Quranic Terminology: Al-Hasana & Al-Sayye'a

آحمد صبحي منصور في الجمعة 10 يناير 2020


Quranic Terminology: Al-Hasana & Al-Sayye'a

 

 

Published in January 7, 2020

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

 

 

Introduction:

 The Quranic terms Al-Hasana (pl.: Hasanat) & Al-Sayye'a (pl.: Sayye'at); literally, "the good thing(s)" and "the bad thing(s)", respectively, are employed in the contexts of tests of prosperity/adversity imposed by the Lord God on human beings and also in the contexts of good/bad deeds and their outcome in this transient world and in the Hereafter.

 

Firstly: in the contexts of tests of prosperity/adversity:

1- This is about this tests imposed by Fate preordained by the Lord God: "...And We tested them with fortunes and misfortunes, so that they may return." (7:168).

2- The Quranic terms (man) & (human being) refer only to sinners and disobedient ones who form the majority of humanity in all eras who fail the tests of prosperity/goodness/bounties and adversity/ordeals/hardships: "If We give the human being a taste of mercy from Us, and then withdraw it from him, he becomes despairing and disbelieving. And if We give him a taste of prosperity, after some adversity has afflicted him, he will say, “Troubles have gone away from me.” He becomes excited and proud. Except those who are patient and do good deeds - these will have forgiveness and a great reward." (11:9-11).

3- The nations destroyed/smitten by the Lord God also failed the tests of prosperity/adversity: "We did not send any prophet to any town but We afflicted its people with misery and adversity, so that they may humble themselves. Then We substituted prosperity in place of hardship. Until they increased in number, and said, “Adversity and prosperity has touched our ancestors.” Then We seized them suddenly, while they were unaware." (7:94-95).

4- This is exemplified by Moses' Pharaoh and his people: "When something good came their way, they said, “This is ours.” And when something bad happened to them, they ascribed the evil omen to Moses and those with him. In fact, their omen is with God, but most of them do not know." (7:131).

5- Some sinners were very haughty and arrogant; they mockingly demanded from their prophets to invoke the Lord God to inflict torment or adversity on them.

5/1: The prophet Saleh said the following to his people of Thamood: " He said, “O my people, why are you quick to demand adversity rather than goodness? If only you would seek God’s forgiveness, so that you may be shown mercy.”" (27:46).

5/2: The same stance was adopted by the disbelievers of Qorayish when they addressed Muhammad as they never heeded the warnings expressed in the Quranic stories of ancient nations: "And they urge you to hasten adversity before goodness, though examples have passed away before them..." (13:6).

6- Of course, adversity or hardships are sometimes inflicted by the Lord God as punishment for disobedient sinners: "Whatever misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned; and yet He pardons much." (42:30). Hence, prosperity/bounties come within the grace of the Lord God, whereas hardships/ordeals are inflicted by Him because of sins committed. This, by the way, applies to Muhammad himself; the Lord God has told him the following: "Whatever good happens to you is from God, and whatever bad happens to you is from your own self..." (4:79).   

7- The disbelieving hypocrites among contemporaries/companions of Muhammad never understood this; the Lord God has mentioned in the Quran that they misinterpreted the tests of adversity/prosperity.

7/1: "If something good happens to you, it upsets them; and if a calamity befalls you, they say, “We took our precautions in advance,” and they depart, happy." (9:50).

7/2: "If something good happens to you, it upsets them; but if something bad befalls you, they rejoice at it. But if you persevere and maintain righteousness, their schemes will not harm you at all. God comprehends what they do." (3:120).

7/3: "Wherever you may be, death will catch up with you, even if you were in fortified towers. When a good fortune comes their way, they say, “This is from God.” But when a misfortune befalls them, they say, “This is from you.” Say, “All is from God.” So what is the matter with these people, that they hardly understand a thing?" (4:78).

 

Secondly: in the contexts of good/bad deeds and their outcome in this world and the next one:

1- This is about good deeds and their outcome on the Resurrection Day: "God does not commit an atom's weight of injustice; and if there is a good deed, He doubles it, and gives from His Presence a sublime compensation." (4:40).

2- Here is a comparison between good deeds and evil, bad ones in this transient world: "Whoever intercedes for a good cause has a share in it, and whoever intercedes for an evil cause shares in its burdens. God keeps watch over everything." (4:85).

3- Good deeds are recompensed by the Lord God and bad ones are punished by Him in this world: "Say, “O My devotees who have believed, keep your duty to your Lord. For those who do good in this world, is goodness..." (39:10); "If you work righteousness, you work righteousness for yourselves; and if you commit evil, you do so against yourselves..." (17:7).

4- Of course, good/bad deeds have good/bad results in the Hereafter either in Paradise or Hell: "Whoever brings a good deed will receive better than it. But whoever brings bad deeds - the evildoers will be rewarded only according to what they used to do." (28:84).

5- The following verses are about Paradise as the outcome for doers of good deeds.

5/1: "Whoever brings a good deed will receive better than it - and they will be safe from the horrors of that Day." (27:89).

5/2: "And it will be said to those who maintained piety, “What has your Lord revealed?” They will say, “Goodness.” To those who do good in this world is goodness, and the Home of the Hereafter is even better. How wonderful is the residence of the pious." (16:30).

