Surah Thunder (ar-Ra’d): Chapter 13 (line 10-20)

10. It is the same; whether one of you conceals his speech, or declares it; whether he goes into hiding by night, or goes out by day.

11. He has a succession; before him and behind him, protecting him by God’s command. God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves. And if God wills any hardship for a people, there is no turning it back; and apart from Him they have no protector.

12. It is He who shows you the lightening, causing fear and hope. And He produces the heavy clouds.

13. The thunder praises His glory, and so do the angels, in awe of Him. And He sends the thunderbolts, striking with them whomever He wills. Yet they argue about God, while He is Tremendous in might.

14. To Him belongs the call to truth. Those they call upon besides Him do not respond to them with anything—except as someone who stretches his hands towards water, so that it may reach his mouth, but it does not reach it. The prayers of the unbelievers are only in vain.

15. To God prostrates everyone in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, as do their shadows, in the morning and in the evening.

16. Say, “Who is the Lord of the heavens and the earth?” Say, “God.” Say, “Have you taken besides Him protectors, who have no power to profit or harm even themselves?” Say, “Are the blind and the seeing equal? Or are darkness and light equal? Or have they assigned to God associates, who created the likes of His creation, so that the creations seemed to them alike? Say, “God is the Creator of all things, and He is The One, the Irresistible.”

17. He sends down water from the sky, and riverbeds flow according to their capacity. The current carries swelling froth. And from what they heat in fire of ornaments or utensils comes a similar froth. Thus God exemplifies truth and falsehood. As for the froth, it is swept away, but what benefits the people remains in the ground. Thus God presents the analogies.

18. For those who respond to their Lord is the best. But as for those who do not respond to Him, even if they possessed everything on earth, and twice as much, they could not redeem themselves with it. Those will have the worst reckoning; and their home is Hell—a miserable destination.

19. Is he who knows that what was revealed to your from your Lord is the truth, like him who is blind? Only those who reason will remember.

20. Those who fulfill the promise to God, and do not violate the agreement.

My Interpretation:

Gabriel, the Archangel of Messengers is sending Muhammad a message to understand that although he is the new prophet or messenger of this time period and nation, people have all the choice in the world to listen to him. There is no compulsion in religion, and Gabriel is explaining that if people truly want to change for the better they need to change within first. Stop doing the wrong things that cause themselves more suffering and drama, and start to obey the laws of God. Once they do this, God can then start to help them and change their lives for the better.

Line 11 The Angels are all around us, a few in front of us, and a few in back of us protecting those that believe and trust in God’s revelations. They know what we each conceal secretly and reveal openly. We must always strive to be honest with others as well as ourselves if we want to reach spiritual enlightenment and please the Angels and God.

Every hardship carries a deep meaning behind it. Perhaps, you are the victim of oppressors, well Allah knows and sees this. You will not be trapped forever. Maybe you are in a tough situation you don’t understand, until you realize that you created this situation for yourself to be in. God helps those who help themselves first. God is not at our beck and call, and does not do all the work for us. We each need to work hard at spiritually evolving and changing our situation. This is a case by case basis and God sees what each person is truly limited to.

Lord of all things is our One Creator-which is Allah in Arabic. If there are any other beings, or people that ask for worship, it is wrong. Gabriel is telling Muhammad that while the Pagan Mecca leaders yell out to their 300 made up gods and goddesses, they remain silent. Their prayers fall on deaf ears, because they are figments of their desires and imaginations. God is everywhere and yet nowhere, there is no Creative force more powerful than the one who created this entire universe-or multiverse. Gabriel is telling Muhammad this, so he may warn the others to not foolishly pray or worship the created, but instead only worship the Creator.

Reason comes into play a lot in the Quran. The Quran is rhetorical, meaning it is coming from already a knowledgable source, but asks socratic questions in order for others to discover the truth for themselves. When the Quran asks “Will they not reason?”, it is a chance for Muhammad to teach people that having faith in the messages brought down, messengers and prophets, and God’s Signs and Revelations of both past and present, actually make you more of a reasonable person. It is not intelligent to dismiss these writings, and in doing so, you display your own lack of intellect and enlarged ego.

In order to create a book such as the Quran, the amount of worldly and otherworldly intelligence is very apparent. If it is not, then it is only because they fail to have reason and common sense to understand the context of the messages given. Our brains are gifts, and we are given the ability to reason unlike the animals. It is a great disgrace for the Angels and God to observe humans not using this power given to them.

Without reason, you may not be able to find the “reason” behind these messages.

Those who use reason, can understand the Good in these messages and in turn live a good life, traveling onto a good path towards spiritual joy.