Tafsir Zone - Surah 7: al-A`raf (The Elevated Places)

Tafsir Zone

Surah al-A`raf 7:152

Overview (Verses 152 - 154)

A Fitting Judgement
At this point, the final judgement is passed by the One who has the authority to give such a judgement. God’s words follow directly on what the Qur’ān relates of the words in the familiar Qur’ānic fashion: “Those who took to worshipping the calf have surely incurred their Lord’s wrath, and disgrace [will be their lot] in this life. Thus do We reward those who invent falsehood. But those who do evil deeds and later repent and truly believe will surely, after such repentance, find your Lord to be much-forgiving, most merciful.” (Verses 152-153)
This is a judgement and a promise. The people who worshipped the calf were certain to incur God’s anger and were certain to be at the receiving end of disgrace in this life. At the same time, God’s rule remains valid: those who repent after having misbehaved are certain to receive God’s forgiveness and His mercy. This means that God is fully aware that those who worshipped the calf would never turn back to God in sincere repentance. They were sure to do enough to make that permanent rule inapplicable to them. History shows that this was the case. The Children of Israel continued to do one sinful act after another, and God continued to forgive them time after time, until eventually they incurred God’s permanent rejection: “Thus do We reward those who invent falsehood.” (Verse 152) This applies to all the inventors of falsehood. Whenever the crime is repeated, time after time, whether by the Children of Israel or any other people, then its punishment is certain to apply.

God’s promise will certainly come true. He has condemned those who took to worshipping the calf to be subject to His anger and to be disgraced. The last part of His condemnation was that He would be sending them, time after time, until the Day of Judgement, people who would inflict on them great suffering. It may happen that in a certain period of history they appear to exercise so much power and influence which enables them to behave arrogantly towards the Gentiles. They may appear to have enormous wealth which gives them so much power. They may be able to control the world’s media; and they may even have a decisive say in bringing in governments, in different countries, that do their bidding. We may see all this and a great deal more, but this does not contradict God’s warning to them or His condemnation. All these actions will work against them, as people will nurture their hatred which will eventually destroy them.

They can overcome the people in Palestine, for example, because those people have abandoned their faith and are no longer Muslims. They do not rally under the banner of the Islamic faith, but instead they hoist a nationalist or racist banner. Their efforts end in failure and Israel is able to overcome them. But this state of affairs will not last forever. These Arab people have been in a state of total unawareness of the only method, weapon and banner which saw them victorious for a thousand years, and which is certain to make them victorious again. When they abandon them, they are sure to be defeated. Such lack of awareness comes as a result of the poison injected in the Muslim community by Zionist and Christian imperialist forces, which try to perpetuate such a state of affairs through the regimes they establish in the Muslim world. But all this will not last. There will be a re-awakening of the Muslim community. Future Muslim generations will equip themselves with the same weapons as their forefathers. Who knows, but humanity will one day wake up to recognize the tyranny of the Zionist Jews. They will then act to make God’s warnings come true and return the Zionist Jews to the state of humiliation and disgrace to which God has condemned them. If humanity will not wake up, then certainly future Muslim generations will. We are absolutely certain of this.

Those two verses serve as a pause in order to comment on the ultimate destiny of those who worshipped the calf inventing falsehood against God. They come in the middle of this scene, but then the sūrah picks it up again: “Then when his wrath had subsided, Moses took up the tablets, upon which was inscribed a text of guidance and grace to those who stood in awe of their Lord.” (Verse 154)

The Qur’ānic style personifies anger as if it is a living thing that exercises control over Moses, dictating his actions. But when it subsides and its promptings die down, Moses regains his self-control. He picks up the tablets, which, as we are told again, contain the guidance and mercy for those who fear God and open their hearts to receive His guidance and mercy. Indeed, the very provision of guidance is an act of grace. No one is more miserable than a deviant person who cannot see the light, or a soul that is lost without faith and without guidance. It is the fear of God that opens hearts to receive guidance and prepares them to respond properly. It is God, the Creator of hearts, who states this fact. Who knows these hearts better than the Lord who created them?