The question, which still stands, is: How can mountains both be able to "refuse the trust" and "feel fear" as Sura 33:72 says?
This verse has presented Commentators of the Quran with some difficulty. In view of different signification's of the words used, the verse seems to be susceptible of the following interpretations:
Let's see why!
Sura 33: 72-73
Yusuf Ali: We did indeed offer the Trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the Mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it;- He was indeed unjust and foolish;- (With the result) that Allah has to punish the Hypocrites, men and women, and the Unbelievers, men and women, and Allah turns in Mercy to the Believers, men and women: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Pickthall : Lo! We offered the trust unto the heavens and the earth and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man assumed it. Lo! he hath proved a tyrant and a fool. So Allah punisheth hypocritical men and hypocritical women, and idolatrous men and idolatrous women. But Allah pardoneth believing men and believing women, and Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.
Shakir: Surely We offered the trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they refused to be unfaithful to it and feared from it, and man has turned unfaithful to it; surely he is unjust, ignorant; So Allah will chastise the hypocritical men and the hypocritical women and the polytheistic men and the polytheistic women, and Allah will turn (mercifully) to the believing women, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
Taking the word (hml) as meaning to accept, and (Imanat) as signifying the trust of man's love of God, the verse would mean that a great spiritual destiny awaited man.
Perhaps, but this is not in the context of this passage. This Sura is not discussing man's "great" spiritual destiny, in fact, this Sura calls men (depending on the translation used) foolish, unjust, ignorant, and tyrants!
He was made God's viceregent on earth (2:31).
Perhaps, but the offer was made to other things first according to this passage!
He was gifted with the great capacities and powers to assimilate and manifest in his person Divine attributes and to become the image of his Creator.
Really? If man is so great, then why did God first offer "the trust" to the heavens, earth, and mountains? I would think that man would have been given the first offer.
This was indeed a great trust which man, alone of all the universe, was found capable of discharging, other beings and things--the angels, the heavens, the earth and the mountains--being quite unequal to the task.
Again, why was man God's forth choice behind the heavens, earth, and mountains? Now I know how the last child, in gym class, chosen to play basketball feels!
They refused, as it were, to bear it.
How could the earth, heavens, and mountains know that the offer was made and how did they communicate their refusal? Are they conscious and do they have awareness of their surroundings? There is an enormous theological problem with this passage. The Qur'an is clearly preaching animism in this case. In other words, inanimate things, such as mountains, have been given attributes and powers that they simply do not have. To say that the mountains refused to "undertake" the offer of trust, we must first assume that a mountain is conscious and can, in some way, sense that an offer has been made. Actually, this philosophy is very similar to some Pagan traditions which believe that inanimate things are inhabited by spirits.
Man accepted the responsibility because he alone could discharge, as he had been endowed with great natural qualities. He was capable of being (zalooma) (unjust to him self) and (jahoola) (neglectful of himself) i.e., he could be unjust to himself in the sense that he could bear any hardship and undergo any sacrifice for the sake of his Creator, and he was capable of being neglectful in the sense that in the discharge of his great and sacred trust he could be neglectful of his own interest and desire for a life of ease and comfort.
Huh? Man has gone beyond being unjust and neglectful to himself in this passage. Man has gone to the extremes of polytheism and hypocrisy. Please read the entire Sura in context along with Syed Maududi's commentary. This Sura is full of threats and hyperbole because Muhammad is attempting to justify his marriage to Zainab - the wife of his adopted son Zayd. God would never give a burden to something, or someone, who could not bear it because God knows best.
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