;
Ships are a Sign of the Mercy of Allah

Allah tells us of His kindness towards His servants by subjugating for them ships on the sea. He makes it easy for them to use ships to serve their interests, seeking His bounty through trade between one region and another. He says:

﴿ إِنَّهُ ۥ كَانَ بِكُمۡ رَحِيمً۬ا

(Truly, He is ever Most Merciful towards you.) meaning, He does this for you out of His grace and mercy towards you.

﴿ وَإِذَا مَسَّكُمُ ٱلضُّرُّ فِى ٱلۡبَحۡرِ ضَلَّ مَن تَدۡعُونَ إِلَّآ إِيَّاهُ‌ۖ فَلَمَّا نَجَّٮٰكُمۡ إِلَى ٱلۡبَرِّ أَعۡرَضۡتُمۡ‌ۚ وَكَانَ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنُ كَفُورًا

(67. And when harm touches you upon the sea, those that you call upon vanish from you except Him. But when He brings you safe to land, you turn away. And man is ever ungrateful.)

When Harm befalls Them, the Disbelievers do not remember anyone except Allah

Allah tells us that when harm befalls people, they call on Him, turning to Him and sincerely beseeching Him. Hence Allah says:

﴿ وَإِذَا مَسَّكُمُ ٱلضُّرُّ فِى ٱلۡبَحۡرِ ضَلَّ مَن تَدۡعُونَ إِلَّآ إِيَّاهُ‌ۖ

(And when harm touches you upon the sea, those that you call upon vanish from you except Him.) meaning, everything they worship besides Allah disappears from their hearts and minds. Similar happened to `Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl when he fled from the Messenger of Allah after the conquest of Makkah, and headed for Ethiopia. He set out across the sea to go to Ethiopia, but a stormy wind arose. The people said to one another: "None can save you except Allah Alone.'' `Ikrimah said to himself, "By Allah if none can benefit on the sea except Allah then no doubt none can benefit on land except Allah. `O Allah! I promise You that if You bring me safely out of this, I will go and put my hand in the hand of Muhammad and surely, I will find him full of pity, kindness and mercy.''' They came out of it safely and were delivered from the sea. Then `Ikrimah went to the Messenger of Allah , and declared his Islam, and he became a good Muslim, may Allah be pleased with him.

﴿ فَلَمَّا نَجَّٮٰكُمۡ إِلَى ٱلۡبَرِّ أَعۡرَضۡتُمۡ‌ۚ

(But when He brings you safe to land, you turn away.) means, you forget what you remembered of Divine Oneness (Tawhid) when you were on the sea, and you turn away from calling on Him Alone with no partner or associate.

﴿ وَكَانَ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنُ كَفُورًا

(And man is ever ungrateful.) means, by nature he forgets and denies His blessings, except for those whom Allah protects.

﴿ أَفَأَمِنتُمۡ أَن يَخۡسِفَ بِكُمۡ جَانِبَ ٱلۡبَرِّ أَوۡ يُرۡسِلَ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ حَاصِبً۬ا ثُمَّ لَا تَجِدُواْ لَكُمۡ وَڪِيلاً

(68. Do you then feel secure that He will not cause a side of the land to swallow you up, or that He will not send against you a Hasib Then, you shall find no guardian.)

Does not the Punishment of Allah come on Land too

Allah says, do you think that by emerging onto dry land you will be safe from His vengeance and punishment, that a side of the land will not swallow you up or He will not send against you a Hasib - which is a kind of rain that carries stones This was the view of Mujahid and others. As Allah says:

﴿ إِنَّآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَيۡہِمۡ حَاصِبًا إِلَّآ ءَالَ لُوطٍ۬‌ۖ نَّجَّيۡنَـٰهُم بِسَحَرٍ۬ نِّعۡمَةً۬ مِّنۡ عِندِنَا‌ۚ

(Verily, We sent against them, except the family of Lut, them We saved in the last hour of the night, As a favor from Us.) (54:34-35) Elsewhere, Allah says:

﴿ وَأَمۡطَرۡنَا عَلَيۡهَا حِجَارَةً۬ مِّن سِجِّيلٍ۬ مَّنضُودٍ۬

(and We rained on them stones of Sijjil, in a well-arranged manner one after another)

﴿ ءَأَمِنتُم مَّن فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ أَن يَخۡسِفَ بِكُمُ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ فَإِذَا هِىَ تَمُورُ أَمۡ أَمِنتُم مَّن فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ أَن يُرۡسِلَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ حَاصِبً۬ا‌ۖ فَسَتَعۡلَمُونَ كَيۡفَ نَذِيرِ

(Do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not cause the earth to sink with you, and then it should quake Or do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not send against you a Hasib Then you shall know how (terrible) has been My warning) (67: 16-17)

﴿ ثُمَّ لَا تَجِدُواْ لَكُمۡ وَڪِيلاً

(Then, you shall find no guardian.) no helper to turn the punishment away from you and save you.

