The One who splits the seed and the dark

During Makkan times, Allah Almighty was drawing the attention of non-believers to His signs, and prompting them to think about who was the originator of the universe and the world.

He pointed out the wonders of creation around them, so that they could distinguish between the truth and their misguided inherited beliefs, which they were following blindly.

Allah Almighty was prompting them to reach the right conclusion after a process of observation and reasoning, so they could arrive at the truth with the intellect and maturity they had been given to figure it out.

We see this process in the following two ayahs of Surat al Anam, which challenges their refusal to believe in the face of the beautiful miracles of His creation, both spiritual and physical, which surrounded them.

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ فَالِقُ ٱلْحَبِّ وَٱلنَّوَىٰ ۖ يُخْرِجُ ٱلْحَىَّ مِنَ ٱلْمَيِّتِ وَمُخْرِجُ ٱلْمَيِّتِ مِنَ ٱلْحَىِّ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمُ ٱللَّهُ ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ تُؤْفَكُونَ

Innal laaha faaliqul habbi wannawaa yukhrijul haiya minal maiyiti wa mukhrijul maiyiti minal haiy; zaalikumul laahu fa annaa tu’fakoon

Indeed, Allah is the cleaver of grain and date seeds. He brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living. That is Allah; so how are you deluded? (5:95)

Allah is the cleaver of grain and date seeds

Allah Almighty says Inallaha faaliqul habbi, He is the one who splits the seed. In Arabic the word for a small seed is habb. There is a difference between habb which is a small seed like a mustard seed, or corn barley and wheat.

When you plant a tiny seed in the ground, which you can barely see, it is miracle that Allah splits it and grows into wheat, barley and corn etc.

The extraordinary yield of a seed

Allah has created numerous varieties of seeds and each one goes on to produce habban mutaraakiben (accumulated seeds), a multitude of seeds and produce. Just one example being the ears of wheat; each one has more than 100 seeds in its cluster, and thus one seed can produce 700 seeds. The word sumbula is ears, which we find only once in the Quran, in Surat Al Baqarah in the famous ayah about the rewards of charity:

The example of those who spend in the way of Allah is just like a grain that produced seven ears, each ear having a hundred grains, and Allah multiplies (the reward) for whom He wills. Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing. (2:261)

مَثَلُ الَّذِيۡنَ يُنۡفِقُوۡنَ اَمۡوَالَهُمۡ فِىۡ سَبِيۡلِ اللّٰهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ اَنۡۢبَتَتۡ سَبۡعَ سَنَابِلَ فِىۡ كُلِّ سُنۡۢبُلَةٍ مِّائَةُ حَبَّةٍ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ يُضٰعِفُ لِمَنۡ يَّشَآءُ​ ؕ وَاللّٰهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيۡمٌ

The rewards of charity

This is a beautiful example of how one tiny act of charity can generate huge reward, as those who spend their wealth for the sake of Allah plant a seed, which then produces 7 ears and each ear has 100 seeds within it. Those who spend their wealth with the right intention and etiquettes get huge reward. No investment yields such a huge return. For every £1 you get £700 in return.  

The generosity of Allah

His generosity is not limited to 700. It goes far beyond your imagination. Walahu udaifuliman yasha – Allah will multiply the reward of whom He wills. He is Al Kareem – the most generous. You may take 7,000 or 70,000 in reward from a good word or good action done with the right intention and knowledge and etiquette.

Allah is demanding ‘If you cannot see this is divine, what is wrong with you?!’

From germination to fruit

He talks about 2 different types of plants. One germinates from a seed and the other grows from a stone, such as palm trees, and pomegranates. One type of plant grows into a tree and has a trunk and the other is just a seasonal plant with has no trunk.

Scientists have documented the time-line for a seed to become a plant and when can watch the time-lapse videos of how plants comes into being, how their leaves unfurl and buds develop and then fruit emerges and ripens, it is so stunning. It invites you to think about the Creator and his creation. Subhanallah.

Allah is the Provider of our rizq

Farmers and production revolves around the cycle of life of that particular crop or fruit and then reaches the consumer through the shops and supermarkets. Everyone works according to this cycle, which Allah created to feed us.

As Allah stated in Surat al Quraysh:

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

For the covenants (of security and safeguard enjoyed) by the Quraish,

Their covenants (covering) journeys by winter and summer,-

Let them adore the Lord of this House,

Who provides them with food against hunger, and with security against fear (of danger)

Therefore it is Allah who provides us with our food. He quenches our thirst and nourishes and sustains us, relieves our hunger.

Even though Allah was referring to the Quraysh being supplied with food in the midst of the desert, this ayah is not exclusively for them, as Allah Almighty is the one who has provided all humanity with food and sustenance.

The magnificence of Allah’s creation – Who enabled the seed?

It would fill an entire course to talk about the scientific process of the plant growth. It is magnificent. A drop of water on the seed enables the seed to germinate and flourish. Why does the seed grow upwards towards the light, while other plants, and the roots of plants grow downwards? Who directed the seed and put the DNA in it? Who created the precise system which it follows, without a brain. Who gave the see the power to penetrate the soil? Even if it is deep in the earth and you have squashed down that earth, the seed has the power to grow out of the soil without any muscles.

He brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living

Allah Almighty created and installed the features in the seed. It seems lifeless but when you put it in the soil, Allah allows the dormant seed to flourish.

We are still discovering more about the system Allah created in each seed and sperm and stone. Some scholars also mention the example of the chicken and egg. The egg appears dead, but the living chick emerges from it. Thus Allah Almighty brings forth the living from the dead and vice versa, gives death to the living. Then repeats this.

