By: Ayatullah Dastghaib Shirazi
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Do they not see that We have created cattle for them, out of what Our hands have wrought, so they are their masters? And We have subjected them to them, so some of them they have to ride upon, and some of them they eat. And therein they have advantages and drinks; will they not then be grateful? And they have taken gods besides Allah that they may be helped. (But) they shall not be able to assist them, and they shall be a host brought up before them. Therefore let not their speech grieve you; surely We know what they do in secret and what they do openly. (36:71-76)

God created the quadrupeds for you

Let us ponder on the above verses. Did this man not see whom God has given intelligence? Does he not see that We created him with Our hands and created the quadrupeds, which are owned by them? Just think upon it. Firstly, how We created and secondly, how We gave them under your control; that is man is now their owner.

God decided thus. Otherwise, the One Who is their Creator is also their Owner in the true sense. If God does not make it man’s property, man would not be able to benefit from them. God created sheep so that man may take benefit from them in various ways. He may eat its nice meat and consume its milk and use it wool for clothing. There is nothing in this animal from which man does not benefit. So much so that even its hoofs are used in medicines.

Benefits of riding and use of milk, meat and wool

And therein they have advantages and drinks; How delicious is the milk of these quadrupeds! What a great benefit they have in serving as beasts of burden and their meat and wool is useful too. …will they not then be grateful?

Are you not then thankful? Unless man becomes thankful and realizes the bounty of God, what is the difference between him and an animal? In the animal like matters of eating, sleeping, passions and anger, man and animals are alike. In the matter of art and craft too, some animals are intelligent. There is no difference in things that end in death. The only exceptions are truthfulness, knowing God and the Hereafter. For example, man should aim to be a physician that he may serve people. If his aim is merely material, then he gets its reward only here (in this worldly life). Anyway, whatever is related with humanism and the value of which remains forever is the virtue of knowing the Benefactor, appreciation of the bounties and thankfulness to God.

Rebels try to achieve Godship behind the excuse of idols

And they have taken gods besides Allah that they may be helped. (36:74) Allah says, “We gave these bounties to man. We put camels, cows, and sheep under his control. They also ride some of them.” What a wonderful mount a camel is; it is the ship of the desert. This man, instead of knowing God better and thanking Him more, and never forgetting Him, carves out, in place of God, imaginary gods in the form of idols. At the head of such wayward people are the false Gods who are rebels against God. Minds get diverted to idols of stone and wood. The truth is that these idols are shields for the rebels. They feign Godship from behind these idols. Idols and temples are mere pretexts.

During the days of Pharaoh, idols and idol worship were rampant and Pharaoh, in the name of (or as) the God of gods, was defrauding the people. All dictators are such and they all practice polytheism against God. These dictators demand from people what God demands from man. God commands man to carry out His orders and to accept whatever He says. Sultans, Kings, and Shahs are also like that. It is nothing but royal decrees against divine commandments!

Mobilized armies have no ability to help

(But) they shall not be able to assist them, and they shall be a host brought up before them. (36:75) Meaning those who are taken as helpers instead God have no ability to render any help. Troops are ready but cannot do anything. For example, during the Islamic Revolution of Iran thousands of American advisers along with half a million troops armed with modern weapons were present to protect the kingdom of Muhammad Reza Shah to protect the interests of America. But, when God decides, none of them could be of any avail. Despite all the mobilized armies of imperialists there was no one to help the Shah.

Therefore let not their speech grieve you; surely We know what they do in secret and what they do openly. (36:76) Their talk should not grieve you as We know what they hide and what they declare. If the non-believers sting you, you will not be harmed. The disbelievers taunt about the belief in monotheism but the believer must be pleased with his God and remain steadfast.