﴿ أَمۡ أَمِنتُمۡ أَن يُعِيدَكُمۡ فِيهِ تَارَةً أُخۡرَىٰ فَيُرۡسِلَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ قَاصِفً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلرِّيحِ فَيُغۡرِقَكُم بِمَا كَفَرۡتُمۡ‌ۙ ثُمَّ لَا تَجِدُواْ لَكُمۡ عَلَيۡنَا بِهِۦ تَبِيعً۬ا

(69. Or do you feel secure that He will not send you back a second time to sea and send against you a Qasif and drown you because of your disbelief Then you will not find any avenger therein against Us.)

Perhaps He will send You back to the Sea

Allah says,

﴿ أَمۡ أَمِنتُمۡ

(Or do you feel secure), `you who turn away from Us after acknowledging Our Oneness at sea once you are back upon dry land,'

﴿ أَن يُعِيدَكُمۡ

(that He will not send you back) to sea a second time

﴿ فَيُرۡسِلَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ قَاصِفً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلرِّيحِ

(and send against you a Qasif) which will destroy your masts and sink your vessels. Ibn `Abbas and others said, "Al-Qasif is the wind of the sea which destroys vessels and sinks them.''

﴿ فَيُغۡرِقَكُم بِمَا كَفَرۡتُمۡ‌ۙ

(and drown you because of your disbelief) means because of your rejection and turning away from Allah.

﴿ ثُمَّ لَا تَجِدُواْ لَكُمۡ عَلَيۡنَا بِهِۦ تَبِيعً۬ا

(Then you will not find any avenger therein against Us.) Ibn `Abbas said that this means a helper. Mujahid said, "A helper who will avenge you,'' i.e., take revenge on your behalf. Qatadah said it means, "We are not afraid that anyone will pursue Us with anything of that nature (i.e., vengeance).''

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ كَرَّمۡنَا بَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ وَحَمَلۡنَـٰهُمۡ فِى ٱلۡبَرِّ وَٱلۡبَحۡرِ وَرَزَقۡنَـٰهُم مِّنَ ٱلطَّيِّبَـٰتِ وَفَضَّلۡنَـٰهُمۡ عَلَىٰ ڪَثِيرٍ۬ مِّمَّنۡ خَلَقۡنَا تَفۡضِيلاً۬

(70. And indeed We have honored the Children of Adam, and We have carried them on land and sea, and have provided them with At-Tayyibat, and have preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preferment).

The Honor and noble Nature of Man

Allah tells us how He has honored the sons of Adam and made them noble by creating them in the best and most perfect of forms, as He says:

﴿ لَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ فِىٓ أَحۡسَنِ تَقۡوِيمٍ۬

(Verily, We created man in the best stature (mould).) (95:4) He walks upright on his two feet and eats with his hand, whilet other living creatures walk on four feet and eat with their mouths, and He has given him hearing, sight and a heart with which to understand all of that, to benefit from it, and distinguish between things to know which are good for him and which are harmful, in both worldly and religious terms.

﴿ وَحَمَلۡنَـٰهُمۡ فِى ٱلۡبَرِّ

(and We have carried them on land) means, on animals such as cattle, horses and mules, and also on the sea in ships and boats, great and small.

﴿ وَرَزَقۡنَـٰهُم مِّنَ ٱلطَّيِّبَـٰتِ

(and have provided them with At-Tayyibat,) meaning agricultural produce, fruits, meat, and milk with all kinds of delicious and desirable flavors and colors and beautiful appearance, and fine clothes of all kinds of shapes colors and sizes, which they make for themselves or are brought to them by others from other regions and areas.

﴿ وَفَضَّلۡنَـٰهُمۡ عَلَىٰ ڪَثِيرٍ۬ مِّمَّنۡ خَلَقۡنَا تَفۡضِيلاً۬

(and have preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preferment. ) means, over all living beings and other kinds of creation. This Ayah indicates that human are also preferred over the angels.

