Surah Al-Ankabut

Discussion in 'Science & The Quran' started by Hideo Kuze, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. Hideo Kuze

    Hideo Kuze <A HREF="showthread.php?t=70991"></A>


    Al- Ankabut, 'The Spider", "takes its name from v41 where false beliefs are likened to the spiders web for fragility."

    The likeness of those who choose other patrons than Allah is as the likeness of the spider when she takes unto herself a house, and assuredly the frailest of all houses is the spider's house, if they but knew. {Quran29:41}

    Many explanations of this verse say that the spiders house is weak, and that the strength of the spiders house is the point of the verse. But that is not the case. Its weak to humans because of our size. Spiders silk characteristics are:

    "The tensile strength of spider silk is greater than the same weight of steel and has much greater elasticity. Its microstructure is under investigation for potential applications in industry, including bullet-proof vests and artificial tendons. Researchers have used genetically modified mammals to produce the proteins needed to make this material." (wikipedia)


    The explanation that one shaykh said that made more sense to me was that the male spider, after finding a female mate is eaten by the female. The female then gives birth to her offspring, who then eat her. This makes more sense to me Allahu Alalum.
  2. What you are doing is engaging in relativism.

    Must we bend the meanings of the Qur'an to maintain consistency with newly uncovered perspectives? What would become of the original meanings after time?
  3. muslima12

    muslima12 the help of الله‎ is near

    Another interpretation is that no matter how strong your material, a house is useless if built on a poor foundation. Likewise, building a life in this dunya without worshipping Allah SWT is worthless.

    Last edited: Sep 2, 2010
  4. ^The paradigm shifts way too much for the above explanation to have been the intended one...First what is interpreted as flimsy is the house of the spider, which is to say the web; then this is denied and the material or silk is distinguished from the web (which doesn't make sense); then the silk is called an excellent material which requires correct placement; then the silk is likened to 'wonderful qualities' and a false god is not equated with anything in the paradigm; then the silk is equated to intelligence, comprehension and conscience; then the silk is again equated with scientific studies, discoveries, and inventions, and the web/house with those things being 'wasted'; then the web/house is associated with arguments of the atheists and 'innate capabilities' with the prey of the spiders...

    Some kind of rhetorical device is employed to extract from the paradigm something that is not mentioned, namely the silk of the web and the web itself is ultimately cast in a typical western/european fashion, namely that all webs signify traps or downfalls.

    Sorry, I can't accept the above explanation either...
  5. Sawtul Islam

    Sawtul Islam <A HREF="showthread.php?t=70991"></A>

    It could also be referring to the spiders web being a trap for other insects, however only the weak get trapped by it but the spiders web cannot trap or even harm the believers the least, it can only cause an annoyance.
  6. IslamPolicy

    IslamPolicy New Member

    And despite this potential for fortification and strength, which undoubtedly comes from Allah as well, the spider's web completely loses not only its functionality but its very existence with a simply passing breeze or heavy rain.

    So too, today we see the steel and nuclear capabilities of Western powers building their spider's web around the realities of the world. But Allah is eroding that strength by means which are seeminlgy much weaker yet firmly grasping tauhid.

    The metaphor for the spider's web and its effects on those trapped in it can be understood by looking at what spider's do to their prey. If you see the web, the insect caught by it continues to remain, at least its shell. The spider sticks its prongs into the guts of the bug and sucks out the meaty components of the internals, leaving behind the appearance of existence but the death of all the is inside.

    In the same way the disbelievers and the effect of their principles (shirk) onto the reality set forth a trap that leaves behind the shell of a human being whilst the economic, social, psychological and other effects acts like the prong that sucks the internal lifeblood, the belief, the morals, the ethics, and all that is spiritual from those falling into it as prey.

    The ayah is so too making claims to relativism in the sense that the rational mind would never believe something to be possible of being destroyed. And this is why they rely on partners with Allah is it not? The rationalists of today dominate. They weigh with probabilities and statistics and the sensory data they collect neglects any piece of information or principle that goes apart from what they speak, see, or hear, or touch. The concepts of spirituality and belief, of a greater power disappear. And it is when they get to this point of believing that they are indestructible that Allah sends forth their destruction. Today we forget that after the fall of the USSR, it seemed the whole world would be dominated by the American Spider for example.