In order to weaken the spirit of Iranian people during the revolution they spread threats and rumors. They played a new mischief daily in one place or another, but the hearts of the faithful are strong due to their faith and reliance on God. The God, Who made them reach here, will, if He so decides, bring them to perfection. The victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran was not the handiwork of men; it was God’s. It was totally beyond the material means. So, just as our eye was only on God in the beginning it should remain so hereafter also.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Does not man see that We have created him from the small seed? Then lo! he is an open disputant. (36:77)

Benefits of remembering ones origin

On many occasions in the Holy Quran, God had reminded man how he was created. He was a puny sperm. It is commanded that man must always remember this. Allah says, “Man must obligatorily ponder over this.” He should think deeply and see from what he is created, from a drop of gushing water which came from between the back of his father and breasts of his mother. So let man consider of what he is created. He is created of water pouring forth, coming from between the back and the ribs. Most surely He is able to return him (to life). (86:5-8)

Thus man should never forget from what he is created. What is desired from such pondering is to understand the beginning and it also proves the Hereafter. The third benefit is that it makes man give up the animal like habits such is ignorance, ego, pride and selfishness.

Proof of origin through embryo

From the viewpoint of proof of the origin, when an intelligent man thinks over it, he sees that he was a drop of semen, which is detestable. Then the Designer Lord drew a wonderful picture! He formed the heart, liver, brain and all other parts and organs of body. Then see the arrangement of bones from a fluid and that too in a dark and uneven place. In the words of Quran: In three-fold darkness of the umbilical membrane, the womb and the abdomen.

Is it ever possible that all this should happen automatically and without any higher power? Can there be an effect without a cause, a creation without a creator? Reason and intelligence do not accept this. Such a wonderful creation! The more man ponders over his own creation, more he understands and realizes the Might of God.

The second rising must also occur

Regarding the second rising or the Hereafter, after man pays attention, he sees that first he was an embryo. The semen came out of the passage. It contained or it was made up of liquids spread all over the body. It is only by the Might of God that these liquid particles gather in semen. That is why ejaculation makes the whole body sluggish. According to a narration, they once asked the Imam (‘a), “Why is it so that after urination, it is enough purification to wash only the organ and parts to be washed during ablution, whereas ejaculation requires washing of the entire body?” Imam replied, “Particles of semen come from all the parts of the body.”

On another occasion too he (man) was diffused and scattered because semen is obtained from food that man eats. A portion of it also is released in the form of semen. What was his food? Rice, wheat and vegetables, which also were scattered in the earth. These scattered particles got together to form food. They entered the body of the father and then gathered in the form of semen at one place. Thus you have gone through collection and scattering twice during your life. So, after your death also, your body will get scattered and again recollected. Are you astonished at this third occasion?

Does not man see that We have created him from the small seed? (36:77)

In the next verse also He says:

And he strikes out a likeness for Us and forgets his own creation. (36:77) That is, he has forgotten his own creation and therefore, astonishingly asks as to how God will gather or recollect the rotten bones?

Mention of the first and the last condition removes ego The third benefit of mentioning man’s origin is improvement of man himself. He realizes that he is born of a despicable drop. His beginning was dirty and smelly. So will be his corpse, dirty and stinking. Then what is there to be proud of and to be egoistic? One of the reforms that such admonition brings is submission to Almighty God and acceptance of every truth. When he thinks that in the beginning I was merely a drop. What did my Lord do to this drop? He gave eyes and ears.

There surely came over man a period of time when he was a thing not worth mentioning. (76:1) He also provided a tongue, hands and feet. He remembers such great bounties of God and becomes thankful to the One Who granted all this. He should be thankful unless he is blind and deaf and does not understand how great and precious these bounties are. How much submissive you should be to the Lord Who gave so many precious and invaluable bounties to you? One who denies this truth is, first of all, inimical to his own Lord. In fact he is denying God.

Then lo! he is an open disputant.

That is, he is an open enemy. O the one who is unmindful of your own origin! You say, “I am, but there is no God.” How foolish and silly you are! You enter into altercation and hostility! This is because you do not think. Otherwise you will be thankful, not hostile. You must never forget you original and initial weakness so that you may not become a rebel like this.

Your rebellion is because of ignorance, negligence, and unmindfulness. Tafsir Ruhul Bayan has mentioned an Arabic proverb: A fellow didn’t know shooting. I gave him daily lessons. When he was able to shoot, he shot, first of all, me. The one who knew nothing of poetry, when I taught poetry, he first of all, sang in my condemnation.

