The World is like Water – Imam al-Qurtubi [d. 671 AH]

Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, says:

Tell them, too, what the life of this world is like: We send water down from the skies and the Earth’s vegetation absorbs it, but soon the plants turn to dry stubble scattered about by the wind: God has power over everything.” [Sūrah al-Kahf 18:45]

Commentary:


Imām Al-Qurṭubī says that Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, compares the world to water for five reasons:

  1. Water does not settle in any location, similarly this world does not remain with one person for life.
  2. Water does not remain in a single state, similarly this world is constantly changing.
  3. Water does not last, it disappears after some time, similarly this world disappears sooner or later.
  4. No one can enter water without getting wet; similarly anyone who enters this world will not be safe from its trials and tribulations.
  5. In certain limited amounts water is beneficial and causes plants to grow. But if it surpasses the beneficial amount it becomes harmful and destructive. Similarly, taking what is sufficient from this world is beneficial, while taking excess can be harmful.

Will I be punished even if I believe in the Divine?

hopeThe answer can be found in the following verse of the Qur’an, Surah an-Nisā 4:147, in which Allah says:

{ مَّا يَفْعَلُ ٱللَّهُ بِعَذَابِكُمْ إِن شَكَرْتُمْ وَآمَنْتُمْ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ شَاكِراً عَلِيماً }

Why would God punish you if you are thankful and believe? God is ever Thankful, Knowing.

Imam al-Qushayrī [d.376 AH] comments:

This verse is among the verses which engenders beautiful hopefulness and powerful optimism because He has made two things: “Thankfulness” (Shukr) and “Belief” (Īmān), among the signs of protection (amān) in what is to come; and these are easy and light qualities…

It is said that if you are thankful and believe, you confirm the truth that your salvation is through God, not because of your thankfulness or your belief.

It is said, Allah is thankful to his servant because He knows his weakness, and it is said He is thankful to him because He knows that his servant is not disobedient and that his aim is not to oppose His Lord. Rather, he sins because of the overwhelming cravings that are among the states of being human.

It is said [the servant] is thankful to Him because he knows in the state of his sins that he has a Lord who pardons him.

[Latā’if al-Ishārāt [Subtleties of the Allusions] by Imām Abu’l-Qāsim al-Qushayrī].

If you look for the words “most people” in the Qur’an, you will find that most of mankind:

 “do not know” [7:187],
“do not give thanks” [2:243]
“do not believe” [11:17].
“defiantly disobedient” [5:59],
“ignorant” [6:111],
“turning away” [21:24],
“do not reason” [29:23], and
“do not listen” [8:21].

So be of the “few”, whom Allah says about them:

“And few of My servants are grateful.” (34:13)
“But none had believed with him, except a few.” (11:40)

May Allah forgive us all and make us amongst those who believe and are thankful.