Syed Jawed Anwar
Allah mentions punishment and reason of punishment of Bani Israel (sons of Israel):
“And recall when a party of them said, 'Why do you admonish a people whom Allah is about to destroy or punish severely?' They said, 'We admonish them in order to be able to offer an excuse before Your Lord and in the hope that they will guard against disobedience.’ Then, when they forgot what they had been exhorted, We delivered those who forbade evil and afflicted the wrong-doers with a grievous chastisement because of their evildoing. And when they persisted in pursuing that which had been forbidden, We said, 'Become despised apes’” (Qur’an 7: 164-166).
Abdul A’ala Maududi explains, “This shows that the people in that town were of three categories. One, those who flagrantly violated God's commands. Two, those who were silent spectators to such violations and discouraged those who admonished the criminals, pleading that their efforts were fruitless. Three, those who, moved by their religious commitment, actively enjoined good and forbade evil so that the evil-doers might make amends. In so doing, they were prompted by, a sense of duty, to bring back the evil-doers to the right path, and if the latter did not respond to their call, they would at least be able to establish before their Lord that for their part they had fulfilled their duty to admonish the evil-doers. So, when the town was struck by God's punishment, only the people belonging to the last category were spared for they had displayed God-consciousness and performed the duties incumbent upon them. As for the people of the other two categories, they were reckoned as transgressors and were punished in proportion to their crimes” (Towards Understanding the Qur’an by Syed Maududi, Surah Al A’araf n 125).
We must all enjoin that which is good and forbid that which is evil, Ø§Ù…Ø± Ø¨Ø§Ù„Ù…Ø¹Ø±ÙˆÙ Ùˆ Ù†ÛÛŒ Ø¹Ù†ÛŒ Ø§Ù„Ù…Ù†Ú©Ø± so that we may attain the pleasure of Allah and His Paradise; otherwise, there will be a severe punishment.
It is a limited-time opportunity. Animals (beasts) will rise up from this earth to do this task. And that will be the end of this time.
“And when the time for the fulfilment of Our Word against them will come, We shall bring forth for them a beast from the earth who will speak to them because people did not believe in Our Signs” (Qur’an 27: 82).
“According to Ibn Umar, this will happen when there remains no one in the world to command the people to do good and forbid them to do evil. Ibn Marduyah has reported a Hadith on the authority of Abu Said Khudri, according to which the latter heard the same thing from the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself. This shows that when man gives up the duty of exhorting others to do good and forbidding them to do evil, Allah will bring forth a beast to serve as the final warning just before Resurrection. This, however, is not clear whether it will be just one beast, or a particular species of beasts, who will spread all over the earth. The words daabbat-an-min-al-ard might contain both the meanings. In any case, what it will say will be: “The people did not believe in Allah’s revelations in which Resurrection was foretold. Now the same Resurrection is about to come; let everyone know that what Allah said was true.” The sentence, “The people did not believe in Our Revelations”, is either a part of the beast’s own speech, or Allah’s narration of its words. If these are its own words, the word “Our” will be understood in the style of an official who speaks on behalf of his government and not on his personal behalf. In the second case, since Allah is narrating the beast’s words, He has used “Our Revelations” in the normal sense.
As regards the beast’s speaking to human beings in a human language, this will be a manifestation of the power of Allah who can give the power of speech to anything He pleases. He will give this power only to a beast before the event of Resurrection, but when Resurrection will have taken place, each limb of man, his ears, his eyes, even his skin, will speak out and give evidence in the court of Allah, as has been clearly stated (Ha-Mim As-Sajdah: Ayats 20- 21): “Then, when all will have reached there, their ears and their eyes and their very skins will bear witness against them concerning what they had been doing in the world. They will say to their skins, “Why have you borne witness against us?” They will reply, “The same God who has given speech to everything has given us speech” (Towards Understanding the Qur’an by Syed Maududi, Surah An-Naml note 101).
Methodology of Enjoining Good, Forbidding Evil
“(O Prophet), call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and reason with them in the best manner possible. Surely your Lord knows best who has strayed away from His path, and He also knows well those who are guided to the Right Way” (Qur’an 16: 125).
“(O Muhammad)! Repel evil in the best manner. We are well aware of all that they say about you” (Qur’an 23: 96).
“And speak to him gently, perhaps he may take heed or fear (Allah)" (Qur’an 20: 44).
“Had your Lord so willed, all those who are on the earth would have believed. Will you, then, force people into believing?” (Qur’an 10: 99).
“(O Prophet), good and evil are not equal. Repel (evil) with that which is good, and you will see that he, between whom and you there was enmity, shall become as if he were a bosom friend (of yours)” (Qur’an 41: 34-35).
Syed Jawed Anwar can be reached at email@example.com