117: Elijah and the blind man
`Elijah answered: "Thou art of the tribe of Levi; and because thou, in entering the temple of God, lookest lewdly upon a woman, thou being near the sanctuary, our God took away thy sight."
`Then the blind man weeping said: "Pardon me, O holy prophet of God, for I have sinned in speaking with thee; for if I had seen thee I should not have sinned."
`Elijah answered: "May our God pardon thee, O brother, because as regardeth me I know that thou hast told me the truth, seeing that the more I hate myself the more I love God, and if thou sawest me thou wouldst still thy desire, which is not pleasing to God. For Elijah is not your creator, but God; whence, so far as concerneth thee, I am the devil," said Elijah weeping, "because I turn thee aside from thy creator. Weep then, O brother, because thou hast not that light which would make thee see the true from the false, for if thou hadst had that thou wouldst not have despised my doctrine. Wherefore I say unto thee, that many desire to see me and come from far to see me, who despise my words. Wherefore it were better for them, for their salvation, that they had no eyes, seeing that everyone that findeth pleasure in the creature, be he who he may, and seeketh not to find pleasure in God, hath made an idol in his heart, and forsaken God."'
Then said Jesus, sighing: `Have ye understood all that Elijah said?'
The disciples answered: `In sooth, we have understood, and we are beside ourselves at the knowledge that here on earth there are very few that are not idolaters.'
24: Rich and Poor
Having said this, Jesus wept, saying: 'Woe to those who are servants to their flesh, for they are sure not to have any good in the other life, but only torments for their sins. I tell you that there was a rich glutton who paid no heed to aught but gluttony, and so every day held a splendid feast. There stood at his gate a poor man by name Lazarus, who was full of wounds, and was fain to have those crumbs that fell from the glutton's table. But no one gave them to him; nay, all mocked him. Only the dogs had pity on him, for they licked his wounds. It came to pass that the poor man died, and the angels carried him to the arms of Abraham our father. The rich man also died, and the devils carried him to the arms of Satan; whereupon, undergoing the greatest torment, he lifted up his eyes and from afar saw Lazarus in the arms of Abraham. Then cried the rich man: "O father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, who upon his fingers may bring me a drop of water to cool my tongue, which is tormented in this flame."
'Abraham answered: "Son, remember that thou receivedst thy good in the other life and Lazarus his evil; wherefore now thou shalt be in torment, and Lazarus in consolation."
'The rich man cried out again, saying: "O father Abraham, in my house there are three brethren of mine. Therefore send Lazarus to announce to them how much I am suffering, in order that they may repent and not come hither."
'Abraham answered: "They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them."
'The rich man answered: "Nay, father Abraham; but if one dead shall arise they will believe."
'Abraham answered: "Whoso believeth not Moses and the prophets will not believe even the dead if they should arise.
'See then whether the poor are blessed,' said Jesus, 'who have patience, and only desire that which is necessary, hating the flesh. O wretched they, who bear others to the burial, to give their flesh for food of worms, and do not learn the truth. So far from it that they live here like immortals, for they build great houses and purchase great revenues and live in pride.'
An Islamic Perspective and Commentary
The story of Qarun, a rich person from the time of Moses, is worth relating here.
Qarun was doubtless, of the people of Moses; but he acted insolently towards them: such were the treasures We had bestowed on him that their very keys would have been a burden to a body of strong men, behold, his people said to him: "Exult not, for God loveth not those who exult (in riches).
"But seek, with the (wealth) which God has bestowed on thee, the Home of the Hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this world: but do thou good, as God has been good to thee, and seek not (occasions for) mischief in the land: for God loves not those who do mischief."
He said: "This has been given to me because of a certain knowledge which I have." Did he not know that God had destroyed, before him, (whole) generations,- which were superior to him in strength and greater in the amount (of riches) they had collected? but the wicked are not called (immediately) to account for their sins.
So he went forth among his people in the (pride of his wordly) glitter. Said those whose aim is the Life of this World: "Oh! that we had the like of what Qarun has got! for he is truly a lord of mighty good fortune!"
But those who had been granted (true) knowledge said: "Alas for you! The reward of God (in the Hereafter) is best for those who believe and work righteousness: but this none shall attain, save those who steadfastly persevere (in good)."
Then We caused the earth to swallow up him and his house; and he had not (the least little) party to help him against God, nor could he defend himself.
And those who had envied his position the day before began to say on the morrow: "Ah! it is indeed God Who enlarges the provision or restricts it, to any of His servants He pleases! had it not been that God was gracious to us, He could have caused the earth to swallow us up! Ah! those who reject God will assuredly never prosper."
That Home of the Hereafter We shall give to those who intend not high-handedness or mischief on earth: and the end is (best) for the righteous.
If any does good, the reward to him is better than his deed; but if any does evil, the doers of evil are only punished (to the extent) of their deeds.
Verily He Who ordained the Qur'an for thee, will bring thee back to the Place of Return. Say: "My Lord knows best who it is that brings true guidance, and who is in manifest error."
And thou hadst not expected that the Book would be sent to thee except as a Mercy from thy Lord: Therefore lend not thou support in any way to those who reject (God's Message).
And let nothing keep thee back from the Signs of God after they have been revealed to thee: and invite (men) to thy Lord, and be not of the company of those who join gods with God.
And call not, besides God, on another god. There is no god but He. Everything (that exists) will perish except His own Face. To Him belongs the Command, and to Him will ye (all) be brought back. (The Holy Quran, 28:76-88)
137:Faithful without Deeds
hen shall the messenger of God say: "O Lord, there are of the faithful who have been in hell seventy thousand years. Where, O Lord, is thy mercy? I pray thee, Lord, to free them from those bitter punishments."
`Then shall God command the four favourite angels of God that they go to hell and take out every one that hath the faith of his messenger, and lead him into paradise. And this they shall do.
`And such shall be the advantage of the faith of God's messenger, that those that shall have believed in him, even though they have not done any good works, seeing they died in this faith, shall go into paradise after the punishment of which I have spoken.'