Surat Yūnus

What is the Qur'an About?

Tafsir Ishraq al-Ma`ani
by
Syed Iqbal Zaheer

تفسير إِشراقُ المَعَاني
سيد إقبال ظهير

PREPARATORY

What is the Qur'an About?
The Qur'an is the Word of Allah and a Book of Guidance. It can be asked, guidance to what? The answer is: “Guidance to Allah Most High, His Attributes, His Will, and the way in which one may conduct oneself to obtain that approval (rida) of Allah after which there is no anger." Imam Shafe`i perhaps had the first part of this statement in mind when he said:

"All that (the scholars of) the Ummah have to say is nothing but the exposition of the Sunnah. All that is in the Sunnah is the exposition of the Qur'an. And the whole of the Qur'an is nothing but the exposition of the Names and Attributes of Allah" (Zarkashi: Al‑Burhan Fi `Ulum al‑Qur'an).

This guidance to Allah, the knowledge of His Attributes and Will, and the guidance to right conduct cannot be obtained by any means other than the Qur'an and its complementary, the Sunnah, (the sayings and practices of Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him).
The Qur'an is also the only source of guidance. Someone who is unaware of its existence, but is a seeker of Truth, (on account of his innate faith in God and disillusionment with the world), will be led to this Book, one way or the other. The Qur'an says (29: 69): "Those who strive in Us, We shall surely guide them unto Our paths."

What is Guidance?
From another angle, it might be said that being on the guidance is to know, acknowledge, and, live by the Truth. In the context of this life, it is
a) the knowledge of what one is required to do, in the right measure, at any particular moment, and
b) the will to live by that knowledge.
In one sense, then, Guidance is knowledge, and in another, the will to act by it. The ‘will to act' is not the same as the ‘power to act.' That is because man has been granted will (or the freedom of choice) in a limited framework, while all power is Allah's. The power, or ability to act ‑ referred to as tawfiq in Islamic terminology ‑ is granted when willingness is demonstrated.
Further, since there is no such thing as half‑guidance, both are essential for salvation: knowledge without the will to act is only an evidence against one's self (hujjah), and deeds (however pretty their appearance), are grains thrown in the sand if they go without the acknowledgement of the Truth.
The Qur'an guides in both the senses. It bestows knowledge (or 'ilm wa 'irfan), giving the seeker the proper concept of the truth, as well as the will‑power and the moral courage to produce a living model of that concept in his own person, overcoming the obstacles he might encounter from within or without.
No other book, writing, philosophy, or person can achieve this. There should be no doubt about it; for any ambiguity in this regard can deprive one of the fruits of study and application.
The above definition illustrates and emphasizes the external, physical, and ephemeral aspect. Guidance has an esoteric, transcendent, and eternal meaning also, which is the fruit and essence of the external aspect. It is that state of mind and soul in which the other world becomes dearer than this one, in which, one eagerly awaits to be transported to the other world in order to heal that pain in the heart, and quench that thirst of the soul which only the company of those on High can heal and quench.
It is when one begins to ‘wait for the next salah after the last one,' when one ‘remembers Allah in his seclusion and the remembrance brings tears to his eyes,' when Allah becomes so dear that one begins to ‘love for Allah and hate for Allah,' and, when ‘the state of sabr and shukr become one and the same,' then it is that a person can said to be, in the words of the Qur'an, "on a guidance from his Lord."

The Path of Knowledge
A hadith of the Prophet (saws) says: "I am leaving behind me two things. So long as you hold fast unto them, you will not be misguided: they are Allah's Book and my practices." Nevertheless, this oft‑quoted hadith is rarely treated seriously. People apply themselves with great fervor to books, writings, speeches and ideologies presented by the scholars of Islam, but not as often do they leave them and their influences aside to turn directly to the Qur'an in complete seriousness. They do not seem to realize that they are not guided by those books and writings but to the extent that they themselves contain the Qur'an and the Sunnah in their pure form and unadulterated meaning.
Further, even when the Qur'an is studied, it is mostly done through the eyes, minds, and explanations of the scholars. The knowledge derived is, therefore, at best second‑hand, vicarious, and not wholly trustworthy. Again, a study of the Qur'an after a lot of other literature has been read has the disadvantage of the earlier readings embossing on the mind impressions that do not allow for the new ones to take place in their pristine form. The result is a jumble of concepts, true, half true, and false.
Alternatively, the Qur'an is read with pre‑conceived ideas. Human ideas are then taken for Divine ideas with citation of Qur’anic verses as evidences.
There are a few other characteristics that distinguish the Qur'an from all other kinds of writings. Firstly, the knowledge that the Qur'an imparts is the true and infallible knowledge. Secondly, the Qur'an succeeds in communicating the ideas it holds. That is, the reader cannot miss the meaning that it intends to communicate. Provided one is sincere, no one can miss its guidance, or, led to a meaning and understanding not intended. That happens with writings other than the Divine; humans say one thing, and the audience understand another thing. Moreover, through its intricate sequencing of the texts, the Qur’an answers to the doubts that arise, so to say, on the spot, and registers its meaning and message without adulteration of doubts menacing the mind, or skeptical notes lying beneath like snakes in the grass.
Therefore, to obtain true knowledge and right guidance from the Qur'an the requirement is to do away with preconceived ideas and study it with the firm intention to live by the meaning as it unfolds itself. With that kind of intention, the student is qualified to receive the true meaning. The meaning obtained is also accompanied by an urge to live by it, which then is the next requirement. That accomplished, that is, the meaning translated into action, the reader demonstrates purity of intention. In consequence, he qualifies to receive a fresh set of true meaning which unfolds themselves with further reading. This goes on until the student reaches that state which has been described in a hadith by Allah (swt) Himself in words, “I become the hands of the slave with which he grips, the feet of the slave with which he walks ... (to the end of the hadith).” But if he fails, that is, he is not true to himself at any given phase, or discontinues the process, then the tawfiq is held back until he amends his ways. The Qur’an has said (7: 146):

{سَأَصْرِفُ عَنْ آيَاتِيَ الَّذِينَ يَتَكَبَّرُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَإِنْ يَرَوْا كُلَّ آيَةٍ لَا يُؤْمِنُوا بِهَا وَإِنْ يَرَوْا سَبِيلَ الرُّشْدِ لَا يَتَّخِذُوهُ سَبِيلًا وَإِنْ يَرَوْا سَبِيلَ الْغَيِّ يَتَّخِذُوهُ سَبِيلًا ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا وَكَانُوا عَنْهَا غَافِلِينَ} [الأعراف: 146]

“I shall turn away from My signs those who wax proud in the land without cause. If they witnessed all the signs, they will not believe in them, and, if they see the path of righteousness, they will not accept it as a path. But if they see the deviated path, they will accept it as a path. That, because they gave a lie to Our signs and were heedless of them.”

How to Obtain the Right Verbal Meaning?
Intention
It is to seek guidance, in the sense delineated above, that one should read the Qur'an. That should be the intention in every session with it.
Dr. Muhammad Iqbal's father well illustrated this point when he asked his son, who was reciting the Qur'an, as to what he was reading. The young son, knowing that the father was aware what he was reading, responded with an indifferent answer. “Who was it revealed to?” was the next question. The embarrassed son replied that it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace). “This way, my son,” said the father, “you will never profit from the Qur'an. You will only if you read with the belief that the Revelation has just come down, that it has been sent down specifically for you, and that it is you who has been addressed. It is only then that this Book will open itself to you.”
In other words, one should take it as a message unto himself, and allow each verse of the Qur'an free and unhindered access to the mind and heart with the will to be led where it will lead.

Language
In contrast to other revealed Books and religious literatures, in whatever form and language they may exist, the Qur'an should not only be read by oneself, directly, but also in its own language ‑ Arabic. No commentary, however comprehensive, and no exegete, however erudite, can impart what the Qur'an itself can. The following reasons will illustrate the point.

The Miraculous nature of the Qur'an
It is well known that the Qur'an is a miracle. In fact, it is a living miracle; although the true nature of the miracle is not always understood. We cannot elaborate on this point extensively at this juncture. But it might be pointed out that the miracle expresses itself both in its form as well in its content. Both are powerful, unique to the Qur'an, which defy translation. The Prophet said: "Every prophet before me was given a miracle. I have been given the Qur'an. And I hope to have a greater following by its virtue than any prophet of the past."
Consequently, thousands of people from all over the globe are led to Islam every year through their study of the Qur'an. When a non‑Muslim asks a Muslim about Islam, all that he does in most cases is to hand him over a copy of the Qur'an. Invariably, even that mangled thing called ‘the translation of the Qur'an' leads the person to Islam. That is the miracle of the Qur'an. And of course, miracles cannot be translated.
Let us look into a few reasons that make impossible to communicate what the Qur'an itself communicates.

Translations
The Qur'an is in Arabic. It is neither in prose nor in verse but a unique combination of both, unsurpassed in its effect on the mind and soul by any other writing. In the words of John Alden Williams:

"...the Arabic of the Qur'an is by turns striking, soaring, vivid, terrible, tender, and breathtaking ... It is meaningless to apply adjectives such as ‘beautiful' or ‘persuasive' to the Qur'an; its flashing images and inexorable measures go directly to the brain and intoxicate it.
It is not surprising, then, that a skilled reciter of the Qur'an can reduce an Arabic‑speaking audience to helpless tears" (Islam: p.2, Washington Square Press '69).

In the words of Arberry:

"... to produce something which might be accepted as echoing however faintly the sublime rhetoric of the Arabic Koran, I have been at pains to study the intricate and richly varied rhythms which ‑ apart from the message itself ‑ constitute the Koran's undeniable claim to rank amongst the greatest literary masterpieces of mankind" (The Koran Interpreted, Intr. p. x, Oxford Univ. Press '64).

It is this inimitable beauty that challenges mankind to produce its equivalent: in sublimity of language, its instructions, and its sublime effect on the mind and soul. The Qur'anic challenge has remained unanswered by the humans (2: 23, 24):

"O People! If you are in any doubt concerning what We have sent down on Our slave (Muhammad), then produce a piece similar to it (in all its merits). And call (to your aid) your witnesses apart from Allah, if you are true (in your allegation that it is the work of Muhammad). But if you cannot do it ‑ and you can never do it ‑ then beware of the Fire whose fuel is human beings and rocks: prepared for the unbelievers."

The Qur'an then is inimitable and, therefore, untranslatable. Any translation, however accurately done, and however close to the original, cannot reproduce the sense and beauty of the original. Therefore, when one is reading a translation, he is not reading the Qur'an per se. No surprise then that the best effects are lost. No wonder also that the scholars of old would not allow translation of the Qur'an. This is also Ibn Taymiyyah's opinion. In fact there is a consensus of opinion among the scholars that the Qur'an should not be quoted in ‘sense' or ‘meaning' but always in its original textual words. How can then one be allowed to translate the Qur'an and call it the Qur'an?
Accordingly, if permission to translate the Qur'an has been granted due to modern exigencies, it is on condition that sufficient notes are supplied to overcome the deficiencies arising out of the translation. Further, it is required that the new work be called "interpretative translation of the Qur'an" (tarjumah tafsiriyyah), or, "the translation of the meaning of the Qur'an," rather than "the translation of the Qur'an" or, what would be more audacious, "the meaning of the Qur'an," since none of these are within human power (Manahil al `Irfan, Zarqani).

Linguistic Difficulties
There are many linguistic difficulties that make the Qur'an untranslatable. In Arabic one expresses sense rather than meaning. A beautiful Arabic sentence that can enrapture the mind and touch the soul becomes insipid in another language. Not only sentences or words, even single consonant letters are hard to translate. For example, the "fi" of Arabic has a depth that is lacking in the "in" of English. One needs a whole ugly, terse, and unmusical word in English to translate mere letters such as:

و ف إنَّ

Obviously, the complications with the words are far greater than those with the letters. Arabic is a language in which words are based on consonantal roots, from which are derived scores of words in various forms giving out various meanings but remaining, even if loosely and distantly, connected in sense and letter‑content to the root. `Ayn for instance can mean: an eye, a spring, a spy, a group of people, evil‑eye, honor, a flag, a girl, etc. `Afw stands for effacement, obliteration, elimination, forgiveness, amnesty, boon, kindness, favor, surplus, and others. The translated word must on the one hand give out the basic meaning and, on the other, convey several nuances the original carries. Obviously, to achieve that is well‑nigh impossible.
Let us take an example (4: 4):

وَآتُوا النِّسَاءَ صَدُقَاتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةً [النساء : 4]

"Give the women their dowries (as a gift) spontaneous,"
In this example, the word saduqat is derived from the root sadaqa ( صَدَقَ ) which means, with the addition of various suffixes or prefixes: ‘to speak the truth, to be sincere, to prove to be true, to come true, to fulfill one's promise,' and so on. Now, a true translation of the derived term saduqa, (plural: saduqat صَدُقات ), should carry in its overtones the sense of truth and sincerity. That is, ‘a gift that is offered (by the groom to the bride), as an expression of his sincerity toward her and the relationship he is proposing.' To render it as dowry, with the connotation that the language and culture of the readers carry, is to mutilate it.
In addition to the problem of words that yield several meanings, the complex structure of the Qur'anic verses admit of many interpretations (well described by Muhammad Asad as unfolding of "layer upon layer of meaning") from which the translator can choose but one, without necessarily being right in his choice. This means that, granted the translator did not err, the translation conveyed only one meaning out of the several contained in the Qur'an.
As another example, the following is speaking of the unbelievers (11: 20):

يُضَاعَفُ لَهُمُ الْعَذَابُ مَا كَانُوا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ السَّمْعَ وَمَا كَانُوا يُبْصِرُونَ [هود : 20]

"For them the chastisement shall be doubled; (for) they could not hear, neither did they see."
It can be translated in at least six different ways, three of them depending on how the letter "maa" is treated: whether of the same meaning as "lamu kayy," ( لامُ كَي ); as a synonym of "ila," ( إلى ); or as a negative "maa". Obviously such possibilities, which occur quite often, can leave the translator baffled as to his own choice during translation.
Another linguistic difficulty is that many Arabic and Qur'anic terms do not have proper equivalents in other languages, especially the languages of the occident. Allah, al‑Rahman, al‑Rahim, jihad, salah, zakah, sadaqah, `ibadah, al‑ghayb, kufr, nur, fisq, taghut, nabiyy, rasul, ghaniyy, are a few examples from a long list.
If, to the above are added the difficulties of `ijaz (ellipticism), rhetoric, alliteration, resonance and rhythm (all of them present in the Qur'an in their most excellent forms and in the highest degree of expression), then the job of translation becomes a hopeless task.
But the impaired meaning is not the only casualty. The loss in terms of beauty, charm, appeal, elation and the ecstasy that a reader feels on reading the Qur'an in its original is immeasurable.
Therefore, it can be safely said of a person who has always read the Qur'an through translations alone, that he did not read the Qur'an once.

Commentaries
Trying to understand the Qur'an with the help of commentaries is no less hazardous. Some reasons are as follows.
Essentially, commentaries are of two kinds. Those that are based on the Qur'an itself, supported by the hadith and opinions of the Companions, or their next‑generation Followers (tabe`iyyun). These are known as al‑tafsir bi 'l ma'thur ( التفسير بالمأثور ) i.e., interpretation based on report or tradition.
The other category is the one in which the commentator offers an interpretation, based not on a specific accepted source ‑ a Qur'anic verse, a hadith, or a remark of a Companion or one of their Followers ‑ but his personal opinion based on his intellect, knowledge or intuition. This kind of commentary is known as al‑tafsir bi 'l ra'yi ( التفسير بالرأي ). al‑tafsir 'l‑ishari [ التفسير الإشاري ] falls under the same category).
As for the first kind of tafsir, i.e., al‑tafsir bi 'l ma'thur, it can be fully appreciated only when read in Arabic. Many concepts and ideas of the Qur'an are closely tied up with the Arabic language. Further, those concepts and ideas are so subtle that their explanations fall flat and lose their import in another language. The commentaries of Ibn Jarir or Ibn Kathir, for example (which are good examples of the al‑tafsir bi 'l ma'thur) fail to have their impact on the reader in their translated version. Besides, some basic knowledge of hadith classification, fiqh and other disciplines, which in turn require knowledge of Arabic, is necessary to appreciate this kind of commentary.
In short al-tafsir bi ‘l ma’thur does not help much in understanding the core meanings of the Qur’anic texts. The profound part is often missed.
On the other hand, if one tries to understand the Qur'an with the help of the other kind of tafsir, viz. al‑tafsir bi 'l ra'yi, he faces the following hazards.
Firstly, to be able to correctly comment on the Qur'an, one has to have, in addition to the Revealed texts, a thorough knowledge of all the physical and metaphysical sciences and disciplines that have been developed by the humans. The Qur'an deals with history, law, social affairs, morality, worship, economy, psychology, state affairs, spiritual development, eschatology, divinity, and many other disciplines ‑ all in one go. Obviously, since it is beyond one man's capacity to master so many disciplines in a life‑time, it is beyond him also to write a commentary of the Qur'an that conveys the true intent of the Qur’an.
Further, every commentator is a product of his own age, genre, intellectual atmosphere, and cultural background. His problems are the problems of his time ‑ not necessarily of all times. His view of life is from a certain angle ‑ not necessarily the ecumenical and transcendental view of the Qur'an. (So, we often hear from such commentators that “the Qur’an lays down the way of life”: which immediately reduces its message to mundane level. Had they said it lays down the ways to moral and spiritual life, they would have been closer to truth). Such commentators are led, and cannot help but be led, by their personal predispositions and bent of mind, appealing to those of similar dispositions, and not necessarily reaching out to all the inquisitive minds and thirsty souls. Finally, whatever a commentator’s caliber, he remains subjective. True objectivity is not the share of man.
For example, if he is of a sufi bent of mind he detects suggestions that may or may not exist. If he subscribes to a certain philosophy, he may emphasize a certain point, which might be there in the text, but might not be it focal point. Thereby he distorts the overall view. Or, if his interpretation of life is materialistic and earthly, he is quite likely to rush through verses that are, so to say, mawarid al zam'an (watering places for the thirsty), and the hovering grounds of the restless soul, concentrating instead on the wonderful capabilities of Islam to promote material growth and development on earth and bring back to the Muslim Ummah its lost glory!
In short, he is a human dealing with the Word of Allah. To do justice to it is not in his power.
Finally, it is agreed by the scholars of Islam that there are two aspects to the meaning of the Qur'an: the external and the internal. The external or the obvious meaning is that which has come down from the authorities: the hadith, the opinions of the Companions, their next‑generation Followers and the meaning unanimously accepted by the scholars of Islam through and through the ages. The internal, hidden or the secret meaning of the Qur'an comes from deep reflection and a sustained exercise of the mind and soul coupled with righteous living. To take an example, it is reported that the verse (5: 3): "This day I have perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as religion al‑Islam," brought tears into the eyes of `Umar ibn al-Khattab The Prophet asked him the reason. He replied: "So far we were witnessing a continuous rise of Islam. Now that it has been completed (i.e. it has reached its zenith), it can only follow a downward direction, as it happens with anything that has achieved its zenith." The Prophet (saws) agreed with him.
Imam Ghazali writes in his eighth book of Ihya' `Ulum 'l‑Din:

"The truth is that to everything pertaining to reflective and intellectual matters, which have become ambiguous to men of reflection, and in which people have differed, there are indications and implications in the Qur'an which can be observed by men of understanding. How can these indications and implications be completely conveyed by translations of its outward meanings and its (outward) exegesis?"

Further down he writes:

"The man who imagines that the Qur'an has no meaning except that which the outward exegesis has translated (and described), is acknowledging his own limitations; he is right in his acknowledgement (because he knows only this measure and is not aware of that which lies beyond this), but is wrong in his judgment which places all other people on the same footing as himself." (The Recitation and Interpretation of the Qur'an: Al-Ghazali's Theory by Muhammad Abdul Quasem, p. 87, 88).

Nevertheless, the scholars are also in agreement that the internal meaning can be attained only after a complete mastery of the external has been achieved. Zarkashi writes:

"The Book of Allah: it is the bottomless sea, whose meaning cannot be unfathomed but by the well-versed in (religious) knowledge; he who fears Allah in open and secret, and gives due esteem to Him in places where he comes across the ambiguous. Its subtleties and truths cannot be grasped but by one who (as the Qur’an said) ‘lends his ear and is attentive...'"

He adds a little further,

"All knowledge can be summed up as that of the ‘Acts' and ‘Attributes' of Allah. The Qur'an contains the knowledge of the Acts, Attributes, and the Essence of the Supreme Being. This fact leads us to another, viz., the field of knowledge is immensely vast. There is room for much more than what is obvious to the mind. The exegesis therefore, that has been passed on to us (by the authorities) do not lay down limits for the attainment of knowledge. Yet, it is not possible to jump over to the hidden without mastery of the obvious. Indeed, the knowledge of the external is absolutely essential to step into the internal and the hidden. Whoever claims to have knowledge of the secret part of the Qur'an while lacking a proper understanding of the external and the obvious, is like he who claims manhood at the threshold of his house (to which he has just crawled) although he has not yet stepped out of the door."

In brief, the Qur'an has two levels of meaning: the external and the internal. It should be obvious, therefore, how difficult it can be for a person to get to the second level, while his first level of understanding is suspect due to his ignorance of the language which leads him to take the words of men for the words of God.
These are some of the reasons why neither a translation nor a commentary can be substituted for the original.
It should not be surprising therefore to note that according to Imam Shafe`i, learning of the Arabic language is obligatory on every Muslim. Imam Abu Yousuf and Zufar, both students of Imam Abu Hanifah, went a step further. They stated that it is makruh (undesirable) for two Muslims who can manage some Arabic, to speak with each other in another language. Ibn Taymiyyah is also of the opinion that learning Arabic is a religious requirement since what is necessary to realize an obligation (wajib) is itself obligatory (wajib).

Pre‑conceived Ideas
In contrast, neglect of the language and study and reliance upon a single commentary of the al-tafsir bi 'l‑ra'yi type, can lead a student of the Qur'an to hold questionable opinions despite long study and painful application. Many of those who could become connoisseurs ended up dilettantes. Imam Ghazali writes about this class of people:

"The sufis have said that knowledge (`ilm) is a veil (between man and God), and by this knowledge they have meant those beliefs (`aqa'id) which most people have been firmly holding either by dogmatically following an authority or by mere reliance on casuistic sentences written by zealots of schools of thought and delivered to them. As for the real knowledge which is the uncovering of the actual condition of the thing known and which is a vision by the light of spiritual insight, how can it be a veil, seeing that it is the ultimate object of desire?
Pure dogmatic following of an authority is sometimes false (in itself) and is, therefore, an obstacle to the understanding of the meaning (of the Qur'an). An example of this is a man who has a (purely dogmatic) belief in Allah's istawa' on the Throne as His being settled on it physically. Then in the case of (the divine name) ‘the Holy One' (al-Quddus), for example, there comes to his mind the meaning that He is pure from all that is ascribable to His creation: but that purely dogmatic belief of his does not make it possible for this meaning to be firmly implanted in his mind. Had it become strengthened in his mind it would have led to a second meaning and a third, which could be inter-connected. But he hastens to drive this meaning away from his mind, because it contradicts his false belief which is held purely dogmatically.
Sometimes purely dogmatic following of an authority is true (in itself), but it too becomes an obstacle to understanding (the meaning of the Qur'an) and to unveiling of them. The truth in which man is obliged to believe has stages and grades, and it has an external beginning and an internal end. Concentration of man's nature on the external aspect prevents him from reading the internal end" (source cited above, p.70, 71).

Finally, every commentator is influenced by the ideas of his time that seem to be so powerful, and therefore of great consequence, which could be so during a particular epoch, but prove not to be so with the passage of time. Moved by those ideas or forces, a commentator might try to give the verses of the Qur'an a new meaning, sometimes at the expense of certain basic and universal truths. This can seriously affect the way in which his readers understand the Qur'an.
The conclusion therefore is that anyone who has not done a course of study in the tafsir of the approved type, but, instead, applies himself to the other type ‑ the tafsir bi 'l‑ra'yi ‑ runs the great risk of ending up with ideas that might not be true, half true or altogether wrong.
Therefore, every serious student of the Qur'an must learn enough Arabic to be able to read the Qur'an himself, directly, and without dependence on a translation to an extraordinary degree. It is only after he has spent sufficient time with the Qur'an (and, in addition, the Sunnah), that he can turn his attention to the translations and commentaries as further aids. It is only those for whom it is beyond their capacity to learn the language that might resort to dependence on translations and commentaries alone, although, to remain in consultation with the scholars is a necessary requirement for not getting misled on concepts.

Interpretations
Al-Tafsir bi 'l Ma'thur
The safest way to derive the right meaning of any part of the Qur'an is to seek its explanation within the Qur'an itself. What is stated in brief at one place is detailed at another, and what is ambiguous at one point is supplemented with elaborations elsewhere. Also, the Qur'an deals with a subject in a variety of ways, at different points, and with emphasis on different aspects in different contexts. The complete meaning can only be obtained by collecting together, either on paper or in the mind, all relevant verses, seeking connections that become apparent with contemplation. The Qur'an then should be understood in the first instance with the Qur'an itself.

