Aspects of God’s Grace
And among His signs is that He sends forth the winds bearing good news, so that He might give you a taste of His grace, and that ships might sail at His bidding; so that you might go about in quest of some of His bounty, and that you might have cause to be grateful. We have certainly sent before you messengers to their own peoples, and they brought them clear evidence of the truth. Therefore, We inflicted punishment upon those who deliberately did evil. It is incumbent upon Us to give support to the believers. It is God who sends forth the winds so that they raise clouds, whereupon He spreads them as He wills across the skies, and causes them to break up so that you can see the rain issuing from within it. As soon as He causes it to fall upon whomever He wills of His servants, they rejoice, even though a short while ago, before it was sent down upon them, they had abandoned all hope. Behold, then, the effects of God’s grace: how He gives life to the earth after it had been lifeless! It is indeed He the One who can bring the dead back to life; for He has power over all things. (The Byzantines, Al-Room: 30: 46-50)
In this passage, the surah speaks of some of God’s signs and how they reflect His grace. God’s signs here include the winds as heralds bearing good news, sending messengers with clear signs, giving support to believers, sending rain to give life to dead land and bringing the dead back to life. This combination is very significant. All these are aspects of God’s mercy and grace, and they are all part of the laws God has set in operation. Indeed there are close links between the system of the universe, the messages of divine guidance preached by God’s messengers, and the victory granted to the believers. All these are among God’s signs, and aspects of His grace. They are important to human life, and they are closely related to the universal system.
“And among His signs is that He sends forth the winds bearing good news.” These winds herald rain. From experience, people know the winds that bring rains, which raise their hopes. “So that He might give you a taste of His grace,” with this prospect of rain, fertility and growth . “And that ships might sail at His bidding,” either with the help of rain or by causing rivers to flow and allowing ships to sail on them. Yet the ships are actually run by God’s bidding, according to the laws He operates in the universe, giving everything its qualities and functions. An aspect of this is that ships are easily carried by water and they float and move, pushed by the wind, either with or against the current. With Him everything is made to measure. “So that you might go about in quest of some of His bounty,” on your business travels, in cultivating the land, and in business exchanges. All this is part of God’s bounty, given by the One who has created everything and perfectly proportioned them all so “that you might have cause to be grateful,” for His grace is in all this. This comment at the end of the verse serves as an indication of how people should behave when they receive God’s bounty.
Similar to sending the winds bearing good news is the sending of messengers with veritable signs of the truth: “We have certainly sent before you messengers to their own peoples, and they brought them clear evidence of the truth.” Yet people did not receive this aspect of God’s grace, which is much greater than the wind that brings the prospect of rain. Nor did they benefit by them as they did by rain, even though their messages were far more beneficial and longer lasting. Essentially, they took two different attitudes toward God’s messengers.
Some of them refused to believe or reflect on God’s messages and continued to inflict harm on the messengers and to turn people away from God’s path. Others, who believed, recognized God’s signs, offered thanks for His grace, and bore with patience the harm inflicted on them by the other group. Furthermore, they were confident that God’s promise would come true. The outcome was in accordance with divine justice and in fulfilment of His certain promise: “Therefore, We inflicted punishment upon those who deliberately did evil. It is incumbent upon Us to give support to the believers.”
All glory to God Almighty who, by His grace, has committed Himself to support the believers and give them victory, making this their right. He has emphatically confirmed it in clear, unambiguous terms. How could there be any ambiguity when the One making the commitment is God Almighty who has sway over all His creatures? He makes this statement expressing His will that will always be done, and pointing to the working of His law which never fails. He is the All-Knowing, the Wise.
God’s support may appear, in people’s reckoning, to be slow in coming, because they have a measure and a perspective that are different from His. He, in His knowledge and wisdom, fulfills His promise at the time He chooses in accordance with His law. People may or may not be able to appreciate the wisdom of His timing. Yet His will brings the best; it is His timing that is the most appropriate, and it is His promise that will most certainly be fulfilled. Believers who demonstrate the quality of patience in adversity await its fulfillment with unshakable confidence.
The surah goes on to state that it is God who sends the winds, brings down the rain, gives life to the earth after it was dead, and also brings the dead back to life: it is all one law, one method and different stages in the chain of the overall universal law.