وَلَنُذِيقَنَّهُم مِّنَ الْعَذَابِ الْأَدْنَىٰ دُونَ الْعَذَابِ الْأَكْبَرِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ ﴿٢١


And we will surely let them taste the nearer punishment short of the greater punishment that perhaps they will repent.

TAFSEER: (translated from Dr. Farhat Hashmi)

Allah subhanawataala says in this ayah: we will definitely give them a taste of minor calamity in dunya (such as severe illness, difficulties, famine, murder, fear) before the major calamity of the Day of Judgment. Then perhaps they will return to Him Subhanawataala.

 These smaller calamities both individual and collective are being sent while we are alive, so that we change our current behavior and return back to Allah Subhanawataala and submit to Him.

Allah subhanawataala says: Who is a greater criminal? It is one who was shown the signs of Allah and who turned his face away despite that.

Sometimes the signs of Allah are in the form of natural disasters such as Tsunamis earthquakes, hurricanes, and Allah Subhanawataala says that perhaps someone seeing them, or involved in them would learn from them that these are signs from Allah to warn us of the Major calamity of the Day of Judgment and the recognize the finite time available to us to change our behavior.

He says that perhaps the people would learn a lesson from it and change themselves and submit themselves to the Magnificence of Allah/ (In the earlier ayahs it is clear that the biggest impediment to submission to Allah as the one and only God is because of arrogance)

Some criminals will just turn their face away and keep on in the path of disobedience of Allah.

Kahf 57:

وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّن ذُكِّرَ بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِ فَأَعْرَضَ عَنْهَا وَنَسِيَ مَا قَدَّمَتْ يَدَاهُ ۚ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ أَكِنَّةً أَن يَفْقَهُوهُ وَفِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرًا ۖ وَإِن تَدْعُهُمْ إِلَى الْهُدَىٰ فَلَن يَهْتَدُوا إِذًا أَبَدًا ﴿٥٧

18:57] Sahih International

And who is more unjust than one who is reminded of the verses of his Lord but turns away from them and forgets what his hands have put forth? Indeed, We have placed over their hearts coverings, lest they understand it, and in their ears deafness. And if you invite them to guidance – they will never be guided, then – ever.

Such a person is the biggest criminal who knows the facts and yet breaks the law of obedience of Allah.

End Tafseer

 My Comment: Thus when a calamity appears in our personal life or to someone else, we should take heed that, this is not a directed at the people it hit but is for everyone to make a change in their life, sort of a shock therapy:

  1. We need to re-evaluate our behavior and need to make a behavior change that focuses on the Final day.
  2.  We need to examine our actions and repent for our disobedience and heedlessness.
  3. We should not feel secure that it was “them” and not “us” because we are in some way superior (arrogance)
  4. We need to change the focus of our life and refocus it to return to Him Subhanawataala.
  5. If we do not, then the succeeding ayah (32:20) is sufficient to give us a heart attack from fright.

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