    The once strong disappears... think all all empires previous: they were not weak, relatively speaking. They were the most advanced technologically, scientifically, educationally, etcetera. As far as their conceptions could imagine, they would go on forever as there was no feasible way to imagine the houses they were building would fail.

    Not only to empires fall, but if we see their decline we see it is rapid to the point where one day they realize all has been lost and suddenly they deteriorate into hell. Look at Rome, USSR, Mayans, there are many examples.

    This is also true in individual lives, as a person does all the right things rationally to secure his dunya. Our present celebrity culture teaches us to lie cheat and steal and all will be well. Then one day, after lying, cheating and stealing the way to the top, suddenly depression sets in and suicide breeds failure, a sudden change in fate leads to bankruptcy, the attention the star craves is gone and they spend the rest of life in isolation and despair.

    One could literally write a book about how true this verse is true across the board, even more so with recent study of the spider and its house .

    Allah is virtually telling us not to be impressed by the homes of the spiders throughout the ages, to place our footing on the sustainability of tauhid as it is the only true source of strength and Allah is the only preserver of power and He ta ala know best.
  7. ^What is with all the Tafsir bi-Ra'y?

    The Ayah is simple:

    Taking Awliya aside from Allah is akin to placing ones trust on something weak and powerless. The other Ayaat in the Qur'an explain that all Awliya and intercessors taken in this life aside from Him, will leave people in the lurch on the Day of Resurrection. The other Ayaat also explain that the Awliya taken besides Him cannot help or cause harm at all.

    So just as the Spider must rebuild her web constantly, thus those who take as Awliya other than Allah, are constantly shifting allegiance and loyalty as well. Look at the Mushrikin- they always have many idols. Look at the Disbelievers, they are constantly switching allegiances and loyalties in their affairs in peace time and war. What they build their affairs on are constantly shifting and weak because it is not based on Tawhid and Iman.

    The Believers however place their trust in Allah alone- these are people who build their affairs on solid foundations and who open up their affair to the help and mercy of Allah.

    Relativism? Do you know what that means?

    "the philosophical doctrine that all criteria of judgment are relative to the individuals and situations involved"

    Sorry but, the Qur'an has nothing of this in it...
  8. Tisatashar

    Tisatashar <A HREF="showthread.php?t=70991"></A>

    It's been said - 'a man's home is his castle.'

    But what about the spider's home?

    Does is give shelter from the driving rain?
    Does it give shelter from the hot sun?
    Does it give shelter from the bitter cold?
    Does it give shelter from the raging winds?
    Does it give shelter from the falling snow?
    Does it give shelter from the pelting hail?
    Does it give shelter from the prying eyes?
    Does it give shelter from the spouse?
  9. ^So now what do all those things means within the analogy of taking as Awliya other than Allah?

    Why go deeper into the analogy than what you're capable of tying back to the Ayah or other Ayaat?
  10. Tisatashar

    Tisatashar <A HREF="showthread.php?t=70991"></A>

    Assalamu alaykom brother.

    You are absolutely correct. My mistake. My mind wasn't focused on the ayah when I posted that. The story about the scientific proof that the "spiders web was the strongest natural substance known" was what I had focused on. May Allah SWT forgive me for posting something to imply the verse means something that is not there. I wish I could delete it now you have you brought it to my attention. May Allah SWT reward you for your efforts.

    To all readers - pay no attention to my post above. It does not interpret the Qur'anic verse. I had digressed from the point of the thread.
  11. IslamPolicy

    IslamPolicy New Member

    Syed Qutb gives a nice explanation in his tafsir of this section he calls it,

    The Frailty of the Powerful

    Now that the destruction of despotic, wrongdoing and wicked unbelievers has been outlined, and bearing in mind what was said at the beginning of the sūrah about tests and temptation, the relative power of competing forces is described in a clear simile. There is only one true power and this belongs to Allah. Every other power is frail and flimsy. Whoever seeks support or protection from other than Allah is like a spider which clings to a frail home woven of silk that lacks strength. Both the spider and its web, or home, are without real support:

    Those who take anyone other than Allah for their protectors may be compared to the spider which makes for itself a home. Indeed the spider’s home is the frailest of all homes, if they but knew it. Allah certainly knows the nature of whatever people invoke instead of Him. He alone is Almighty, Wise. Such are the comparisons We draw for people’s benefit, but none will grasp their meaning except the people of knowledge.(Verses 41-43)