A third example

I saw a puppy and I brought him home to feed. When it grew up, first of all, it has bitten me! Man’s condition is also like this. He had nothing and God gave him everything. Now he denies God and does not accept the One Who gave him all kinds of bounties and abilities. He believes in his own being but not in God’s existence. He does not accept his responsibility and forgets his connection with God, that is, the eternal self-existence of God. He believes in self-reliance and independence for himself, which in itself is blasphemy, and finally he does not submit to Truth.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Does not man see that We have created him from the small seed? Then lo! he is an open disputant. And he strikes out a likeness for Us and forgets his own creation. Says he: Who will give life to the bones when they are rotten? Say: He will give life to them Who brought them into existence at first, and He is cognizant of all creation, He Who has made for you the fire (to burn) from the green tree, so that with it you kindle (fire). (36:77-80)

Seeing with mind and heart is more important

Did not man see what We created him from? The Arabic word for “see” is “Yara” whose apparent meaning is seeing with the eye, but here it means seeing with the eye of intelligence or mind, because, it is more important and more powerful than seeing with physical eyes. Knowledge gained from physical sources can be faulty and the eye is more likely to err, but knowledge is important. If a thing is seen and it causes or provides knowledge then it is right. Many a time it so happens that there are things before ones eyes but one cannot know about them. You must also have experienced this. You cannot pay attention, because, mind is somewhere else. So, seeing with the eye is of any value only when it results in knowledge and understanding. Eyes cause mistakes in understanding on a number of occasions. When one spins a fireball speedily you see a circle of fire but actually there is only a single fireball. The effect of spinning creates an illusion of a circle of fire.

Thus what is most important is to understand the fact. “Does not man see” means that he has not known or understood the absolute truth, which is higher than physical perception? We created him from semen. Now he is arguing, quarreling and contending with Us! He cites an example and dispersing rotten bones, asks, “Who can enliven these powdered bones?”

Particles of the body are not beyond the knowledge of God

Say: He will give life to them Who brought them into existence at first… (36:79) Meaning that One Who created him first and brought him into existence from non-existence will create once again. Is the second creation more difficult than the first one? On the first occasion, even the particles of bones were not there. If it is said that these particles are scattered at various places, He replies:

…and He is cognizant of all creation… He is more knowledgeable about each and every creation of His. Everything is included in the knowledge of God. In the next verse, He gives a fine description to mention the vastness of His knowledge. Whenever one is astonished, if one is reminded of God’s limitless power, it becomes easy for him to understand. It is wrong for man to try to measure the power of God on the basis of his little knowledge. For your little power it may be difficult to recreate man from dust, but God’s might cannot be measured in this way. He Who created once can create it again.

Fire from vegetation

God creates for you green and dry trees. Water and fire are opposites. But the Mighty Hand of God brought water and fire together at one place without fire destroying water or water destroying fire.

He Who has made for you the fire (to burn) from the green tree, so that with it you kindle (fire). (36:80) Generally commentators have said that here it means trees of Narkh and Afaa, which are found in Arabia. There is a special quality in them, that if two of their pieces are rubbed together they produce fire. They used to serve as matchsticks, as rubbing them together produced fire. …so that with it you kindle (fire).

That is, it becomes your lighter or igniter. In olden days, when there were no matches people used flint stone and these two trees also served as matchsticks. Generally, all trees have water and fire in them. The matter, which causes fire, is there in all. Of course, fire appears after the subjugation of its wetness. It is either dried up or the heat of sun subjugates that wetness or liquidity. Thus what the commentators have said about the Narkh and Afaa trees, is apparently on account of their being lighters of that time. Otherwise, this quality is present in every tree. Thereafter, God reminds, on the whole, of truths about the machinery of heavens (skies) and the earth.

Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like of them? Yea! and He is the Creator (of all), the Knower. (36:81) Cannot the One Who created the grand universe, along with innumerable spheres in space, create their lives (from men)? There are in the space thousands of galaxies. In every galaxy there are thousands of spheres and the distance between them must be measured in terms of light years! O the one whose greatness is seen in the skies. (Supplication)

It is narrated that once Imam Reza (‘a) said, “What God has created on earth is a mere drop when compared with the first sky (heaven). What is in the first sky if compared with the second sky is like a drop in a sea. Such is the truth with regard to the skies upto the seventh one and the Arsh (The Divine Empyrean)…”Can man say how many ants are there in a street? It is mentioned about Baitul Mamoor that God daily creates seventy thousand angels. They come into the said house (Baitul Mamoor) and leave it. This continues constantly in such a way that their next turn will not come until the Day of Judgment. So, God knows everything about His creations.

It is mentioned in Nahjul Balagha: An army of angels is always in a state of standing up and an army in bowing and in army in prostration. A group is constantly weeping due to fear of God. He has created everything and Only He knows His creations and His great friends. Otherwise, it is impossible for others to reckon, count or compute them.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

And he strikes out a likeness for Us and forgets his own creation. Says he: Who will give life to the bones when they are rotten? Say: He will give life to them Who brought them into existence at first, and He is cognizant of all creation, He Who has made for you the fire (to burn) from the green tree, so that with it you kindle (fire). Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like of them? Yea! and He is the Creator (of all), the Knower. (36:78-81)

Man’s decisions are based on limited knowledge

We were discussing about the deniers of Hereafter and the Day of Judgment. Man looks at the machinery of the universe with his short sight and issues statements or decisions. He says, “A man who died has become dust. The dust has got scattered and then transformed into other matters. How can these scattered elements be recollected or gathered again? How can a body be reconstructed? How can it be re-enlivened?” Then he thinks about the Day of Judgment and expresses wonder on Paradise. Today, there are four milliard people. What about their number from the beginning to end? How can so many people be accommodated in Paradise or Hell?

Such vain thoughts make him deny what God says in the Holy Quran. We have said earlier that Ibne Abi Khalaf once came with Abu Jahl, crushed a bone with his hand and scattered its particles saying, “Who will make this alive when it has totally rot and scattered far and wide?” Its reply is only one sentence, “Look at the absolute and limitless powder and might of God.” Unless man does not realize this Might of God, he cannot but express such astonishment. There are three statements about these verses: One, attention to the origin of man’s body. Who brought them into existence at first…

That is One Who created him for the first time. What was his beginning? There was neither bone nor flesh, neither a vein nor skin. One Who constructed man with these things will reconstruct him once again. Dispersion or scattering of particles never takes them out of God’s knowledge. As regards doubts about the eater and the eaten one also, it is said that the original elements are preserved, wherever they may be. …and He is cognizant of all creation,

Second statement:

He Who has made for you the fire (to burn) from the green tree, so that with it you kindle (fire). The maker is the same who devised it in such a manner that the green tree (Afaa) when pressed, water comes out of it. But when its branch is pressed and rubbed with the branch of the Narkh tree, sparks and fire come out. Can He then not make the dead alive again? He can surely reconstruct man from his scattered particles.

Creation of the skies is more wonderful than the creation of man The third statement:

Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like of them? Yea! and He is the Creator (of all), the Knower. Here is a rhetorical question. Would the One Who created heavens and the earth not be able to enliven the dead? The machinery of heavens is much greater than the creation of man and earth and whatever is in it.

Certainly the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of the men, but most people do not know. (40:57) There are innumerable heavenly bodies in the outer space and some of them are millions of times bigger than earth. Only God knows what is therein. They move in a fixed manner and determined distances are maintained between them. There are also millions of galaxies and their orbits. Again every galaxy has millions of suns, some of them being millions of times bigger than our sun, which is one million and three hundred thousand times bigger than our earth.

Light travels at a speed of three thousand kilometers per second and sun’s light takes eight minutes and eighteen seconds to reach earth. How long is the distance? There also are stars so distant that it would take a light year for their light to reach us. For some it would take a hundred light years, some, a thousand light years, some even a million light years just to be seen by us. There are even some stars whose light, since their creation, has not yet reached us yet.

