“O Allah, give me this day the strength to carry out Your commands; give me to taste therein the sweetness of Your remembrance; inspire me therein to give thanks for Your munificence, and protect me in it with Your protection and covering (of faults), O keenest of observers!”
What you read was the supplication for the 4th day of Ramadhan, which inculcates in us the spirit to do good in society. Once a person strives in the way of God, he/she overcomes the selfish and carnal desires, thereby gaining peace of mind and tranquility of heart. This is what the holy Qur’an teaches us by relating to us anecdotes in the history of creation. As you know for the past two days we have been analyzing the dialogue between the Almighty Creator and the rebellious genie, Iblis, who misusing divine favours, plunged into eternal damnation and in the process took along with him the erring and wicked-natured children of Adam – the progenitor of the human race, to whom the devil had refused to prostrate. This message is a warning to us mankind in every age and geographical place to be on guard against the temptations of Lucifer and to heed lessons from the life of Adam. After casting out the Satan and depriving him of divine blessings, God places Adam and his wife Eve in the Garden, by telling them to protect their pure humanitarian nature, as the Best of Creation. God means to say: O Adam, for your sake I threw out Iblis because of his disobedience, so be careful of his insinuations which might cause misery for you. As ayahs 117 to 119 of Surah Ta Ha say:
“We said, ‘O Adam! This is indeed an enemy of yours and your mate’s. So do not let him expel you from paradise, or you will be miserable
“Indeed you will neither be hungry in it nor naked.
“Indeed you will neither be thirsty in it, nor suffer from the sun.”
It is thus clear that God granted Adam and Eve a carefree life in Paradise in full security, eating of whatever fruits God has created, but warning them not to go near a particular tree and its fruit, as trial to test their obedience. As ayah 35 of Surah Baqarah says:
“We said, ‘O Adam, dwell with your mate in paradise, and eat thereof freely when over you wish; but do not approach this tree, lest you should be among the wrongdoers.”
Adam and Eve enjoyed their carefree sojourn in Paradise, but Satan, the sworn enemy of mankind who had refused God’s command to prostrate to Adam, contrived of a plan to tempt them and drive them away from the garden of bliss, by insinuating to them, As we read in ayahs 20 and 21 of Surah A’raaf:
“Then Satan tempted them, to expose to them what was hidden from them of their nakedness, and he said, ‘Your Lord has only forbidden you from this tree lest you should become angels, or lest you become immortal.”
“And he swore to them, ‘I am indeed your well-wisher.’”
The devil thus deceived them and they disobeyed God’s command by tasting of the fruit of the forbidden tree. The moment they tasted it, their hidden negative aspects became manifest to them, and feeling shame and remorse, they were driven away from the Garden of bliss. As ayah 22 of the same Surah says:
“Their Lord called out to them, ‘Did I not forbid you from that tree, and tell you; Satan is indeed your manifest enemy?’’
Adam and Eve immediately realized their mistake and sought forgiveness from God Almighty, as the next ayah of Surah A’raaf says:
“They said, ‘Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves! If You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.”
God was indeed angry with Adam and Eve for falling victim to the temptations of their sworn enemy, the Satan, and said, as ayah 123 of Surah Ta Ha relates:
“He said, ‘Get down both of you from it, all together, being enemies of one another! Yet, should any guidance come to you from Me, those who follow My guidance will not go astray, nor will they be miserable.”
Thus, dear listeners, there are lessons for us to learn from what happened to our first pair of parents, and how unlike the devil who was obstinate and refuse to acknowledge his sin in disobeying God, Adam and Eve immediately regretted their error and sought forgiveness from Lord. This is the main difference between persons of devilish and humanitarian tendencies. Those who have destroyed their inner nature and become completely subordinate to their archenemy, the Satan, never feel guilty of their satanic behaviour and never acknowledge or repent for their crimes. But those whose human nature is still intact, immediately turn to God Almighty for forgiveness on committing faults and error and in the state of repentance seek His All-Encompassing Mercy to cleanse them of their sins and shortcoming.
Well friends, as you know, Tehran is hosting the 20th International Holy Qur’an Exhibition, which has so many interesting sections including one especially for children and another for teenagers. There are various workshops in the children’s section where as many as 70 experts and instructors are present with a wide variety of entertainment for them, including storytelling, writing, reading, calligraphy, computer contests and other activities, all based on the ethereal teachings of the holy Qur’an. This is one of the most active sections of the exhibit as parents drop their children while going around the different sections, because they known their children are in safe hands, and are being properly groomed in Islamic teachings. Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) has considered that one of the rights of children is that the parents are obliged to teach them the holy Qur’an. A big, bold and beautiful inscribed saying of the Prophet’s 6th Infallible Successor, Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS) adorns the Children’s Section and reads: Whoever absorbs (the teachings of) the holy Quran in his/her youth, (the letter and spirit of) the Qur’an will be blended with his meat, skin and blood.