Fourth Part of the Addendum

He said: “Who shall give life to decaying bones?” Say: “He shall give them life who first gave them life, and He is All-Knowing concerning all creation.”1 [Qur'an, 36:78]

As was illustrated in the third comparison in the Ninth Truth of the Tenth Word, some personage may one day summon together before your eyes a great army. If someone were then to say, “that personage is able to call together the troops in his army, who had dispersed to take rest, and assemble them again in battalions,” and you were to say, “I don’t believe it,” you know well how lunatic would be your denial. So too, an All-Powerful and All-Knowing Being Who out of nothing recorded and put in place, with the command of, “Be!”, and it is, all the particles and subtle aspects of the bodies of all animals and other animate beings, as if they were an army with the utmost orderliness and wise equilibrium, and Who creates each century, or rather each spring, the hundreds of thousands of different species and groups of animate beings that populate the face of the earth, each like an army — such a Being can gather together, with one blow on the trump of Israfil, all the fundamental particles and original components that enjoy mutual acquaintance through joint submission to the order of the body that corresponds to a battalion. Were you to say, “how can this be?” or consider it unlikely, it would be idiotic lunacy.

It sometimes happens in the Qur’an that, in order to impress upon the heart the wondrous deeds He will perform in the hereafter and to prepare the mind for acceptance of them, God Almighty mentions the wondrous deeds He performs in this world as a kind of preparation. Alternatively, He may sometimes mention the wondrous deeds He will perform in the future and the hereafter in such a fashion that we are convinced of them by analogy with the similar deeds we observe in this world. One example is furnished by the verse,

Has not man seen that We created him from a drop of sperm?

And then he becomes an open disputer.2 [Qur'an, 16:4]

and the remaining verses of the same sura. The All-Wise Qur’an thus proves the question of resurrection in seven or eight different forms.

It first directs man’s attention to his own origins. It says “you see how you advanced from a drop of sperm to a drop of blood, from a drop of blood to a formless lump of flesh, and from a formless lump of flesh to human form. How, then, can you deny your second creation? It is just the same as the first, or even easier of accomplishment for God.” God Almighty also refers to the great bounties He has bestowed on man with phrases such as:

He Who made fire for you from the green tree1 [Qur'an, 36:80]

and says to man: “Will the Being Who thus bestowed bounty upon you leave you to your own devices, in such fashion that you enter the grave to sleep without rising again?” He also hints at the following: “You see how dead trees come to life and grow green again. Refusing to regard as a parallel the reanimation of your bones, that resemble dry wood, you dismiss the whole matter as improbable. Now is it at all possible that the One Who creates the heavens and earth should not be empowered over the life and death of man, the fruit of heaven and earth? Do you imagine that He would make fruitless and vain the tree of creation that He has moulded with wisdom in all its parts, by abandoning the supreme result of that tree?”

The Qur’an says further: “The Being That will restore you to life at resurrection is such that the whole cosmos is like an obedient soldier of His. It bows its head submissively whenever it hears the command,

“Be!”, and it is.2 [Qur'an, 2:117]

To create a spring is easier for Him than the creation of a flower. To create the whole of the animal realm is as easy for His power as creating a fly. None may belittlingly challenge His power by saying to Him:

Who will give life to the bones?3 [Qur'an, 36:78]

Then, from the verse,

Glory be to Him in Whose hand lies the sovereignty of all things,4 [Qur'an, 36:83]

we see that the index of all things is in His hand, the key to all things is in His possession; He rotates night and day, winter and summer, with as much ease as if He were turning the pages of a book. He is an All-Powerful, Glorious Being Who closes the door on this world and opens it on the hereafter as if they were two stations. This being the case, as the result of the mentioned evidences,

To Him you shall return,1 [Qur'an, 10:56]

that is, He will bring you back to life from your graves, take you to the plain of resurrection, and judge you in His majestic presence.

Now these verses prepare the mind and make ready the heart to accept the reality of resurrection, for they have demonstrated parallels to resurrection in worldly processes. Sometimes it also happens that He mentions the deeds He will perform in the hereafter in such a way as to draw attention to their worldly parallels, so that no room should be left for doubt and denial. Examples are the Suras introduced by these verses:

When the sun is rolled up,2 [Qur'an, 81:1]

When the heavens are torn asunder.3 [Qur'an, 82:1]

In these Suras, God Almighty mentions resurrection and the vast revolutions and dominical deeds that shall take place at that time, in such a fashion that man thinks of their worldly parallels that he has seen in autumn and spring, and then, with awe in his heart, easily accepts what the intellect would otherwise refuse. Even to indicate the general meaning of the three suras just mentioned would take very long. Let us, then, take simply one word as a specimen of the whole. With the words,

When the pages are spread out,4 [Qur'an, 81:10]

God Almighty expresses the following: “Upon resurrection, everyone’s deeds will be revealed on a written page. This appears to be very strange, and totally beyond the reach of reason. But as the Sura indicates, just as the resurrection of the spring is a parallel to other matters, so too the ‘spreading out of pages’ has a very clear parallel. Every fruit-bearing tree, every flowering plant has its deeds, actions and functions. It performs a certain kind of worship, depending on the fashion in which it glorifies God through the manifestations of His Names. Now all of its deeds and the record of its life are inscribed in all the seeds that are to emerge next spring in another plot of soil. With the tongue of shape and form, the seeds make eloquent mention of the origins of those deeds, and spread out the page of deeds together with branch, twig, leaf, flower and fruit. He Who says: “When the pages are spread out” is the same Being That performs, before our eyes, these wise, preserving, nurturing and subtle acts.

Compare other matters with this by analogy, and deduce the truth if you have the capacity. Let us aid you with the following. The verse, When the sun is folded up, refers to a brilliant similitude and hints at its parallel:

First: God Almighty has cast aside the curtains of non-being, the ether and the heavens to bring forth from His treasury of mercy and show to the world a jewel-like lamp illumining the world — the sun. After closing the world, He will wrap that jewel again in His veils and remove it.

Second: The sun may be depicted as an official entrusted with the task of distributing the commodity of light over the globe, and causing it and darkness to succeed each other. Every evening the official is ordered to gather up the light. It may sometimes happen also that his trade may be slackened when he is hidden by the veil of a cloud. At other times it may be that the moon will also form a veil, and hinder his task. Now just as that official has his goods and ledgers gathered up for inspection, so too he will one day be relieved of his duties. Even if there be no cause for his dismissal, there are two dark spots on the sun —now small, but liable to grow— that one day will grow to the point that the sun will take back, by dominical command, the light it now wraps around the head of the earth, and wrap it around its own head. It will then be told: “Come, your task on earth is now complete. Go to Hell, and burn there those who have worshipped you and thus mocked with faithlessness an obedient servant like you.” With its own dark and scarred face, it will read out the decree, “When the sun is rolled up.”