It is said that if a train is sent from earth to reach, say our sun, it would require 350 years to reach there. If they shoot a missile to the sun it would take twelve years to hit there. Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth…

Is not the One Who is the Creator of such huge heavenly bodies, able to make the like of them? Here “them” means “Like man”. Grades of man and substitutes of that which cannot be dissolved Another reason of saying, “the like of them”, according to some researchers, is such that it requires a little foreword. It is that man has stages. His first stage is the material body: Flesh, bones and skin. Another stage is the facsimile body, which is devoid of matter.

The third stage is breathing and the fourth is soul and intelligence. From these, some are in the same first stage, which is always subject to changes. The rest of the stages are invariable. First when man is created, the food that man eats is digested and it assimilates into the body. The food, which is taken, takes its place. When one becomes ill one is unable to digest food and thus one becomes lean and thin. The body gets diluted and it has no substitute. In brief, food turns into blood and the foodstuff reaches every part of the body.

In other words, the body, systematically and regularly, undergoes changes. It gets diluted and is replaced by another thing. Thus this flesh and skin is in a state of constant change. That which grants it unity and synthesis is a soul or a spirit. Souls, intellect and the facsimile body are such that they never change. Rather they inch towards perfection. Our present body is like or similar to the body thirty or forty years ago, it is not ‘the same body’.

What is resurrected is ‘the similar body’ not ‘the body’

When man dies, the body made of flesh and skin turns into dust. But the similar body and its soul and spirit remain as they were. In Qiyamat the body with flesh and skin will appear with changes. The body of Hereafter will be a body that will not have impurities and its requirements. In our present body, if we do not wash and shave for two or three weeks, or if it does not get sleep, if its impurities (excreta etc) are not driven out, it causes illness and trouble. In the body of the Hereafter there will be no such impurities and the body would be refined.

About the refinement of body in Hereafter, Imam Sadiq (‘a) is reported to have said, “The body of a pious man is like gold mixed with dust. To make it arise, come rain. Then those golden particles of a believer’s body get reconstructed and are brought to the Gathering Field.” The body of the Hereafter is like the worldly body, not exactly the worldly body. Hence, as explained earlier, our body of today is ‘like our body’ which was thirty or forty years ago, not exactly that body. Thereafter, the Lord Almighty says:

Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like of them? That is God is able to create similar bodies, though the soul, spirit and mind or intelligence are the same.

Position of the eye and the extra intestine

Yea! and He is the Creator (of all), the Knower. Yes, it is so. God is able and He is very creative (Creator of everything), very wise. Gods being the Creator is in the sense of His innumerable creations, His multiple actions having no limit. The machinery of creation (universe) has no limits. He is Wise. Wisdom is from Him. When you look at this vast machinery, you realize that its Creator is Most Wise. Is the Creator of my body and your body Wise or not? Had the eye been placed on the chest, besides looking ugly, the aim of it would not have been fulfilled. Even if all the intelligent persons join together to construct a better body, it is not possible to do so.

All sensible people agree that there is no fault of any kind in the construction of this body. Nothing is more than necessary in it. So much so that the extension of a tube or intestine, which was, formerly being looked upon as unnecessary, is now considered essential; that is, its existence is necessary to avoid appendicitis. It is not only in excess, but it is also useful.

Is not the God, Whose knowledge and intelligence like this, able to recreate!

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

His command, when He intends anything, is only to say to it: Be, so it is. Therefore glory be to Him in Whose hand is the kingdom of all things, and to Him you shall be brought back. (36:82-83)

Man’s limited ability is in the matter of discovery, not creation

In the foregoing verse, replying to the question of the deniers of Resurrection who used to say, “How a rotten and disintegrated body will be made alive again”, God says, “Why God, Who created heavens and the earth will not be able to create you again?”

