I find this chapter to be very beautiful and thought provoking. It is full of powerful warnings that really get deep inside of you and move you to the point that you would never dare let yourself go down the path of wrongdoing.
It is also full of reminders of how God wants you to be on this earth as a human being. The chapter never fails to conflate belief with good deeds and disbelief with bad deeds, to the point where you realize that belief alone is not enough in the eyes of the creator just as disbelief alone is not disbelief if it is not accompanied by wrong deeds.
Belief and good deeds go in hand in hand, just as disbelief and bad deeds go hand in hand.
This chapter carries much of the Koranic essence, that is to say, the essence of the Koran that carries with it the message that you are responsible for your own actions and that you will ultimately be judged by them, that your ultimate judgement only stems from what you did. This chapter truly brings to life the old saying, “you reap what you sow.”
Let us take for example, the verse that speaks about Pharaoh and the punishment that he received :
“And Allah would not have wronged them, but it was they who were wronging themselves” (29:40)
A clear example of being held responsible for ones own actions. In the case of Pharaoh, we know what his actions were, and they were the actions of a tyrant. Pharaoh was a man who held an entire people in slavery, among many other things.
For us, the reminder is good one. If you need a reminder of Koranic Karma, then look no further than the chapter of the spider. This verse explains it in chilling detail :
“Or do those who do evil deeds think they can outrun Us? Evil is what they judge” (29:4)
Now, we will examine the words of this chapter in detail.
“Arrogance, evil, hypocrisy, corruption, immorality, falsehood.”
These are the words that this chapter uses along with disbelief. So clearly, disbelief is deeply connected to arrogance, lying, evil, hypocrisy, corruption, immorality, and falsehood. In the case of Pharaoh, he stretched these words to the extreme.
We can ask ourselves the question also. To what degree are we stretching these words in our own lives?
But allow us to take it a step further. Can one truly be a believer if one is arrogant? No, one cannot be. Why? One answer could be because God does not ask for arrogance from us. However, this answer alone is insufficient.
So, why is it that you cannot truly be a believer if you are arrogant? Because if you are arrogant, you are ascribing a partner to Allah. And what is this partner that you are ascribing called? It is simply called arrogance.
With this in mind, it becomes clear why arrogance, evil, hypocrisy, corruption, immorality, and falsehood go hand in hand with disbelief and thus we then know why disbelief is in fact, disbelief, because disbelief means ascribing partners to Allah.
The definition of the partner called arrogance is “having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities.”
By contrast, the Koran asks for humility. Since God asks for humility, humility is not a partner and is in fact one of the qualities that is necessary for belief in God. You can see arrogance as the partner that gets in the way of belief, and humility as the quality that is essential to belief.
The definition of this quality is “a modest or low view of one’s own importance.”
Moving on, take a look at the world today. War, poverty, pollution. Are these not the results of men who are arrogant, hypocritical, immoral?
What runs the world today? Money. Money equals power. These men worship money, and they are blinded by their own greed. The worlds number one industry is the weapon industry. What does the weapon industry need to exist? It needs war. All this leads to the deaths of millions of people. But you see, when you worship money, you will do anything to keep on making it, even at the cost of so many human lives.
These partners that live inside of us can really lead us astray, and cause immeasurable suffering, both on ourselves and on others. They lead to the fire, the fire that the Koran so repeatedly makes reference to. The fire that burns on the inside, and the fire that burns on the outside. The fires that consume this world, because of the fires that are burning inside of men. This is why the Koran so heavily warns us against worshiping anything else besides Allah.
(Let us also remind ourselves that since the Koran dealt with the most serious issues of it’s time, it is only right that we use it to deal with the most serious issues of our time, if we wish to bring about true justice).
“Then in falsehood do they believe, and in the favor of Allah they disbelieve?” (29:67)
Indeed, in falsehood do these people believe.
So as we can see, interestingly enough, disbelief is actually a belief, but it is a belief in falsehood, arrogance, evil, immorality, corruption, and hypocrisy. It is so much deeper than simply saying, “I disbelieve.”
Disbelief, according to the Koran, is only evident by your actions. Just ask Pharaoh.
The same goes with belief.
Truth, hope, righteousness, goodness, gratefulness, consciousness, observation, reason, knowledge, remembrance, prayer, argumentation, work, patience, reliance, jihad (to struggle, to strive).
These are the words that this chapter uses along with belief. Just as disbelief is deeply connected to a state of being and to actions, so is belief connected to a state of being and to actions.
So take a step back and reflect on the words that are interconnected with belief. They are indeed beautiful words, and they are what is needed in order for us to be true believers. They are what is needed, because, just like disbelief, belief, according to the Koran, is only evident by your actions and what you put into your life. Belief alone is not enough, because belief alone carries no weight, and is meaningless. Words alone mean nothing if they are not followed up by actions.
Just like the old saying goes, “If your gonna talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk.”
This chapter has something very heavy to say about the fact that belief alone is not enough. This is the second verse of the chapter, and it really sets the tone for the rest that is to come :
Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried? (29:2)
There it is! The words explicitly tell us that we cannot just sit on our behinds and proclaim that we believe.
Because in the midst life, life that is trying, life that is intense, and life that is all and everything that we have ever known, belief is to strive, to struggle, to observe, to use our reason, to seek knowledge, to work, to be truthful and to have hope, to hold fast to righteousness and goodness, to rely on god and to be grateful to god, to be conscious of god and to remember god in prayer, to argue in a way that is best (29:46), and to have patience.
Moving on, why are these words so interconnected with and so essential to our belief, our belief of “La illaha ilallah?” And why is our belief of “No God but God” the most important part of our faith?
I will say it simply. Truth is belief, because God asks for it from us and it thus becomes a quality of God, and not a partner that one can worship besides God. How can one worship truth besides God, when God is truth?
Hope is belief, because God asks for it from us and it thus becomes a quality of God, and not something that we can worship besides God. How can one worship hope besides God, when God is hope?
Goodness is belief, because God asks for it from us and it thus becomes a quality of God, and not a partner that one can worship besides God. How can one worship goodness besides God, when God is goodness?
This is why we repeat this line in our prayers at least 17 times a day : “You alone do we worship.” (1:5)
Know this, and take it with you, for surely :
“Prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing” (29:45)
This is why we pray, and this why we worship! To stay away from all of the partners that are mentioned in this chapter, and to become one with the qualities of God, the qualities that can never lead us astray.
What happens when you worship truth, hope, and goodness? What happens is that you worship no God but God. What happens when you worship no God but God? Falsehood, arrogance, and evil cannot be worshiped alongside God, and thus, they are left to wither away in the dust. What is left standing, is all that is good, and when all that is good is left standing, then, peace starts to appear.
When peace starts to appear, paradise also starts to appear, and when paradise starts to appear inside of your heart, that paradise is then reflected outwards into the world, and thus, the world becomes a better place, and when the world starts to become a better place, only then will you have fulfilled your role as a true believer of the one and only lord of all the worlds, Allah.
“And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our paths. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good” (29:69)
It is all there, in the sacred words of this verse, the final verse of the chapter of the spider. No matter who you are or what your faith is, know that God is with those who do good, and if you struggle for a righteous cause, then God will surely guide you to one of his many paths. For in the end, all rivers end up in the same ocean.
To conclude, it is not only by knowing what you should do that you truly know what you should do. It is also by knowing what you shouldn’t do that you know what you should do, and this chapter gracefully lays out for us all of these examples so that we may understand.
Thank you for reading, dear friends 🙂 And do not forget to go and read the chapter for yourselves!
God bless, and stay free