The Hadith
Next, one should turn to the hadith. The ahadith are in reality a commentary on the Qur'an. Allah (swt) not only revealed the Word to the Prophet but also its meaning. A verse (4:105) says, "Surely We have sent down a Book to you (O Muhammad) with Truth so that you may judge between the people by what Allah shows you (as its true meaning)."
But it is not only the meaning as expressed in the words of the Prophet (saws) that has to be learnt. It is also the meaning as expressed in his actions that should be applied to one’s own life, to gain an understanding of the Qur'an. The Prophet lived according to the Message he received, not deviating from it in the least. In other words his life was the Qur'an interpreted: "Have you not read the Qur'an?!" was the answer given by `A'isha (ra) when asked about the Prophet's conduct in everyday life.
An example will illustrate how well the Prophet understood and lived by the Qur'an.
The Qur'an uses the term rih (in the sense of ‘winds') in two ways. In some places in the singular form as rih, and in others in the plural form as riyah. In all, it has used these terms on 29 occasions. Now a careful study reveals that when the occasion is the announcement of a punishment or chastisement from Allah, the word is used in its singular form (rih). In contrast, when the context is announcement of a glad tiding, it is the plural form that is chosen (riyah). [The odd deviation from the rule can be explained].
Now, keep the Qur'anic rule in mind and consider the prayer‑words of the Prophet, who, with every stormy weather supplicated in the words:

اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْهَا رِيَاحًا وَلا تَجْعَلْهَا رِيحًا

"O Lord! Make it winds (riyah) for us and not wind (rih)."
Another example can be cited. The Qur'an said (9: 103): "Accept (O Muhammad) of their wealth a free-will offering, to purify them and to cleanse them." This injunction came after the declaration that the free-will offering of the hypocrites was not acceptable; and the reference is to the zakah on wealth. The free-will offering, of course, is collected by the State and is distributed following another injunction (9: 60) that cites eight categories of people as the deserving recipients.
However, following the clue that zakah (and sadaqat by implication) purify and cleanse the people ("to purify them and cleanse them"), and, reasoning that the purifying agent cannot itself be clean after its purifying operation (another example is ablution water dropping down a man), the Prophet declared his kinsfolk as undeserving of a share in the zakah (and sadaqat) funds. He told them that the zakah funds were a dirt of the hand and hence unsuitable for them.
The above stray examples demonstrate not only how well the Prophet understood the Qur'an and the extent to which he applied it to himself, but also, how important it is for a reader to gain mastery over the two: the Qur'an and the Sunnah texts, to understand either.

The Companions and their Followers
Any clarification required after the first two sources have been exhausted, should be sought in the opinions of the Prophet's Companions; especially those who were close to him, received his special attention, and specialized in the Qur'an during his life‑time: such as the four khulafa', Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud, `Abdullah ibn `Umar, Ubayy b. Ka`ab and others, or those of the Followers who became the pupils of these Companions, such as: Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, Masruq, `Ata' ibn Rabah, Hassan al Busri, Sa`id ibn al Musayyib, Qatadah, Dahhak, Abu al `Aliyyah and others.
The differences in their opinions, however, should not disturb a student. For, as Ibn Taymiyyah has pointed out in his Muqaddimah fi Usul al Tafsir, in most cases they express the same meaning in different words. The word "hafadah" for instance, has been explained as "daughters" by Ibn Mas`ud and Sa`id b. Jubayr; as "grandsons" by Ibn `Abbas; as "in‑laws" by Ibn Mas`ud; while `Ikrimah, Mujahid, and Hasan al‑Basri say it stands for "servants." They are all of course expressing one or the other aspect of the meaning of the word. For "hafadah" is plural of "hafid" and in its singular form it means "he who is made to serve." At the time the verse was revealed, the word was used in all those senses in which it was adopted by different authorities.
Tafsir bi 'l ma'thur derives its basis from ‑ apart from others ‑ a hadith which says that when the Prophet was deputing Mu`adh ibn Jabal to Yemen he asked him how he was going to judge between the people. "With the Book of Allah," replied Mu`adh. "But what if you do not find (a lead) therein?" the Prophet asked. "With the Sunnah of Allah's Messenger," he replied. "But if you do not find (a lead) therein also?" he asked him. "Then," Mu`adh replied, "I will work out my own opinion." The Prophet expressed his approval (Muqaddimah, Ibn Taymiyyah).
A word of caution however, about this kind of tafsir should be in place. What is recommended is the methodology as enumerated above, and not the entire content of the books of tafasir that have followed this methodology. In some of these works massive amount of Jewish material and comments of the early exegetes have been included without verifications of their authenticity. If not read critically, these can have their own pitfalls. Naivety, for instance, can be perceived in those who rely on these alone and have failed to step into the modern age in intellectual terms.

Al-Tafsir bi al Ra'yi (Personal Opinions)
As stated above, sometimes a commentator uses his intelligence, knowledge, intuition or inspiration to bring out a point in language, history, law, etc. Some of such comments are acceptable, while others are not. Take for example verse (2: 102): "Sulayman blasphemed not, but the Satans blasphemed." A question arises. We know that a prophet does not blaspheme. Why then did the Qur'an have to say that Sulayman (asws) did not blaspheme? For an explanation we have to look into the Bible which alleges that Solomon became an idolater during the last days of his life (Majid). Though not based on an athar, it is a valid explanation and also corroborates with what details classical commentators (such as Ibn Kathir) have recorded as coming from Suddi and Sa`id b. Jubayr.
To take another example, the Qur'an says (2: 273): "(Alms are) for the poor who are restrained in the way of Allah, who can not journey in the land (for trade). The ignorant supposes them rich because of their restraint. You will know them by their mark. They do not beg of people with importunity. And whatsoever of good things that you spend, surely, Allah will know it."
Commenting on the verse, Thanwi says that the words, ‘(Alms are) for the poor who are restrained in the way of Allah,' are telling us that those who are working in the way of Allah deserve to receive first priority in aid. Further, the clause ‘who cannot journey in the land' signifies that it is desirable for those engaged in the path of Allah that they may suspend their efforts at livelihood, if need be, although there is no contradiction between the two (i.e. engagement in the path of Allah, and search for livelihood). Finally, the words ‘the ignorant supposes them rich,' implies that it is undesirable to put on appearances that will distinguish a man from the common people.
This is the kind of Tafsir bi 'l ra'yi that is acceptable since such statements can be corroborated in other ways also. What can be proved as valid either directly through deductions from the Qur'an, Sunnah, opinions of the Companions, their immediate Followers, or that which, in the least, does not contradict any of the above, in word or spirit, is valid and acceptable.
The permission for this kind of interpretation is based on the supplication (du`a) which the Prophet made for Ibn `Abbas. He said:

اللَّهُمَّ فَقِّهْهُ فِي الدِّينِ وَعَلِّمْهُ التَّأْوِيلَ

"O Allah, grant him knowledge of the Qur'an and teach him the interpretation."
Contrary to this is the unprincipled interpretation that has its basis neither in the sources cited above, nor does it agree with the spirit of Islam as understood by the scholars at large.
To explain, any opinion with reference to a Qur’anic text that contradicts with that of the Salaf, in matters involving the Shari`ah, values, morals or spiritual affairs, is Tafsir bi al-Ra’yi, and stands rejected outright. It is about such an interpretation that the Prophet remarked: "Whoever speaks about the Qur'an without knowledge, may seek his abode in the Fire."
The Companions and their Followers were quite careful about offering an interpretation that did not have a Qur'anic verse or hadith in its support. Abu Bakr (ra) used to say: "Which heaven will shelter me, and which earth will support me if I said about Allah's Book, that which I have no knowledge of." Abu Yezid said: "We used to ask Sa`id ibn al‑Musayyib about the ‘lawful' and the ‘unlawful' and would find him the most knowledgeable of men. But when we asked him about a verse of the Qur'an as to how it was to be understood, he would be quiet, turning a deaf ear to us."

Al-Tafsir 'l‑Ishari (Allegorical Interpretation)
By nature, man is awed by the mysterious. It is the inexplicable, the symbolical, and the mysterious that engage his attention. The obvious and the clear‑cut escape him. To seek a solution to a riddle or the meaning of an allegory is a task he undertakes with enthusiasm. The allegorical verses of the Qur'an have provided grist to the minds of its scholars and there have been several interpretations proffered to explain them. Some of these are not readily acceptable and raise controversies. The best course of action about them when they are authentically quoted, by authoritative people, but which seemingly contradicts ideas of the Salaf, is to make no judgment about their acceptance or rejection.
In this work the use of Tafsir 'l Ishari has been restricted. It is inadvisable to read them without the guidance of a specialist. Thanwi’s Masa'il al‑Suluk as footnotes to his Urdu Bayan al‑Qur'an, is of this class. So are Alusi’s notes under this heading.
Nevertheless, it should also be borne in mind that every passage whose meaning is not obvious is not necessarily of the allegorical type, nor is the Qur'an entirely without them. There are some portions of the Qur'an whose true meaning the human mind might never be able to unravel. Ibn `Abbas has said: "There are four kinds of meanings: a) that which is apparent to the Arabs because it is in their language, b) that whose meaning no one can deny on the pretext of ignorance, c) the meaning that is the share of the scholars alone, and, d) the meaning that no one knows save Allah and His Messenger."
Further, one may note that there are Qur’anic texts whose meanings would be understood at the time of death, or subsequent to it.

Application
Following the Qur'anic method, we might end with what we started with. Application is part of the study. One will not travel much on the road if he failed to live by the instructions and inspirations that he received with the study. The Qur'an is the Word of Allah. It has been sent to guide the people. But it guides only those who are willing to be guided. As Rumi has said, the Qur’an is a closed book except for the true ardent seeker; to which we might add, ‘those who would care to apply.’
A further condition is to avoid sins of all kinds. The following is reported to have been said by Imam Shafe`i:

شكوت إلى وكيع سوء حفظى * فأرشدنى إلى ترك المعاصى
وأخـبرنى بـأن العـلم نور * ونور الله لايهدى لعاصى

I complained to Waki` of my forgetfulness
He guided me to give up sins
And taught me that knowledge is Light
And Allah’s Light is not shown to the sinner

The student of the Qur'an will have to develop his mind in such a way as to be skeptical of everything that the senses report, doubt every opinion that is formed by the intellect, and question every information that comes from non‑revealed sources. In the next step, he will have to test all of them against the Qur'an and reject any that contradicts it in word or spirit. Ibn Mas`ud (ra) said: "During the life-time of the Prophet, we used to take ten verses of the Qur'an for study and would not move on to the next ten until we had lived by those ten." It is reported of `Umar ibn al‑Khattab (ra) that he finished surah al‑Baqarah in seven years. According to a report he was so happy at its completion that he slaughtered a camel and invited his friends to a feast.
We can conclude with Zarkashi's remarks. He writes in Al‑Burhan fi `Ulum al‑Qur'an:

"In the final analysis, the derivation of the meaning of the Qur'an is largely dependent on a man's own thoughts and reflections. Let it be known, therefore, that the true meaning of the revelation and the secrets of the veiled knowledge will never be the share of a man whose heart is filled with innovations, or who insists on a sin, or in whose heart resides pride or base desires or love of the world, or that he be of an uncertain faith, or poor of discernment, or dependent on the opinions of a mufassir who has knowledge only of the externals (`ilm al-zahir), or gives precedence to his own thoughts and ideas (during the process of thinking). All these are veils and obstacles, some of which are of greater impedance than others.
"(In contrast), if the man pays full attention to the words of His Lord, is receptive to the meaning that the Attributes of the One addressing him unfold themselves, is always aware of His powers, abandons his own self-established conclusions based on reason and intellect, renounces his own powers and abilities, is ever mindful of the greatness of the Speaker, beseeching Him the grant of the meaning: and all this from a personal state of integrity, a good-natured heart, with the power of knowledge, of a calm disposition to gather the meaning, and to wait for the missed meaning seeking (Divine) help through Prayers and Supplications, (the supplications themselves) presented with the weakness (of the human against Powers of the Divine), and observing patience while waiting for the mind to be opened by Him who is the Opener, the Knowing; and he who strengthens these qualities with a recitation during which his mind is fully attentive to the verbal meaning and bears witness to the Attributes of the One addressing him by anxiously waiting for the promises (of the opening of the heart coming true), and fearing the calamities (that may befall him for his failings), and who warns forcefully .. such is the one who has a good voice for the Qur'an and it is about him that Allah Most High has said (2:121): ‘Those to whom we have given the Book, read it in the manner it should be read. It is these who believe in it'" (p. 180-81, vol.2).

The Methodology in this Work
It has been this writer's endeavor to present in this work, principally, the meaning of the Qur'an as understood by the classical scholars. That is, in the light of the Qur'an itself, traditions of the Prophet and statements of the Companions and their followers. To achieve this, the author first consulted Ibn Jarir Tabari. Since Ibn Jarir was a Muhaddith himself, he did not cite sources to the hadith, or to statements of the Companions that he quoted. Citing the sources was done by Ibn Kathir. Therefore, Ibn Kathir was next consulted. However, Ibn Kathir did not cite sources to the statements of the Salaf. This was done, to some degree, by Shawkani. So, he was consulted next. Although Ibn Kathir cited hadith sources, he did not state the authenticity-status of ahadith. In such cases, this author tried to search the opinion of Hadith Doctors, to add a note about their reliability. Further, if there were differences in opinions over the meaning of a certain verse, Ibn Kathir preferred to adopt the opinion of Ibn Jarir, which, this author indicated. Thus, a meaning emerged as of the Salaf. The translation of the verses reflects this meaning. The author suppressed his own opinion, for whose credibility he lacks the qualification, unless it was a scientific issue, historical, geographical or the like.
Thereunto, the author added the opinions of various other commentators, taking care of course, that such opinions did not clash with the opinions of the Salaf, for in matters of Law, morals (Akhlaq), and spiritual matters, the Salaf were the true authority. The way the first three generations understood the Qur’an, was never understood by any after them. It is they who changed the world, the way no generation could. If a headstrong person thinks that someone’s understanding of the Qur’an and Sunnah, was, or is, as good as that of the Salaf, and as accurate, he might need a course on how `ilm is defined in Islam. Ibn Sirin, a prominent Tabe`i said, “Knowledge is gone. What’s left of it is bits and pieces, scattered among the scholars.” Hasan al-Basri, his contemporary, was told by someone that the “Fuqaha’ say so and so.” He corrected him, “Have you ever seen a Faqih?”

An additional note about the commentaries made by the Companions and their followers might be in order. The Prophet has said: "The best of epochs is my epoch, then that of the Followers, and then that of the Followers." He was referring to the epoch followed by his own, and that of the Companions and the Tabe`iyyun. There were many Companions of the Prophet who received his special attention and specialized in the Qur'an during his life‑time itself. In turn they tutored many among the Tabe`iyyun. The term Salaf applies mainly to these: i.e., the Companions and the two succeeding generations, plus the third (because of some reports). Their opinion is the approved opinion. If they agree over the meaning of a particular word, or a verse, and the issue is purely of a religious nature as indicated above, then any other opinion that contradicts it and cannot be reconciled with it, stands rejected. Of course, there is no such restriction when the subject concerned is of historical, geographical or scientific nature, for, these disciplines were developed after them. Some contemporary commentaries tend to give new meanings to some Qur’anic terms. If they clash with those of the Salaf, they must be ignored; for, the Salaf knew the ‘Arabic of the Qur’an,’ and not the Arabic of those who refer to dictionaries and literary works developed after them to argue their case. `Umar used to say, “If you are in doubt, refer to the Jahiliyy poetry. The Qur’an was revealed in that language.”

The opinions of the Salaf might sometimes surprise the reader. He might consider them as entirely out of context. But, it is the failure to understand the context that creates the confusion. "Jump the line" is a sentence in English that conveys different meanings to different people in different situations. To a sportsman it has one meaning. When spoken by a motorist complaining of the erratic behavior of another motorist it has another meaning. In contrast, to an electrician working on the power grid, the sentence carries a different sense altogether. What we have to realize about the Companions is that they did not merely understand the context; they were themselves the context, and often spoke from the transcendental level; not from the stand point of the misleading cliché of modern times: ‘reason and logic.’

If the reader wishes to make the most of this work, he or she should allocate an area in his mind wherein he stores information obtained from the Salaf, in this work. This is the principal, the most reliable meaning, and the basis on which he can build on further. He might highlight such passages for ease of later reference.

Nonetheless, in order to keep alive interest and help increase knowledge, I have also included material that has so far been the prerogative of the Arabic‑speaking readers: material without which the Qur'anic spectrum of legitimate meaning loses some of its color.
To the above I have added some useful material from commentaries in Urdu and English. But of course, while selecting material from contemporary works, a critical eye has been kept open for errors of the conceptual type and, to the extent possible, those that contradict with a meaning accepted by the Jumhur al‑Ummah (the great majority). Jumhur al‑Ummah is of course not the same thing as the Ijma` al‑Ummah (the consensus of opinion ‑ the research of which is a difficult task, well beyond the scope of this work). The opinions of the Jumhur give us some idea of how the Qur'an has been understood through the ages. When Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari, Razi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, Thanwi or others consider a point from the previous exegetes as worth quoting, then surely that adds up to the weight of the comment.
I have not reproduced from, or cited reference to, the contemporary commentators if they have discussed those matters that the ancients have already done. In most cases the contemporary scholars have changed the form, picking out from the ancients what would suit them most. I have quoted them only if they have a new idea or a fresh point, with the condition, once again, that such ideas do not, in my limited knowledge, contradict a proven opinion held by the Salaf or Jumhu al-Ummah. Anecdotes, poetry, fiqh points, and comparative study material have been added to break the monotony.

A word about quotations from the Sufiya' would be in order. We all know that an unclean person in dirty clothes would hardly improve himself by applying perfume. He first needs to cleanse himself. How can it be any different in matters pertaining to the soul? A heart filled with pride or preferential love of this world will hardly improve through wisdom-words or supererogatory exercises. Something needs to be done first to remove the impurities. Sufism is all about this removal of impurities. This centrist position however, lies between two extremes. It should not be imagined that by quoting the Sufiya' we are approving the extreme positions, practices, or the so‑called "ways of the Gnostic" that have no basis in the Shari`ah.

Hadith Authenticity
The most difficult task has been to present only those ahadith or reports from the Companions or others that are authentic, since no noteworthy work has been done by the hadith experts on Qur'anic commentaries. Mahmud Shakir's attempt at Tabari has remained incomplete. Hussain b. Ibrahim and Sayyid Ibrahim have done some useful, although not exhaustive work on Ibn Kathir and Shawkani. Occasionally, I have either traced the ahadith to their sources, and when not in the Sahih works, have depended on works on the topic by Hadith experts. I have tried not to quote anything less than Hasan in status. If I have quoted some weak reports, it is only those that are not very weak or are strengthened by other, although weak, ahadith, or the personal opinions of the Companion or others.

Ideological Interpretations
Some readers might be surprised to note the lack of a single string of thought in this work, as it is also lacking in classical commentaries: one strand, so to say, that weaves into itself the "philosophy of the whole of the Qur'an." This is a naive idea. To speak of the Qur'an in such terms is to presume a certain meaning, a certain philosophy, a certain ideology, and reduce the Word of Allah to human definitions.
It is common knowledge that this terrestrial existence is too complex to be interpreted in terms of a single philosophy. Life cannot be reduced to equations. Even the inorganic does not render itself to such simplification. At this very moment, scientists at a billion dollar apiece Accelerators (commonly known as atom smashers) are at their wit’s end trying to determine if the building blocks of an atom (which were once thought to be electrons, protons, neutrons and a few other elementary particles) are quarks, those 300 subatomic particles visible for a fraction of a second when the nucleus is smashed with highly accelerated protons, or there is more to it. No one can say for sure if there will be an end to it!! The wave and particle function of the sub-atomic particles is another intriguing issue. If solid matter is proving so complex, what should one think of the uncreated ‘Word’ of Allah?
Moreover, such a demand betrays the failure to understand the very basics of life in terms of human fears, hopes, aspirations, creativity and interactions. At every moment of his existence a man has several options before him, only one of which is the optimum best for him. What can guide him to the right choice but a criterion backed by a vast set of concepts, data and ideas that have their own quality to fuse themselves, in a flash of a second, into one homogenized whole and present a single, synchronized, workable idea or a suggestion ‑ that the man may accept or reject!?
Again, the Qur'an is, from one angle, a long essay in the education of concepts: the divisions are for human convenience. No detail can be missed in any area but at the loss of a concept; sometimes it might be the most valuable concept acting as the central link to a maze of ideas, and, a powerful magnet to iron flakes flying by in every direction. Hence the presentation in the style I have adopted. The reader will have to pick up bits and pieces, and put them together into a homogenous meaningful whole that is pertinent to his situation, and would be useful perhaps to him alone.

Acknowledgment
Rarely has a work of such dimensions and a task so demanding been attempted by a man as poorly qualified as this author. Yet, no efforts were spared to locate material necessary to produce the "aid for understanding the Qur'an" that he has aimed at producing. Although, it must be admitted, that efforts are no substitute for abilities.
The author’s dependence, therefore, on those who are pioneers in similar efforts should be quite evident. In the rendering of the Qur'anic text into English for instance, A.J. Arberry's influence can be easily detected. Yusuf `Ali, Asad and Pickthall have been in constant reference. N.J. Dawood and several others have also been consulted. To make it easier for the beginners and non‑Muslims (and following the recommendation of the fuqaha'), words and phrases have been added in parenthesis while rendering the text into English. Such interpolations are, nonetheless, based on an accepted interpretation.
Without trying to be humble, it can be said with a fair amount of accuracy that for all that is good and useful in this work, the credit is due to someone else, while the shortcomings are the contributions of this author who seeks Allah's forgiveness, and the reader's help in overcoming them.

Syed Iqbal Zaheer
March 2015

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References, abbreviations, and technical terms

Clue to References
Ahmad: Musnad by Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal (d. 241 A.H.).
Albani: Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Sahiha, Muhammad Nasiruddin Albani, (d. 1420 A.H.).
Albani: Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Da`eefah wa al-Mawdu`ah, Muhammad Nasirudding Albani, , Al-Maktab al-Islami.
Alusi/Ruh: Ruh al Ma`ani Fi Tafsir Qur’an al `Azim Wa al Sab` al Mathani by Shihab al Din Sayyid Mahmood Alusi (d.1291 A.H.)
`Aqidah: `Aqidah Tahawiyyah, commentary Ibn Abi al-`Izz, (tr. By Syed Iqbal Zaheer, as Funamentals of Islamic Creed), World Assembly of Muslim Youth, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
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Hussain: Tafsir ibn Kathir, Hussain b. Ibrahim Zahran, ed.
Ibn Is-haq: Sirah Rasulullah, by Muhammad ibn Ishaq (d. 151 A.H.).
Ibn Jarir/Tabari: Jami` al Bayan Fi Tafsir al Qur’an by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d.310 A.H.)
Ibn Kathir: Tafsir al Qur’an al `Azim by `Imad al Din Abul Fida Isma`il ibn `Amr ibn Kathir (d.774 A.H.)
Ibn Majah, Sunan, Muhammad b. Yazid al-Qazwini, Maktabah al-`Ilmiyyah, Beirut.
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Jami` Saghir: Fayd al-Qadir Sharh Jami` Saghir (of Jalaluddin Suyuti) by Muhammad `Abdul Ra’uf al-Munawi.
Kabir al: Al-Tafsir Al-Kabir, tafsir notes of Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728 A.H) collected by Dr. `Abdul Rahman `Umayrah.
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Ma`arif /Shafi`: Ma`arif al Qur’an by Mufti Muhammad Shafi` Deobandi (d. 1396 A.H.).
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Mughni al, Ibn Qudamah, al-Maqdisi, Ri’asat al-Idaratu al-Buuth al-`Ilmiyyah, Saudi Arabia.
Mulhim: Fath al-Mulhim, Shabbir Ahmad `Uthmani, and, Takmilatu Fath al-Mulhim, Taqiuddin `Uthmani, Dar al-Ulum, Karachi.
Muwatta’: Muwatta’ by Imam Malik ibn Anas (d. 179 A.H.).
Nasa’i, Ahmad b. Shu`ayb, Sunan al-Nasa’i, Dar al-Rayyan li al-Turath, Cairo.
Nawawi: Sharh Sahih Muslim by Imam Sharfuddin al-Nawawi (d. 261 A.H.)
Penrice: A Dictionary and Glossary of the Qur’an, John Penrice, Gaurav Publishing House, 187
Qurtubi: Al-Jam`i Li ‘l Ahkam al Qur’an by Abu `Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ahmad al Ansari al Qurtubi (d.671 A.H.)
Raghib: Mu`jam Mufradat al-Qur’an by al-Raghib al-Asfahani (d. 503 A.H.)
Rawa‘e`: Rawa‘e` al-Bayan Tafsir Ayat al-Ahkam by Muhammad `Ali Sabuni.
Razi: Tafsir al Fakhr al Razi by Muhammad al-Razi Fakhr al Din ibn Dia al Din `Umar (d.604 A.H.)
Sabuni: Safwatu al Tafasir by Muhammad `Ali Sabuni.
Sahih ibn Hibban bi-Tarteeb Ibn Balban, `Ala’uddin `Ali b. Balban, , Mu’assasah al-Risalah, Beirut.
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Se`di: Taysir al-Karim al-Rahman, fir Tafsir al-Mannan, `Abdul Rahman b. Nasir Se`id.
Shawkani: Al-Fut-h al-Qadir by Muhammad ibn `Ali Shawkani (d.1255 A.H.)
S. Ibrahim: Ed. Al-Fath al-Qadir, by Shawkani
Sihah: Taj al-Lugha wa Sihah al-`Arabiyyah, Isma`il b. Nasr Hammad al-Jawhari, 393 A.H.
Sirah: Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah fi Daw Masadir al-Athliyyah, Dr. Mahdi Rizqallah, Saudi Arabia 1992.
Sayyid Qutb/Qutb/Zilal: Fi Zilal al Qur’an by Sayyid Qutb (d.1386 A.H.).
Thanwi/Bayan: Bayan al Qur’an by Ashraf `Ali Thanwi (d.1361 A.H.)
Tuhfah: Tuhfah al-Ahwazi bi Sharh Jami` al-Tirmidhi by Muhammad ibn `Abdul Rahman Mubarakpuri.
Yusuf Ali: The Glorious Qur’an, Meaning and Translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali (d. 1953 A.H.).
Zafar Ahmad `Uthmani, I`la al-Sunan, Idaratu al-Islam wa `Ulum al-Islamiyyah, Karachi, Pakistan.
Zamakhshari/Kashshaf: Haqa’iq al- Tanzil Wa `Uyun al-Aqawil Fi Wujuh at-Ta‘wil by Abu al-Qasim Jarallah Mahmood b.`Umar al-Zamakhshari (d.538 A.H.).
Zarkashi: Al-Burhan Fi `Ulum al-Qur’an by Badruddin Muhammad bin `Abdullah al-Zarkashi (d. 794 A.H.), Dar al-Ma`rifa, Beirut.
Note: The list above is not a complete bibliography, but rather books sort of more often referred.

