Surah 7. Al-A’raf (The Heights)
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
1. Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad
. 2. A Book revealed unto thee,- So let thy heart be oppressed no more by any difficulty on that account,- that with it thou mightest warn (the erring) and teach the Believers).
3. Follow (O men!) the revelation given unto you from your Lord, and follow not, as friends or protectors, other than Him. Little it is ye remember of admonition.
4. How many towns have We destroyed (for their sins)? Our punishment took them on a sudden by night or while they slept for their afternoon rest.
5. When (thus) Our punishment took them, no cry did they utter but this: “Indeed we did wrong.”
6. Then shall we question those to whom Our message was sent and those by whom We sent it.
7. And verily, We shall recount their whole story with knowledge, for We were never absent (at any time or place).
8. The balance that day will be true (to nicety): those whose scale (of good) will be heavy, will prosper:
9. Those whose scale will be light, will be their souls in perdition, for that they wrongfully treated Our signs.
10. It is We Who have placed you with authority on earth, and provided you therein with means for the fulfilment of your life: small are the thanks that ye give!
Narrated Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri: Allah’s Apostle said, “Noah will be brought (before Allah) on the Day of Resurrection, and will be asked, ‘Did you convey the message of Allah?” He will reply, ‘Yes, O Lord.’ And then Noah’s nation will be asked, ‘Did he (Noah) convey Allah’s message to you?’ They will reply, ‘No warner came to us.’ Then Noah will be asked, ‘Who are your witnesses?’ He will reply. ‘(My witnesses are) Muhammad and his followers.’ Thereupon you (Muslims) will be brought and you will bear witness.” Then the Prophet recited: ‘And thus We have made of you (Muslims) a just and the best nation, that you might be witness over the nations, and the Apostle a witness over you.’ (2.143) Bukhari
The people of al-A’raf are those whose good deeds and sins have scaled equal because they have not determined their positions and actions in life. Since retribution and reward correspond to the nature of the deed, they will be stranded on elevated walls called al-A’raf, somewhere between the jannah and hellfire to overlook both places.
It has been reported that those people on the Heights which separate heaven and hell are human beings whose good deeds are equal in weight and measure to their bad ones. Hence, their good deeds are not enough to guarantee their admission into heaven, nor have their sins condemned them to the fire. They remain in between, waiting for God’s grace to be bestowed on them. They recognize the people of paradise by their looks, probably by the fact that their faces are white and bright, or by the light which accompanies them. They also recognize the people destined to the fire by their features, probably by their dark faces or the marks printed on their noses which they used to raise as a gesture of arrogance. They greet the people of heaven with the greeting of peace, clearly entertaining hope that God will bestow His mercy on them and admit them to heaven as well. When their eyes fall on the people of the fire, whom they are deliberately made to see, they plead to be spared their destiny.
The surah begins with the struggle between Adam (AS) and Satan with the beginning of creation, and follows that by the conversation between the dwellers of jannah (paradise) and those of hell. Hence, this struggle results in having a group in jannah and another in hell. Afterwards, the surah draws a timeline depicting, throughout the history of mankind, the struggle between each Prophet and his people. At the end of the struggle, the unjust people were always annihilated due to their corruption.
5. Learn from the Messengers/Prophets
6. Read the Tafsir or Surah Al Araf