In this verse, He describes the reality of His power or might so that man may understand that God is above everything and everyone. Every person who lives in a certain limited place thinks that the outer world (to be faced after death) has also such limits. He is not able to understand the absolute Might and Power of Almighty God. For obtaining agricultural produce, man needs and requires a number of things like tools, insecticides, water and ploughing materials etc. and then he must work with these tools. Look and think of every industry and you will realize that what man does is only employ and arrange the existing things. He is not creating any of them. His abilities are limited. Even for making a wooden board he has to obtain a number of materials. Only then can he prepare a board. Thus, his ability is limited and he cannot create something from nothing. He only reconstructs the available things and that too under certain conditions.

God does not require any time to do or create something

The Might of God is such that He brings into existence, all that which did not exist. His command, when He intends anything, is only to say to it: Be, so it is. (36:82) It is the absolute Might of God that, when He desires something He merely says, ‘Be’ and it is there at once, within no time. This is mentioned in the Holy Quran at several places. The command is to bring into existence. The Arabic “Fa” is a conjunction. When He says, “Be”, it becomes. Of course, what is meant here is not the oral command because commanding is possible only to something, which already exists to obey the command. Amirul Mo-mineen (‘a) says, “The thing, which He desires, comes into existence instantly.” So “say” means desires. In Hereafter also, it is thus. As soon as He desires, the man becomes alive again once, without requiring any time, without needing any means. Man cannot do like this.

In the world of creation stages are in the subject, not in the action Here it needs to be reminded that the action of God in creation is of two types, in the material world and in the super natural world. What is in the world of nature, matter and property, has stages. The stages are in the subject, not in the action. God’s action does not require stages. For the material world, it is necessary, as decided by God, that, for example, seed is planted. After some time it grows. Half of it remains under ground to become base and root and another half comes out of earth to turn into trunk. Again it takes time to bear fruits.

Likewise it requires four months for the embryo to develop into a human body. This is not due to any delay in God’s desire. Rather, His desire is such. It is not that if God wants something it becomes or results after some time. It is His desire that material things must come into being in stages.

Surely We have created everything according to a measure. (54:49) So the original creation of heavens and earth was completed in six ages or periods of time. And certainly We created the heavens and the earth and what is between them in six periods and there touched Us not any fatigue. (50:38) It was the wish of Allah that things should come out in stages and gradually. However, with regard to the world of commands it happens instantly. The palaces available to the Faithful in paradise get constructed instantly. Everything comes into being at once, merely at the will of Allah. The souls are also like that. Thus the divine will, in the case of supernatural things is such. And Our command is but one, as the twinkling of an eye. (54:50)

Qiyamat also is like that. As soon as He wishes, all get up on the their feet.

Sovereignty over everything is the specialty of God

Therefore glory be to Him in Whose hand is the kingdom of all things, and to Him you shall be brought back. (36:83) Holy and defectless is God in Whose Hands is the control of all things. “In His Hands” means in His Power. Power is mentioned as Hand by way of proverbial use. To be in hand means to be able to use. Kingship or rule on every particle among all particles is for God. The kingdom and rule of Only One God is established over all the parts and particles of the universe.

….my Lord and your Lord; there is no living creature but He holds it by its forelock… (11:56) That is the rein of every affair and everyone is in His power.

Some have also said that “kingdom” means inner control; meaning the reality and real life of every being is in the powerful hands of God. His “kingdom” is forever. Every open and secret thing is under His Power. The existence and standing of everything is with God. So long as God wished the “kingdom” remains or exists. When He would wish that it should not remain existent, all and everything would vanish.

The best news for the faithful is his return to God

…and to Him you shall be brought back. (36:83) The return is to God. And Allah’s is the unseen in the heavens and the earth, and to Him is returned the whole of the affair; (11:123) This is mentioned at several places in Quran. For a believer this is the best of good tidings just as it is the worst and most frightening warning for the unbeliever.

O Believer! Your return is to the Most Kind and the Most Rewarding Allah. O oppressor! Your return too is to the wrathful and revenging God. So, O believers! Come with enthusiasm and do your deeds for God, as you are to return only to Him. O oppressors, tyrants, and despots! You also are warned. Repent over your misdeeds and compensate for the past because your return also is to Him. Do not be forgetful of God. But, generally such admonitions do not move a proud person. Arrogance has destroyed him and he is not afraid of anything.


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