________________________

Abbreviations as in
Abdul Majid Daryabadi’s English Commentary

(1) BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Ac. = Acts of the Apostles.
Am. = Amos.
1. Ch. = The First Book of the Chronicles.
2. Ch. = The Second Book of the Chronicles.
1. Cor. = Paul’s First Epistle of the Apostles.
1. Ch. = The First Book of the Chronicles.
2. Ch. = The Second Book of the Chronicles.
1. Cor. = Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.
2. Cor. = Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians.
Dn. = The Book of Daniel.
Dt. = Deuteronomy: The Fifth Book of Moses.
Ex. = Exodus: The Second Book of Moses.
Ez. = Ezra.
Ezek. = The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel.
Ga. = Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.
Ge. = Genesis: The First Book of Moses.
He. = Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews.
Ho. = Hosea.
Is. = Isiah.
Ja. = The General Epistle of James.
Jn. = Gospel according to St. John.
Jo. = Joel.
Job. = The Book of Job.
Jon. = The Book of Jonah.
Josh. = The Book of Joshua.
Judg. = The Book of Judges.
Je. = The Book of Jeremiah.
1. Ki. = The First Book of the Kings.
2. Ki. = The Second Book of the Kings.
La. The Lamentations of Jeremiah.
Lk. = The Gospel according to St. Luke.
Le. = Leviticus: The Third Book of Moses.
Mi. = Micah.
Mk. = Gospel according to St. Mark.
Mt. = Gospel according to St. Matthew.
Na. = Nahum.
Ne. = The Book of Nehemiah.
Nu. = Numbers: The Fourth Book of Moses.
1. Pe. = The First Epistle General of Peter.
2. Pe. = The Second Epistle General of Peter.
Ph. = Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians.
Pr. = The Proverbs.
Ps. = The Book of Psalms.
Re. = The Revelation of St. John.
Ro. = Paul’s Epistle to the Romans
1. Sa. = The First Book of Samuel.
2. Sa. = The Second Book of Samuel.
So. = The Song of Solomon.
1. Thes. = Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians.
2. Thes. = Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians.
1. Ti. = Paul’s First Epistle to Timothy.
2. Ti. = Paul’s Second Epistle to Timothy.
Tt. = Paul’s Epistle to Titus.
Ze. = Zechariah.

(2) GENERAL
“Ant.” = Josephus’ ‘Antiquities of the Jews.’ (Routledge London).
Aq. = Shah Abdul Qadir Dehlavi (D. 1241 A.H./1826 C.E.). Urdu translator and commentator of the Holy Qur’an.
ASB. = Asad’s English Translation of Sahih al-Bukhari.
AV. = Authorized Version of the Bible.
AYA. = `Abdullah Yusuf `Ali. English translator and commentator of the Holy Qur’an.
Bdh. = Nasir-ud-Din `Abdullah Baidhavi (D. 685 A.H./1282 C.E.). Commentator of the Holy Qur’an.
BK. = ‘Book of Knowledge,’ 4 Vols. (Educational Book Co., London)
CD. = Pallen and Wynne’s ‘New Catholic Dictionary.’ (New York).
CE. = McDannell’s ‘Concise Encyclopedia,’ 8 Vols. (New York).
C.E. = Christian Era.
DB. = Hastings’ ‘Dictionary of the Bible,’ 5 Vols. (Clarke, London).
DCA. = Smith and Cheetham’s ‘Dictionary of Christian Antiquities,’ 2 Vols. (Murray, London).
DV. = Douay Version of the Bible.
EBi. = Cheyne and Black’s ‘Encyclopedia Biblica,’ 4 Vols. (Black, London).
EBr. = ‘Encyclopedia Britannica,’ 29 Vols. 11th Edition. (London).
Encyclopedia Britannica,’ 24 Vols. 14th Edition. (London and New York). Where no edition is specified, the reference is to 14th edition.
EI. = Houtsma and Wensink’s ‘Encyclopedia of Islam,’ 5 Vols. (Luzac, London).
EMK. = Hammerton’s ‘Encyclopedia of Modern Knowledge,’ 5 Vols. (Waverly, New York).
ERE. = Hastings’ ‘Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics,’ 13 Vols. (Clarke, London).
ESS. = Seligman’s ‘Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences,’ 15 Vols. (Macmillan, London).
FWN = Frazer’s ‘Worship of Nature,’ 2 Vols. (Macmillan, London).
GB. = Ragg’s ‘The Gospel of Barnabas.’ (Oxford).
GRE. = Gibbon’s ‘Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,’ 7 Vols. (Methuen, London).
HHW. = ‘Historians’ History of the World,’ 25 Vols. (The Times, London).
HJ. = The Hibbert Journal. (Constable, London).
IA. = Hadhrat `Abdullah Ibn-i-`Abbas. (D. 68 A.H./688 C.E.) (A companion and cousin of the Holy Prophet).
IQ. = Ibn-i-Qutaiba. (D. 276 A.H./890 C.E.) Author of ‘Arabic Glossary of the Holy Qur’an.
JE. = ‘The Jewish Encyclopedia,’ 12 Vols. (Funk and Wagnalls, New York).
LL. = Lane’s ‘Arabic-English Lexicon,’ 8 Vols. (Williams and Norgate, London).
LSK. = Lane and Lane-Poole’s ‘Selections from the Kuran.” (Trubner, London).
M.A. = Maulana Mohammad `Ali: (D. 1349 A.H./1931 C.E.) Indian Muslim leader. (Not to be confused with his namesake of Lahore and a translator of the Qur’an). The references are to his unpublished work, ‘Islam: The Kingdom of God’ (since published as ‘My Life – A Fragment’ by Sh. M. Ashraf, Lahore).
NSD. = ‘New Standard Dictionary of the English Language,’ 4 Vols. (Funk and Wagnalls, New York).
NT. = The New Testament.
OT. = The Old Testament.
PC. = Tyler’s ‘Primitive Culture,’ 2 Vols. (Murray, London).
RV. = Revised Version of the Bible.
RZ. = Imam Fakhruddin Razi. (D. 659 A.H./1209 C.E.). Well-know commentator of the Holy Qur’an.
SOED. = ‘Shorter Oxford English Dictionary,’ 2 Vols. (Oxfor).
SPD. = Sale’s ‘Preliminary Discourse to the Translation of the Kuran,’ prefixed as Introduction to Wherry’s ‘Commentary on the Kuran,’ 4 Vols. (Trubner, London)
Th. = Maulana Ashraf `Ali Thanvi. (B. 1280 A.H./1864 C.E.). Translator and commentator of the Holy Qur’an
UHW. = Hammerton’s ‘Universal History of the World,’ 8 Vols. (New York).
VJE. = Vallentine’s ‘One Volume Jewish Encyclopedia.’ (London).
WGAL. = Wright’s ‘Grammar of the Arabic Language,’ 2 Vols. (Cambridge).
Zm. = Jar-ul-lah Zamakhsari (D. 538 A.H./1144 C.E.). Commentator of the Holy Qur’an.

_______________________

Abbreviations - General
asws: `Alayhi al‑Salat wa al‑Salam (on him be peace and blessing).
ra: Radi Allahu `anhu/`anha (may Allah be pleased with him/her).
Au.: Author.
Sahihayn: Bukhari and Muslim.
saws: Sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam (May Allah send peace and blessing upon him).
swt: Subhanahu wa Ta`ala (glorified be He, the Exalted).

_______________________

Technical Terms
Da`if: A weak report but not a fabricated one nor entirely untrustworthy. It has some weakness in its text or in its isnad. A kind of hadith, therefore, before which one can place a question mark.
Gharib: That report in which the isnad has a single narrator after the Companion.
Hasan: A da`if report but above in strength over the one classified as da`if. Several da`if versions (unless too weak) render a hadith hasan.
Isnad: Chain of narrators.
Mawquf: A report whose chain of narration stops at a Companion.
Munkar: A kind of da`if hadith that has no other report through any other chain of narrators for a double check.
Mursal: A hadith which has been transmitted directly from the Prophet (saws) by a tabe`i, without a Companion in between Mutawatir: A report by such a large number of narrators whose agreement upon a lie is inconceivable.
Sahih: A trustworthy report.

________________________

Transliteration
The transliteration method used in this work neither conforms to the international standards, nor it has been applied extensively. It is only where it was thought that some confusion might occur that a few marks have been added. However, the method is as follows:
( ث ) is transliterated as "tha" ; ( ح ) as "ha" ; ( ذ ) as "dhal" ; ( ز ) and ( ظ ) both as "za" ; ( ص ) as "sad" ; ( ض ) as "dad" ; ( ع ) as "`ayn" ; and hamza ( ه ) as “ ' “ e.g. Jibra’il.

______________________

Vowels
Vowels have been expressed in the following manner
( ا ) is expressed as "a", so that ( باب ) is written as "bab" ; (و ) is expressed with "u" , as for example ( نون ) is written as "nun"; ( ي ) is expressed with "i", as in the word (سين ) which is written as "sin".

______________________

  • Surah No. 10

    Merits of the Surah

     1. Asad offers a short summary on the surah: AThe central theme of chapter Yunus is revelation in particular, the revelation of the Qur'an to Muhammad, and the impossibility of its having been Acomposed@ by the latter and fraudulently attributed by him to God, as the deniers of the truth assert (verses 15 17, 37 38 and 94). Woven around this theme are references to earlier prophets all of whom were given the lie by the majority of their people as well as a many sided exposition of the fundamental tenets of Islam: the oneness, uniqueness and omnipotence of God, the continuity of His revelation to man, the certainty of resurrection and of God's final judgment culminating in the reminder (in verse 108) that Awhoever chooses to follow the right path, follows it but for his own good; and whoever chooses to go astray, goes astray but to his own hurt@.
    Sayyid Qutb has a long prologue. Here are some points:
    “The principal theme of this chapter indeed of the whole Qur'an, especially of the Makkan revelations is that the Lordship the whole of it, undivided is for Allah, and Him alone, and hence all devotion physical and spiritual should be reserved for Him alone. This is followed by an explanation of what it means when applied to life and its demands.
    “A sound and healthy human civilization on this earth cannot be established without the realization and acceptance of the above cardinal principle.
    “Interacting with the elements of this world – whether living things or non living man cannot lead a successful life if he is devoted to these very elements living or non living worse, treating them as deities and gods. Can the people (ever be happy), while they belittle themselves in front of the (powerless) deities in such a ridiculous manner as they do? They offer them – and have done so in every age and in every place the best of their earnings, following the directives of their priestly classes, or the superstitions of their masses .. They offer them blessings that are in fact endowed by their Lord. Indeed, some of them offer their very souls, while these deities living and non living have no power to harm or benefit them. They swing between pain and pleasure, between peace and anxiety, between devotion and intimation, all in the cause of those that are no more than creations like them!
    “This is the price in terms of wealth and progeny that the people have to pay for slavery to other than Allah!
    “It has always happened that when people refused to accept a religion that is based on devotion to One God, they allowed some of their own kind to assume authority over them, ultimately ending up as slaves to them. In consequence, slavery eats away their humanness, their honor, and not merely their freedom, notwithstanding what system they fall prey to – whether capitalistic, communist, or any other.
    “In its effort to escape from the clutches of the corrupt and tyrannical Christianity, the West turned to democracy, parliamentarianism, freedom of speech, guarantees of an equitable socio political life and so on and so forth. But to what end?
    “Another set of people abandoned the capitalists and embraced the paupers. To what end? Every time they adopted a system designed by men, for men of their own kind, they had to pay to their lords, false gods, material and spiritual prices as penalty.
    “The surah under consideration is not discussing the devotion to idols and deities, pure and simple, of the past forgotten times. It discusses man's situation, in every age, in every place, and addresses every pagandom of the pre historical times, of the historical times, and of the modern times - every pagandom that is structured on the principle of man's devotion to man .. This surah demonstrates the error in such devotion, pointing out that the Lordship the whole of it, undivided is for Allah alone, and hence all devotion physical or spiritual should be reserved for Him alone. In this is man's salvation and in nothing else. Hence the concluding passage of this surah: ASay, 'O people. If you are in any doubt regarding my religion (then, know that) I do not worship what you worship besides Allah. Rather, I worship the God who deals you death. I have been ordered to be of the believers.' And (I have been commanded), 'Set your face to the religion, of pure faith, and be not of the idolaters. Do not call on gods besides Allah: those that cannot harm or benefit you. If you did that, then, in that event you will surely be of the transgressors. And, if Allah were to give you the taste of an affliction, there is none to remove it but He. And, if He wished a good thing, none can turn His blessing away. He causes it to visit whom He will of His slaves. He is the Most forgiving, the Most Merciful.' Say, 'People. The truth has come to you from your Lord. So, whoever received guidance, received it for his own benefit. And, whosoever chose to go astray, then his straying away is to his own loss. I am not a guardian over you. (As for you, O Muhammad), follow that which is revealed unto you. And observe patience until Allah sends down His judgment. Surely, He is the best of judges.'@
    2. The opinion of Ibn `Abbas is that this surah is Makkan but for three verses 94 96. Muqatil however said that only two verses, 94 and 95, are Madinan. There are other opinions as well (Qurtubi, Shawkani).

    بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ الر ۚ تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْكِتَابِ الْحَكِيمِ (1)

    10|1| Alif. Lam. Ra.3 These are verses of a Wise Book.4

    3. As explained earlier (in surah al Baqarah), the meaning of these letters, known as huruf al muqatta`at, is not definitely known. At this point, several guesses have been made. Ibn `Abbas and Dahhak have said that they are: Alif for AAna@, Lam for AAllah@ and Ra for AAra@, meaning, together, 'I am the Lord who sees.' Another opinion of Ibn `Abbas says that the letters are part of the word AAl Rahman@ of which the first three letters AAlif, Lam and Ra@ appear here, AHa Mim@ appear (in surah al Ghafir), and ANun@ (in al Qalam) to make up together Aal Rahman@ (the Most Merciful) Tabari.
    Qurtubi writes that the opinion of Ibn `Abbas to the effect that AAlif, Lam, Ra,@ are short form of AI am Allah who sees,@ is seconded by Abu Is haq, as reported by Nuhhas. Sibawayh (the linguist) in fact cited an example from Arabic poetry:


    بالخير خيراتٍ و إن شرّا فا
    و لا أريد الشر إلا أنْ تَا


    AGood to the do gooders, for, if good, good, but if evil, then evil.
    I do not wish evil unless you wish it.@

    In the above couplet Asharran fa@ stands for Asharran fa sharran@ and Ata@ stands for Atasha'@.
    It might also be noted, writes Razi, (seconded by Shawkani) that the letters here at the head of this surah do not constitute a verse by themselves, in contrast to, e.g., ATa Ha@ which is a complete verse by itself.
    4. Or, in simpler words, though linguistically not very accurate, Aa Book full of wisdom@ in the words of Yusuf Ali, AEach verse is a nugget of wisdom@ (Au.).

    كَانَ لِلنَّاسِ عَجَبًا أَنْ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ رَجُلٍ مِنْهُمْ أَنْ أَنْذِرِ النَّاسَ وَبَشِّرِ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنَّ لَهُمْ قَدَمَ صِدْقٍ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ ۗ قَالَ الْكَافِرُونَ إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَسَاحِرٌ مُبِينٌ (2)

    10|2| Is it strange for the people that We have revealed to a man from among them that,5 'Warn the people and give glad tidings to the believers that they have a sure footing6 with their Lord?' (But) the unbelievers said, 'This (person) is surely an obvious magician.'7

    5. It was not only strange to them that Allah should reveal to a man, and reveal what He revealed, condemning their age old religion, but also that He should choose Muhammad as the instrument. They asked, ACould He not find anyone better than an orphan from the house of Abu Talib?" (Zamakhshari, Shawkani).
    Majid probes into the mind of the rejectionists, AThe pagans of Arabia, like the pagans elsewhere, had no conception of Prophethood and Revelation at all. They would understand incarnation God becoming man or else explain the fact of Messengership by attributing it to magic and sorcery. In idolatrous communities it is the sorcerers or magicians who are credited with supernatural powers the principal of which is the power of foretelling the future.@
    Sayyid Qutb considers the antagonists' psyche from a different angle. He writes: AEvery messenger sent by Allah had to face this question: Has a man been made a Messenger?! At the root of the question lies a poor evaluation of the humankind. They cannot believe that this insignificant being can come into contact with God (if they would grant Him existence); that he can be given revelations for the guidance of humankind. If they would allow for guidance to come down, they would suggest that the one chosen ought to be an angel, or some other creation. But man? No.
    AThey keep asking: How can a human being, after all a material entity, (composed of chemical elements) achieve contact with the incorporeal or the supra physical Being?
    AThis kind of question can only be answered by someone who has understood the two beings: God and man, in the fullest sense: someone who knows all about the hidden potentials of man, including those that can ever be brought out to the light of the day.
    AThey forget that man possesses powers and potentials that none but God has the full knowledge of. The fact is, some people possess powers and abilities that not even they themselves are aware of. Only Allah knows who these individuals are, what their possibilities are, what their limitations and extents are, and chooses of them for His Messengership whom He will. Is not He, the One who created every cell, every sinew and every bone in man, knows who can bear the burden of Messengership and who cannot?
    ASome of the contemporary Qur'anic commentators seem also to have not paid enough attention to this aspect. They try to accord a new meaning to Revelation. But, knowledge of the material world is one thing, and that of the spiritual another. Each of it has its domain in which it should remain. As regards what is presented as ‘spiritual knowledge,’ most of it is plagued with confusion and doubts both in its intent as well as purposes. Except for what the Qur'an and Sunnah have informed us about the topic, there is no other approach to this knowledge, and to unravel the secret.
    AAs for the need to send guidance through revelation, it is quite evident. By nature man has the potential both for good as well as evil. Reason is the faculty which judges between the two. But, (even after it is convinced) the intellect remains in need of a firm anchor to hold fast against doubts, vagaries, whims and fancies. This is where the need for revelation arises.@
    6. AQadama sidqin@ is an interesting combination, rich of meaning. The reader will have to integrate several connotations to appreciate its full significance. One possible rendering, on the authority of Ibn `Abbas and Dahhak, is that it means, Atrue rewards.@
    Mujahid says that the allusion is to Agood deeds.@ That is, their good deeds are reserved (for rewards) with their Lord. There are other opinions. Ibn Jarir is inclined towards the latter.
    Another connotation is, Aprecedence of truth,@ i.e., Athey remained true (to their faith) all along (in the past).@ Yet another possible rendering is, Atheir good fortune has precedence in the previous Scriptures,@ i.e., finds mention therein also (Qurtubi). Another is, AThey shall have precedence over others in entry into Paradise@ (Alusi).
    The word qadama could also be referring Ato the fact that the acts of a person precede him to his Lord .. (and) the word sidq qualifies these acts with sincerity and genuineness@ (Yusuf Ali). There are a few other connotations that are difficult to render in English.
    7. At this point Rashid Rida has commentary that runs into 147 pages in connection with design, purpose and objectives of the Qur'anic revelation to counter in detail the arguments of those who reject the Message and the Messenger, especially the Orientalists.

    إِنَّ رَبَّكُمُ اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ ۖ يُدَبِّرُ الْأَمْرَ ۖ مَا مِنْ شَفِيعٍ إِلَّا مِنْ بَعْدِ إِذْنِهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُوهُ ۚ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ (3)

    10|3| Verily it is your Lord Allah who created the heavens and the earth in six aeons,8 then assumed istawa' on the `Arsh.9 He disposes the affair.10 There is no intercessor save after His leave.11 That is Allah, your Lord. Worhip Him then. Will you not receive admonition?

    8. The original text uses the word Ayawm@ day in Arabic. What days are these? Are they the 24 hour cycle as mentioned in the Bible? No. Ibn `Abbas said that these were six days of the previous world when a day was a thousand years, for, before the creation there was neither day nor night of the kind we are familiar with now (Razi, Alusi).
    9. We have avoided all polemics and possibilities of error by translating the phrase as, Athen He assumed istawa' on the `Arsh,@ following the well known stand of the Ahl al Sunnah, viz., AWe know what `Arsh is. We also know what 'istawa' is. But we do not know its 'how.' Therefore, any question regarding its 'how' is an innovation in religion.@ Imam Razi therefore, tries to remove a misunderstanding viz., is it in the sense of, AHe rested on the `Arsh?@ He answers with an emphatic no. (“It cannot in any sense of the word be described as His 'Dwelling place,'@ : Majid). Razi explains that such a sense would imply that if not for the `Arsh, Allah would fall off, which is an absurdity. It would also imply that there was a time when He was without this support kind of in an unstable situation, which is another absurdity. The apparent meaning, therefore, is categorically ruled out.
    He raises another question. We know what an `Arsh is. (Lit. a throne). But the question is, is it the `Arsh of our understanding which is mentioned here? Abu Muslim Asfahani was of the opinion that it is not. For, in Arabic, everything that is above another is its `Arsh. Allah said (16: 68):


    وَأَوْحَى رَبُّكَ إِلَى النَّحْلِ أَنِ اتَّخِذِي مِنَ الْجِبَالِ بُيُوتًا وَمِنَ الشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعْرِشُونَ


    AAnd your Lord inspired the bee, 'Take for yourself among the mountains, hives and among the trees, and in that which they construct.'@
    In the above example the word `Arsh has been used in the sense of construction. Allah said at another place (2: 259):


    أَوْ كَالَّذِي مَرَّ عَلَى قَرْيَةٍ وَهِيَ خَاوِيَةٌ عَلَى عُرُوشِهَا


    AOr, like him who passed by a town which was fallen on its roofs.@ Here Allah used the word `Arsh in the sense of a roof. Therefore, the meaning of the verse in question could be that after Allah had created the heavens and the earth, He turned His attention to the construction of a roof over them, or some sort of a structure to cover them. Allah said at another place (79: 27, 28):


    أَأَنْتُمْ أَشَدُّ خَلْقًا أَمِ السَّمَاءُ بَنَاهَا (27) رَفَعَ سَمْكَهَا فَسَوَّاهَا [النازعات : 27 ، 28]


    AOr, are you a more difficult creation or the heaven which He built, raised its height and proportioned it?@
    The allusion then, according to Abu Muslim Asfahani, is to this raising of the height and proportioning it.
    Imam Razi also expresses the possibility that it is the dominion or the assumption of control that is meant by the words, AHe assumed istawa' on the `Arsh.@ Alusi writes that this is how most of the scholars have accepted as the intended meaning at this point, just as one would say, AThe Sultan sat on the thrown (on such and such a day),” though actually, the Sultan might never have climbed it once. What is meant is, he assumed authority.
    Imam Razi also reports that great many commentators believed that by the word `Arsh, the allusion is to the great structure above the heavens with which Qur'an and Sunnah have made us familiar. He also reminds us that trustworthy traditions say that in the beginning there was nothing except for the `Arsh which was on water. Obviously, the meaning of He resting on it in any sense is ruled out, since here, at this point, it says, A’then' He assumed istawa' on the `Arsh.@ (Note the word ‘then’ in the text). That is, if He did not need to rest on the `Arsh earlier to its creation, He could not have been in its need later.
    We might therefore, take the safe line and conclude with the Qur'anic statement which says (3: 7):


    وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ [آل عمران : 7]


    AAnd no one knows its true meaning save Allah. As for those who are well grounded in knowledge, they say, 'We have believed in it'@ (Au.).
    10. That is, AHe is not only the Creator but also the constant Ruler and continuous Disposer of the affairs@ (Majid).
    11. That is, there was no intercessor in the sense of advisor to suggest to Allah Most High how things ought to be designed, constructed and placed. He made all the decisions by Himself.
    Majid points out errors of previous religions: AThis (the idea of intercession) refuses not only the doctrine of the pagans who imagined that their gods were intercessors with the Great God for them but also the Christian dogma of Mediation. The Christian position briefly is this, 'God and man have been estranged. The relation which normally subsists between them has been destroyed and the work of the mediation is to restore it .. There is one mediator between God and man, Himself man, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself a ransom for all' (Ebr. VIII, p. 856).@
    Rashid Rida attempts at removing the misconceptions concerning intercession held by the common Muslims: First of all, no one can intercede without Allah's leave; as Allah said (in 2: 255),


    مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِنْدَهُ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ [البقرة : 255]


    AWho is it that can intercede with Him but by His leave?@
    The revelation has not named anyone who has the right of intercession with Allah. Far from that, Allah has added the condition that He will not allow anyone to intercede with him without His own approval. He said (20: 109),

    يَوْمَئِذٍ لَا تَنْفَعُ الشَّفَاعَةُ إِلَّا مَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُ الرَّحْمَنُ وَرَضِيَ لَهُ قَوْلًا [طه: 109]


    AThe Day when intercession will be of no profit save for him whom the Merciful allows, and approves of his word.@
    On their part the intercessors too will not intercede except for him whom Allah approves. Allah said (21: 28),


    وَلَا يَشْفَعُونَ إِلَّا لِمَنِ ارْتَضَى [الأنبياء :28


    AThey will not intercede but for him with whom Allah is pleased.@
    This is following the general principle laid down in the Qur'an that intercession is entirely Allah's prerogative. He said (39: 44),


    قُلْ لِلَّهِ الشَّفَاعَةُ جَمِيعًا [الزمر : 44]


    ASay, 'All intercessions are for Allah alone.'@
    Abu Muslim Asfahani points out another meaning. He sees the word Ashafi`@ in the sense of Aeven@ as against Aodd@ (witr), in which case it would mean that until Allah wills there is no Aeven@ to His Aodd@. He is the only Awitr@ (odd) unless He will allow. For instance, He is AAl-Hayy@ (the Living). Now, there was no Ahayy@ until He created other hayy (living beings), who come into existence by His leave (Razi).

    إِلَيْهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا ۖ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقًّا ۚ إِنَّهُ يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ لِيَجْزِيَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ بِالْقِسْطِ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَهُمْ شَرَابٌ مِنْ حَمِيمٍ وَعَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْفُرُونَ (4)

    10|4| Unto Him is your returning, all together. Allah's promise is true. Surely, He begins the creation12 then repeats it;13 so that He might reward those who believed and did good deeds, justly. As for those who disbelieved, theirs is a drink from a boiling fluid14 and a painful chastisement for that they were rejecting.15

    12. In view of the Revelation which does not allow for acceptance of the view held by science that life arose only once, and that all subsequent life, including that of the human beings is replication of that first life, we might point out that while the scientists claim (although without any proof) that the process of creation took place only once, through chance circumstances, they also admit that the process cannot be repeated because the conditions through which the earth was then passing, 3.5 billion years ago, cannot be repeated. And, despite great progress in science, there is also a general agreement among the scientists that creation of life, that is, turning dead matter into a living one, through artificial methods, is just out of the question. At best what they can do is to assemble bits and pieces of DNA from chemical substances and plant them in a bacterium replacing its original DNA. In such experiments, the bacterium continues to generate proteins. But this is not artificial life. Artificial life would be to start with atoms, and construct a DNA chain copying none existing and then build around it a protein coat similar to that of the bacteria, copying, once again, none of the protein coat of a bacterium. Copying is not creation (Au.).
    13. There is room for translation of the verb used here both in the present as well as the future tense. Therefore, some translators have chosen to put it as AHe repeats it,@ while others have preferred, AHe will repeat it.@
    14. AHamim@ is that state of liquid in which it has reached its boiling point and begins to evaporate (Qurtubi).
    15. Leaving aside other conclusions that are drawn from this verse, we might lift Ka`bi's quote from Razi's commentary. Ka`bi pointed out the difference between the words that have been chosen here for mentioning rewards for some, and punishment for some. It is said about those who will be rewarded, ASurely, He begins the creation then repeats it; so that He might reward those who believed and did good deeds, justly.@ Note the words Aso that.@ Whereas when mentioning the punishment Allah (swt) said, in the same verse, AAs for those who rejected, theirs is a drink from boiling fluids and a painful chastisement for that they were rejecting.@ This sentence is not preceded by Aso that@ (the lam al ta`lil). Allah did not say, Aso that He might punish ...@ What does that lead us to understand? The answer is that in principle human beings have been created (He begins the creation and then repeats it) Aso that@ Allah might show them mercy and reward them. He did not create them Aso that@ He might put them to torture. It is they who earn the punishment.
    Another point may be noted. While speaking of rewards Allah used the word Ajustly,@ but while speaking of punishment He did not use the same word. Why? It is because while rewarding Allah will do full justice. In fact, He will reward more than what justice demands. But while punishing, He will not do full justice. He will show mercy and make the punishment less severe, or of shorter duration, although justice might demand otherwise.
    Mawdudi demonstrates the logical connection between the fourth and fifth verses and demonstrates the need for resurrection. He writes: AThe present verse sets forth the rationale of resurrection. The preceding verses had conclusively established that resurrection is possible, that there is no reasonable ground to dub it as a far fetched idea. Drawing upon the above, the verse under consideration points out that the requirements of justice and reason can only be fulfilled by resurrection, and that this calls for a repetition of the original act of creation by God.
    AThe point that is being made here is that those who accept God as their One and the Only Lord and truly live in service and devotion to Him deserve to be fully rewarded for the righteous conduct. Likewise, those who reject the truth and act according to their own whim deserve to be fully punished for their unrighteous conduct. The present life is so constituted that reward and punishment are not being meted out and cannot be meted out in the manner described above. This is a plain fact, and one which is evident to all except those who are obstinate. This being the case, reason and justice demand fresh creation in order that such reward and punishment be meted out.@

    هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ ضِيَاءً وَالْقَمَرَ نُورًا وَقَدَّرَهُ مَنَازِلَ لِتَعْلَمُوا عَدَدَ السِّنِينَ وَالْحِسَابَ ۚ مَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ ذَٰلِكَ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ ۚ يُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ (5)

    10|5| It is He who made the sun a radiant light, and the moon a light (reflected).16 And He determined its17 phases so that you might know the number of years and (maintain) account (of time). Allah did not create it except in Truth. He expounds the signs for a people who know.

    16. While Allah used Adiya'@ for sun's light, He used Anur@ for that of the moon. Majid explains the reason, AThe moon has no light of its own. It only shines by the reflected light of the sun.. The Holy Qur'an indicates this distinction by the use of two different expressions.@
    Asad adds: A... many philologists are of the opinion that the term diya' (or daw) has a more intensive connotation, and is used to describe Aa light which subsists by itself, as that of the sun and fire@ that is, a source of light while nur signifies Aa light that subsists by some other thing@ (Lane V, 1809, on the authority of Taj al `Arus).@
    17. Although the textual case is singular, apparently applicable only to the moon, but the commentators have said that it is applicable both to the sun as well as the moon. Usage of this type is common in Arabic language.
    Nonetheless, another opinion is that the allusion is to the moon alone. Further, from moon to moon, it is easy to compute the month, while computing with the sun requires some mathematical calculation. This could be the reason why the Shari`ah has preferred the computation of the months and years with reference to the moon while that of the day and night with reference to the sun. All Islamic affairs in which the dates play a role, will consider lunar calendar alone, or, to be specific, Hijri calendar. Accordingly, the jurists have said that maintaining the Hijri calendar is a fard al kifayah (conditional obligation) on the Muslims (Shafi`).
    Yusuf Ali adds: AThe simplest observation can keep pace with the true lunar months and lunar years, which are all that is required by a pastoral people. For agricultural purposes, solar years are required, as they indicate the changes of the season.@

    إِنَّ فِي اخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَمَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَّقُونَ (6)

    10|6| Verily, in the alternation of the night and the day, and in what Allah has created in the heavens and the earth, are signs for a godfearing people.18

    18. According to Ibn `Abbas, the textual word Aal muttaqi@ demands as a minimum, renunciation of any kind of association with Allah (Qurtubi).

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ لِقَاءَنَا وَرَضُوا بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَاطْمَأَنُّوا بِهَا وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنْ آيَاتِنَا غَافِلُونَ (7)

    10|7| Surely, those who do not expect the meeting with Us, and are well pleased with the life of this world, being satisfied with it,19 and those who are heedless to Our signs –

    19. Hence you will find that these people, whether they are happy, or in grief, or angry, or pleased – work only for the sake of this world (Ibn Jarir).
    Sayyid Qutb comments: “
    “Those who refuse to think on the lines that this world has a creator, sustainer and nourisher, do not understand that that the Hereafter is a necessary corollary of this system wherein justice will be fully rendered, and the humans will reach the apex of their development. Therefore, they do not hope to meet with God. In consequence, they remain bound to the life of this world: with all its defects and deficiencies, and stooping low to meet with its requirements. They are satisfied with the world as it is, and are immersed in it. They do not accept that there are deficiencies in the system that governs their lives, and do not understand that it is not right that the humans should end up here, and that they are departing from this life, in order to receive the rewards for the good deeds they forwarded, or the evil deeds that they invented. They do not aspire for the profound status that is the reward waiting for humanity. This halting of the people actually leads to their continuous fall because they do not raise their heads to higher realities, and do not lift their eyes to the horizons. They and their sights are always downcast, staring at the world and its possibilities, heedless to the signs spread all over of God and His manifestations – such signs that touch the heart and lift the soul and which prompt to achieve perfection” (Sayyid Qutb).
    The humans do not realize that pleasures do not add up to happiness, and, consequently, they are always striving to add material pleasures to this life, although always unhappy and without peace (Au.).

    أُولَٰئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمُ النَّارُ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ (8)

    10|8| Their refuge is the Fire for what they were earning.20

    20. Shafi` asks: Are the Muslims of today any different from the description here?

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ يَهْدِيهِمْ رَبُّهُمْ بِإِيمَانِهِمْ ۖ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهِمُ الْأَنْهَارُ فِي جَنَّاتِ النَّعِيمِ (9)

    10|9| Surely, those who believed and did righteous deeds, their Lord will guide them21 for their Faith (to) springs flowing underneath them22 in Gardens of Bliss.

    21. Mujahid has said that the meaning is: Allah will guide them on the Sirat (Bridge) by means of a Nur that He will provide them on that occasion (Qurtubi).
    Qatadah said that the following report reached him. The Prophet said, AWhen a believer emerges from his grave, his deeds will appear in a beautiful form. He will ask, 'Who could you be? By Allah, it appears that you are a true person.' It will reply, 'I am your deeds.' It will be his light and guidance to Paradise. In contrast, when an unbeliever emerges from his grave, he will encounter his deeds in the form of an ugly person, foreboding evil. He will ask, 'Who are you? By Allah, I don't think you are a good person.' He will reply, 'I am your deeds.' Then he will take him along until he is shoved into the Fire@ (Ibn Jarir).
    The report however is mursal (a kind of weak report) S. Ibrahim.
    22. Ibn Jarir Tabari writes: People often get confused over the words A(springs) flowing beneath...@ They think the springs of Paradise will be literally flowing beneath the feet of the Paradise dwellers. That is incorrect. What it means is that the springs will be running all around. The Qur'an has reported to us the words of Fir`awn (43: 51),


    أَلَيْسَ لِي مُلْكُ مِصْرَ وَهَذِهِ الْأَنْهَارُ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِي [الزخرف : 51]


    AIs not Egypt's kingdom my own, and these rivers that flow beneath me?@
    Obviously, the rivers of Egypt were not literally flowing beneath his feet. He meant to ask if the rivers flowing throughout Egypt were not his.
    In any case, running through hollow earth, all rivers flow below men’s feet (Au).

    دَعْوَاهُمْ فِيهَا سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ وَتَحِيَّتُهُمْ فِيهَا سَلَامٌ ۚ وَآخِرُ دَعْوَاهُمْ أَنِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ (10)

    10|10| Their prayer therein (would be),23 'Glory unto You our Lord;'24 their greeting therein, 'Peace,' and their final words, 'All praise to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.'25

    23. With reference to the textual word Ada`wa hum,@ Qurtubi points out that the use of the term in the sense of 'words of remembrance' (tasbih, tahlil, tahmid, etc.) is not uncommon. We might cite the example of the du`a known as Du`a al Karb (supplication for the situations of distress). The Prophet used to recite it when faced with a difficulty. It says,


    لا إله إلا الله العَظِيمُ الحَلِيمُ . لا إله إلا الله رَبُّ العَرْشِ العَظِيمِ لا إله إلا الله رَبُ السَّمَاوَاتِ و الأَرْضِ وَرَبُّ العَرْشِ الكَرِيمِ


    AThere is no deity save Allah the Great, the Forbearing. There is no deity save Allah, the Lord of the Great `Arsh. There is no deity save Allah the Lord of the heavens and the Lord of the earth and Lord of the noble `Arsh.@
    It might be noticed that it is not a supplication proper. It only glorifies Allah. Yet the Salaf used to refer to it as a Adu`a.@ Bukhari and Muslim have preserved this report.
    Similarly, the du`a of Yunus in the fish' stomach is also not a supplication proper. But it is known as a du`a. It says (21: 87)


    لا إله إلا أنت سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنْتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ


    AThere is no deity save You, Glory to You. Surely, I was of the transgressors.@
    Therefore, in this Qur'anic usage (da`wa hum) the allusion is to 'the words of remembrance,' and not to 'the words of supplication.' In short, what it means is that the people of Paradise will glorify their Lord, such as to say, as in this verse AAll praise to Allah, Lord of the worlds@ (Qurtubi).
    24. In explanation of the word Asubha naka@ the Prophet (saws) has been reported as saying that it denotes Allah's freedom from any weakness (Tabari).
    25. Ibn Jurayj has said that when the dwellers of Paradise see a bird flying, they would say, 'Glory to Allah.' That would be to express their wish to have its meat. An angel will appear bearing what they had desired. They would say to them, 'Salam.' And, when finished eating they would say, 'All praise to Allah, Lord of the Worlds' (Ibn Jarir).
    Alusi reports Sheikh al Islam (Juwayni) as saying that when the people will enter Paradise, they will be amazed by the blessings there, of the kind that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined. They will involuntarily cry out, ASubhana Allah@ (glory to Allah). Their amazement will finally end with AAll praise to Allah, Lord of the worlds.@

    وَلَوْ يُعَجِّلُ اللَّهُ لِلنَّاسِ الشَّرَّ اسْتِعْجَالَهُمْ بِالْخَيْرِ لَقُضِيَ إِلَيْهِمْ أَجَلُهُمْ ۖ فَنَذَرُ الَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ لِقَاءَنَا فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ (11)

    10|11| And, if Allah were to hasten for the people the evil (they invoke), in the manner of the good that they seek to be hastened (which in fact are hastened), surely, their term would have been (long) settled.26 Rather, We leave those who do not expect the meeting with Us wandering blindly in their insolence.

    26. That is, the people would have met with their destruction. And, to paraphrase the verse: man evokes evil through his wrong deeds carried out either in ignorance or out of sheer arrogance. Some of them even challenge Allah and say, AIf He is able, let Him send down His scourge.@ But, were Allah to hasten His response, as He hastens His response when man supplicates for good, surely, mankind would have met with their destruction long ago (Au.).
    Accordingly, the Prophet has said in a hadith of Abu Da'ud,


    لاَ تَدْعُوا عَلَى أَنْفُسِكُمْ وَلاَ تَدْعُوا عَلَى أَوْلاَدِكُمْ وَلاَ تَدْعُوا عَلَى أَمْوَالِكُمْ لاَ تُوَافِقُوا مِنَ اللَّهِ سَاعَةً يُسْأَلُ فِيهَا عَطَاءٌ فَيَسْتَجِيبُ لَكُمْ


    ADo not supplicate against yourselves. Do not supplicate against your children. Do not supplicate against your wealth. Do not allow for concurrence between your words and the hour of Allah's response, so that He responds (to your supplications and you are ill affected)@ Ibn Kathir.
    The above hadith is also in Muslim (S. Ibrahim).
    Another possibility is that the allusion is to the arrogant statements of the pagan Arabs paraphrased by the Qur'an elsewhere (8: 32),


    وَإِذْ قَالُوا اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كَانَ هَذَا هُوَ الْحَقَّ مِنْ عِنْدِكَ فَأَمْطِرْ عَلَيْنَا حِجَارَةً مِنَ السَّمَاءِ أَوِ ائْتِنَا بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ [الأنفال

    : 32]


    AOf God. If this be truly from You, then rain down on us stones from the heavens@ (Qurtubi).

    وَإِذَا مَسَّ الْإِنْسَانَ الضُّرُّ دَعَانَا لِجَنْبِهِ أَوْ قَاعِدًا أَوْ قَائِمًا فَلَمَّا كَشَفْنَا عَنْهُ ضُرَّهُ مَرَّ كَأَنْ لَمْ يَدْعُنَا إِلَىٰ ضُرٍّ مَسَّهُ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلْمُسْرِفِينَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (12)

    10|12| And when an affliction visits man, he begins to supplicate Us: reclining, sitting, or standing.27 But when We remove his affliction from him, he passes by28 as if he never supplicated Us for the affliction that visited him.29 That is how We deck out fair unto the transgressors the things they do.

    27. That is, writes Shabbir, although man acts so arrogantly as to demand to be punished, he is actually so weak that as soon as a calamity touches him, he begins to plead. And he is so ungrateful too.
    28. Sayyid comments: APasses by: without stopping to express thanks, to consider, to change.@
    29. Imam Razi comments: When a believer is tried with tribulations or afflictions he ought to act in the following manner:
    (i) He should bear it without any complaint: neither with his tongue nor in the heart. He should say to himself that the situation in which he happens to be is the best thing possible for him at that moment. If Allah chooses to keep him in that state then, surely, it is following the rules of justice. If He grants him relief, then that is out of His blessing.
    (ii) He should spend time more on the remembrance of Allah than on supplications. Nevertheless, if he supplicates, he should supplicate more for religious blessings than for worldly blessings.
    (iii) When the affliction is removed, he should engage himself in thanksgiving and being dutiful in complete earnest.
    (iv) There is a higher state thereafter. It is said that he who is thinking of the blessing at the time he receives the blessing, rather than thinking of the One who granted the blessing, or, thinking of the affliction instead of the One who sent the affliction, is, in either case, undergoing an affliction. It is those who are thinking of the One who blessed, and the One who caused the affliction, that are truly in blessings through and through.

    وَلَقَدْ أَهْلَكْنَا الْقُرُونَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَمَّا ظَلَمُوا ۙ وَجَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُمْ بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَمَا كَانُوا لِيُؤْمِنُوا ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْقَوْمَ الْمُجْرِمِينَ (13)

    10|13| We destroyed generations30 before you when they indulged in wrong doing. Their Messengers brought them clear evidences. But, they were not such as to believe. That is how we requite a criminal people.


    30. The textual word Aqurun@ (sing., qarn) has, according to Lisan al `Arab, several connotations such as, a people, a nation, a generation or an epoch. A period of time, specifically a century, is another connotation; while it is also used for the chief of a tribe. Another interesting connotation in the present context is that of a fort (Au).

    ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ خَلَائِفَ فِي الْأَرْضِ مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ لِنَنْظُرَ كَيْفَ تَعْمَلُونَ (14)

    10|14| Then we placed you as successors in the land after them so that We might see how you act.31

    31. `Umar used to say to the people (after reciting this verse), AAllah spoke the truth. He did not make us succeed others except to see what our deeds will be. Therefore, show good deeds to Him, morning and evening, in open and in secret.@

    وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُنَا بَيِّنَاتٍ ۙ قَالَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ لِقَاءَنَا ائْتِ بِقُرْآنٍ غَيْرِ هَٰذَا أَوْ بَدِّلْهُ ۚ قُلْ مَا يَكُونُ لِي أَنْ أُبَدِّلَهُ مِنْ تِلْقَاءِ نَفْسِي ۖ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ ۖ إِنِّي أَخَافُ إِنْ عَصَيْتُ رَبِّي عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ (15)

    10|15| When Our self evident verses are recited to them, those who do not expect to meet Us say, 'Bring us a Qur'an other than this or alter it.'32 Say, 'It is not for me that I should alter it on my own. I only follow what is revealed to me.33 I fear the chastisement of a Great Day, if I disobeyed my Lord.'34

    32. The two demands were different. One demand was, 'Bring us another Qur'an,' that is, one completely other than this, a different message, different words, different style and so on. On the other hand, the alteration that was demanded, meant, 'Remove the objectionable passages.' Now, alteration was simpler than producing an entirely different Qur'an. The Prophet was directed to tell them that he could not attempt even the easier option, viz. alteration. That meant that their other demand that he produce a Qur'an other than this, was entirely out of the question (Razi).
    33. Mawdudi comments on the intention concealed behind such demands. He writes: AThey virtually told the Prophet (peace on him), that if he wanted to lead them, he should come forth with something that would be of benefit to them and ameliorate their worldly life. And if this was not possible, then he should at least show some flexibility in his attitude which would enable them to strike a compromise with him by effecting mutual accommodation between the Makkan unbelievers and the Prophet (peace be on him) himself.
    AIn other words, the Makkans felt that the Prophet's doctrine of God's unity should not totally exclude their polytheism; that his conception of devotion to God should be such as to allow them some scope for their worldliness and self indulgence; that the call to believe in the Hereafter should be such that it might still be possible for them to behave in the world as they pleased and yet entertain hope of somehow attaining salvation in the Next World. Likewise, the absolute and categorical nature of moral principles enunciated by the Prophet (peace be on him) was also unpalatable to them. They wanted moral principles to be pronounced in a manner that would provide concessions to their predilections and biases, to their customs and usages, to their personal and national interests, and to the lusts and desires that they wished to satisfy.@
    34. (It is a beautiful reply suggested to the Prophet for those who asked for a different Qur'an or alterations in the revealed one). He was to say that he feared a great chastisement, if he committed a sin, however slight, against his Lord. What would happen to him if he committed the unforgivable act of altering the revelation? (Manar)

    قُلْ لَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا تَلَوْتُهُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَلَا أَدْرَاكُمْ بِهِ ۖ فَقَدْ لَبِثْتُ فِيكُمْ عُمُرًا مِنْ قَبْلِهِ ۚ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ (16)

    10|16| Say, 'Had Allah willed, I would not have recited it to you, nor would He have made it known to you. Surely, I remained a lifetime among you before it. Will you not then reason?'35

    35. Asad sums up several commentaries here: AThis argument placed in the mouth of the Prophet has a twofold implication. Ever since his early youth, Muhammad had been renowned for his truthfulness and integrity, so much so that his Meccan compatriots applied to him the epithet Al Amin ('The Trustworthy'). In addition to this, he had never composed a single line of poetry (and this in contrast with a tendency which was widespread among the Arabs of his time), nor had he been distinguished by particular eloquence. 'How, then,' goes the argument, 'can you reconcile your erstwhile conviction based on the experience of a lifetime that Muhammad was incapable of uttering a lie, with your present contention that he himself has composed the Qur'an and now falsely attributes it to divine revelation? And how could he who, up to the age of forty, has never displayed any poetic or philosophic gifts and is known to be entirely unlettered (ummi) have composed a work as perfect in its language, as penetrating in its psychological insight and as compelling in its inner logic as the Qur'an?'@
    Rashid Rida sheds light on another aspect of the argument articulated by the Qur'an. He writes: Could the pagans not use their reason to ask themselves that someone who had lived and grown among them for full forty years, who had not read a single book, was not taught by anyone, did not pursue any religious studies, knew nothing about rules, regulations or laws (of life and society), did not learn different kinds of rhetoric, different forms of speech, neither in poetry nor in prose, nor delivered sermons displaying knowledge or wisdom .. how could such a person suddenly start delivering a literary masterpiece that was beyond their powers, rather beyond the powers of peoples of all times to produce something, of which no other example exists, not even in the existing Scriptural works?
    Finally, Mawdudi follows up with what the Quraysh or antagonists of any other age – have had to say when the above argument (that the Prophet authored the Qur'an), became untenable: AThis (the absurdity of the claim: Au.) explains the fact that when some of the more crafty Makkan unbelievers realized the sheer absurdity of their allegation that the Prophet (peace on him) was the author of the Qur'an, they chose to propagate that there must be some other person who had taught the Prophet (peace on him) the Qur'an. Such a statement, however, was even more preposterous since they failed to convincingly point out who that other person was who was the true source of the Qur'an. Even leaving aside Makka, the fact is that there was not a single person throughout the length and breadth of Arabia who possessed the competence needed for the authorship of the Qur'an. Had such an extraordinary person existed, how could he have remained hidden from the sight of others?@

    فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَىٰ عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا أَوْ كَذَّبَ بِآيَاتِهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُفْلِحُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ (17)

    10|17| Who then can do greater wrong than he who fastened a lie on Allah, or gave the lie to His revelations?36 Surely, the criminals will not succeed.37

    36. Skeptics of all times have been warned through the passage, AWho then can do greater wrong than he who fastened a lie on Allah, or gave the lie to His revelations?@ There are two kinds of people who commit wrongs that are greater than any other wrong: first, those who fasten a lie on Allah, claiming that they received revelation although they did not. The other kind is of those who, despite being convinced of its authenticity, deny that the revelation is from Allah. Now, since the Prophet was not fastening a lie on Allah, the attention shifted to the second kind: those who were denying the fact of revelation to the Prophet. Who could do greater wrong than them? (Au.).
    37. Mawdudi explains what it is that Adoes not@ constitute success. He writes: AThe Qur'anic term falah (prosperity, success) used in the above verse has been understood by some to signify such things as longevity, worldly prosperity and other worldly achievements... it should be remembered that it has been amply elucidated in the Qur'an that God does not punish evil doers instantly; that He rather grants them a fair opportunity to mend their ways. Not only that, if the evil doers misuse the respite granted by God to perpetrate further wrongs, they are sometimes granted an even further respite.
    AIn fact, at times a variety of worldly favours are bestowed upon such evil doers in order that the potential for wickedness inherent in them might be fully exposed by their actions, proving that they do indeed deserve a very severe punishment.@

    وَيَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَضُرُّهُمْ وَلَا يَنْفَعُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ هَٰؤُلَاءِ شُفَعَاؤُنَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ ۚ قُلْ أَتُنَبِّئُونَ اللَّهَ بِمَا لَا يَعْلَمُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ (18)

    10|18| They worship besides Allah that which neither harms them nor benefits them; and say, 'These are our intercessors with God.' Say, 'Will you tell Allah what He knows not in the heavens, nor in the earth?' Glorified is He and Exalted high above what they associate.

