"Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding. " Al-Imran:190
-The background of revelation:
Commenting on the background of revelation concerning these verses, Ibn Hibbaan in his Sahih and Ibn Asakir in his History have reported that the Companion 'Ata ibn Abi Rabah razi Allahu Anhu went to Sayyidah 'A'ishah razi Allahu Anhu and said to her: "Of the things about the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaehi wasallam, tell me what you saw as most unique out of the many states of his." Thereupon, Sayyidah 'A'ishah said: "Which state are you talking about? In reality, everything about him was unique. Yet, I would tell you about one very unique event. It so happened that the noble Prophet, may Allah bless and protect him, came to me one night and entered into the comforter with me. Then, he said: "Allow me to worship my Lord." He rose from the bed, made Wudu and stood up for Salah. And in this standing position of Qiyam, he wept, so much so that his tears trickled down his blessed chest. Then, he bent down for Ruku and there too he wept. Then he did his Sajdah and kept weeping in the Sajdah very much like before. Then, he raised his head and continued weeping until came the morning. Sayyidna Bilal came in and informed him about the time of the Fajr Salah. Sayyidna Bilal says: I submitted: 'my master, why do you weep like that? Isn't it that Allah Almighty has forgiven you all your past and future sins?" He said: "So then, should I not continue to be a grateful servant of Allah? And in offering this gratitude of mine, why should I not shed tears, specially tonight when Allah Almighty has revealed this blessed verse to me:
After that, he said: "Ruined is the person who recited these verses but failed to deliberate therein."
So, in order to deliberate into this verse, let us begin by answering some questions first.
-What does the creation of the heavens and the earth mean?
Since Khalq is a verbal noun which signifies creation or origination, it means that there are, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, great signs of Allah Almighty. Therefore, all those Divinely created beings and things in the heavens and the earth also get to be included therein. Then, among these created beings there are kingdoms after kingdoms- each having different types and states- yet each and every created being is comprehensively pointing out to its Creator. Then, going a little deeper, one would discover that 'the heavens' is inclusive of all heights and 'the earth' covers all lows. Thus, high or low, all dimensions owe their existence to Allah Almighty.
The different forms of the alteration of the night and day:
Let us now determine the meaning of 'the alternation of the night and day'. The word 'ikhtilaf' translated here as 'alternation' is derived from the Arabic usage: (such and such person arrived after such and such person). So, the Arabic expression translated as 'the alternation of the night and day' means that the night goes and the day comes and when the day goes, night comes.
The word 'ikhtilaf' translated here as 'alternation' could also be taken to mean increase or decrease. For example, during winter, the night is long and the day is short; while during the summer, the order is reversed. Similarly, the difference between the night and day is also caused by the difference in the geographical location of countries. For example; countries closer to the North Pole have longer days as compared to areas farther away from it. So, it should not be difficult to infer from each such phenomena the essential proof of the most perfect power of Allah Almighty.
What is the meaning of the word, Ayat?
Ayaat is the plural of Ayah and is used to express more than one single meaning. Miracles are known as Ayaat. It is also applied to the verses of the Holy Quran. It is also used in a third sense, that of proof and sign. Here, in the present context, this very third sense is what is intended- meaning that, in these manifestations, there are great signs of Allah, and the proofs of His power.
(the end part of this ayat will be discussed in next episode)