﴿ يَوۡمَ نَدۡعُواْ ڪُلَّ أُنَاسِۭ بِإِمَـٰمِهِمۡ‌ۖ فَمَنۡ أُوتِىَ ڪِتَـٰبَهُ ۥ بِيَمِينِهِۦ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ يَقۡرَءُونَ ڪِتَـٰبَهُمۡ وَلَا يُظۡلَمُونَ فَتِيلاً۬ وَمَن كَانَ فِى هَـٰذِهِۦۤ أَعۡمَىٰ فَهُوَ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ أَعۡمَىٰ وَأَضَلُّ سَبِيلاً۬

(71. (And remember) the Day when We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imam (i.e. the Book of deeds). So whosoever is given his record in his right hand, such will read their records, and they will not be dealt with unjustly in the least.) (72. And whoever is blind in this (world) then he will be blind in the Hereafter, and most astray from the path.)

Everyone will be called by his Imam on the Day of Resurrection

Allah tells us that on the Day of Resurrection, he will call each people to account by its Imam. The scholars differed as to the meaning of this (i.e. Imam. Mujahid and Qatadah said that it meant each nation would be called to account by its Prophet. Some of the Salaf said this is the greatest honor for the people of Hadith, because their leader is the Prophet. Ibn Zayd said it means they would be called to account by their Book which was revealed to their Prophet with its laws. This was also the view favored by Ibn Jarir. Ibn Abi Najih narrated that Mujahid said, "With their Books.'' It may be that what is meant here is what Al-`Awfi narrated from Ibn `Abbas concerning this Ayah,

﴿ يَوۡمَ نَدۡعُواْ ڪُلَّ أُنَاسِۭ بِإِمَـٰمِهِمۡ‌ۖ

((And remember) the Day when We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imam), which is that it refers to the Book (or record) of their deeds. This was also the view of Abu Al-`Aliyah, Al-Hasan and Ad-Dahhak. This view is the most correct, because Allah says:

﴿ وَكُلَّ شَىۡءٍ أَحۡصَيۡنَـٰهُ فِىٓ إِمَامٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ۬

(and all things We have recorded with numbers (as a record) in a Clear Book (Fi Imamin Mubin)) (36:12)

﴿ وَوُضِعَ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبُ فَتَرَى ٱلۡمُجۡرِمِينَ مُشۡفِقِينَ مِمَّا فِيهِ

(And the Book (one's record) will be placed, and you will see the criminals, fearful of that which is (recorded) therein) (18:49)

﴿ وَتَرَىٰ كُلَّ أُمَّةٍ۬ جَاثِيَةً۬‌ۚ كُلُّ أُمَّةٍ۬ تُدۡعَىٰٓ إِلَىٰ كِتَـٰبِہَا ٱلۡيَوۡمَ تُجۡزَوۡنَ مَا كُنتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُونَ
﴿ هَـٰذَا كِتَـٰبُنَا يَنطِقُ عَلَيۡكُم بِٱلۡحَقِّ‌ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا نَسۡتَنسِخُ مَا كُنتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُونَ

(And you will see each nation humbled to their knees, each nation will be called to its record (of deeds). This Day you shall be recompensed for what you used to do. This Our record speaks about you with truth. Verily, We were recording what you used to do.) (45:28-29) This does not contradict the fact that the Prophet will be brought forward when Allah judges between his Ummah, for he will inevitably be a witness against his Ummah over their deeds. But what is meant here by Imam is the Book of deeds. Allah says:

﴿ يَوۡمَ نَدۡعُواْ ڪُلَّ أُنَاسِۭ بِإِمَـٰمِهِمۡ‌ۖ فَمَنۡ أُوتِىَ ڪِتَـٰبَهُ ۥ بِيَمِينِهِۦ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ يَقۡرَءُونَ ڪِتَـٰبَهُمۡ

((And remember) the Day when We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imam. So whosoever is given his record in his right hand, such will read their records,) means, because of their happiness and joy at what is recorded therein of good deeds - they will read it and want to read it. As Allah says:

﴿ فَأَمَّا مَنۡ أُوتِىَ كِتَـٰبَهُ ۥ بِيَمِينِهِۦ فَيَقُولُ هَآؤُمُ ٱقۡرَءُواْ كِتَـٰبِيَهۡ

(Then as for him who will be given his record in his right hand will say: "Here! read my record!) until His saying,

﴿ وَأَمَّا مَنۡ أُوتِىَ كِتَـٰبَهُ ۥ بِشِمَالِهِۦ

(But as for him who will be given his record in his left hand,) (69:19-29)

﴿ وَلَا يُظۡلَمُونَ فَتِيلاً۬

(and they will not be dealt with unjustly in the least (Fatilan).) We have already mentioned that the Fatil is the long thread in the groove of a date-pit. Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bazzar recorded a Hadith from Abu Hurayrah according to which the Prophet said, concerning the Ayah,

﴿ يَوۡمَ نَدۡعُواْ ڪُلَّ أُنَاسِۭ بِإِمَـٰمِهِمۡ‌ۖ

((And remember) the Day when We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imam.)