    وَمَا كَانَ النَّاسُ إِلَّا أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَاخْتَلَفُوا ۚ وَلَوْلَا كَلِمَةٌ سَبَقَتْ مِنْ رَبِّكَ لَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ فِيمَا فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ (19)

    10|19| Mankind were not but one community.38 Then they fell at variance. And, were it not for a word that preceded from your Lord, surely it would have been (long) judged between them concerning that over which they were differing.

    38. That is, they were on the true religion. That was the situation, writes Zamakhshari, starting with Adam until Qabil killed Habil. Another opinion is that the reference is to the time of Nuh (asws), at the end of his mission when every unbeliever was wiped out by the flood.
    Majid criticizes Western misguided notions: AThe holy Qur'an clearly repudiates and negatives the current opinion that monotheism has been evolved out of polytheism. It openly proclaims that monotheism was the original, universal religion of mankind gradually debased into polytheism.@
    Asad has a subtle point: AIn the present context, this expression alludes not merely to mankind's one time homogeneity, but also by implication to the fact, repeatedly stressed in the Qur'an (e.g., in 7: 172), that the ability to realize God's existence, oneness and omnipotence is innate in man, and that all deviation from this basic perception is a consequence of the confusion brought about by man's progressive estrangement from his inborn instincts.@

    وَيَقُولُونَ لَوْلَا أُنْزِلَ عَلَيْهِ آيَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّهِ ۖ فَقُلْ إِنَّمَا الْغَيْبُ لِلَّهِ فَانْتَظِرُوا إِنِّي مَعَكُمْ مِنَ الْمُنْتَظِرِينَ (20)

    10|20| They say, 'Only if a miracle had been sent down to him from his Lord!'39 Say, 'The Unseen is for Allah. Therefore, wait. I am with you among those who are waiting.40

    39. What the unbelievers meant, Zamakhshari points out, is a sign and a miracle of the kind that they desired. Otherwise there was no shortage of miracles, not to say anything about the Qur'an, the greatest of all miracles.
    40. AThe Prophet's statement conveys the idea that he had faithfully presented to them whatever God had revealed to him. As for the things which had not been revealed to the Prophet (peace on him), they constitute the ghayb (the realm of the unseen). Now, it is only God and none else who can decide whether to reveal any part of the ghayb (the unseen) or not. Hence, if some people's believing was contingent upon their observing the signs which god had not revealed, they might as well keep waiting indefinitely for these signs@ (Mawdudi).

    وَإِذَا أَذَقْنَا النَّاسَ رَحْمَةً مِنْ بَعْدِ ضَرَّاءَ مَسَّتْهُمْ إِذَا لَهُمْ مَكْرٌ فِي آيَاتِنَا ۚ قُلِ اللَّهُ أَسْرَعُ مَكْرًا ۚ إِنَّ رُسُلَنَا يَكْتُبُونَ مَا تَمْكُرُونَ (21)

    10|21| And when We let the people taste mercy after an affliction had touched them, lo, there they are, plotting against Our signs.41 Say, 'Allah is faster at plotting.' Assuredly, Our (angel-)messengers are writing down what you plot.

    41. Mujahid has explained the textual word Amakr@ in this context as meaning mockery and denial (Ibn Jarir). That is, when Allah sends relief to the pagans after their suffering, they begin to mock at His revelations, denying their validity (Au.).
    While on the subject we might remind ourselves of a hadith (in Bukhari: S. Ibrahim). One morning, which was preceded by a rainy night, the Prophet stood up after the Prayers and said,


    « هَلْ تَدْرُونَ مَاذَا قَالَ رَبُّكُمْ؟ ». قَالُوا : اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَعْلَمُ. قَالَ :« قَالَ : أَصْبَحَ مِنْ عِبَادِى مُؤْمِنٌ بِى وَكَافِرٌ ، فَأَمَّا مَنْ قَالَ مُطِرْنَا بِفَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَرَحْمَتِهِ فَذَلِكَ مُؤْمِنٌ بِى وَكَافِرٌ بِالْكَوْكَبِ ، وَأَمَّا مَنْ قَالَ مُطِرْنَا بِنَوْءِ كَذَا وَكَذَا فَذَلِكَ كَافِرٌ بِى وَمُؤْمِنٌ بِالْكَوْكَبِ ».


    ADo you know what your Lord said the last night?@ They replied, AAllah and His Messenger know best.@ He said, AHe said, 'This morning, some of My slaves turned believers in me, and some turned unbelievers. Those who said, "We were sent the rains by Allah's bounty and mercy," believed in Me and disbelieved in the stars. While those who said, "We were sent rains because of such and such a star," disbelieved in Me and believed in the stars'@ (Ibn Kathir).
    Taking the cue from Ibn Hajr, Alusi points out that it is not against the spirit of Tawhid to believe that the material objects, or laws of nature, cause rains to descend. Just as it will not be a denial of Allah's sole authority to say said that fire burns. It would be against Tawhid to believe that the material objects, or laws of nature, are free to act, independent of Allah's active will. In fact, as Sheikh Akbar (Muhiyuddin ibn al `Arabiyy) has pointed out, cosmic objects do have their effect on the life on earth, but they do not act independent of Allah's will (slightly reworded).
    We cannot be sure what exactly Ibn al-`Arabiyy meant when he spoke of cosmic objects affecting human life, but it is a fact that nothing happens in the cosmos, no matter how distantly, but it has its effects on life on earth, no matter how slightly. Scientifically, this is undeniable (Au.).
    Imam Razi points out that in a previous verse of this chapter (no. 12) Allah said, AAnd when an affliction visits man, he begins to supplicate to Us: reclining, sitting, or standing. But when We remove his affliction from him, he passes by as if he never supplicated to Us for the affliction that visited him.@ Whereas in this present verse Allah added that when He sends relief, the unbelievers begin to plot against His revelation. That is, the two verses are speaking of two classes of unbelievers, the latter kind being the more intransigent.

    هُوَ الَّذِي يُسَيِّرُكُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا كُنْتُمْ فِي الْفُلْكِ وَجَرَيْنَ بِهِمْ بِرِيحٍ طَيِّبَةٍ وَفَرِحُوا بِهَا جَاءَتْهَا رِيحٌ عَاصِفٌ وَجَاءَهُمُ الْمَوْجُ مِنْ كُلِّ مَكَانٍ وَظَنُّوا أَنَّهُمْ أُحِيطَ بِهِمْ ۙ دَعَوُا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ لَئِنْ أَنْجَيْتَنَا مِنْ هَٰذِهِ لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الشَّاكِرِينَ (22)

    10|22| It is He who conveys you about in the land and the sea; till when you are in the ships42 and they sail with them with a favorable wind, and, as they are pleased therewith, there comes upon it a strong wind.43 Waves surge upon them from all sides so that they are sure they have been encircled44 (then) they begin to call upon Allah declaring the religion sincerely for Him45 (saying), 'If You rescued us from this, we shall surely be of the grateful (ones).'46

    42. The textual word Afulk@ is used both for the singular as well as plural, masculine as well as feminine, for a ship or a large boat (Ibn Jarir).
    43. The change from plural to singular is common in the Qur'an and in the Arabic literature. Qurtubi cites both from the Qur'an as well as from pre Islamic poetry, instances of similar usages.
    44. Like a besieged people encircled by an army assaulting them from all sides (Qurtubi).
    45. Another rendering could be, as Majid has done, Amaking their faith pure for Him.@
    Alusi, Shawkani and others write: (This is what happened with `Ikrimah b. Abu Jahl, except that he remained true to the promise he made to his Lord: Au.). When Makkah was captured, he escaped and embarked a ship to leave the land. They were struck by high winds. The captain of the ship told the passengers, ACall upon one Lord, for your idols cannot do anything for you now.@ `Ikrimah said to himself, AIf nothing but calling upon one Lord will save me in the sea, no one else can save me on the land either. O Lord! I give You my word that if you rescued me from what I am in, I shall go to Muhammad and place my hand in his. And I am sure I will find You the Forgiving One, the Generous.@
    The report is in Nasa'i and Abu Da'ud and is sahih of status (S. Ibrahim).
    46. Rashid Rida comments: (The Qur'an has depicted a reaction that is natural and common among mankind, since belief in one God resides at the sub conscious level of every human being. But how painful it is to see that when – not non-Muslims – but even Muslims, experience this kind of situation, they do not call upon Allah, making their religion pure for Him. The corruption in faith and beliefs has reached such levels that they call upon other than Allah even in situations where an unbeliever invokes one God. Many reliable sources have reported that when some boats filled with the so called Muslims were battered by storms, cries such as AO Badawi@, AO Rifaa`i@, AO `Abd al Qadir Jeelani@ were heard from the occupants. It is said that on one occasion there happened to be a true believer among them. He was so upset that he cried out, AO my Lord. Drown us, drown us. There seems to be no one left who acknowledges You.@ The Indian scholar Hasan Siddiq, as well as Sayyid Mahmud Alusi, have similar observations to make. In Egypt for instance, Rashid Rida continues, Awe were not able to raise the voice of round faith in one Lord God, until the English occupied our lands and allowed us freedom of expression. Despite that, when for the first time I spoke on unblemished and unadulterated Tawhid during a talk in a mosque, there was a great uproar among the audience who went so wild that I was afraid they'd kill me.@

    فَلَمَّا أَنْجَاهُمْ إِذَا هُمْ يَبْغُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ ۗ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّمَا بَغْيُكُمْ عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِكُمْ ۖ مَتَاعَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ ثُمَّ إِلَيْنَا مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَنُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ (23)

    10|23| But when He rescues them,47 behold, there they are, rebelling in the earth unjustly.48 People, surely your rebellion is against your own souls,49 a short enjoyment of the life of this world, then to Us is your return and then We shall inform you of what you were doing.50

    47. Asad remarks: AIt is to be noted that at this point the discourse changes abruptly from the direct address 'you' to the third person plural ('they'): a construction which is evidently meant to bring out the allegorical character of the subsequent narrative and to turn it into a lesson of general validity.@
    To the above it would be right to add that whatever the nature of the narrative, it does reflect a practical truth (Au.).
    48. There is a hadith (in Abu Da'ud and Ibn Majah: S. Ibrahim) which says,


    مَا مِنْ ذَنْبٍ أَجْدَرُ أَنْ يُعَجِّلَ اللَّهُ لِصَاحِبِهِ الْعُقُوبَةَ فِى الدُّنْيَا مَعَ مَا يَدَّخِرُ لَهُ فِى الآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْبَغْىِ وَقَطِيعَةِ الرَّحِمِ


    AThere is not a sin more deserving that Allah hasten its scourge in this world, apart from what He has reserved for him in the Hereafter than rebellion and severing off the blood relationships@ (Ibn Kathir).
    The above hadith has been declared Sahih by Albani (Au.).
    It is said that someone asked Imam Ja`far al Saadiq for a proof of God's existence. He asked the man what his trade was. He said he worked at the sea. Imam Ja`far asked him to narrate an (unforgettable) situation out there in the seas. The man described a situation when his boat sank and he clung to a wooden plank frantically waiting for help. Ja`far Sadiq asked him if he felt like imploring and supplicating. The man said yes. Ja`far told him that the feeling then experienced was a proof of God's existence (Razi).
    49. Few people can perceive in everyday life or in world politics the truth of the Prophetic statement as quoted here by Shawkani. He is reported to have said in a narration preserved by Abu al Sheikh, Ibn Marduwayh, Abu Nu`aym, Khatib and Daylami,


    ثلاث من كن فيه فهي راجعة على صاحبها : البغي والمكر والنكث


    AThere are three things that recoil on their originators: Rebellion (against an established authority), machinations, and breaking of a promise.@ Then the Prophet recited the verse under discussion, APeople, surely your rebellion is against your own souls.@
    Ibn `Abbas has another narrative from the Prophet, preserved by Ibn Marduwayh. He said,


    لو أن جَبلاً بَغى عَلى جَبلِ لَدُكَ البَاغِي


    AIf a mountain were to rebel against another mountain (i.e., attack it unjustly), surely the oppressing one would be rendered to dust.@
    Rashid Rida proposes a correction to the effect that the narration about the two mountains is weak as a hadith. More correctly, they are the words of Ibn `Abbas as in Adab al Mufrad of Imam Bukhari.
    50. These two verses, 22 and 23, expand upon what was said in brief in verse 21 (Razi).

    إِنَّمَا مَثَلُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا كَمَاءٍ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ فَاخْتَلَطَ بِهِ نَبَاتُ الْأَرْضِ مِمَّا يَأْكُلُ النَّاسُ وَالْأَنْعَامُ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَخَذَتِ الْأَرْضُ زُخْرُفَهَا وَازَّيَّنَتْ وَظَنَّ أَهْلُهَا أَنَّهُمْ قَادِرُونَ عَلَيْهَا أَتَاهَا أَمْرُنَا لَيْلًا أَوْ نَهَارًا فَجَعَلْنَاهَا حَصِيدًا كَأَنْ لَمْ تَغْنَ بِالْأَمْسِ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ (24)

    10|24| Indeed, the likeness of the life of this world is like water that We sent down from the heaven. The vegetation of the earth mingled with it (to bring forth) what people and the cattle consume, till, when the earth has taken on its glitter, it has becomes enchanting, and its inhabitants think they enjoy complete control over it, Our command came upon it, by night or by day; and We turned it into (the like of) mowed down harvest, as though it had not flourished51 just yesterday.52 That is how We turn about the verses for a people who reflect.53

    51. The usage of the word Ataghna@ in the original, with its root in Aghana@ draws the following comment from Alusi and Rashid Rida: When it is said, so and so Aghana fi al makan@, it means, the man stayed in that place for a long while.
    52. (We have a hadith which depicts the worth of this world). The Prophet said (Ibn Majah: Sayyid Ibrahim),


    « يُؤْتَى بِأَنْعَمِ أَهْلِ الدُّنْيَا مِنْ أَهْلِ النَّارِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَيُصْبَغُ فِى النَّارِ صَبْغَةً ثُمَّ يُقَالُ يَا ابْنَ آدَمَ هَلْ رَأَيْتَ خَيْرًا قَطُّ هَلْ مَرَّ بِكَ نَعِيمٌ قَطُّ فَيَقُولُ لاَ وَاللَّهِ يَا رَبِّ. وَيُؤْتَى بِأَشَدِّ النَّاسِ بُؤْسًا فِى الدُّنْيَا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ فَيُصْبَغُ صَبْغَةً فِى الْجَنَّةِ فَيُقَالُ لَهُ يَا ابْنَ آدَمَ هَلْ رَأَيْتَ بُؤْسًا قَطُّ هَلْ مَرَّ بِكَ شِدَّةٌ قَطُّ فَيَقُولُ لاَ وَاللَّهِ يَا رَبِّ مَا مَرَّ بِى بُؤُسٌ قَطُّ وَلاَ رَأَيْتُ شِدَّةً قَطُّ ».


    AA man who had spent his entire life in great luxury would be brought forth on the Day of Judgment. He will be given a dip into the Fire and asked, 'Have you ever tasted a good thing? Have you ever enjoyed comforts?' He will reply, 'Never, O my Lord.' Then another man who had spent his life in harrowing circumstances will be brought forth and given a dip in Paradise. He will be asked, 'Have you ever tasted an evil? Did you ever experience any hardship?’ He will reply, 'Never. O My Lord. I never faced any harrowing circumstances; nor did I ever experience any hardship.'@ (That is, such is the worth of the pains and pleasures of this life, when compared to those of the Hereafter: Au.).
    The above is from Muslim (Au.).
    53. Shah `Abd al Qadir (Muwaddih al Qur'an) has beautifully applied the simile in this verse to the life of the humans on this planet. He writes: ALike water, the spirit came down from the heavens. It gathered strength by mixing itself with the body of dust. When the two mingled, man came into being. He committed acts both human as well as beastly. When he achieved skill and his acquaintances began to depend on him, suddenly death appeared (on the stage) and destroyed the whole play. The man disappeared leaving no trace of himself.@

    وَاللَّهُ يَدْعُو إِلَىٰ دَارِ السَّلَامِ وَيَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ (25)

    10|25| Allah invites to the abode of peace54 and guides whom He will to a straight path.55

    54. Abu Qilabah reports the following. The Prophet (saws) said,


    لِتَنَمْ عَيْنُكَ وَلْتَسْمَعْ أُذُنُكَ وَلْيَعْقِلْ قَلْبِكَ ، قَالَ : فَنَامَتْ عَيْنِي وَسَمِعَتْ أُذُنِي وَعَقَلَ قَلْبِي ، قَالَ : فَقِيلَ لَهُ : سَيِّدٌ بنى دَارًا وَصَنَعَ مَأْدُبَةً فَأَرْسَلَ دَاعِيًا فَمَنْ أَجَابَ الدَّاعِيَ دَخَلَ الدَّارَ ، وَأَكَلَ مِنَ الْمَأْدُبَةِ ، وَرَضِيَ عَنْهُ السَّيِّدُ ، وَمَنْ لَمْ يُجِبِ الدَّاعِيَ لَمْ يَدْخُلِ الدَّارَ ، وَلَمْ يَنَلِ الْمَأْدُبَةَ ، وَسَخَطَ عَلَيْهِ السَّيِّدُ ، فَالسَّيِّدُ اللَّهُ ، وَالدَّاعِي مُحَمَّدٌ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، وَالْمَأْدُبَةُ الْجَنَّةُ


    AI was told: 'Let your eye sleep, let your heart ponder, let your ear hear.' So my eyes slept, my heart pondered, and my ears heard. Then I was told: 'A Master built a house. Then he got a feast arranged. After that he sent a caller. Whoever answered the caller entered the house, ate the food, and the Master was pleased with him. But whoever did not answer the caller, did not enter the house, did not eat from the food, the Master was displeased with him. Now, Allah is the Master. The caller is Muhammad and the food is Paradise.'@
    Another version of this report comes from Jabir b. `Abdullah. This version starts with the words,


    خَرَجَ عَلَيْنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَوْمًا فَقَالَ إِنِّي رَأَيْتُ فِي الْمَنَامِ كَأَنَّ جِبْرِيلَ عِنْدَ رَأْسِي وَمِيكَائِيلَ عِنْدَ رِجْلَيَّ يَقُولُ أَحَدُهُمَا لِصَاحِبِهِ اضْرِبْ لَهُ مَثَلًا فَقَالَ اسْمَعْ سَمِعَتْ أُذُنُكَ وَاعْقِلْ عَقَلَ قَلْبُكَ إِنَّمَا مَثَلُكَ وَمَثَلُ أُمَّتِكَ كَمَثَلِ مَلِكٍ اتَّخَذَ دَارًا ثُمَّ بَنَى فِيهَا بَيْتًا ثُمَّ جَعَلَ فِيهَا مَائِدَةً ثُمَّ بَعَثَ رَسُولًا يَدْعُو النَّاسَ إِلَى طَعَامِهِ فَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ أَجَابَ الرَّسُولَ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ تَرَكَهُ فَاللَّهُ هُوَ الْمَلِكُ وَالدَّارُ الْإِسْلَامُ وَالْبَيْتُ الْجَنَّةُ وَأَنْتَ يَا مُحَمَّدُ رَسُولٌ فَمَنْ أَجَابَكَ دَخَلَ الْإِسْلَامَ وَمَنْ دَخَلَ الْإِسْلَامَ دَخَلَ الْجَنَّةَ وَمَنْ دَخَلَ الْجَنَّةَ أَكَلَ مَا فِيهَا


    AOne of those days the Prophet came out. He said, ‘I saw in a dream as if Jibra'il was at my head and Mika'il at my feet. One of them said to the other, “Draw a simile for him.” So the other said, “Listen. May your ears hear. Think. May your mind think. And the example of yourself and your followers is like that of a master who took a place and then built a house in it. Then he prepared a banquet and sent a messenger to invite the people to the food. Some of them answered the messenger, while others ignored him. Now, Allah is the King, the place is Islam, the house is Paradise and you, O Muhammad, the Messenger. So, whoever answered you entered Islam and whoever entered Islam entered Paradise; and whoever entered Paradise ate thereof.’” (Ibn Jarir).
    The first version is mursal (the Companion's name is missing from the chain) but the second version is marfu` (i.e., does not have any such defect) Ibn Kathir.
    Hakim has also recorded the substance of this report declaring it trustworthy with Dhahabi seconding it (S. Ibrahim).
    The above hadith is narrated in parts by Bukhari, Tirmidhi and Darimi, but even if they are all pieced together, they do not match up fully with the version as presented here (Au.).
    55. With reference to this verse, Qatadah has said, AWe have been told that the following is written in the Torah, 'O seeker of virtue, hurry up; and O seeker of evil, halt.' And, Abu Darda' narrated: The Prophet said,


    مَا طَلَعَتْ شَمْسٌ قَطُّ إِلاَّ بِجَنْبَتَيْهَا مَلَكَانِ يُنَادِيَانِ يُسْمِعَانِ مَنْ عَلَى الأرْضِ غَيْرَ الثَّقَلَيْنِ : أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ! هَلُمُّوا إِلَى رَبِّكُمْ ، مَا قَلَّ وَكَفَى خَيْرٌ مِمَّا كَثُرَ وَأَلْهَى ، وَلاَ غَرَبَتْ إِلاَّ بِجَنْبَتَيْهَا مَلَكَانِ يُنَادِيَانِ : اللَّهُمَّ! أَعْطِ مُنْفِقاً خَلَفاً ، وَأَعْطِ مُمْسِكاً تَلَفاً


    "There is never a fresh day but w two angels appear announcing what the whole of the creation hear except men and Jinn. It is said, 'People. Hasten to your Lord. Surely, what will suffice, although little, is better than the plenty which diverts (attention from Allah)'@ Ibn Jarir.
    The substance of the hadith is found in sahih reports of Ahmad, Hakim and others (S. Ibrahim).

    لِلَّذِينَ أَحْسَنُوا الْحُسْنَىٰ وَزِيَادَةٌ ۖ وَلَا يَرْهَقُ وُجُوهَهُمْ قَتَرٌ وَلَا ذِلَّةٌ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ (26)

    10|26| To those who do good is the good (reward) and more;56 neither will their faces be covered by darkness nor by humiliation. They are companions of the Garden abiding therein forever.

    56. Although the words are open and include every good reward and, in addition, forgiveness from Allah, the two words Aal husna@ and Aziyadah@ have been widely interpreted as meaning, respectively, AParadise@ and the ABeatific Vision.@ In fact, Abu Musa al Ash`ari has even narrated a hadith to this effect (Ibn Jarir). This is the opinion of Abu Bakr, Hudhayfa b. al Yamaan, Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id b. al Musayyib, `Abd al Rahman ibn Abi Laylah, `Abd al Rahman b. Thabit, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, `Aamir b. Sa`d, `Ataa', Dahhaak, Hasan, Qataadah, Suddi, Ibn Is haaq and many others (Ibn Kathir).
    This view is supported by a hadith of Muslim which says,


    يَا أَهْلَ الْجَنَّةِ، إِنَّ لَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مَوْعِدًا يُرِيدُ أَنْ يُنْجِزَكُمُوهُ، فَيَقُولُونَ: وَمَا هُوَ؟ أَلَمْ يُثَقِّلْ مَوَازِينَنَا، وَيُبَيِّضْ وُجُوهَنَا، وَأَدْخَلَنَا الْجَنَّةَ، وَأَخْرَجَنَا مِنَ النَّارِ، قَالَ: فَيُكْشَفُ الْحِجَابُ، فَيَنْظُرُونَ إِلَيْهِ، فَوَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ مَا أَعْطَاهُمْ شَيْئًا أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِمْ مِنَ النَّظَرِ إِلَيْهِ


    AWhen the people of Paradise would have entered Paradise Allah will ask, 'Do you wish anything more?' They will reply, 'Have You not tilted our Scales, and brightened our faces? Have You not admitted us into Paradise and saved us from the Fire?' So, Allah will remove the veil and lo, they will find that nothing is dearer to them than looking at their Lord.@ In fact, Qurtubi adds, there are versions in which the Prophet recited this present verse after speaking these words.
    Imam Razi writes: There are linguistic grounds to say that the allusion by Amore@ is to the Beatific Vision alone. If it is said, AI gave you ten kilos of wheat and more,@ it would mean more that ten kilos of wheat was given. But when it is said, AI gave you wheat and more,@ then the Amore@ of the sentence is not wheat. Similarly, the grammatical construction of the sentence does not allow for Amore@ to be understood as, say, luxuries of Paradise and more of them; or good rewards and more of them. In each case the Amore@ (ziyaadah) has to be different from what is covered by Athe good@ (al husna). Therefore, they can only be, respectively, luxuries of Paradise and the Beatific Vision.