    This is an amazing but true picture of the powers operating in the universe. People sometimes overlook this truth and hence their values fall by the wayside. Indeed their concept of human relations grows corrupt and all their criteria become ill-balanced. They do not know which way to go, what to take up and what to leave. In this situation, the power of government deceives them. They feel it to be too strong, address their wishes and complaints to it, fear it and try to appease it so that they remain safe from its strong-handed measures. Similarly, they are deceived by other powers, such as that of wealth which they imagine to control people’s lives. They, thus, try to obtain wealth so that they can exercise power over others. The power of knowledge also deceives them as they consider it a source of strength, wealth and all other elements that give people power. Hence, they approach it with humility, just like a worshipper engaged in devotion. Whether controlled by individuals, communities or states, apparent power deceives them. They are pulled towards it like moths are attracted to light or swarm towards a fire.

    People are thus oblivious of the one power which creates all the little powers, owns, gives, directs and uses them as it pleases. They forget that seeking support and protection from these little powers is just like a spider taking refuge in its web. It remains a small powerless insect that has no power within itself or its flimsy web.

    The only real support and protection for man is with Allah. This is the main truth which the Qur’ān takes special care to instil in the minds of believers. It makes their community stronger than all the powers that try to obstruct it. Over the centuries it enabled the community of believers to place the arrogance of tyrants under its feet and to overcome tyranny in its strongest forts and seemingly impregnable lines. This great truth is established in every believer’s mind, it has filled every heart and become part of their very being. It is no longer a word we utter, or a subject for debate. It is the main idea in our lives, minds and senses.

    All power belongs to Allah. The only protection to be sought is from Allah.

    Everything else is weak, flimsy and powerless, however much it tries to inflict punishment, be tyrannical and overpowering. They are simply spiders, and what power has a spider other than the silk with which it weaves its web?:
    “Indeed the spider’s home is the frailest of all homes, if they but knew it.” (Verse 41)

    Advocates of the divine message who are often subjected to oppression and hardship, and also to temptation and deceit, should reflect on this great truth and keep it before their eyes. They must not allow themselves to forget this even for a moment as they face different forces, some trying to inflict harm on them or even crush them, and some trying to lure them to their own line, or to buy them out. But all these forces are no more than the threads of a spider’s web. This is their real estimation in Allah’s measure. It is also the measure when compared with true faith when people have the right concept of it.

    “Allah certainly knows the nature of whatever people invoke instead of Him.” (Verse 42)

    They seek the protection of patrons to whom they ascribe a share of divinity. Allah knows the reality of these patrons: they are no more than a spider seeking refuge in its frail web. “He alone is Almighty, Wise.” (Verse 42) He alone has power over all things, and in His wisdom, He conducts the affairs of the universe.

    “Such are the comparisons We draw for people’s benefit, but none will grasp their meaning except the people of knowledge.” (Verse 43)

    Devoid of knowledge and clear reasoning, some unbelievers took such comparisons as material for ridicule. They said that Muhammad’s Allah speaks about spiders and flies. They were uninspired by this remarkable description because they did not use their reason, while their knowledge too remained scanty:

    “None will grasp their meaning except the people of knowledge.”(Verse 43)
  12. ^The above Tafsir bi-Ra'y is eloquent and very pertinent. May Allah have mercy on the author.

    I am just not a Tafsir bi-Ra'y type person. A couple of days ago I had typed up a detailed response for this thread drawing only on all the other Ayaat and their Tafsir that have the wording contained in this Ayah regarding 'taking Awliya besides Allah', however I clicked a button on the browser and lost it.

    There's just something about Tafsir al-Qur'an bil-Qur'an that amazes me and I never get unsatisfied with...(not saying that those who like Tafsir bi-Ra'y get 'bored' with other methods of Tafsir)
  13. IslamPolicy

    IslamPolicy New Member

    No doubt, I wish you had not lost that post. I myself have been trying to find some time and check on some other mufasirun... it really is a powerful ayah.
  14. Sawtul Islam

    Sawtul Islam <A HREF="showthread.php?t=70991"></A>

    the strength of the spiders web cant be entirely ignored

    the spiders web is strong against the weak, but it is weak against the strong - and shirk is weak against people with strong Eman, "verily the plan of Satan is weak"

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