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You and all the things you deify and worship apart from God... (Al-Anbiyā’ 21:98)

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Sūratu’l-Anbiyā’ (The Prophets)

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إِنَّكُمْ وَمَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ حَصَبُ جَهَنَّمَ أَنتُمْ لَهَا وَارِدُونَ
You and all the things you deify and worship apart from God are but firewood for Hell. You are bound to arrive in it. (Al-Anbiyā’ 21:98)

First of all, the polytheists will be thrown into Hellfire together with the things they deify and worship; they will also be there together with the people whom they deify and worship apart from God. This will increase their suffering in the Fire because in addition to their remorse, they and their “deities” will accuse each other. They will also suffer the distress of the fact that those they deify and worship will be of no use to them against God’s punishment. The pangs of conscience will add to their suffering.

The expression, “firewood for Hell,” emphasizes that the things that are deified and worshiped except God in this world will be transformed into burning materials in the Hereafter and that everything will burn furiously in Hellfire. This implies that polytheism is an unforgivable sin and the torment itself, with the idols being the means of punishment and torment in Hell. Therefore, polytheists will never be able to be saved from the tiresome punishment and torment of Hell.

What a pitiable result for a being who was created as the noblest of existence and in the best pattern of creation of the highest stature that they reduce themselves to blind, deaf, and heartless beings and share the same conditions and the same end with the things made up of iron, earth, and wood.

The verb “warada” translated as “arrive” means “arriving at a source of water with a bucket or a similar thing to take water.” However, there is irony in the verse’s usage of it. That is, as in the Qur’anic statement, “Give them the glad tidings of a painful punishment,”[1] the verse means that those who are supposed to go to Prophet Muhammad with their buckets to take the water of faith and salvation do not take advantage of this opportunity. As a result, the road they follow takes them to Hell. There is the same meaning in, “There is no one among you who will not come to it (Hell)” (Maryam 19:71). The original of the verb translated as “come to” is also “warada.” God Almighty stresses by using this verb how pitiable and dismaying it is that one who should run to water to drink misses this great water source and finds himself in a furious fire.

The first part of the verse, “You and all the things you deify and worship apart from God are but firewood for Hell,” may be providing an answer for the unbelievers’ or polytheists’ claim that Hellfire will not burn them. God gives them the lesson they should receive by meaning, “You are like firewood compared to the fire that will burn you,” thus doubling their dismay.

[1] See sūrahs Āl ‘Imrān 3:21; at-Tawbah, 9:34; al-Inshiqāq 84:24.