    وَالَّذِينَ كَسَبُوا السَّيِّئَاتِ جَزَاءُ سَيِّئَةٍ بِمِثْلِهَا وَتَرْهَقُهُمْ ذِلَّةٌ ۖ مَا لَهُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِنْ عَاصِمٍ ۖ كَأَنَّمَا أُغْشِيَتْ وُجُوهُهُمْ قِطَعًا مِنَ اللَّيْلِ مُظْلِمًا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ (27)

    10|27| As for those who earned evils, the recompense of an evil is the like thereof. They will be covered with ignominy. They will have no savior apart from Allah as if their faces are covered with patches of a dark night. They are companions of the Fire, abiding therein forever.

    وَيَوْمَ نَحْشُرُهُمْ جَمِيعًا ثُمَّ نَقُولُ لِلَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا مَكَانَكُمْ أَنْتُمْ وَشُرَكَاؤُكُمْ ۚ فَزَيَّلْنَا بَيْنَهُمْ ۖ وَقَالَ شُرَكَاؤُهُمْ مَا كُنْتُمْ إِيَّانَا تَعْبُدُونَ (28)

    10|28| The day We shall gather them all together and say to those who associated (with Us, ‘Hold on) to your places you and those you associated (with Allah).' Then We shall cause a split between them,57ahose they associated (with Allah) will say, 'It was not us that you were worshipping.

    57. That is, all relationships between the worshipers and the worshiped will be severed (Ibn Jarir).

    فَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ شَهِيدًا بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ إِنْ كُنَّا عَنْ عِبَادَتِكُمْ لَغَافِلِينَ (29)

    10|29| Allah is enough for a witness between us and you. We were certainly unaware of your worship.'58

    58. Mujahid is reported to have said that on the Day of Judgment, idols, deities and all those inanimate objects that the people worshiped in this world would be gathered together. Their worshipers will be asked: Are these the ones you worshiped? Their devotees will say yes. But the worshiped objects will deny that they were worshiped. They will seek Allah's testimony that inanimate as they were, they could not have allowed their worship, but were, in fact, unaware of their devotions (Ibn Jarir).

    هُنَالِكَ تَبْلُو كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَا أَسْلَفَتْ ۚ وَرُدُّوا إِلَى اللَّهِ مَوْلَاهُمُ الْحَقِّ ۖ وَضَلَّ عَنْهُمْ مَا كَانُوا يَفْتَرُونَ (30)

    10|30| At that point every soul will be tried with what it forwarded59 and they will be restored to Allah their rightful Lord, and lost from them (all) that they were forging.

    59. The allusion is to the trial situation between the worshipers and the worshiped, expressed in preceding two verses (Mujahid). However, the opinion of some others is that the textual word Atablu@ is used in the sense of seeing. That is, Aeveryone will see what it forwarded@ (Ibn Jarir).

    قُلْ مَنْ يَرْزُقُكُمْ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَمَّنْ يَمْلِكُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَمَنْ يُخْرِجُ الْحَيَّ مِنَ الْمَيِّتِ وَيُخْرِجُ الْمَيِّتَ مِنَ الْحَيِّ وَمَنْ يُدَبِّرُ الْأَمْرَ ۚ فَسَيَقُولُونَ اللَّهُ ۚ فَقُلْ أَفَلَا تَتَّقُونَ (31)

    10|31| Say, 'Who provides you out of the heaven and the earth? Or, who owns the hearing and sight? And who brings forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living?60 And who directs the affair?' They will surely say, 'Allah.' Say, 'Then why do you not shun (association with Allah?).'

    60. Qurtubi writes: Examples of the living from the dead are: man from the sperm, plants from the seeds, chicken from the egg and the believer from the unbeliever.
    Rashid Rida warns that the above explanations might not be acceptable to the modern mind. We should rather cite the first appearance of life on earth (whenever it originated) as an example of the living from the dead. Another example is that of the food we eat. It is broken down in the stomach to molecules and then, carried by the blood, enters into the cell, to be processed there and become the living matter that replicates itself (slightly reworded).
    Modern scientific discoveries can cite viruses, prions and viroids as examples of the living from the dead. These are absolutely nothing more than specks of dust, but which, once they penetrate a living cell, take charge of it and start producing their own kind from the cell material, generating billions upon billions, until the cell burst and they spread out to invade other cells (Au.)

    فَذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمُ الْحَقُّ ۖ فَمَاذَا بَعْدَ الْحَقِّ إِلَّا الضَّلَالُ ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ تُصْرَفُونَ (32)

    10|32| This then is your Lord in truth. So what is there, after truth, save error? How then are you being turned (away)?

    كَذَٰلِكَ حَقَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ فَسَقُوا أَنَّهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ (33)

    10|33| That is how Allah's word proved true with regard to the ungodly that they will not believe.61

    61. The allusion by AAllah's word@ is to His law which dictates that He does not guide those who show no inclination to receive guidance, who do not use their power of reasoning when it comes to religious truths, and who are bent upon rejection, evidences being of no consequence to them. Allah's law is not to force guidance upon anyone (based on Rashid Rida).

    قُلْ هَلْ مِنْ شُرَكَائِكُمْ مَنْ يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ ۚ قُلِ اللَّهُ يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ تُؤْفَكُونَ (34)

    10|34| Say, 'Is there any of those you associate (with Allah) who begins the creation and then repeats it?' Say, 'Allah begins the creation and then repeats it. How then are you being deluded?'62

    62. Mawdudi comments on AHow then are you being deluded@: AAddressing the generality of the unbelievers, the Qur'an inquires, 'How then, are you being turned away?' The question that is posed here makes it clear that it is not the unbelievers themselves who are guilty of turning away, rather they are being made to turn away from the right way and that this is happening under the influence of some person or group who is engaged in misleading people. It is for this reason that in effect people are being asked: 'Why should they go about blindly following those who are out to mislead people. Why should they not use their brains and think for themselves why they are being turned in a direction which is contrary to reality?'@

    قُلْ هَلْ مِنْ شُرَكَائِكُمْ مَنْ يَهْدِي إِلَى الْحَقِّ ۚ قُلِ اللَّهُ يَهْدِي لِلْحَقِّ ۗ أَفَمَنْ يَهْدِي إِلَى الْحَقِّ أَحَقُّ أَنْ يُتَّبَعَ أَمَّنْ لَا يَهِدِّي إِلَّا أَنْ يُهْدَىٰ ۖ فَمَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ (35)

    10|35| Say, 'Is there any of those you associate (with Allah) who guides to the truth? It is Allah who guides to the truth. Is He then who guides to the truth more deserving of being followed or someone who does not find guidance63 unless he himself is guided?64 What ails you then? How do you judge?'65

    63. The textual word Ayahiddi@ was originally Ayahtadi.@ The letter Ataa@ was dropped for some reason to render it as Atahiddi@ with some necessary diacritical changes (Ibn Jarir).
    64. The point is, if these objects cannot guide their followers, how do they deserve worship? (Thanwi)
    65. Majid reproduces the comments of a Christian priest Rev. E. Wherry: AThis passage contains very cogent reasoning against the idolaters, and very justly represents their folly in worshiping inferior deities, while regarding God as the source of all their blessings, and fleeing to him in every time of trouble. These teachings account for much of the success of Islam as a missionary religion. Its pure monotheism stands out in strong contrast with the polytheism of the idolaters.@

    وَمَا يَتَّبِعُ أَكْثَرُهُمْ إِلَّا ظَنًّا ۚ إِنَّ الظَّنَّ لَا يُغْنِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ شَيْئًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَفْعَلُونَ (36)

    10|36| And, most of them follow not but conjecture, and conjecture can be of no avail against the truth.66 Surely, Allah is Aware of the things they do.

    66. Alusi writes that this verse is in support of the opinion that in matters of faith and beliefs blind following (taqlid of another person's opinion) is inadmissible as against fiqh (legal) matters where such following is allowed and the permission can be substantiated with the help of the Qur'an.

    وَمَا كَانَ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ أَنْ يُفْتَرَىٰ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلَٰكِنْ تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَتَفْصِيلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ مِنْ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ (37)

    10|37| This Qur'an is not such as to be alleged to anyone other than Allah. But rather, it is a confirmation of that which was before it, and explanation of the Book67 wherein there is no doubt from the Lord of the worlds.

    67. AThe statement that it is 'a confirmation of the revelation made before it' underscores the fact that the Qur'an lays no claim of introducing anything novel, of coming forth with any innovation at variance with the fundamental teachings already communicated to man through the Prophets (peace be upon them). The Qur'anic claim only consists of confirming and authenticating those teachings. Had the Qur'an been the product of imagination of the founder of an altogether new religion, the outcome of a creative brain, it would have borne traces of novelty in order to emphasize its distinctiveness@ (Mawdudi).

    أَمْ يَقُولُونَ افْتَرَاهُ ۖ قُلْ فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِثْلِهِ وَادْعُوا مَنِ اسْتَطَعْتُمْ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ (38)

    10|38| Or, do they say that he (Muhammad) forged it. Say, 'Bring a chapter similar to it. And call whom you wish besides Allah (as helpers), if you are true.68

    68. Thanwi’s comment at this point can be paraphrased in the following manner: Some people have tried to escape facing the challenge by saying that every writer has a style that is characteristically his own and which cannot be successfully imitated by others. The answer to this shallow argument is four fold:
    First: It might be true that a successful imitation of another's writing, especially when it is of a good literary quality, is, generally, not possible. But, it is quite possible for someone who has a good command over the language, to produce a short passage similar to it.
    Second: Not all of the Prophet's speeches are similar to one another. His traditions for instance, are of a completely different literary style than the Qur’an. How can this be explained? How did Muhammad fail to achieve the rhetorical and other literary qualities noticeable in the Qur'an, in his other productions, viz., the hadith?
    Third: How come he became capable of producing the Qur'an only after he had reached the age of forty?
    Fourth: How can a challenge go unanswered (until now), which claims that it will last up to the Day of Judgment?
    For more details see al Baqarah, note 57 of this work.
    Sayyid Qutb narrates an interesting incident in demonstration of the Qur'anic charm. Its abridged version is as follows: AWe were six who called ourselves Muslims in a ship in the Atlantic heading towards New York. Although not as regular in the Prayers as required, but, since there were some 120 non Muslim passengers in the ship, the idea that we should offer the Friday Prayers on the ship, sailing across the Atlantic excited us. The captain offered us a place and also allowed his Nubian Muslim off duty seamen to join us. Since it was quite a sight, the passengers gathered around us while I delivered the sermon. After the Prayers many of the onlookers came to us congratulating on the success of the AService.@ But a Christian lady surprised us. She came forward and told us very warmly in her broken English how much she was impressed by the spirit, the sincerity, and solemnity of the Prayers. She was especially impressed by the Sermon. 'Those were beautiful words' she said, although she admitted she did not understand a word thereof. But they had, she said, a kind of internal music concealed in them. It was only after considerable exchange of words that we realized she was referring to the Qur'anic passages that I had used during the Sermon and in recitation within the Prayers!@

    بَلْ كَذَّبُوا بِمَا لَمْ يُحِيطُوا بِعِلْمِهِ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِهِمْ تَأْوِيلُهُ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ كَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ ۖ فَانْظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الظَّالِمِينَ (39)

    10|39| Rather, they cried lies to what their knowledge could not encompass, and whose true interpretation has not reached them.69 That is how those who went before them earlier cried lies. See then what was the end of the transgressors.

    69. Two meanings are possible. One, the unbelievers never understood the true purport of the message because of intransigence and insensitivity to finer feelings and, therefore, denied it. Another possible meaning is that the unbelievers were in a great hurry to deny, even before they would try and understand the intent and purposes of the message. In doing so they were impelled by their love of the religion their forefathers followed. However, since the Qur'an is a miracle both in its form as well as in its contents, when the pagans considered its meaning, they felt convinced that it could only be a revelation. Yet, out of envy of the Prophet and hatred of the truth, they decided to denounce it all the same. And, of course, both these tendencies can be noticed among the modern antagonists of this message as well (Au.).
    Qurtubi notes that Hussain b. Fadl was asked if he found anything in the Qur'an to support that a man ignorant of something will have a dislike for it? He said, AYes. In two places. In one place Allah said, 'They cried lies to what their knowledge could not encompass' (verse 39); and another (46: 11), 'If they are not guided to it they will say, ‘This is an old fib.'@

    وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يُؤْمِنُ بِهِ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ لَا يُؤْمِنُ بِهِ ۚ وَرَبُّكَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُفْسِدِينَ (40)

    10|40| Of them there are some who believe in it while others do not. Your Lord is well Aware of the corrupt (folk).

    وَإِنْ كَذَّبُوكَ فَقُلْ لِي عَمَلِي وَلَكُمْ عَمَلُكُمْ ۖ أَنْتُمْ بَرِيئُونَ مِمَّا أَعْمَلُ وَأَنَا بَرِيءٌ مِمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ (41)

    10|41| If they reject you (O Muhammad) tell them, 'For me my deeds and for you your deeds. You are free of any responsibility for what I do, as I am free of any responsibility for what you do.'70

    70. Thanwi has a note relevant to da`wah workers which can be paraphrased as follows: This is the habit of the sincere callers to Islam, that when they find that the person addressed is bent on denial, they leave him alone, as against the disputants and debaters who strive to have the last word.

    وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَسْتَمِعُونَ إِلَيْكَ ۚ أَفَأَنْتَ تُسْمِعُ الصُّمَّ وَلَوْ كَانُوا لَا يَعْقِلُونَ (42)

    10|42| And, there are some among them who (pretend to be) listening to you. (But), can you make the deaf hear, if, (in addition), they do not attempt an understanding?71

    71. Mawdudi comments: AIn its most elementary sense even animals are possessed of the faculty of hearing. But 'hearing' in its true sense is applicable only when the act of hearing is accompanied with the attention required to grasp the meaning of what one hears, and with the readiness to accept it if it is found reasonable. Those who have fallen prey to prejudices, who have made up their minds that they will not hear, let alone accept anything, howsoever reasonable it might be, if it goes against their inherited beliefs and behavior patterns, or is opposed to living a life of heedlessness, as the animals do, or who focus all their attention on the gratification of their palate, or who recklessly pursue their lusts in total disregard of all consideration of right and wrong, may also be rightly characterized as incapable of hearing. Such people are not deaf of hearing, but their minds and hearts are certainly deaf to the truth.@
    That said about the unbelievers, Rashid Rida precedes Mawdudi in asking, 'Aren't there plenty of believers now who hear whole of the Qur'an recited to them in the month of Ramadan, or in assemblies of recitation, but they comprehend nothing, act by nothing, as if they heard nothing?'

    وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَنْظُرُ إِلَيْكَ ۚ أَفَأَنْتَ تَهْدِي الْعُمْيَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا لَا يُبْصِرُونَ (43)

    10|43| Again, there is one, who looks at you, but, can you make the blind see, if, (in addition), they do not attempt to perceive?

    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَظْلِمُ النَّاسَ شَيْئًا وَلَٰكِنَّ النَّاسَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ (44)

    10|44| Surely, Allah does not wrong the people by a bit but rather, the people wrong themselves.72

    72. At this point Ibn Kathir repeats a relevant hadith of Muslim and, therefore, shortens it. It reports Allah as saying,


    يا عِبادِي إِني قَد حَرمتُ الظُلمَ عَلى نَفسِي وجَعلتُهُ مُحرماً بَينَكُم فَلا تَظالَمُوا .. يا عِبادِي إِنَّما هِي أَعمالُكُم أَجعَلُها عليكُم فَمنْ وجَد خَيراً فَليحمَدِ الله ، ومَن وَجدَ غَيرَ ذَلك فَلا يَلُومُ إِلا نَفسهُ


    AO My slaves. I have forbidden transgression unto Myself and have declared it forbidden to you, therefore, do not commit transgression against one another...@ ending with, AO My slaves. It is your deeds that I reckon and then I reward you for them in full. Therefore, whoever finds goods, let him thank Allah. And whoever finds it otherwise, let him blame none but himself.@

    وَيَوْمَ يَحْشُرُهُمْ كَأَنْ لَمْ يَلْبَثُوا إِلَّا سَاعَةً مِنَ النَّهَارِ يَتَعَارَفُونَ بَيْنَهُمْ ۚ قَدْ خَسِرَ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِلِقَاءِ اللَّهِ وَمَا كَانُوا مُهْتَدِينَ (45)

    10|45| The Day He shall gather them together (they will feel), as if they tarried not (in the world) but an hour of the day, mutually recognizing each other.73 Surely, those who denied meeting with Allah made no gains, and they were not such as to be guided.74

    73. In the manner of those who, having lived together in this life, did not part after death, but for a short while (Alusi).
    Another possible meaning is expressed by Rashid Rida: They will recall having known and interacted with each other in the past life.
    74. It is possible, as Zamakhshari has said, that the words, ASurely, those who denied meeting with Allah made no gains, and they were not such as to be guided,@ are the words of those who will mutually recognize each other.
    The translation herewith treats them as Allah's words (Au.).
    Asad comments: AIn its wider sense, however it is addressed to every believer who might find it incomprehensible that life long suffering is often the lot of the righteous, while many wrongdoers and deniers of the truth apparently remain unscathed and are allowed to enjoy the good things of life. The Qur'an solves this apparent paradox by making it clear that, in comparison with the life to come, the life in this world is but a brief moment, and that it is only in the hereafter that man's destiny reveals itself in all its true aspects.@

    وَإِمَّا نُرِيَنَّكَ بَعْضَ الَّذِي نَعِدُهُمْ أَوْ نَتَوَفَّيَنَّكَ فَإِلَيْنَا مَرْجِعُهُمْ ثُمَّ اللَّهُ شَهِيدٌ عَلَىٰ مَا يَفْعَلُونَ (46)

    10|46| Whether We show you (O Muhammad) a part of that We promise them (of punishment) or complete your life term75 (before that), to Us is their return. And, Allah is witness over the things they do.

    75. Shah `Abd al Qadir has said that since the complete dominance of Islam was achieved party during the Prophet's life and partly after him, during the life of the four great caliphs, Allah used the expression, AWhether We show you (O Muhammad) a part of that We promise them, or complete your life term ..@ (Shabbir).
    In simpler words, it can be said that the above words contain a prophesy (Au.).

    وَلِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَسُولٌ ۖ فَإِذَا جَاءَ رَسُولُهُمْ قُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ بِالْقِسْطِ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ (47)

    10|47| For every nation there is a Messenger.76 When their messenger goes to them (and is rejected), the issue is settled between them with justice, and they are not wronged.

    76. Mawdudi comments on the textual term Ummah: AThe Qur'anic term ummah is not to be taken in the narrow sense in which the word 'nation' is used... All those who, after the advent of a Messenger, happen to live in an age when the teachings of that Messenger are extant or at least it is possible for people to know about what he had taught, constitute the ummah of that Messenger... In this respect all human beings who happen to be living in the age which commences with the advent of Muhammad (peace be on him) ... are his ummah...@
    The verse could also be understood to mean, AFor every nation there has been a Messenger.@ This is in the light of this present verse and another of the Qur'an which said (35: 24)


    وَإِنْ مِنْ أُمَّةٍ إِلَّا خَلَا فِيهَا نَذِيرٌ [فاطر : 24]


    AAnd there has not been a nation but a warner had been to them.@
    People often inquire about nations which, presumably did not receive a Prophet in the past, such as, e.g., the Russians or Indians. If can be said in reply that nations which did not preserve their history, cannot now claim that a Prophet was not raised among them. Another question that is raised is, AIs it possible that famous figures such as Buddha, Confucius, or Indian mythological figures were Messengers?@ Some people assume that those were Messengers, since, as they argue, AFor every nation there has been a Messenger.@ A proper explanation may be offered along the following lines:
    Firstly, the Qur'an has used a term (Aummah@) of its own definition and which is not equivalent of a nation. However, with nation as the term of reference, it might be asked, were the Russians in living memory, or according to authentic historical accounts, ever a nation prior to the advent of Islam? The same question can be asked about the Australians, or Indians. A nation is a well organized unit, over a well defined geographical area, ruled by a central authority, inhabited by a homogenous people who share a language (or a few languages), culture and religion. Its identity as a nation lasts through several centuries. Has that been the case with Russia, or Australia or India in the past? To take the example of Indians, it was never a nation in the true sense of the term. In ancient times India was no more than a land mass, supporting a vast number of villages and settlings. The peninsula was divided into as many regions as there were interrupting forests, range of mountains, rivers or other such natural boundaries. At best there were conglomerations of villages spread all over perhaps several thousands of them that could have been (though we are not sure) ruled by a chieftain, but which broke into disparate elements with his death. A few villages of that group were then incorporated by the adjoining rulers, if there were any, while others remained scattered - without a central town or inhabitation as the seat of political, military, or religious power controlling them, without a common culture, and without a single unifying language. The areas that were nominally ruled by a chieftain, a ruler, or a so called king, (in truth a war lord) were never cemented into a nation with its citizens acquiring that kind of identity, and they relating themselves to the state in that manner. A major difficulty, apart from the lack of well organized civilized life, means of transportation and communication, etc., was the absence of a unifying language. Never did any sizable territory in India have a language that was understood in its four corners. (There are hundreds of active dialects in present day India). Had there been a Messenger, he would have had to receive revelation in dozens of languages at a time to be able to communicate his message effectively.
    As regards the ancient and mythological figures, whether they could have been Messengers, it is anybody's guess. However, if one considers the teachings of the Messengers as mentioned in the Qur'an, (however compressed to a few points as done by Rashid Rida: constituting Allah's oneness, a rough concept of the Hereafter, and emphasis on righteous deeds), then, one might open the "so called" Holy Scriptures and look for these basic elements of Prophetic messages in the teachings of the Messenger candidates. A short exercise will categorically rule out Messengership for the candidates proposed.
    It might be suggested that their followers could have corrupted their pristine message. But, if that is granted, then that would qualify many past figures to Messengership. Every pervert person's teachings can be said to be the corrupt forms of a true Messenger's message (Au.).

    وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَىٰ هَٰذَا الْوَعْدُ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ (48)

    10|48| They ask, 'When will this promise (be) if you are true?'

    قُلْ لَا أَمْلِكُ لِنَفْسِي ضَرًّا وَلَا نَفْعًا إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ ۗ لِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ أَجَلٌ ۚ إِذَا جَاءَ أَجَلُهُمْ فَلَا يَسْتَأْخِرُونَ سَاعَةً ۖ وَلَا يَسْتَقْدِمُونَ (49)

    10|49| Say, 'I have no power over any harm unto myself or any benefit save for what Allah will.'77 Every people have a deadline. When their deadline arrives, they cannot delay it by an hour, nor can they hasten it.

    77. When Prophet Muhammad could not cause any harm or profit unto himself, could he do that to any other? Further, if he could not do when alive, can he do it now when he is in the grave? How strange of the faithful who imagine that the past Prophets or the so called saints in their graves, or angels, can cause them good or evil? If the noblest of creatures, Muhammad (on whom be peace) was ordered to announce that he had no power of good or evil unto himself, on what grounds can the Muslims of today seek help from those much lower than him? (Rashid Rida).

    قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَتَاكُمْ عَذَابُهُ بَيَاتًا أَوْ نَهَارًا مَاذَا يَسْتَعْجِلُ مِنْهُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ (50)

    10|50| Say, 'Have you considered? Supposing His chastisement comes upon you by night, or by day? (Can you stop it)?'78 What part of it then the criminals are wishing hastened on?79

    78. The expression, 'by night or by day' occurring in this context denotes the suddenness and unexpectedness with which Allah's punishment comes. For all its appearance, it could take the form of a natural calamity, and so, as usual, unpredictable (Au.).
    79. Seeing that none of its parts will treat them kindly, which of its parts are they demanding to be hastened? (Zamakhshari).

    أَثُمَّ إِذَا مَا وَقَعَ آمَنْتُمْ بِهِ ۚ آلْآنَ وَقَدْ كُنْتُمْ بِهِ تَسْتَعْجِلُونَ (51)

    10|51| Is it that when it has occurred you will believe therein? (It will be said), 'Ah now? while it was you who were wishing it hastened on!?'

    ثُمَّ قِيلَ لِلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا ذُوقُوا عَذَابَ الْخُلْدِ هَلْ تُجْزَوْنَ إِلَّا بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَكْسِبُونَ (52)

    10|52| Then it will be said to those who transgressed, 'Taste now the everlasting punishment; are you being rewarded for anything but what you were earning?'

    وَيَسْتَنْبِئُونَكَ أَحَقٌّ هُوَ ۖ قُلْ إِي وَرَبِّي إِنَّهُ لَحَقٌّ ۖ وَمَا أَنْتُمْ بِمُعْجِزِينَ (53)

    10|53| They seek to know from you, 'Is it really true?'80 Say, 'Yes, by my Lord. It is altogether true. And you will not be able to frustrate (Allah).'

    80. Some scholars have suggested that the questioning has been assumed, since the pagans would not have asked the Prophet, having rejected him anyway. Rashid Rida believes that it is fairly possible that they actually asked him the question. The Arabs of that time were an upright people, who trusted others as upright. Lying was extremely uncommon among them. So, someone might have asked the question in earnest, besides those who raised questions of this kind in jest. We have a few traditions on the topic, such as the one preserved by the Sheikhayn, in which Damaam b. Tha`labah abjured the Prophet to tell him 'by the Lord' if he was really the sent one, and was well satisfied when assured that 'by Him' that was the case.