5/3: "Those who emigrate for God’s sake after being persecuted, We will settle them in a good place in this world; but the reward of the Hereafter is greater, if they only knew." (16:41).

5/4: This is about Abraham: "And We gave him goodness in this world, and in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous." (16:122).

6- Polytheists/disbelievers will find that in the Hereafter, their good deeds are rendered null and void and their fate is Hell for eternity: "As for those who have earned evil deeds: a reward of similar evil, and shame will cover them. They will have no defense against God - as if their faces are covered with dark patches of night. These are the inmates of the Fire, abiding therein forever." (10:27).

7- Those who died as pious monotheists will be forgiven by the Lord God Who will increase their good deeds and pardon their sins; their fate is Paradise forever.

7/1: "That is the good news God gives to His servants who believe and do good deeds...Whoever does a good deed, We will increase its goodness for him. God is Forgiving and Appreciative." (42:23).

7/2: "Those are they from whom We accept the best of their deeds, and We overlook their misdeeds, among the dwellers of Paradise - the promise of truth which they are promised." (46:16).

8- We see here the comparison between Paradise dwellers and Hell dwellers.

8/1: "Whoever brings a virtue will receive better than it. But whoever brings evil - the evildoers will be rewarded only according to what they used to do." (28:84).

8/2: "Whoever comes up with a good deed will have ten times its like; and whoever comes up with an evil deed will be repaid only with its equivalent - they will not be wronged." (6:160).

9- This is why pious monotheists during their lifetime perform the following.

9/1: They supplicate to their Lord God for goodness in this world and in the Hereafter.

9/1/1: "And among them is he who says, “Our Lord, give us goodness in this world, and goodness in the Hereafter, and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”" (2:201).

9/1/2: "“And inscribe for us goodness in this world, and in the Hereafter. We have turned to You.”..." (7:156).

9/2: They perform many good deeds to cover and atone for bad deeds or sins.

9/2/1: "These will be given their reward twice, because they persevered; and they counter evil with good; and from Our provisions to them, they give." (28:54).

9/2/2: "And those who patiently seek the presence of their Lord, and pray regularly, and spend from Our provisions to them, secretly and openly, and repel evil with good. These will have the Ultimate Home." (13:22).

9/2/3: "Perform prayers at the borders of the day, and during the approaches of the night. The good deeds take away the bad deeds. This is a reminder for those who remember." (11:114).

9/2/4: "Those who believe and do righteous deeds - We will remit their sins, and We will reward them according to the best of what they used to do." (29:7).

9/2/5: "He will admit the believers, male and female, into Gardens beneath which rivers flow, to abide therein forever, and He will remit their sins. That, with God, is a great triumph." (48:5).

9/2/6: "The Day when He gathers you...Whoever believes in God and acts with integrity, He will remit his misdeeds, and will admit him into gardens beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme achievement." (64:9).

9/2/7: "While those who believe, and work righteousness, and believe in what was sent down to Muhammad - and it is the truth from their Lord - He remits their sins, and relieves their concerns." (47:2).

10- This is linked, of course, to sincere repentance accompanied by performing many good deeds for the sake of atonement. 

10/1: "Except for those who repent, and believe, and do good deeds. These - God will replace their bad deeds with good deeds. God is ever Forgiving and Merciful." (25:70).

10/2: "O you who believe! Repent to God with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remit your sins, and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow, on the Day when God will not disappoint the prophet and those who believed with him. Their light streaming before them, and to their right, they will say, “Our Lord, complete our light for us, and forgive us; You are capable of all things.”" (66:8).

10/3: "As for those who commit sins, and then repent afterwards and believe - your Lord, thereafter, is Forgiving and Merciful." (7:153).

10/4: "It is He who accepts the repentance of His worshipers, and remits the sins, and knows what you do." (42:25).

11- In addition, we should bear the following points in mind.

11/1: Repentance should be done as early as possible so that one's remainder of lifetime should be dedicated to performing many good deeds: "But repentance is not available for those who commit evils, until when death approaches one of them, he says, “Now I repent,” nor for those who die as disbelievers. These - We have prepared for them a painful tor" (4:18).

11/2: Grave sins must be avoided: "If you avoid the worst of what you are forbidden, We will remit your sins, and admit you by a Gate of Honor." (4:31).

11/3: One should adhere to piety within guidance of the Quranic Light.

11/3/1: "O you who believe! If you remain conscious of God, He will give you a criterion, and will remit from you your sins, and will forgive you. God is possessor of infinite grace." (8:29).

11/3/2: "...Whoever fears God within piety - He will remit his sins, and will amplify his reward." (65:5).

12- The polytheistic disbelievers, especially the Muhammadans, misinterpret the Quranic verses quoted above; they assume they would enter into Paradise despite their grave sins through the myth known as the intercession and by uttering some phrases (e.g., the dual/triple testimony which adds the names of mortals [Muhammad and Ali] besides Allah). The following two verses are about the faulty notions of the polytheists.

12/1: "Or do those who commit sins think they can fool Us? Terrible is their opinion!" (29:4).

12/2: "Do those who perpetrate the evil deeds assume that We will regard them as equal to those who believe and do righteous deeds, whether in their life or their death? Evil is their judgment!" (45:21).

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