Will you explain verse 75 of the chapter of an-Nahl?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

“Allah sets forth the Parable (of two men: one) a slave under the dominion of another; He has no power of any sort; and (the other) a man on whom We have bestowed goodly favors from Ourselves, and he spends thereof (freely), privately and publicly: are the two equal? (By no means;) praise be to Allah. But most of them understand not.” (an-Nahl, 16/75)

In the verse above, Allah, the Exalted, likens the unbeliever who does not obey Him, does no good deeds and spends nothing in His way, to a slave who is under someone’s command and owns nothing. The slave is under the command of his master; similarly, the unbeliever is under the command of his soul and Satan. Therefore, he cannot tend to do good deeds.

Allah, the Exalted, likens the believer who obeys Him and spends his wealth in the right way to a free person who acts freely. Can a believer who has free will and an unbeliever whose hands and arms are almost tied ever be equal? Praise be to Allah, who made the believer obey Him. Praise belongs only to Allah, not to the idols that are worshipped. However, most people are not aware of it.

The fact that the plural form is used in the verse indicates that a comparison between two groups is meant, not just two individuals. In other words, can the group of helpless slaves, who do not have freedom but who are the property of someone else, and the group of free people, and especially the group of free people who are provided with good sustenance and spend it on the needy, be equal? Definitely not. Those who worship any being other than Allah are like slaves who have given their freedom and become the servants of a creature like slaves who are the property of someone else. Muslims who do not know any god but Allah and who believe in the oneness of Allah are also free. In fact, there can be no greater freedom than being able to say,

“Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.” (al-Fatiha, 1/5) Therefore, denying Allah, associating partners with Him, and wrong religions are all ties of bondage.

Believing in the true religion and the oneness of Allah is a freedom and wealth for human beings. It is necessary to think what a great blessing that blessing of freedom is and who gives it? All praise belongs to Allah. Freedom is His blessing, and every blessing comes from Him. We should know the value of freedom, appreciate religion and belief, and praise Allah by serving only Allah. However, most of the people do not know it. They do not know; they deny Allah and are ungrateful to Him. They are captivated by Satan while trying to have freedom.

(Elmalılı Tafsir)

An example is given in the verse and it is stated that unbelievers become slaves of the soul and Satan. Examples are means that make it easier for us to understand the realities that we have difficulty in understanding. It is necessary to focus on the purpose of the example, not the outward appearance.

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