Day 16- Surah Yunus: Trust Allah’s Wisdom

How many times you heard this argument from non-practicing Muslims:  “I will start praying when Allah guides me”;  
How many times you heard people complaining about their life, “If only I got more money, a better job, bigger house, …”, or “why me?” when a calamity strikes…

Indirectly, these people (despite being Muslim) are accusing Allah of being unjust and questioning His wisdom and judgment! This Surah is addressing many of their concerns, in addition to other doubts that are raised by idol worshippers, atheists, and rejecters of the Quran. All of the above mentioned people have one thing in common: lack of trust in Allah, and hence no sense of true submission.

One of the names of Allah is Al-Hakeem (The all-Wise), and everything coming from Him (His book, His actions, His decree on humans) is wise:

الر تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْكِتَابِ الْحَكِيمِ
These are the verses of the wise Book [10:1]
Another word that is consistently repeated in this Surah is “الحق”, which is also one of the names of Allah. Allah does not play around, and whatever He decrees is the ultimate truth:

فَذَلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمُ الْحَقُّ فَمَاذَا بَعْدَ الْحَقِّ إِلاَّ الضَّلالُ فَأَنَّى تُصْرَفُونَ
That is God, your Lord, the Truth. Apart from the Truth, what is there except error? So how is it that you are dissuaded?’ [10:32]

People’s Injustice towards Themselves

One should believe that whatever comes from Allah is nothing but mercy and goodness, and that Allah does not wrong anyone of His creation:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَظْلِمُ النَّاسَ شَيْئًا وَلَكِنَّ النَّاسَ أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ
God does not wrong people at all– it is they who wrong themselves.[10:44]

And due to His justice and mercy, He only punishes those who oppress others and insist on defying His messengers:

وَلَقَدْ أَهْلَكْنَا الْقُرُونَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَمَّا ظَلَمُواْ وَجَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَمَا كَانُواْ لِيُؤْمِنُواْ كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْقَوْمَ الْمُجْرِمِينَ
Before you people, We destroyed whole generations when they did evil– their messengers brought them clear signs but they refused to believe. This is how We repay the guilty. [10:13]

And to prove this fact, Allah shows how mankind – in general – react to calamities and become religious, but then retract and go back to their ways afterwards:

وَإِذَا مَسَّ الإِنسَانَ الضُّرُّ دَعَانَا لِجَنبِهِ أَوْ قَاعِدًا أَوْ قَائِمًا فَلَمَّا كَشَفْنَا عَنْهُ ضُرَّهُ مَرَّ كَأَن لَّمْ يَدْعُنَا إِلَى ضُرٍّ مَّسَّهُ كَذَلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلْمُسْرِفِينَ مَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ
When trouble befalls man he cries out to Us, whether lying on his side, sitting, or standing, but as soon as We relieve him of his trouble he goes on his way as if he had never cried out to Us to remove his trouble. In this way the deeds of such heedless people are made attractive to them. [10:12]

So Allah’s decree upon people stems from His knowledge of their nature. Their true nature will appear on the surface once the calamities are removed from them:

فَلَمَّا أَنجَاهُمْ إِذَا هُمْ يَبْغُونَ فِي الأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ
Yet no sooner does He save them than, back on land, they behave outrageously against all that is right [10:23].

“YOLO”: The Root of Evil

What makes such people so rebellious in their relation with their Lord, instead of being grateful to Him and His blessings? The Surah mentions that disbelieving in the afterlife (e.g. those who say You Only Live Once) and being satisfied with the materialistic life is the root for all evil:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ لاَ يَرْجُونَ لِقَاءَنَا وَرَضُواْ بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَاطْمَأَنُّواْ بِهَا وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنْ آيَاتِنَا غَافِلُونَ. أُوْلَئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمُ النَّارُ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَكْسِبُونَ
Those who do not expect to meet Us and are pleased with the life of this world, contenting themselves with it and paying no heed to Our signs, 8 shall have the Fire for their home because of what they used to do. [10:7-8]

