Parable : The Sea: Calm and deadly
He it is Who enableth you to traverse through land and sea; so that ye even board ships;- they sail with them with a favourable wind, and they rejoice thereat; then comes a stormy wind and the waves come to them from all sides, and they think they are being overwhelmed: they cry unto Allah, sincerely offering (their) duty unto Him saying, “If thou dost deliver us from this, we shall truly show our gratitude!” 010:022
But when he delivereth them, behold! they transgress insolently through the earth in defiance of right! O mankind! your insolence is against your own souls,- an enjoyment of the life of the present: in the end, to Us is your return, and We shall show you the truth of all that ye did. 010:023
The heart of men rejoice at sea when their ship goes smoothly with favorable winds, but when it turns into adversity and terror, then fear and helplessness step into their hearts. Then they cry and plead with Allah (swt) for His mercy and help. They even make vows for deliverances, and when Allah (swt) answers their cries and removes the dangers from their path, some of them, instead of giving thanks to Him, they totally forget their times of distress and celebrate in other ways. This parable explains how men can be ungrateful and blind to the favours from Allah (swt). Their hearts pounding heavily and eyes wide open to the terror of the huge waves and the harsh winds, seeking the mercy of Allah (swt) and making vows, but when the peacefulness and calmness of the sea came, which made them happy and comfortable, they forget all their promises. How sad for them, if only they knew. The sincere servants of Allah (swt), who love Him and have strong faith in Him, consider such adversity as a pleasure, for it enables them to get closer to Him through constant remembrance of their Lord.
The lessons that we should take from this parable are:
- We should not only remember Allah (swt) in times of danger, but at all times.
- We should observe when He answers our prayers, and always give thanks to Him.
- We should fulfill our promises to Him and not be ungrateful.
All the great inventions and discoveries on which man pride himself are the fruits of that genius and talent which Allah (swt) has freely given to him of His grace. But the spirit of man remains petty, as is illustrated by this parable from the sea.
When trouble touches men, they cry to their Lord, turning back to Him in repentance: but when He gives them a taste of Mercy as from Himself, behold, some of them pay part-worship to other god’s besides their Lord,- 030:033
When We give men a taste of Mercy, they exult thereat: and when some evil afflicts them because of what their (own) hands have sent forth, behold, they are in despair! 030:036