Secularism and The Spiderweb Simile of Surah Al-’Ankabut

Traversing Tradition

“Those who take protectors other than God can be compared to the spider which builds itself a cobweb. But the frailest of all structures is the house of the spider, if but they knew it” – Surah Al-’Ankabut, 29:41 (Trans. Wahiduddin Khan)

The spiderweb simile found in Surah Al-‘Ankabut of The Qur’an occurs in reference to the recipients of God’s message before the time of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. The Surah recounts the stories of previous prophets who, despite having their faith tested by God, did not succumb to disbelief and were consequently rewarded. However, it also recounts instances of those who did succumb to disbelief; the ancient Arabian tribes of ‘Ad and Thamud, along with Korah, Pharaoh and Haman of the Old Testament, are mentioned in Ayahs 38 and 39 respectively as having rejected the messages of their prophets, instead constructing their own laws and principles to guide their…

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