This is why one should reflect on the shortness of this life and prepare for the next:
وَيَوْمَ يَحْشُرُهُمْ كَأَن لَّمْ يَلْبَثُواْ إِلاَّ سَاعَةً مِّنَ النَّهَارِ يَتَعَارَفُونَ بَيْنَهُمْ قَدْ خَسِرَ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بِلِقَاء اللَّهِ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُهْتَدِينَ
On the Day He gathers them together, it will be as if they have stayed [in the world] no longer than a single hour, and they will recognize one another. Those who denied the meeting with God will be the losers, for they did not follow the right guidance. [10:45]

Guidance from Allah Only

It is true that guidance only comes from Allah SWT:

وَلَوْ شَاء رَبُّكَ لآمَنَ مَن فِي الأَرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا أَفَأَنتَ تُكْرِهُ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَكُونُواْ مُؤْمِنِينَ. وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَن تُؤْمِنَ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَيَجْعَلُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لاَ يَعْقِلُونَ
Had your Lord willed, all the people on earth would have believed. So can you [Prophet] compel people to believe? No soul can believe except by God’s will, and He brings disgrace on those who do not use their reason. [10:99-100]

However, some people – due to a misunderstanding of the wisdom and justice of Allah – tend to blame Him for their sins, and claim that they disobey because “they were not guided yet”! The Surah addresses the misconception that many have due to a mix-up between two apparently contradicting facts:

  1. Allah guides whoever He wills
  2. Allah does not treat people with injustice

Three Stories: Why Did Allah Treat Them Differently?

Three stories are given in this regards:
Community of Noah [10:71-73]: people who insisted on disbelief up to the last moment of their life
Pharaoh and Musa [10:75-93]: The Pharaoh started uttering the testimony of faith when he was about to die. First of all, he didn’t even say it right! And second of all, it was way too late for him to believe:

حَتَّى إِذَا أَدْرَكَهُ الْغَرَقُ قَالَ آمَنتُ أَنَّهُ لا إِلَهَ إِلاَّ الَّذِي آمَنَتْ بِهِ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ وَأَنَاْ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ. آلآنَ وَقَدْ عَصَيْتَ قَبْلُ وَكُنتَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ
But as he was drowning he cried, ‘I believe there is no God except the one the Children of Israel believe in. I submit to Him.’ ‘Now? When you had always been a rebel, and a troublemaker! [10:90-91]

Community of Yunus [10:98]: The Surah was named after their prophet, so their story should help us understand the main theme. They were the only community that truly believed and followed their prophet, just after Yunus left them and before the punishment fell upon them:

فَلَوْلاَ كَانَتْ قَرْيَةٌ آمَنَتْ فَنَفَعَهَا إِيمَانُهَا إِلاَّ قَوْمَ يُونُسَ لَمَّا آمَنُواْ كَشَفْنَا عَنْهُمْ عَذَابَ الْخِزْيِ فِي الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَمَتَّعْنَاهُمْ إِلَى حِينٍ
If only a single town had believed and benefited from its belief! Only Jonah’s people did so, and when they believed, We relieved them of the punishment of disgrace in the life of this world, and let them enjoy life for a time [10:98]

So basically, Allah has given them a second chance, and they did use it correctly due to their honesty and sincerity. Allah knows that pharaoh was not honest and sincere, that he will definitely not stick to his word had he been given a second life to live. The pharaoh and his family were tested with 9 different tests [17:101] and each time they promise to be religious but go back to their arrogance when the trials are over.
Moral of the story: Trust Allah’s infinite wisdom and knowledge! He knows what you don’t know. When judging on things from the surface, you won’t see the whole picture. Believe in Allah and surrender yourself to Him, and stop blaming Him for whatever happens to you. If a sign or a trial comes your way, don’t wait until it’s too late like what the Pharaoh did, and follow the footsteps of communities who got the hint and believed at the right time (like the community of Yunus)

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