Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)
Chapter 2, Verse 38
We said, ‘Get out, all of you! But when guidance comes from Me, as it certainly will, there will be no fear for those who follow My guidance nor will they grieve- (Chapter 2: Verse 38)
In this verse, God used the plural form 'all of you’ to address Adam, why? In order to understand this point we must examine the following verse:
We created you, We gave you shape, and then We said to the angels, ‘Bow down before Adam,’ and they did. But not Iblis: he was not one of those who bowed down. (7:11)
In this verse, the words 'you' are addressed in the plural form because God wants to direct our attention to the fact that the entire progeny of Adam was created within him at the time of creation........Does that mean that you and I existed within Adam at that moment? The answer is simply Yes. That is why God used the plural form addressing entire mankind until the day of resurrection.
Here is another verse we should pause and ponder.
He said, ‘Get down both of you from it, all together, being enemies of one another! Yet, should any guidance come to you from Me, those who follow My guidance will not go astray, nor will they be miserable (20:123).
The first command in this verse came in the dual form 'both of you.' Then came the phrase 'all together'. How can this be? We answer that the first command 'both of you' signifies the presence of two camps; two sides opposing each other: The side of Adam and his righteous followers, supported by God's message; and the side of Satan and his misguided followers. Allah wants to draw your attention to the fact that His message and curriculum on earth began their mission from day one. While there are two camps on earth, that of God and that of Satan, each one of us has individual responsibility, duty, and will be accountable for his or her actions as an individual.
All the verses above signify the fact that Adam's descent and mission on earth is related to faith, religion, and their application. This is clear in the phrase ‘but when guidance comes from Me as it certainly will.’ Even before Adam and Eve descended to earth, Allah had taught them the words of repentance and guided them back towards the correct path. Guidance is of two types: On one hand, it means to direct a person towards good and the path leading to it. And on the other hand, it means to assist those already on the right path to quickly achieve their goal and gain a higher rank closer to Allah. The 38th verse of 'The Cow' is an example of the first type of guidance as God is promising to show mankind the right path and the best way to paradise. The following verse is an example of the 2nd type of guidance as Allah assists those on His path towards greater good. He says:
And those who attained the right path - Allah increases the guidance for them and bestows their piety to them. (47:17)
Now we come to the last part of the verse as God says: ' there will be no fear for those who follow My guidance nor will they grieve '..........So what is fear and what is grief? Fear is to suspect the coming of harm and evil without having the ability to stop it, thus you feel alarmed, worried and fearful. Grief, on the other hand, is the loss of what is dear to you; sadness over a missed opportunity of benefit and gain.
Let's take them one by one. Allah is telling you that if you follow the path of faith which He outlined for you and revealed in His religion, then there is nothing to fear. You will have no worry as Allah has guaranteed the outcome and reward of your hard work. No one can supersede or change God's judgment. So when you live life according to the teachings of your creator, you will have nothing to fear. Let's take an example of our social and civil life. A person who obeys the law, leads an honest life, and does not commit any crime or wrong anyone never feels fearful. A criminal on the other hand is always worried, looking over his shoulder lest he or she is exposed. A criminal is always fearful about the unpredictable consequences of the crime, and lives in constant state of grief about missed opportunities. Similarly, when you live your life according to God's teachings, you would have no fear about the consequences of your actions. When you avoid sin, you avoid the fear of punishment, and if you happen to weaken for a moment and make a mistake, you can always repent to Allah, and enjoy His limitless mercy and forgiveness. More importantly, if you fall on hard times, or have trouble in your life which you have no control over, you always have God in mind. He wants the best for you; and even if you do not understand the wisdom behind bad events in your life, you have full faith in your creator, His wisdom, and love for you. God's remembrance and company brings calm and tranquillity to the troubled heart. Allah says:
those who have faith and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of God- truly it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find peace- (13:28)
Now that we covered fear, let's turn to grief and sorrow. God says ‘Nor will they grieve.’ A true believer feels one with the universe at all time. A believer surrenders his or her will to God and knows that whatever happens in life -regardless of how it may appear- will be for the ultimate good in this life and the next. The entire universe functions according to God's will. A true believer also lives a life consistent with God's teachings. Thus he or she feels content and lives in harmony with the world around. The universe embraces the one who, just like it, spends his or her time in God's praise, remembrance and in prayer. A person with this type of bond with his or her creator, with this kind of content in his or her heart can deal with any adversity in peace and greets all life events with gratitude to Allah regardless of the nature of these events. All true good and all blessings are within God's path.
"I praise You my Lord for You judgements and whatever You have destined. The praise of satisfaction for Your judgements and certainty in Your wisdoms"
Here is the natural question to ask. Does all this mean that a true believer is always happy? The answer is simply: No. We are human, any person will react to events and circumstances in his or her life. There is a difference, however, between reacting to the circumstances alone, and reacting to events while keeping God and His wisdom behind these events in mind. Let's take the example of our beloved Prophet Muhammad who taught us this distinction when He (peace be upon him) said: "The eye weeps and the heart grieves. We say nothing except what pleases our Lord. O' My son Ibrahim, we are grieved at your departure." Each one of us should take pause and examine the state of faith of Prophet Muhammad under the worst situation imaginable -the loss of his beloved son-. The eye naturally weeps, and the heart does not remain hard like a stone, rather it feels pain, sorrow and compassion. At the same time, the whole being submits to God and values His wisdom and will.
Allah is the source of strength and tranquillity. He does not want you to encounter adversities with grief alone; He wants you to accompany grief with faith. God respects your human nature and does not stop you from feeling pain and sadness. At the same time, He gives you the tools of faith to see the events in your life from a greater perspective. When you go to an orthopaedic surgeon after an accident. He or she may purposefully break one of your bones in order to correctly re-align it and allow your body to heal faster. Is the surgeon doing good or bad? Obviously, when you see the whole picture, he is doing what is right for your body even though this may cause you pain.