Sura Ash-Shams : Dangers of blind arrogance against cosmology

Sura Ash Shams is the 91st sura in Holy Quran and in just about short 15 verses, we’re reminded about an ancient nation who kept a blind eye against bare miracles of their creator and faced an inevitable punishment in the end.

The sura starts with oaths to sun and moon, probably to direct non-believers’ attention to existential conceptions, something that Meccan pagans failed to comprehend in those times.

They believed in some sort of deity, however their belief system was more or less decorated with many false claims and fables. They did their best to deny final judgement, despite a belief in a supreme being and enjoyed social formations around man-made idols to utilize their symbolic power to gain administrative and governmental authority over ordinary folks.

And this sura starts to divert “busy” capitalist’s-fascist’s attentive gaze from the mundae ground affairs to up to the heavens by starting;

By the Sun and his (glorious) splendour;

By the Moon as she follows him;

By the Day as it shows up (the Sun’s) glory;

By the Night as it conceals it;

By the Firmament and its (wonderful) structure;

By the Earth and its (wide) expanse:  (Ash-Shams 91/1-6)

In those times, many pagans wanted to attribute divine properties to celestial bodies, here Holy Quran makes it absolute that there is a designer behind them and these celestial bodies are there to form night and day for humans to experience. Therefore, by simple line of reasoning between sun, moon and day and night cycle, Holy Quran diminishes every possible symbolic and iconographic conception that might be attached to celestial bodies.

We can continue indefinite interpretations of these ayats, especially since they are related with cosmology but the rest of the sura informs us to look back inside our souls after lowering our gaze from the skies.

 By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it;

And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right;-

Truly he succeeds that purifies it,

And he fails that corrupts it!

The Thamud (people) rejected (their prophet) through their inordinate wrong-doing, (As-Shams 91/7-11)

Because, thankfully Allah(j.j) wants to educate us in what it matters to us most:

Purifying our soul and achieving true enlightenment by preventing it from corruption.

One could suffocate himself in the mind-dizzying infinity of the universe while observing celestial bodies and happenings, but like most ancient nations, the story of Thamud people reminds us that having a strong tradition and establishment in scientific knowledge means far from “eternal wisdom”.

We learn in this sura that scientific achievements and historical anthropology will not teach us anything if we don’t focus in contemplation of the existential reasoning behind every “creation process” that surrounds us from daily events to celestial entities and to historical findings.

Baris Tarimcioglu/islamoformation.comquran-tafsir-sura-ash-shams


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