From the sequence of the ayah, we see that Allah Almighty has prioritised the living over the dead.  He uses the verb ukhriju meaning ‘bring out’ continuously and repeatedly and we see Allah setting the two images before us: the dead coming to life and the living meeting their death.

Was it nature by itself?!

Are you blind? Allah Almighty confirms that it is Allah Himself who did it.

Inallaha – ‘Indeed it is Allah’, grammatically inna is adat tawqeed, which means it is confirmation that He is the One who splits the seed open.

Dhalikumulllah – ‘That is Allah’. No one can do this but Him.

In another verse in Surat Luqman, it says hada khalq Allah – ‘this is the creation of Allah’ and Allah demands to be shown what anyone else who you claim is the creator, created.

This is the Creation of Allah. Now show me that which those (ye worship) beside Him have created. Nay, but the wrong-doers are in error manifest! (31:11)

No one can create, except Allah.

In the confrontation between Ibrahim (peace be on him) and Nimrud, Allah Almighty said:

“Have you not looked at the one who argued with Abraham about his Lord (Allah), because Allah had given him a kingdom? When Abraham said (to him), “My Lord is the one who gives life and causes death.” He said, “I give life and cause death.” Abraham said, “Indeed, Allah causes the sun to rise from the east; so cause it to rise from the west.” So the disbeliever was utterly defeated. And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.” (2:258)

Nimrud claimed that he could give life and death by sentencing someone to death, but Ibrahim was not outsmarted by this, as he challenged Nimrud to cause the sun to rise from the west. Of course, he could not do this. It is Allah who has control and who created everything, including our intellect, which many people use to challenge and try and outsmart Him. Though one may deny it, the evidence of Allah’s existence is right before our eyes.

The One who splits

Allah Almighty uses the word faalik, as the one who splits open the seed and stonetwice in Surat al Anam in verse 95 and 96. And in Surat al Falaq, as the one who splits open the darkness with daylight at dawn.

Using the images of nature Allah is bringing visual evidence not just verbal arguments and showing us what is familiar to everyone. He is not providing evidence which is alien to us, but from nature which surrounds us, so we have no excuse not to believe.

فَالِقُ ٱلْإِصْبَاحِ وَجَعَلَ ٱلَّيْلَ سَكَنًا وَٱلشَّمْسَ وَٱلْقَمَرَ حُسْبَانًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ ٱلْعَزِيزِ ٱلْعَلِيمِ

Faaliqul isbaahi wa ja’alal laila sakananw washh shamsa walqamara husbaanaa; zaalika taqdeerul ‘Azeezil ‘Aleem

[He is] the cleaver of daybreak and has made the night for rest and the sun and moon for calculation. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing. (5:96)

In this beautiful ayah, Allah Almighty says, falikul isbah (the cleaver of daybreak) capturing how the light at dawn splits the sky vertically before it radiates out horizontally at Fajr.

It reminds me of this time in Lebanon, when the mueddhins who wake up half an hour before Fajr give a reminder, known as the tadhqir, and say Allah faliqul isbah. You can hear it from themosques everywhere.

The night as rest

Allah created the night to be restful. Scientifically studies show that our body is designed to sleep during the night, rather than the day, and that if we sleep during the day instead of the night, it adversely affects the body’s genes, because they are in synch with the body’s internal clock. Shift workers therefore at higher risk of many health problems, including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, disrupted menstrual cycles and cancer.

Allah Almighty stated this in the Quran when He told us that the night is a time of rest and recuperation and repair mentally, emotionally and physically.

Different systems of the body follow circadian rhythms that are synchronized with a master clock in the brain. This master clock is directly influenced by environmental cues, especially light, which is why circadian rhythms are tied to the cycle of day and night.

When properly aligned, a circadian rhythm can promote consistent and restorative sleep. But when this circadian rhythm is thrown off, it can create significant sleeping problems, including insomnia. Research is also revealing that circadian rhythms play an integral role in diverse aspects of physical and mental health.

Allah imbued the night with the night with the quality of rest, which is missing from the day. He used the word sakan which is from sukoon, meaning silence. If you say, ‘there is silence everywhere’ in Arabic it is ‘sukoon fil kuli maqan’. The night is the place for sukoon – stillness and relaxation. This is why we need a tranquil place when we need a break, or rehabilitation. This suits our system.

The spouse as a place of rest

Allah Almighty also mentioned that He made the night for rest and in Surat al Ar Rum that He created spouses li taskunu ilayha – so that we might tranquility in them.

Another of His signs is that He created spouses from among yourselves for you to live with in tranquillity: He ordained love and kindness between you. There truly are signs in this for those who reflect. (30:21)

The relationship between a husband and wife is based on sukoon. The word sakan also has another meaning, which a place of residence. When you ask someone, ‘Ayna taskun?’ it means, ‘Where is your place of residence?’ Metaphorically the spouse is a place of sukoon, thus the husband resides in his wife; she is his place of residence and vice versa. What a beautiful meaning!

The Sun and Moon for calculation

The sun and moon, which are also the creation of Allah, are used by us for measuring time. They can be used accurately to make calculations. Astronomy is a science, whereas astrology is haram. In the past, scholars did not distinguish between astronomy and astrology, as they were regarded as the same subject, but now we have a clear distinction between the two. And astronomy is very useful and the sun and more are important for us to calculate time.

There is so much depth in these ayahs, for those who reflect. May Allah Almighty make us of those who see His majesty and mastery in His design.

Shaykh Haytham Tamim – Wednesday Tafseer Class 24th March 2021

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Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.