, which would imagine the universe as a machine that has been set to operate in a particular method and left to run automatically.
The Islamic concept makes it absolutely clear that creation takes place by God’s will and according to a plan. It acknowledges the laws of nature that have been set in operation, but adds to these the conscious will that determines every application and operation of these laws. That divine will is free, unrestrained by the laws it has put in place.
Thus, our hearts are freed from the dullness of the involuntarily mechanical concept of events. They remain always alert and watchful. Whenever something happens in conformity with the divine laws of nature, our minds are quick to see God’s hand behind it and His will being done. Thus, we glorify God and we cannot lose sight of His greatness. Thus, the Islamic concept keeps hearts alive and minds alert. We see God’s action taking place all the time, and we glorify the Creator whose active hand controls every movement and every event that takes place at any time of the day and night.
The Qur’ānic text links the reality of life that has come into being by God’s will and His control of all that takes place on the face of this earth, with the second creation that will also take place by God’s will in the same manner as we see in the initiation of this first life: “Thus shall We cause the dead to come to life so that you may keep this in mind.” (Verse 57)
The miracle of life with all its forms, aspects and circumstances has the same nature. This is implied in the final comment we have just quoted with which the Qur’ānic verse concludes. Just as God initiates life out of the dead on this planet of ours, He will also bring the dead to life at the end of the journey. The will that blows life into every living thing on earth is the same that causes them to quicken after they have been dead. The analogy is given here so that “you may keep this in mind.” (Verse 57). People tend to overlook this reality and lose sight of it, entertaining instead countless misconceptions.
2. Linguistic Analysis[ edit ]
4. Miscellaneous Information[ edit ]
5. Connected/Related Ayat[ edit ]
6. Frequency of the word[ edit ]
7. Period of Revelation[ edit ]
A study of its contents clearly shows that the period of its revelation is about the same as that of Surah 6: al-An’am (The Grazing Livestock), i.e. the last year of the Prophet's life at Makkah, but it cannot be asserted with certainty which of these two were sent down earlier. The manner of its admonition clearly indicates that it belongs to the same period. [Ref: Mawdudi]
It is considered the longest surah revealed during the Makkan period. Some consider this surah to have been revealed after Surah 38: Sad. [Ref: Tafsir al-Maudheei, Dr. Mustafah Muslim, vol. 3, p. 2]