« يُدْعَى أَحَدُهُمْ فَيُعْطَى كِتَابَهُ بِيَمِينِهِ، وَيُمَدُّ لَهُ فِي جِسْمِهِ، وَيَبْيَضُّ وَجْهُهُ، وَيُجْعَلُ عَلَى رَأْسِهِ تَاجٌ مِنْ لُؤْلُؤَةٍ يَتَلَأْلَأُ، فَيَنْطَلِقُ إِلَى أَصْحَابِهِ فَيَرَوْنَهُ مِنْ بَعِيدٍ، فَيَقُولُونَ: اللَّهُمَّ آتِنَا بِهَذَا، وَبَارِكْ لَنَا فِي هَذَا، فَيَأْتِيهِمْ فَيَقُولُ لَهُمْ: أَبْشِرُوا فَإِنَّ لِكُلِّ رَجُلٍ مِنْكُمْ مِثْلَ هَذَا، وَأَمَّا الْكَافِرُ فَيَسْوَدُّ وَجْهُهُ، وَيُمَدُّ لَهُ في جِسْمِهِ، وَيَرَاهُ أَصْحَابُهُ فَيَقُولُونَ: نَعُوذُ بِاللهِ مِنْ هَذَا، أَوْ مِنْ شَرِّ هَذَا اللَّهُمَّ لَا تَأْتِنَا بِهِ فَيَأْتِيهُمْ فَيَقُولُونَ: اللَّهُمَّ أَخْزِهِ. فَيَقُولُ : أَبْعَدَكُمُ اللهُ فَإِنَّ لِكُلِّ رَجُلٍ مِنْكُمْ مِثْلَ هَذَا »

(One of you will be called and will be given his Book in his right hand. He will be in a good physical state, with a white face, and there will be placed on his head a crown of shining pearls. He will go to his companions and they will see him from afar, and will say, "O Allah, let him come to us and bless us with this.'' Then he will come to them and will say to them, "Rejoice, for every man among you will be like this.'' As for the disbeliever, his face will be black and his body will be enlarged. His companions will see him from afar and will say, "We seek refuge in Allah from this, or from the evil of this, O Allah, do not let him come to us.'' "Then he will come to them and they will say, O Allah, humiliate him!'' He will say, "May Allah cast you away, every man among you will be like this.'') Then Al-Bazzar said: "This was only reported through this chain.''

﴿ وَمَن كَانَ فِى هَـٰذِهِۦۤ أَعۡمَىٰ

(And whoever is blind in this) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah and Ibn Zayd said: this means in this worldly life.

﴿ أَعۡمَىٰ

(blind) means, blind to the signs and proofs of Allah.

﴿ فَهُوَ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ أَعۡمَىٰ

(then he will be blind in the Hereafter,) as he was blind in this world.

﴿ وَأَضَلُّ سَبِيلاً۬

(and most astray from the path.) most astray as he was in this world. We seek refuge with Allah from that.

﴿ وَإِن ڪَادُواْ لَيَفۡتِنُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ لِتَفۡتَرِىَ عَلَيۡنَا غَيۡرَهُ ۥ‌ۖ وَإِذً۬ا لَّٱتَّخَذُوكَ خَلِيلاً۬ وَلَوۡلَآ أَن ثَبَّتۡنَـٰكَ لَقَدۡ كِدتَّ تَرۡڪَنُ إِلَيۡهِمۡ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا قَلِيلاً إِذً۬ا لَّأَذَقۡنَـٰكَ ضِعۡفَ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ وَضِعۡفَ ٱلۡمَمَاتِ ثُمَّ لَا تَجِدُ لَكَ عَلَيۡنَا نَصِيرً۬ا

(73. Verily, they were about to tempt you away from that which We have revealed to you, to fabricate something other than it against Us, and then they would certainly have taken you as an intimate friend! (74. And had We not made you stand firm, you would nearly have inclined to them a little.) (75. In that case We would have made you taste a double portion in this life and a double portion after death. And then you would have found none to help you against Us.)