ءَأَمِنتُم مَّن فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ يَخْسِفَ بِكُمُٱ لْأَرْضَ فَإِذَا هِىَ تَمُورُ
Allāh says: Do you feel secure that the One in Heaven is not goingto cause the Earth to swallow you as it suddenly sways side to side?
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In the previous verse, we talked about how immense of a blessing it is that Allāh has made the Earth a suitable place forus to live and carry out our daily activities. Allāh has made the Earth subservient to us, stable for us, and suitable for us. It is so important for us to recognize this as a blessing from Allāh because only when we recognize and acknowledge our blessings can we be truly grateful for them.
And it is through our gratitude that we increase our blessings and protect ourselves from the horrendous punishment of having our blessings stripped away from us, and even worse, what is to come in the Hereafter as a result of ingratitude. In particular, we discussed a speciﬁc angle of gratitudewhich is realizing that, Allāh did not have to bless us in this manner. He could have done whatever else He wanted. He could have made the Earth unbearable for us; constantly shaking, unstable, volcanic everywhere, anything you can think of that would make simple life on Earth a challenge.
In this verse, Allāh is giving us a speciﬁc exampleof what He could have so easily done, but out of His immense and expansivemercy and grace, decided not to do. He tells us — Allāh could, in an instant, easily,without any hesitation, create a caving in of the Earth. Wherein anyone who walks upon would sink down intothe ground and eventually be swallowed up by the Earth.
Again we are presented with somewhat of a rhetorical question. A question that is asked, not necessarily to get an answer, but rather to prove a point. No one should feel safe from such a thing, because Allāh can do it whenever He wants — easily, readily, effortlessly.
This concept is similar to the verse in Sūrah al-Wāqiʿah that we discussed in the last video, wherein Allāh says: If we had wanted, we would have made water salty, bitter, an unbearable to drink — so why aren’t you grateful?
Allāh is reminding us to not take our blessings for granted. Things could have so easily been different. Water could have been made bitter, the Earth could have been made unstable. And even though they are not that way right now, there is no guarantee that Allāh will not change that in the future.
Allāh tells us a short, one-line story in Sūrah al-Naḥl, about a community that had all these blessings, but because they were ungrateful, Allāh took those blessings away from them. Allāh presents an example of a community that was safe, at ease, with its provisions coming to them abundantly fromevery direction. Then, they were ungrateful for the blessingsof Allāh , so Allāh made them taste a garment, an envelopment of hunger and fear because of what they used to do. Here too we are taught the utter importance of gratitude to Allāh for all the blessings that we have
Gratitude is how we harness down our blessings, how we keep them, how we make them grow. Ingratitude, on the other hand, may lead to those blessings being stripped away from us. So do not feel self-assured that the stable nature of this Earth is a guarantee. It wasn’t always like this, and it doesn’t always have to be like this. But one thing that we can do to protect ourselves from having this blessing stripped away from us, is be grateful for this amazing blessing. A blessing that we simply cannot imagine life without. A blessing that is constantly there, that is constantly manifesting itself. A blessing whose beneﬁts we cannot even begin to fully grasp.
So, the main idea behind this verse — be grateful, do not take your blessings for granted, our blessings are not guaranteed. Two other quick side points on this video: 1) What does مَّن فِىٱلسَّمَآءِ Who is in Heaven, mean, and 2) What does khasf, the swallowingof the Earth, mean?
In regards to the ﬁrst point, commentators have discussed what this could possibly mean, because among Allāh’s attributes and characteristics is that He is beyond time and space. He does not have a physical location, like physically “in Heaven.” Some commentators have mentioned that although Allāh is not physically in Heaven, His decree descends down from the Heavens. His management of the universe, His authority, His might. Are you self-assured that Allāh’s decree that is in the Heavens will not cause the Earth to swallow you?
Other commentators state that it is Allāh’s Throne and Dominion that is in the Heavens. Are you self-assured that the One whose Throne and Dominion are in the Heavens, etc. And this is not to say that Allāh’s dominion and authority do not exist outside of Heaven, but rather Heaven is stated as the place of these things in order to distinguish something so high and lofty from what which takes place on Earth.
Yet other commentators state that the word samāʾ doesnot mean “Heaven” here in terms of a physical location, but rather the linguistic meaning of samāʿ, which is something high, lofty, and grand. Are you self-assured from the One who is all-high, all-mighty, all-lofty, etc.
Some other commentators say that this“ ﻣﱠﻦ ” isnotreferringto Allāh at all, but rather it is referring to the angels as a whole, or speciﬁcally Jibrīl. So, there is some dierence of opinion on this issue, but we can still beneﬁt from the verse as a general matter withoutgetting into the speciﬁcs.
The next sidepoint is — what is khasf? What is this swallowing of the Earth? This verse speciﬁcally states that Allāh could causethe Earth to shake, to quake, and at that moment, whatever is upon the Earth would sink into it, go underground, and be swallowed by the Earth. This concept of the Earth swallowing whatever is upon it comes up multiple times in Islamic literature. Most famously it comes up in the Quran as the punishment for Qārūn, one of the arrogant and ungrateful individuals from the community of Mūsā . It also comes in the ḥadīth literature as a prophecy describing the punishment of a people who will attempt to raid and storm the Kaʿbah, but the Earth will swallow them before they are able to do so. And this concept comes up yet again as one of the major signs of the Day of Judgement, along with other major signs like the rising of the sun from the West, the Fire that will gather all of humanity together. Another of the major signs of the Day of Judgement are 3 major swallowings of the Earth that will take place; this khasf will happen three times, and that is a major sign of the Day of Judgement.
So this concept of khasf is relatively prevalent and familiar in this dīn; we do not know its reality other than that whatever is upon the Earth will sink into the Earth, and the Earth willthen swallow it.
May Allāh help us to be grateful to Him and show ourgratitude to Him in a manner that He is deserving, and may He protect us from having our blessings stripped away from us and punishing us for our shortcomings.