“O mankind! A similitude has been coined, so listen to it (carefully): Verily those on whom you call besides Allah, cannot create (even) a fly, even though they combine together for the purpose. And if the fly snatches away a thing from them, they will have no power to release it from the fly. So weak are (both) the seeker and the sought.”
[Sooratul-Hajj 22: Aayah 73]
Shaikh Abdur Rahmaan as-Sa’dee said:
This is a parable which Allaah has given to show the vileness of worshipping idols, and to explain the deficiency of the intellect of those who worship them, and the weakness of all of them. So He said:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ
Which is an address to the Believers and the Unbelievers. So the Believers will increase in knowledge and clarity, whereas the Unbelievers will have the proof established against them.
ضُرِبَ مَثَلٌ فَاسْتَمِعُوا لَهُ
“A Similitude has been coined, so listen to it (carefully)…”
Meaning: listen attentively to it and understand what it comprises. Do not meet it with inattentive hearts, nor with hearing that is turning away. Rather pay attention to it with your hearts and your hearing; and it is this:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ
“Verily those on whom you call besides Allaah…”
This covers everything that is worshipped or invoked besides Allaah.
لَن يَخْلُقُوا ذُبَابًا
“…cannot create (even) a fly…”
Which is only the most slighest and most insignificant of creatures, yet it is not within their ability to create this weak creature, not to mention anything greater than it.
وَلَوِ اجْتَمَعُوا لَهُ
“…even though they combine together for the purpose…”
Indeed even more decisive is the fact that if:
يَسْلُبْهُمُ الذُّبَابُ شَيْئًا لَّا يَسْتَنقِذُوهُ مِنْهُ
“And if the fly snatches away a thing from them, they will have no power to release it from the fly.”
So this is the utmost degree of inability.
“So weak is the seeker…”
The one who is worshipped besides Allah,
“…and the sought.”
i.e. The fly. So each one of them is weak, yet even weaker than both of them is the person who devotes himself to this weak one (i.e. the one who is worshipped besides Allaah) and gives him the position of the Lord of the creation.