03 Nov Sūratu’l-Baqarah [The Cow] : (2:248).Part2
وَقَالَ لَهُمْ نَبِيُّهُمْ إِنَّ اٰيَةَ مُلْكِه۪ۤ أَنْ يَأْتِيَكُمُ التَّابُوتُ ف۪يهِ سَك۪ينَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَبَقِيَّةٌ مِمَّا تَرَكَ اٰلُ مُوسٰى وَاٰلُ هَارُونَ تَحْمِلُهُ الْمَلٰۤئِكَةُۘ إِنَّ ف۪ي ذٰلِكَ لَاٰيَةً لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِن۪ينَ
“Their Prophet (Samuel) added: The sign of his (Saul’s) kingdom is that the Ark will come to you, in which there is inward peace and assurance from your Lord, and a remnant of what the house of Moses and the house of Aaron left behind, the angels bearing it. Truly, in that is a sign for you if you are (true) believers.” (Al-Baqarah 2:248)
▪However, sakīnah may not manifest itself in the same way to each person or community. The spiritual states and physical conditions of individuals and communities play a great role in the descent of sakīnah, which is a favor and blessing of God. For instance, sakīnah was represented by the swift motions of angels during the Battle of Badr (624 CE).
▪Similarly, Usayd ibn Hudayr, a Companion of the Prophet, received sakīnah as a misty cloud:
The angels came near to his voice and descended like a misty cloud while he was reciting the Qur’ān. While Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, and his friend Abū Bakr took refuge in a cave on Mount Thawr during their emigration to Madīnah, sakīnah appeared as a complete satisfaction and assurance in the heart of the Messenger, who always kept his perfect trust in and reliance on God during his entire lifetime. Another similar instance during the Hijrah (Emigration) was that ‘Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Messenger, received sakīnah as an assurance, confidence, and satisfaction when he slept in God’s Messenger’s bed although he knew that he would be the target of hateful polytheists’ swords.
▪As for the Children of Israel, we should first of all state this reality that because of their character, dispositions, condition of life, and certain attitudes particular to them, sakīnah was bestowed on them as a concrete and visible object. They had said to Moses, upon him be peace:
“Moses, we will never believe in you unless we plainly see God” (Al-Baqarah 2:55).
By using “never,” they openly expressed that they did not have the intention to believe immediately.
▪To mention parenthetically, Prophet Jesus, upon him be peace, would have a hard time among them, as he represented pure spirituality. He tried to modify and soften their rigid, strict, and positivist attitudes with his spirituality and prepared the ground for Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, to certain extent. Jesus presented his messages according to their level of understanding and never uttered anything that they would find odd and thus reject. Furthermore, saying:
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. And when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth,”(See John, 16: 7–8; 16:12–13; 14:15–16; 14:26–27)
Jesus left the final word to the one who would come after him. Therefore, Jesus the Messiah never told his community anything beyond their capacity of comprehension and tolerance. However, some defeated by their carnality and materialistic inclination and some among the Romans could not tolerate even the mild messages of Jesus and attempted to kill him.
Thus, if sakīnah had come to similar, materialistically inclined communities in a completely spiritual way as it came to Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, and his Companions ‘Ali and Usayd ibn Hudayr, those communities would have never been able to understand what it was about.
▪Hence, the sakīnah they received was of the kind that they could perceive and sanctify. It came to the Children of Israel as a tangible, visible object in the ark which contained the sacred trusts of Prophets Joseph, Aaron, and Moses, peace be upon them all, and which had been known lost until that time.
▪Here, the reason why sakīnah came in an ark can be interpreted in both its outward and inward meanings and significance. In its outward significance and meaning, it would, first of all, indicate God’s power; and secondly, it would increase the trust and confidence in the Prophet who gave them some promises.
In its inward meaning and significance, it signified the strength which the Jews would derive from such extraordinary incidents. However, this also differs according to the state of recipients. The benefit of those whose level of reception is high and who takes interest in it will undoubtedly be different from that of those who are not open to Divine gifts and criticize everything they witness.
In addition, the ark may be indicative of the fact that that community was defunct in terms of their feelings, thoughts, and faith in a period of time. Or, the embodiment of sakīnah inside the ark could be a sign of the revival of that community. It might have been for that reason that Prophet David, upon him be peace, used to carry that ark in front of their army and brought it with him wherever he went.