Among the subjects treated in this sura are God’s call of Moses (Quran 20:10), the Exodus of the Israelites and the crossing of the Red Sea (20:77), the worship of the Golden Calf (20:88) and the Fall of Man(20:120).
Sura Ta-Ha (Arabic: سورة طه, Sūratu Ṭā-Hā, “Ta-Ha”) is the 20th sura (chapter) of the Qur’an with 135 ayat (verses). It is named “Ta-Ha” because the sura starts with the Arabic letters طه (see Muqatta’at). It is a Meccan sura, from the second Meccan period. The main theme of the sura is about the existence of God. It addresses this theme through stories about Moses and Adam. Sura 20 displays several thematic and stylistic patterns described by Angelika Neuwirth in Jane McAuliffe’s book “The Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an.” These include the eschatological prophecies of the Qur’an, signs of God’s existence, and debate. Additionally, sura 20 employs what has been termed the “ring structure” to reinforce its central theme.
Once a man visited Abu Dharr (radi Allahu anhu) and began looking at the contents of his house but found it quite bare. He asked Abu Dharr (radi Allahu anhu), “Where are your possessions?” Abu Dharr (radi Allahu anhu) replied, “We have a house yonder (meaning the Hereafter) to which we send the best of our possessions.” The man understood what he meant and said, “But you must have some possessions so long as you are in this abode.” “The owner of this abode will not leave us in it” replied Abu Dharr (radi Allahu anhu).
The earth is not our final destination. We are to use it to make preparations for the next life. Concerning the life of this world Eesa (Jesus) (alaihis salaam) said, “This world is like a bridge, cross it and do not build on it.” This life is a bridge from our previous existence as soul to our next existence in the Hereafter. Houses are built on land. The most appropriate place to build, the focus of our attention, should be the land that we will set foot on once we cross the bridge that is our earthly existence. People like Abu Dharr (radi Allahu anhu) set the example for us.
Climate change has affected people world over, and those at the bottom of the economic ladder feel the maximum brunt of global warming. Dhangars are a herding caste of people from Indian state of Maharashtra. They wander looking for water and greener pastures for their animals and themselves. Rising mercury levels and shifting weather patterns pose a threat to the their existence. This is the story of Dhangars, chasing a monsoon in India.
Pankaj, my friend of 20 years, asked me, “Does God exist?” I replied, “Yes, he does.” Pankaj continues, “I don’t believe it. I am an atheist. If God really exists, prove it to me.”
So I continue “Well, it’s very easy to prove it . . .”
. . . And I embark upon a dedicated effort, “God is someone or something that we cannot physically locate. Perhaps that is the reason why some of us tend to resign to the notion that He does not exist. As human beings we are naturally inclined to explore. And hence we must try to find God wherever He exists. But does He give us a chance to do so? Where do we start looking? Should we try to find Him in the heavens above? Should we look for Him in the skies, in the sun, in the moon, our own planet or should it be in inanimate objects such as trees, idols, or in living beings such as animals or gurus or even ourselves?
Pankaj intervenes, “Hey man, don’t beat around the bush. Come to the point. Prove it!”