Quranic Reflection No 627. Āyat 18:52 – Hollowness of false gods

Bismillāh. 5 May 2023/14 Shawwāl 1444.

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وَيَوْمَ يَقُولُ نَادُوا شُرَكَائِيَ الَّذِينَ زَعَمْتُمْ فَدَعَوْهُمْ فَلَمْ يَسْتَجِيبُوا لَهُمْ وَجَعَلْنَا بَيْنَهُمْ مَوْبِقًا

And the Day when He will say, “Call ‘My partners’ whom you claimed,” and they will invoke them, but they will not respond to them. And We will put between them [a valley of] destruction.

(Sūrat al-Kahf, No.18, Āyat 52)

On the Day of Resurrection, those who associated others with Allah ‘azza wajall will confront the emptiness of their false gods. Numerous verses in the Quran describe the gathering of the two groups and the ensuing conversations. The above verse highlights the dissolution of the connection between the groups on that day.

The verse instructs the Prophet sallal-lāhu ‘alayhi wa-ālihi wasallam to remind people of the day when Allah will command the polytheists to invoke their gods and seek their help. The act of calling out to them implies a distance between the two groups, suggesting that they are not in the same place. Other verses in the Quran allude to this distance as well. For instance, Allah says:

وَلَقَدْ جِئْتُمُونَا فُرَادَىٰ كَمَا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَتَرَكْتُم مَّا خَوَّلْنَاكُمْ وَرَاءَ ظُهُورِكُمْ ۖ وَمَا نَرَىٰ مَعَكُمْ شُفَعَاءَكُمُ الَّذِينَ زَعَمْتُمْ أَنَّهُمْ فِيكُمْ شُرَكَاءُ ۚ لَقَد تَّقَطَّعَ بَيْنَكُمْ وَضَلَّ عَنكُم مَّا كُنتُمْ تَزْعُمُونَ

You have certainly come to Us alone, just as We created you the first time, and you have left behind whatever We bestowed upon you. We do not see with you the intercessors whom you claimed were among you as partners of Allah. They have been cut off from you, and what you used to claim has now deserted you (Q 6:94).

Similarly, in another verse, Allah states:

وَيَوْمَ نَحْشُرُهُمْ جَمِيعًا ثُمَّ نَقُولُ لِلَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا مَكَانَكُمْ أَنتُمْ وَشُرَكَاؤُكُمْ ۚ فَزَيَّلْنَا بَيْنَهُمْ ۖ وَقَالَ شُرَكَاؤُهُم مَّا كُنتُمْ إِيَّانَا تَعْبُدُونَ

The Day We will gather them all together, We will say to those who associated partners with Allah, ‘Remain in your place, you and your partners.’ Then We will separate them, and their partners will say, ‘You did not used to worship us’ (Q 10:28).

This distance signifies the gap between the two groups, both physically and spiritually. The polytheists will beseech their gods for help but receive no response, thus exposing the worthlessness of their gods.

The verse concludes by stating that Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā will then place a barrier between them. The term ‘mawbiq’ refers to a place of destruction. Some commentators interpret it as a fire that will consume the polytheists and their false gods, while others believe it is a deep valley separating the two groups. However, Allāmah Tabātabā’ī in Tafsīr al-Mīzān argues that understanding mawbiq as a place of destruction for the two groups is incorrect. The polytheists’ gods included angels, prophets, and awliyā of Allah. Allah would not subject them to fire or destruction. Instead, what will be destroyed is the relationship between the two groups. The polytheists assumed a lordship/servanthood relationship with their gods and considered them as causes of certain effects in their lives. These assumptions will be invalidated and destroyed on that day. Thus, the term mawbiq does not refer to the destruction of the groups but the destruction of the relationship between them. The word “between” implies the connections between the two groups. In the hereafter, these worldly connections will lead to destruction.

This verse serves as a reminder of the hollowness of false gods. Any god worshipped other than Allah, even gods of power, wealth, and desires, will be of no help in the hereafter. The verse presents a scene that we should always keep in mind.

Sources: Shaykh Tabarsī, Tafsīr Majma‘ al-Bayān; Allāmah Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al-Mīzān.

ALI 663: Brief Review of Du‘ā al-Nudbah

Shaykh ‘Abbas Qummī states in Mafātīh al-Jinān quoting from Al-Mazār al-Kabīr that it is mustahab to recite Du‘ā al-Nudbah on four Eids, namely on Fridays, Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adhā and Eid al-Ghadīr. In this course via Zoom, we will inshāAllah quickly go through the supplication and look at some salient features.

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