    وَلَوْ أَنَّ لِكُلِّ نَفْسٍ ظَلَمَتْ مَا فِي الْأَرْضِ لَافْتَدَتْ بِهِ ۗ وَأَسَرُّوا النَّدَامَةَ لَمَّا رَأَوُا الْعَذَابَ ۖ وَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ بِالْقِسْطِ ۚ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ (54)

    10|54| If every soul that transgressed were to posses all that is in the earth, it will surely ransom itself therewith. They will try to conceal their remorse81 when they behold the punishment. (The issue) will be judged between them in full equity, and they will not be wronged.

    81. Quoting a poetical piece of Imra `l Qays, Alusi points out that the textual word Aasarr@ is one of those words of the Arabic language that opposite meanings. In the present context, the word can yield both the meanings: Athey will conceal@ as well as, Athey will reveal.@ To explain, while the common unbelievers will betray their remorse, their artful leaders, being already recognized by their followers, will try to conceal it.

    لَا إِنَّ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۗ أَلَا إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ (55)

    10|55| Lo. To Allah belongs whatever there is in the heavens and the earth. Lo. Allah's promise is true. But most of them know not.

    هُوَ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ (56)

    10|56| It is He who gives life and deals death, and to Him will you be returned.

    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُمْ مَوْعِظَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَشِفَاءٌ لِمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ (57)

    10|57| People! To you has already reached an admonition from your Lord, and a cure for what is in the breasts,82 a guide and a mercy unto the believers.

    82. Although the textual word is Asudoor@ (sing, sadr, breast) the intended meaning is the hearts. Imam Raghib Asfahani has discussed the issue of hearts and breasts in the following manner: Whenever Allah used the word Aqalb@ (heart) in the Qur'an, the allusion is to knowledge or intellect. Some have believed that it is also used in the sense of the soul. Allah said (50: 37),


    إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَذِكْرَى لِمَن كَانَ لَهُ قَلْبٌ


    ASurely, in this is a reminder for him who has a heart@ , i.e., he who has knowledge.
    Or, (9: 87),


    وَطُبِعَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ فَهُمْ لاَ يَفْقَهُونَ


    AAnd their hearts have been sealed, so they do not understand.@ That is, their minds have been sealed.
    Or, Allah said (33: 10),


    وَبَلَغَتِ الْقُلُوبُ الْحَنَاجِرَ


    AAnd (when) the hearts will reach the throats.@ That is, their souls reached the throats (out of fear). In contrast, when He used the term Asadr@ He alluded not only to knowledge and intellect, but also to the emotive powers such as love, hatred, anger, etc. The present verse is an example of this usage. The Qur'an is a cure for these ailments of the heart.
    Rashid Rida adds: Intellect is the judicial power that differentiates and distinguishes between right and wrong, good and bad, beneficial or harmful, etc. In contrast, the ailments of the heart and the breast comprise of faith, doubt, hypocrisy, envy, hatred, evil intentions, etc. (paraphrased).
    Some scholars have said that just as it is a cure for the hearts, the Qur'an is also a cure for the body. But Hasan al Busri has denied such a possibility since Allah said (, Aa cure for the hearts@ and not Afor the body.@ Those who believe otherwise quote the following hadith of Ibn Marduwayh. Abu Sa`id al Khudri reports that a man came to the Prophet complaining of pain in his chest. The Prophet told him, ARecite the Qur'an for it is a cure for the hearts.@ Another report in Bayhaqi's Sho`ab al Iman says that a man complained of pain in his throat. The Prophet told him also to recite the Qur'an (and eat some honey). [The hadith is weak: Manar]. After reporting the above ahadith Alusi notes that both the ahadith can be interpreted to mean differently from the apparent meaning. For, in the first case, it can be said that the treatment suggested was psychological, while in the second case it was simply a way of clearing the throat. Nonetheless, Alusi's personal opinion is that the Qur'an could be a cure for bodily ailments, although the verse under discussion does not support such a meaning.
    Curing certain diseases with the help of surah al Fatehah, adds Rashid Rida, if recited by one of strong faith, free of doubt and cynicism, is possible, although, this too cannot be substantiated with the present verse.
    However, Ibn Kathir himself states that he cured his asthma with a passage of the Qur’an. Further, there is no difference in opinion among the scholars that the Qur’an is a cure for physical ailments and disturbances caused by magic. See note 118 below (Au.).
    Thanwi points out that the verse demonstrates that there are diseases of the heart that are more serious than those of the body.

    قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ (58)

    10|58| Say, ‘By Allah's grace and mercy;’83 in this let them rejoice. It is better than what they amass.84

    83. The textual term for rejoice, Afarh@ is used for over joyousness and is normally disapproved of. (It also bears an element of boastfulness: Au.). Allah said in reference to Qarun (28: 76),


    لا تَفْرَحْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْفَرِحِينَ


    ADo not indulge in over joyousness. Allah does not approve of the over joyous.@
    He said at another place (57: 23),


    لِكَيْلَا تَأْسَوْا عَلَى مَا فَاتَكُمْ وَلَا تَفْرَحُوا بِمَا آتَاكُمْ


    ASo that you might not despair over what missed you and not be over joyous over what He gave you.@
    84. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Hasan have said, apart from some others, that the words Agrace,@ and Amercy@ allude to Islam and the Qur'an (Ibn Jarir).
    Ibn Kathir adds: When the `Iraqi tribute arrived at Madinah, `Umar came out counting the camels, but gave up because of the huge numbers. One of his slaves remarked, AThis is by Allah's grace and mercy.@ `Umar reacted, AYou have lied. Allah has said in reference to the Revelation (and not in reference to worldly goods), '(This is) by Allah's grace and mercy. In this let them rejoice. It is better than what they amass.' Indeed, this exactly is what they (the people like to) amass (i.e., worldly things).@
    Sayyid comments: AThe primary theme of the social model that this religion creates is that of freedom of man from the servility to man which is replaced with servility to Allah. With this change in the basic theme of life which serves as the basis to further work upon. In this manner, man's ideals, morals and values are elevated, in turn freeing his whole life from subservience to other humans.
    AIt is after this that come the worldly things and material possessions. As it happened with the very first generation of Muslims, when the pagan ways were swept away; they took hold of the keys to Allah's power on the earth, and, in consequence, drove the people to Allah in order that they could also receive His mercy.
    AIn contrast, those who concentrate on material values and material productions, unmindful of this basic principle, they indeed are the enemies of mankind. They do not wish that man should ever rise above the animals, and should never want anything beyond the subsistence of the animals.
    ATheir invitation to adopt a life of their design is not guileless. Whatever they claim outwardly, it is in truth indirectly aimed at the destruction of any belief and every such value that stands in their way of material progress. They alter the objectives of life of the people who come under their influence: from the soul lifting values to mere search for food, shelter and sex – in the same order as the animals do.
    AThe continuous cry that is heard about material values and increased productions is simply to overcome people's resistance, and alter their ideas and ideals so that they can be transformed to function as cogs in the machines, those that have forgotten all about soul lifting ideals. The incessant cries of higher and higher production, is to shout down every cry of the soul, give the people new ideals and use those ideals to achieve higher material production. This call then is not a guileless call. It is a firm step towards the replacement of devotion to stone idols of the pagan days with contemporary material idols.
    AOnce the incessant cry for increase in material production acquires the status of an idol, the people begin to toil for them and circumambulate around them. Every other value of life is then disregarded and destroyed if it comes in the way: morality, family, honor, freedom just about everything. Anything that stands against it deserves to be destroyed. The new idols are not made of wood or stones. They are the new material values, slogans, catch words, icons and symbols.@

    قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ مِنْ رِزْقٍ فَجَعَلْتُمْ مِنْهُ حَرَامًا وَحَلَالًا قُلْ آللَّهُ أَذِنَ لَكُمْ ۖ أَمْ عَلَى اللَّهِ تَفْتَرُونَ (59)

    10|59| Say, 'Have you considered what Allah has sent down for you as providence? Of which you treat some as unlawful and some as lawful.' Ask, 'Is it Allah who has allowed you to do that, or are you fastening (a lie) on Allah?'85

    85. The reference of course is to the pagan practice (continued down to this age, even by Muslims) of arbitrarily declaring Allah's lawful as unlawful and His unlawful as lawful. The Prophet (saws) illustrated this attitude in a hadith of Ahmad when he saw `Awf b. Malik's father in a shabby state. He asked him,


    هَلْ لَكَ مَالٌ قَالَ قُلْتُ نَعَمْ قَالَ مِنْ أَيِّ الْمَالِ قَالَ قُلْتُ مِنْ كُلِّ الْمَالِ مِنْ الْإِبِلِ وَالرَّقِيقِ وَالْخَيْلِ وَالْغَنَمِ فَقَالَ إِذَا آتَاكَ اللَّهُ مَالًا فَلْيُرَ عَلَيْكَ


    ADo you have any wealth?@ The man said, AYes.@ He asked, AWhat sort of wealth?@ He replied, AOf all sorts: Camels, slaves, horses, sheep.@ The Prophet said, AWhen Allah bestows a blessing on you, then, let it be seen on you.@
    He further added,


    ثُمَّ قَالَ هَلْ تُنْتِجُ إِبِلُ قَوْمِكَ صِحَاحًا آذَانُهَا فَتَعْمَدُ إِلَى مُوسَى فَتَقْطَعُ آذَانَهَا فَتَقُولُ هَذِهِ بُحُرٌ وَتَشُقُّهَا أَوْ تَشُقُّ جُلُودَهَا وَتَقُولُ هَذِهِ صُرُمٌ وَتُحَرِّمُهَا عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَى أَهْلِكَ قَالَ نَعَمْ قَالَ فَإِنَّ مَا آتَاكَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَكَ وَسَاعِدُ اللَّهِ أَشَدُّ وَمُوسَى اللَّهِ أَحَدُّ


    AIs it true that your camels give birth to camels with whole ears, but you take a knife, split its ears and declare, 'This is Buhur.' You split their skin and declare, 'This is Surum.' Thereafter, you declare such of them unlawful unto yourself and the family?' The man replied, 'Yes. We do that.' The Prophet said, 'Surely, what Allah has given you is yours, but Allah's arm is tougher than your arm; and Allah's knife is sharper than your knife.@ After presenting this shortened version of the hadith, Ibn Kathir remarks that the report, as found in two places in Ahmad, has a strong chain of narrators.
    (What the Prophet meant perhaps is to warn the man of wealth that he should not mistreat his cattle because Allah’s arm is stronger and His knife sharper: Au.).
    Zamakhshari warns: The verse conceals a strong warning to those who are used to arbitrarily declaring this or that lawful or unlawful. Such declarations should only be made when they can be backed by clear evidences. When one does not have them, let him hold his peace. Otherwise he will be fastening a lie on Allah.
    Hence we see that, according to the Hanafiyy scholars, an unequivocal textual commandment (nass qata`i) is necessarily required to declare a thing unlawful (Au.).
    Sufi commentator Thanwi adds that this verse refutes those who, for ascetic reasons, treat some of Allah's bounties as unlawful to themselves. All that can be said is that there is no harm if it is temporarily resorted to, (as a cure for certain base desires or traits, or a firmer control over one's self: Au.).

    وَمَا ظَنُّ الَّذِينَ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَشْكُرُونَ (60)

    10|60| So, what do those who fasten a lie on Allah think of the Day of Judgment? Surely, Allah is full of grace for the people,86 but most of them do not render thanks.87

    86. So, it is by His grace and mercy that He has declared most things on earth as lawful unto His slaves, declaring not anything as unlawful but what harms them (Ibn Kathir).
    87. The implication of the words with which the verse ends is that Allah has been very generous in giving the people the tools of intelligence and sending to them His Messages. But the people do not use reason and do not accept the invitation to think.

    وَمَا تَكُونُ فِي شَأْنٍ وَمَا تَتْلُو مِنْهُ مِنْ قُرْآنٍ وَلَا تَعْمَلُونَ مِنْ عَمَلٍ إِلَّا كُنَّا عَلَيْكُمْ شُهُودًا إِذْ تُفِيضُونَ فِيهِ ۚ وَمَا يَعْزُبُ عَنْ رَبِّكَ مِنْ مِثْقَالِ ذَرَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ وَلَا أَصْغَرَ مِنْ ذَٰلِكَ وَلَا أَكْبَرَ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُبِينٍ (61)

    10|61| And, you are not (O Prophet) engaged in an affair (at any time), nor reciting any (part) of the Qur'an,88 neither do you (O people) carry out a deed except that We89 are witnesses over it when you press on it.90 Indeed, not away from your Lord is (anything) as much as the weight of an atom, whether in the earth or in the heavens, smaller than that or bigger, but it is in a clear Book.

    88. The expression, AYou are not engaged in an affair, nor reciting any (part) of the Qur'an,@ aptly reflects the Prophet's way of life. All his time, either he was working to spread his mission, which required extensive Qur'anic recitation, or he was engaged in his personal devotional acts which also required plenty of its recitation (based on Manar).
    89. The AWe@ here is the Majestic We (Asad).
    90. With reference to the textual word Awitness@, we might remind ourselves of the hadith in which Jibril defined AIhsan@ as Ayou should worship Allah as if you are seeing Him. For, if you cannot see Him, He sees you@ (Ibn Kathir).

    أَلَا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّهِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ (62)

    10|62| Lo! Allah's friends91 have nothing to fear nor will they ever grieve.92

    91. The textual words Aawliya' Allah@ often evoke the question, Awho are they?@ Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id b. Jubayr, Abu al Duha have said that it is those who remind of Allah when you look at them. There are ahadith that define the term in this manner. (One is in Bazzar: Ibn Kathir).
    There is another hadith that can be quoted in this connection. Narrated by `Umar ibn al Khattab and Abu Hurayrah, one of them says,


    « إِنَّ مِنْ عِبَادِ اللَّهِ لأُنَاسًا مَا هُمْ بِأَنْبِيَاءَ وَلاَ شُهَدَاءَ يَغْبِطُهُمُ الأَنْبِيَاءُ وَالشُّهَدَاءُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ بِمَكَانِهِمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى ». قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ تُخْبِرُنَا مَنْ هُمْ. قَالَ « هُمْ قَوْمٌ تَحَابُّوا بِرُوحِ اللَّهِ عَلَى غَيْرِ أَرْحَامٍ بَيْنَهُمْ وَلاَ أَمْوَالٍ يَتَعَاطَوْنَهَا فَوَاللَّهِ إِنَّ وُجُوهَهُمْ لَنُورٌ وَإِنَّهُمْ عَلَى نُورٍ لاَ يَخَافُونَ إِذَا خَافَ النَّاسُ وَلاَ يَحْزَنُونَ إِذَا حَزِنَ النَّاسُ ». وَقَرَأَ هَذِهِ الآيَةَ (أَلاَ إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّهِ لاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ).


    AAmong Allah's slaves are some who will be sitting on raised platforms on Judgment day an object of envy for Prophets and martyrs.@ The Companions asked, ADescribe them to us O Messenger of Allah, so that we might love them.@ He replied, AThey are a people who love each other for the sake of Allah although not related to each other by blood, or by wealth. Their faces will be bright with Light, not fearing when others will be in fear, not grieving when others will be grieving.@ And then he recited this verse, ALo! Allah's friends have nothing to fear nor shall they ever grieve.@ Ibn Jarir traces this hadith through a dozen chains of narrators.
    Ibn Kathir points out that reports similar in meaning have been preserved by Bazzar, Abu Da'ud and Ahmad, but all of them suffer some weakness or the other.
    Rashid Rida adds that although Hakim has declared one version of the above hadith as trustworthy, it does not seem to be so. In fact, not all the reports that Hakim declared trustworthy are in truth trustworthy. (But Dhahabi has also declared it trustworthy: S. Ibrahim). The problem with this one, Rashid Rida continues, is that it places the awliya' above Anbiya'.
    Alusi writes that anyone who thought that the awliya' are higher in status than the Anbiya', is an unbeliever. However, if what is meant is that the wilayah of a Nabiyy is of a greater caliber than the Nubuwwah of a Nabiyy, then that is alright.
    92. Imam Razi says that it is impossible for a man to be free of fear and apprehensions in this life, and, further, the awliya' are expected to be at least fearful of the Hereafter, how then should one reconcile these facts with the statement ALo! Allah's friends have nothing to fear nor shall they ever grieve?@ He himself replies that this is with reference to the Hereafter. It is there that the awliya' will have nothing to fear and will not grieve over anything. As for this world, there is no escape. He quotes an incident involving Ibrahim al Khawwas. It seems he was traveling in the company of a pupil through the deserts. One night he was overwhelmed by kashf (vision of the Unseen). Soon wild animals gathered around him. His pupil climbed a tree in fear of the beasts. But the Sheikh was unmoved. By morning the Sheikh's condition had changed and the animals had dispersed. Next night an insect fell on the Sheikh's hand. He was in a dread. The pupil enquired as to why was it that he dreaded an insect when last night he did not fear the ferocious beasts. He replied, AThat was an entirely different situation that descended on me from the Unknown. When that situation changed, (and I resumed normalcy), I am one of the weakest creations of Allah.@
    Alusi has a deeper explanation: The term Awaliyy@ is from the root Awala'@ of which one connotation is: "to get near." Awliya' are those who are spiritually near to Allah. Another definition is that waliyy is someone who devotes himself to his Lord in such a complete manner that nothing remains of his person. He seems to have no entity of his own, no attributes, no acts - in sum no himself. He is fully occupied in His obedience and completely submerged in His knowledge. Does it mean such people commit not sin? No. They do. When Junayd was asked if the awliya' could commit adultery, he answered, AYes@ and quoted, 'And Allah's decree was to be accomplished' Al Ahzab, v. 37). But, let there be no confusion about it. They Acan@ does not mean they Ado.@ Only the impossibility is denied. If and when one of them falls into a sin, he knows that he was not the safeguarded one, and not the approved one, no matter what the common people think of him: in that specific situation he was not one of the awliya' Allah (until he repents, reworks, and rebuilds the relationship). The preceding characteristics were of the Aal wilayah al kubra.@ There is another, of the lower order, called the Aal wilayah al sughra.@ Someone belonging to this category might commit minor sins, though not on a regular basis.
    In connection with the second half of the verse, Alusi writes the following: They are not afraid of what might befall them and are not grieved by what misses them. This is because they are in a spiritual bliss all the time. That does not mean that nothing untoward ever happens to them. They do. But they are not afraid and are not grieved by whatever happens. In fact, it does not mean at all that no fear or grief ever touches them. They do. But those are passing winds that ruffle their feathers a bit, but do not disturb their peace to a great degree. Soon the spiritual bliss is back to normal. (As against those at the other end of the spectrum who are always fearful of something distasteful happening to them, and are always fretting over what they missed of the opportunities: Au.). If they are afraid, they are afraid of Allah. He said (35: 28), ALo! It is the knowledgeable who fear Allah.@ And, the more knowledgeable they become, the more they fear Him. (And the more they fear Him, the less they fear anything else apart from Him: Au.). Further, their concerns are not this worldly. This worldly objectives, low as they are, are disdainful to them. To them this world is filthier than a dead pig's limb, over which a dog had urinated, and is now in the hands of a leper. Apart from the filthiness, this worldly objectives have both the possibilities of failure as well as success. In contrast, the other worldly objectives are bound to come true. So, with such objectives before them, what should disturb their peace?
    At all events, Rashid Rida warns against false Sufis and Shuyukh who exploit the concept of wilayah. Discussing the issue over several pages, he points out that false Sufis have created an imaginary figure of a waliyy, entirely irrational, with esoteric powers, with knowledge of the Unseen, and capable of executing what he will, both on the earth as well as in the heavens. They allowed the awliya’ powers that even the pagans did not allow their deities. The concept of a waliyy that they have popularized among the laity, in fact among the educated too, is in complete contradiction to the meaning and concept that the Qur'an and hadith would allow. This they did by first dressing up the imaginary figure with the Shari`ah outfit, and then giving it the name of Tariqah which itself stands in complete contrast to the Shari`ah. Whereas, great scholars like Abu Hanifah and Shafe`i have said, AIf the scholars of Islam are not the awliya' Allah, then there are no awliya' around.@
    A commonly quoted and much misused hadith on this topic, continues Rashid Rida, is from Bukhari, but it is of a kind with which one does not feel comfortable because none of the others of the six canonical works have recorded it nor is it in Ahmad. It says,


    مَنْ عَادَى لِى وَلِيًّا فَقَدْ آذَنْتُهُ بِالْحَرْبِ


    “Whoever antagonized My waliyy, I declare war on him.” It originates with Khalid b. Mukhlid. Ibn Rajab has said that the man Khalid was not trusted by Imam Ahmad. It has been reported through other chains of narration but none of them without a defect. Hafiz has said in Tahdhib al Tahdhib that this personality is a disputable one. Abu Hatim has said that his reports may be recorded but not used for evidential purposes. Ibn Sa`d had said about him that he used to report some strange ahadith. In fact, Imam Bukhari himself has no more than a single hadith this one coming via this person. What places a question mark before the hadith is the rest of the text. It says,


    وَمَا تَقَرَّبَ إِلَىَّ عَبْدِى بِشَىْءٍ أَحَبَّ إِلَىَّ مِمَّا افْتَرَضْتُ عَلَيْهِ ، وَمَا يَزَالُ عَبْدِى يَتَقَرَّبُ إِلَىَّ بِالنَّوَافِلِ حَتَّى أُحِبَّهُ ، فَإِذَا أَحْبَبْتُهُ كُنْتُ سَمْعَهُ الَّذِى يَسْمَعُ بِهِ ، وَبَصَرَهُ الَّذِى يُبْصِرُ بِهِ ، وَيَدَهُ الَّتِى يَبْطُشُ بِهَا وَرِجْلَهُ الَّتِى يَمْشِى بِهَا


    “My slave does not gain nearness to Me with anything but with what I have made obligatory on him. And My slave keeps gaining nearness to Me until I begin to love him. And when I love him I become his ear by which he hears, his eyes by which he sees, the hands by which he holds and the feet by which he walks.” This in fact has led some people to the concept of wahdatu al wujud.
    (But this is not a good reason for doubting the authenticity of the hadith. Further, the great majority of the scholars have accepted this as a trustworthy report: Au.).
    Down the lines, Rashid Rida presents as example some of the words and ways of the false Sufiya as found in some of their biographies. Sha`rani for instance, who was an Az hari, mentions many ranks among the Sufiya. If one were to compare the life and deeds of some of the earliest Sufiya that he presents, he will find that they were no different from the Muhaddithun, the Fuqaha' and others of that order. But as soon as one reads the life of the Sufiya of the Middle Ages, as presented by Sha`rani, he fails to find any difference between them and a pack of crazy guys with disheveled hair, unkempt beards, clothes un-washed for months, and a fearful appearance. He writes highly of Sheikh Rifa`i, but his contemporary scholars rejected him, accusing him of several un Islamic practices, one of them is that he allowed intermingling of men and women in his circles. Sha`rani writes about Dusuqi that he knew the language of the animals and birds. He sent a piece of writing in the language of the beasts to one of his disciples. He even sent a letter to the Prophet through pilgrims which has words and phrases that are nothing more than gibberish. He also reports that the Prophet told him (Dusuqi) that he was created out of the Light of the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad). Books written by the followers of Rifa`i state that once Rifa`i handed over a fish to his disciples to cook. But the fire would not cook it. So they complained to Rifa`i. He told them that the Most Powerful had promised him that anything that he touched would not be burned by fire in this or the next world. It is reported in some of the books written about Sheikh `Abd al Qadir al Jeeli that when one of his disciples died and his mother complained to him, he gave a chase to the angel of death as he was flying to the heavens and asked him to hand back his disciple's soul to him. When the angel refused, he snatched open his bag and all the spirits of the day were dispersed. Sha`rani writes about Muhammad al Hadari that he said, “People's bodies are like glass to me. I can see their inner selves.”
    Rashid Rida states in conclusion that if a man like Sha`rani, who was otherwise a reasonably good scholar, and an Az hari, wrote things of the sort presented above, then what should one expect of others in the same line of business? He also tries to clear the smoke around some of the Sufi powers. For instance, it is reported that they could see things or hear voices that others could not. But, this is something which happens with followers of other religions too. For instance, the Christian Rashid Beg (then living in Paris) was often able to see Mary. He purportedly sought explanations to mysteries from her, and she would explain. Shakib Arsalan himself told him (Rashid Rida) that once the man (Rashid Beg) inquired Mary about our Prophet and she spoke highly of him. Obviously, continues Rashid Rida, it is Shaytan that they hear and see. He appears and speaks to them to strengthen them in their error. In fact, Sha`rani himself has reported that once `Abd al Qadir Jeelani saw a nur (Light) that had filled the earth and the heavens. He heard a voice emanating from it saying, “I am your Lord and I declare everything unlawful, lawful to you.” `Abd al Qadir replied, “Get lost, you accursed one.” The Light suddenly turned into darkness. The voice said, “You escaped because of your knowledge.” (`Abd al Qadir replied, “Shut up you cunning one. I did not escape because of my knowledge. I escaped because of Allah's help.”) But, Rashid Rida continues, how many false Sufis have not been misled by voices and appearances of this sort?
    Another concept exploited is that of kashf, although, there is no difference in opinion among the Sufiya themselves, that they can be experienced by just anyone: believer and unbeliever alike. Yes, there is the true type of kashf in which one sees the (inner or spiritual) realities. But, as the Sufis have pointed out, there is no way to differentiate between the real and the false kashf, and hence it is safe to disregard all kinds of them. They have no religious value. When they are experienced, they must be checked against the Shari`ah and only those could be accepted as trustworthy which do not contradict it.
    As regards the thaumaturgies (karamat), many of them are of the order of supernatural acts performed by the followers of every religion. They are karamat only when they appear at the hands of practicing Muslims. When they appear at the hands of the unbelievers or corrupt Muslims, they are known as “istidraj.” However, whatever the origin, they are again of no religious value. Great Sufis have said, “If you see a man walking on water and flying in the air, pay him no attention unless he is a close follower of the Qur'an and Sunnah.” After all, will not Dajjal perform such miracles as raising the dead? Hence, as Sha`rani himself notes, Junayd said, “Whoever acted against the Qur'an and Sunnah, lost the Straight Path.”
    Abridged quotation from Rashid Rida ends here.

    الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ (63)

    10|63| Those who believed and were ever God conscious.

    لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَىٰ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ ۚ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ (64)

    10|64| There are good tidings for them in the life of this world93 as well as in the next.94 There is no changing Allah's words. That indeed is a great triumph.

    93. What good tiding is it that the awliya'-Allah receive in this world? Ibn Jarir has more than a dozen reports with different chains as explanations from the Prophet (saws). `Ubadah b. Samit preceded everyone in asking the Prophet about this issue. He replied,


    لَقَدْ سَأَلْتَنِي عَنْ شَيْءٍ مَا سَأَلَنِي عَنْهُ أَحَدٌ مِنْ أُمَّتِي أَوْ أَحَدٌ قَبْلَكَ قَالَ تِلْكَ الرُّؤْيَا الصَّالِحَةُ يَرَاهَا الرَّجُلُ الصَّالِحُ أَوْ تُرَى لَهُ


    “You have asked me about a thing that no one ever of my followers preceded you in asking.” Then he explained, “It is true dreams that a man sees, or those that are shown to him.”
    On other occasions, Abu Hurayrah and Abu al Darda' also asked the same question and received the same answer. `Abdullah ibn `Amr's version has the additional words,


    الرُّؤْيَا الصَّالِحَةُ جُزْءٌ مِنْ سِتَّةٍ وَأَرْبَعِينَ جُزْءًا مِنْ النُّبُوَّةِ


    “And true dreams are one forty sixth part of Prophethood.”
    (The reports are in Bukhari: Au.).
    And, Umm Kurz al Ka`biyyah reported the Prophet,


    ذَهَبَتْ النُّبُوَّةُ وَبَقِيَتْ الْمُبَشِّرَاتُ


    “Prophethood has ceased, but good tidings (mubashshirat) remain” (Zamakhshari, Razi, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Imam Razi adds: Of dreams there are three kinds:
    (i) What one sees or does during the day, which the mind replays in sleep,
    ii) The result of Satan's play on the mind and,
    iii) True dreams.
    Ibn Kathir adds a relevant hadith. Found in Muslim it says that Abu Dharr asked about those deeds that win people's praise. (How to treat such praises?) The Prophet answered,


    تِلْكَ عَاجِلُ بُشْرَى الْمُؤْمِنِ


    “That is the believer's immediate good tiding.”
    It might be noted however that the textual expression “they have nothing to fear nor shall they ever grieve,” has been quite often promised for true believers, the God conscious and the righteous. For example see, 2: 62, 5: 73, 6: 48, 7: 43 and 49 (Rashid Rida).
    94. What good tidings of the Hereafter are referred to? Zamakhshari says, “They are the comforting words the awliya'-Allah will receive from the angels as they rise from the grave, the Light they will carry on their faces thereafter to the Field of Judgment, the receiving of the Book of Deeds by the right hand, etc.”
    Much of the above is supported by the Qur'an. Accordingly, Rashid Rida and others quote e.g., (21: 103),


    لَا يَحْزُنُهُمُ الْفَزَعُ الْأَكْبَرُ [الأنبياء : 103]


    “The Great Terror will not grieve them.”

    وَلَا يَحْزُنْكَ قَوْلُهُمْ ۘ إِنَّ الْعِزَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا ۚ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ (65)

    10|65| So, let not their uttering sadden you. Surely, all power and glory is Allah's.95 He is the Hearer, the Knower.96

    95. Asad comments: “The noun `izzah comprises the concept of superior might as well as of honor and glory. Its rendering into another language depends upon the context, and sometimes as in this case necessitates a combination of two terms.”
    96. When Allah closed all avenues of argument, the unbelievers began to threaten and abuse the Prophet. So Allah said, “So, let not their uttering grieve you. Surely, all (power and) glory is Allah's. He is the Hearer, the Knowing” (Razi).

    أَلَا إِنَّ لِلَّهِ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ وَمَا يَتَّبِعُ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ شُرَكَاءَ ۚ إِنْ يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ (66)

    10|66| Unquestionably, to Allah belongs whoever is in the heavens and whoever is in the earth. And those who invoke other than Allah, do not follow the Associates;97 they follow only surmise, and attempt at nothing but guess work.98

    97. That is, those who are devoted to other than Allah, are not devoted to something tangible. Their objects of worship are lifeless beings. Their devotion is to some imaginary figures of imaginary qualities. They do not truly worship those they worship.
    98. The textual word “kharasa” is used for guess work. For instance, for estimating the number of fruits there are on a tree, one would use the word “kharasa” (Manar).

    هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ لِتَسْكُنُوا فِيهِ وَالنَّهَارَ مُبْصِرًا ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَسْمَعُونَ (67)

    10|67| It is He who made for you the night so that you may find repose therein,99 and (made) the Day light giving. Surely, in that are signs for a people who listen.

    99. Thanwi writes that following the rationale behind the creation of night, one would be simply falling in the scheme of things, if he devoted a part of the night for resting himself.

    قَالُوا اتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ وَلَدًا ۗ سُبْحَانَهُ ۖ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ ۖ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ إِنْ عِنْدَكُمْ مِنْ سُلْطَانٍ بِهَٰذَا ۚ أَتَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ (68)

    10|68| They say, 'God has taken a son.’100 Glory to Him.101 He is Self sufficient. To Him belong all that is in the heavens and the earth. You have no authority for this.102 Do you fasten on Allah what you do not know?'103

    100. Sayyid comments: “When all that there is in the heavens and the earth belongs to Allah, what pressing need was there for Him to take a son? .. At this point the Qur'an does not enter into the polemics concerning the Divine essence, or metaphysical questions dealing with His Being: topics that happen to be the favorite issues of the dialecticians and philosophers. That is because the Qur'an deals with the problem from a realistic and natural point of view. It deals directly with the main question and not with its hypothetical offshoots that threaten to acquire the status of the main issue.
    “Here it restricts itself to discussing the question of the ‘son’ that they (the Christians) thought the Divinity was in need of... to deny it from the point of redundancy; pointing out that He is Self Sufficient who owns the whole of the universe. The Qur'an avoided discussing the side issue to remain close to the main topic and not allow itself to be weakened by such diversion.”
    101. The textual word ASub hanah@ is both an exclamatory remark (as one would say, Anow, come on,@ or Areally?!@) as well an extolling and exonerating term, declaring Allah free of defects or wants (Qurtubi, Rashid Rida).
    102. In this kind of usage, the textual Ain@ carries a negative sense. That is, in present context it is equivalent of Ama@ meaning, Ano@ or Anot.@
    103. This is to discourage men from uttering anything about Allah's Being, His essence, or His Attributes which can only come from conjectures. Many scholars seem to have also fallen into the error of resorting to guess work in these matters (Thanwi).

    قُلْ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ لَا يُفْلِحُونَ (69)

    10|69| Say, 'Those who fasten lies on Allah will not prosper.'104

    104. Mawdudi sums up the arguments that Muslims often use while trying to convince the Christians. We reproduce it at length although similar arguments by others may be found elsewhere in this work: ATo be a son can have only two meanings: either he has sprung from his father's loins, that is, he is his father's son in the true sense of the term, and thus of his father's loins, or that he is not a son in the literal sense of the word but has merely been adopted as such. Now, if someone is considered to be a son of God in its true, literal sense that would obviously amount to considering God akin to a mortal. Like any other mortal, God is conceived to belong to one gender or the other, and to stand in need of a spouse, and of some sort of conjugal relationship to enable the birth of offspring, and thus to ensure the continuity of his progeny. Alternatively, God is believed to have adopted someone as His son. Such a statement could either mean that God is akin to that issueless human who resorts to adoption in order that the adopted son might inherit Him and thus secure Him against the loss that would ensure from his being issueless, or at least partially offset that loss. The other possibility is that God also has certain emotional predilections and it is for this reason that He has fallen in love with one of His creatures to the extent of adopting him as His son. In each of the above mentioned cases, the concept of God is marred by investing Him with several flaws, defects and weaknesses, and He is conceived as One lacking self sufficiency, as One Who perforce must depend on others.@

    مَتَاعٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا ثُمَّ إِلَيْنَا مَرْجِعُهُمْ ثُمَّ نُذِيقُهُمُ الْعَذَابَ الشَّدِيدَ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْفُرُونَ (70)

    10|70| A short enjoyment in this world and then to Us is their return. We shall then let them taste a severe punishment for what they were denying.

    وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ نُوحٍ إِذْ قَالَ لِقَوْمِهِ يَا قَوْمِ إِنْ كَانَ كَبُرَ عَلَيْكُمْ مَقَامِي وَتَذْكِيرِي بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ فَعَلَى اللَّهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ فَأَجْمِعُوا أَمْرَكُمْ وَشُرَكَاءَكُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَكُنْ أَمْرُكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ غُمَّةً ثُمَّ اقْضُوا إِلَيَّ وَلَا تُنْظِرُونِ (71)

    10|71| Recite to them the story of Nuh105 when he said to his people, 'If my staying and my reminding (you) of Allah's signs be overbearing to you, then in Allah I have placed my trust.106 Therefore, get your acts together,107 (and call upon) your associate( gods).108 Further, let not your decision be ambiguous to you.109 Then go ahead and do to me (what you will) without giving me respite.110

    105. The story of Prophet Nuh has been narrated here because our Prophet was facing the same determined refusal and denial at Makkah as Nuh had faced in his time. Nuh's story should have made it easier for our Prophet to bear the refusal in view of the famous axiom: ‘When a misfortune spreads, bearing it becomes easier’ (Razi).
    106. That is, AI do not even bank on the support of my followers. I have placed my trust entirely in Allah.@
    107. Other possible renditions are, Aset resolve@, Amake a firm resolution,@ or, Atake a firm decision@ (Ibn Jarir).
    108. Depending on the ending vowel mark, whether accusative or nominative (a fat ha or damma) the word Ashuraka'akum@ can yield different meanings. The present translation follows the standard reading, i.e., the word is considered in its accusative form. But a second reading is with a damma in which case the translation would be Aget your acts together, (you and) your associates@ (Qurtubi).
    109. Or, do not consider the execution of your decision as a formidable task. Take it as a thing of easy accomplishment and go ahead to do whatever you wish to do (Au.).
    Another shade of meaning provided by the textual word Aghummah@ would render it as, Alet it not be in the dark,@ or, Amake it open for everyone to know what your resolve is@ (Zamakhshari), or as some commentators have put it, Ado not be in any doubt about the affair. Set your resolve without any hesitation or dilly dallying about it.@
    110. This is the strongest challenge reported by the Qur'an by a Prophet to his people which by implication was thrown at the face of the Quraysh. The closest to this is Hud's call to his people (11: 54 56),


    إِنِّي أُشْهِدُ اللَّهَ وَاشْهَدُوا أَنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِمَّا تُشْرِكُونَ (54) مِنْ دُونِهِ فَكِيدُونِي جَمِيعًا ثُمَّ لَا تُنْظِرُونِ (55) إِنِّي تَوَكَّلْتُ عَلَى اللَّهِ رَبِّي وَرَبِّكُمْ [هود : 54 - 56]


    AI make Allah the witness and you too may bear witness that I am quit of those that you associate apart from Him. Therefore, plot against me, all together, and then do not allow me respite. I have placed my trust in Allah my Lord and your Lord.@
    In comparison, that of Nuh is much stronger, and intended to evoke the angriest possible response (Au.).
    Sayyid writes: “A challenge so infuriating could not come but from a person who had the power to back it. What power did Nuh have? Of course it was the power of faith and trust in Allah. It was faith which belittled the power confronting it, which held in contempt the huge numbers before it, and looked at the means they could employ with total disdain. There was no arrogance behind this challenge, no rashness, nor a suicidal wish. It was a challenge which had the full backing of a Power before which all powers melt away to insignificance.”

    فَإِنْ تَوَلَّيْتُمْ فَمَا سَأَلْتُكُمْ مِنْ أَجْرٍ ۖ إِنْ أَجْرِيَ إِلَّا عَلَى اللَّهِ ۖ وَأُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ (72)

    10|72| But, if you turn away, then I have not asked you for a wage. My wage is on Allah. And I have been ordered to be of those who submit.'

    فَكَذَّبُوهُ فَنَجَّيْنَاهُ وَمَنْ مَعَهُ فِي الْفُلْكِ وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ خَلَائِفَ وَأَغْرَقْنَا الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا ۖ فَانْظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُنْذَرِينَ (73)

    10|73| But they gave him the lie. So, we delivered him and those with him in the ship, made them successors, and drowned those who cried lies to Our signs.111 See then, what was the end of those who were warned.112

    111. Although at variance with the majority opinion, Majid believes that the flood was not of universal nature. He writes: AThat ‘those who were warned' by Noah, that is, his countrymen inhabiting the Tigris and Euphrates valley were overtaken by an extremely distressful flood is confirmed rather than contradicted by modern exploration. ‘Inundations are of normal occurrence,' says Sir Leonard Woolley, Director of the Joint British and American expedition to Mesopotamia, ‘in Lower Mesopotamia, but no ordinary rising of the rivers would leave behind it anything approaching the bulk of this clay bank; 8 feet of sediment imply a very great depth of water, and the flood which deposited it must have been of a magnitude unparalleled in local history' (Woolley, Ur of the Chaldeans P. 29). This deluge was not universal, but a local disaster confined to the lower valley of the Tigris and Euphrates, affecting an area perhaps 400 miles long and 100 miles across; but for the occupants of the valley that was the whole world' (p. 31).@
    We have reported the above in line with our habit of reproducing anything that has educative or informative value. Nevertheless, Woolley's conclusion is woolly. When it comes to a statement of religious nature, one has to take the statements of Western scholars with a pinch of salt. They are pretty prone to pulling a fast one, albeit, in scholarly parlance.
    For other details see surah Hud, note 58.
    112. Yusuf Ali writes: AThe reference to Noah's story here is only incidental, to illustrate a special point.. The special point here is that Noah's life and preaching among his wicked people was a cause of offence to them. But he feared nothing, trusted in Allah, delivered his Message, and was saved from the Flood.@

    ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَا مِنْ بَعْدِهِ رُسُلًا إِلَىٰ قَوْمِهِمْ فَجَاءُوهُمْ بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَمَا كَانُوا لِيُؤْمِنُوا بِمَا كَذَّبُوا بِهِ مِنْ قَبْلُ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نَطْبَعُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِ الْمُعْتَدِينَ (74)

    10|74| Then we sent forth, after him113 Messengers to their nations.114 They carried to them clear signs. But they were not such as to believe in what they had denied earlier.115 That is how We seal the hearts of the transgressors.116

    113. Ibn `Abbas has said that there were ten generations between Adam and Nuh all of them believers (Ibn Kathir). But there is no hadith to support this (Au.).
    114. Such as Hud, Saleh, Ibrahim, Lut, Shu`ayb and others, peace be upon them all (Razi).
    115. Although Yusuf Ali does not substantiate his opinion, nor does the present verse fully support it, his opinion could be given a thought: AI understand the meaning to be that there is a sort of spiritual influence descending from generation to generation, among the Unbelievers as among the men of Faith. In history we find the same problems in many ages, denial of Allah's grace, defiance of Allah's law, rejection of Allah's Message. These influences cause the hearts of the contumacious to be sealed and impervious to the Truth.. What they do is to prejudge the issue even before the Prophet (saws) explains them.@
    116. Imam Razi differs with Qadi Ayad, but reports him to the effect that such sealing of the heart did not mean that they could not believe thereafter, even if they wished. They could. Allah said elsewhere (4: 155),


    بَلْ طَبَعَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهَا بِكُفْرِهِمْ فَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا [النساء : 155]


    ARather, Allah has sealed their hearts because of their disbelief so they will not come to believe save a few of them.@ (That is, although it is stated in the earlier part of the verse that their hearts were sealed, the latter part expresses the possibility that a few of them could come to believe: Au.).

    ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَا مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ مُوسَىٰ وَهَارُونَ إِلَىٰ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَئِهِ بِآيَاتِنَا فَاسْتَكْبَرُوا وَكَانُوا قَوْمًا مُجْرِمِينَ (75)

    10|75| Then we sent forth, after them, Musa and Harun to Fir`awn and his chiefs with Our signs. But they waxed proud. Indeed they were a criminal lot.

    فَلَمَّا جَاءَهُمُ الْحَقُّ مِنْ عِنْدِنَا قَالُوا إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَسِحْرٌ مُبِينٌ (76)

    10|76| When the truth from us reached them they said, 'Verily, this is a manifest magic.'

    قَالَ مُوسَىٰ أَتَقُولُونَ لِلْحَقِّ لَمَّا جَاءَكُمْ ۖ أَسِحْرٌ هَٰذَا وَلَا يُفْلِحُ السَّاحِرُونَ (77)

    10|77| Musa said, 'Do you say (that) to the truth when it has reached you? Is it magic? But magicians do not prosper!?'

    قَالُوا أَجِئْتَنَا لِتَلْفِتَنَا عَمَّا وَجَدْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءَنَا وَتَكُونَ لَكُمَا الْكِبْرِيَاءُ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا نَحْنُ لَكُمَا بِمُؤْمِنِينَ (78)

    10|78| They asked, 'Have you come to us to turn us away from that upon which we found our forefathers? And, so that dominance in the land should be for you two?117 (Well), We are not going to believe in you two.'

    117. Sayyid Qutb comments: AThis then is the justification, ancient and modern, that the rebels forward for standing up against the call of Islam, for the use of a variety of stratagems to kill the call, and for accusations that are leveled against the callers .. It is the dominance in the land and what false beliefs rest on: those false doctrines that the ruling authorities compel their masses to adopt as their faith, despite their falseness and perversion, and despite the cart load of superstitions that accompany those doctrines. Why is there such opposition to the Call to the Truth? It is because the Call opens the hearts for right beliefs and fills the mind with new light; and because it happens to be a threat to the inherited values. It is a threat to the ruling authorities and to the dread that they instill into the hearts of their subjects. It is a threat to the founding principles over which the dread rests. It is the fear of losing the authority that banks on masses holding on to false superstitions and to false gods. It is the fear of losing slavish obedience of the masses to deities other than Allah.. And the Islamic call?.. by the Prophets? Well, it aims at establishing lordship for Allah alone and for the destruction of the spurious lords who usurp the rights of the true Lord's lordship.. Therefore, it is not for these covert lords to let the word of truth reach their masses. They will not allow an open pronouncement calling for Allah's lordship and freeing of the people from ‘slavery of the people to the people'. They will not allow this open call to reach the people's ears. They realize very well that this is a declaration of war on their lordship, their powers and their rule, and a move in the direction of an atmosphere of freedom: a freedom which is deserving of a noble creature: Man (who is not so noble in their sight).@

    وَقَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ ائْتُونِي بِكُلِّ سَاحِرٍ عَلِيمٍ (79)

    10|79| Fir`awn said, 'Bring me every skilled magician.'

    فَلَمَّا جَاءَ السَّحَرَةُ قَالَ لَهُمْ مُوسَىٰ أَلْقُوا مَا أَنْتُمْ مُلْقُونَ (80)

    10|80| When the magicians came, Musa told them, 'Cast whatever you wish to cast.'

    فَلَمَّا أَلْقَوْا قَالَ مُوسَىٰ مَا جِئْتُمْ بِهِ السِّحْرُ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَيُبْطِلُهُ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُصْلِحُ عَمَلَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ (81)

    10|81| When they had cast, Musa said, 'What you have brought is magic. Surely, Allah will render it ineffective. Surely, Allah sets not right the work of the corrupters.

    وَيُحِقُّ اللَّهُ الْحَقَّ بِكَلِمَاتِهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُجْرِمُونَ (82)

    10|82| Allah establishes the truth by His words, though the criminals be averse.'118

    118. Yusuf Ali writes: AThe incidental reference here (to the story of Musa) is to illustrate a special point, viz., that the wicked are arrogant and bound up in their sin, and prefer deception to Truth: they do not hesitate to charge the men of Allah, who work unselfishly for them, with mean motives, such as would actuate them in similar circumstances.@
    Ibn Abi Hatim has reported through Abu Sulaym, AWe have received from our previous generations that reciting these two verses of surah Yunus (81 and 82), five verses of Al A`raf (118 122) and the 29th verse of surah Taha is a cure for magic by Allah's will. They might be recited over water in a bowl and then poured over the head of the one affected by magical spell@ (Ibn Kathir).
    That is, after reciting the verses, one must blow powerfully (to the extent of spitting) on the water (Au.).

    فَمَا آمَنَ لِمُوسَىٰ إِلَّا ذُرِّيَّةٌ مِنْ قَوْمِهِ عَلَىٰ خَوْفٍ مِنْ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَئِهِمْ أَنْ يَفْتِنَهُمْ ۚ وَإِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ لَعَالٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَإِنَّهُ لَمِنَ الْمُسْرِفِينَ (83)

    10|83| But believed not in Musa119 except a few120 of his people for fear of Fir`awn and their chiefs that they would persecute them. Surely, Fir`awn was mighty on the earth and indeed he was of those given to excesses.121

    119. Asad suggests a possibility: A... the sequence shows that not belief as such but its open profession is referred to here ...@
    120. Although literally Adhurriyah@ is for offspring, Ibn `Abbas and Dahhak have explained the term as meaning Aa few.@ Mujahid and A`mash have however held the opinion that since Musa (asws) had been commissioned after most of those among whom he was raised had died, to be replaced by their offspring, the word Adhurriyah@ was used in reference to them. A third opinion is that the allusion is to a few people of Fir`awn's folk who believed in Musa. This happens to be a second opinion of Ibn `Abbas. A few grammarians have believed that the believing ones were called Adhurriyah@ because their fathers were Copts while their mothers Israelites (since Fir`awn had been slaughtering the males: Au.) Ibn Jarir, Razi.
    121. The Qur'an did not say Ahis chiefs@ rather Atheir chiefs.@ Why? One answer given by the commentators is that the allusion is to the ruling class, who were also the rulers over Israelites. A second opinion is that the allusion is to the chiefs of the Fir`awn's folk (and not chiefs of the Israelites). And a third is that perhaps those who believed were a few young men of the Fir`awn's folk who feared persecution at the hands of their own chiefs. It is also possible that the Qur'an, by using this single term, meant to cover all these possibilities (Au.).

    وَقَالَ مُوسَىٰ يَا قَوْمِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ آمَنْتُمْ بِاللَّهِ فَعَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلُوا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُسْلِمِينَ (84)

    10|84| Musa said, 'O my people, if you have believed in Allah, then have trust in Him, if you are Muslims.'

    فَقَالُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ تَوَكَّلْنَا رَبَّنَا لَا تَجْعَلْنَا فِتْنَةً لِلْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ (85)

    10|85| They said, 'In Allah we have placed our trust. (So) O Lord! Do not allow us to be made an object of oppression for the transgressors.122

    122. There have been two opinions. First, as expressed in the translation. Mujahid and Ibn Zayd are of this opinion. Tabari is with them. Abu Mijlaz however thought that the meaning is, 'O Allah, do not expose us to them as better than them (enjoying a happier life), which will invoke their anger all the more.'
    Razi, Ibn Kathir and others allow for both possibilities.

    وَنَجِّنَا بِرَحْمَتِكَ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ (86)

    10|86| And deliver us by Your mercy from an oppressive people.'

    وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ مُوسَىٰ وَأَخِيهِ أَنْ تَبَوَّآ لِقَوْمِكُمَا بِمِصْرَ بُيُوتًا وَاجْعَلُوا بُيُوتَكُمْ قِبْلَةً وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ (87)

    10|87| So We revealed to Musa and his brother that, 'The two of you take for your people in Egypt some houses,123 and make your houses the direction (for prayers).124 And, establish the Prayers125 and give glad tidings to the faithful.'

    123. Since the directives to the Israelites about making their homes a place of worship had to pass through Musa and Harun, it is they who were first addressed (Shafi`).
    124. The textual word Aqiblah@ is understood by Ibn `Abbas, Ibrahim, Mujahid and others as Amasaajid@ i.e., places of worship (in plural). This is because they could not pray openly and so were ordered to pray at home. However, Ibn `Abbas himself, in a second opinion, as well as Mujahid, Qatadah, Dahhak and others believe that the meaning is, Aconvert your houses into places of worship facing the Qiblah, albeit the Ka`bah" (Ibn Jarir, Razi).
    Ibn Kathir expresses the possibility that when the tribulation grew real hard, the Israelites were ordered to resort to Prayers at home.
    125. Majid quotes from the Jewish Encyclopedia that at least one Prayer a day was obligatory on the Jews from the time of Moses until Ezra's advent.

    وَقَالَ مُوسَىٰ رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ آتَيْتَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَأَهُ زِينَةً وَأَمْوَالًا فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا رَبَّنَا لِيُضِلُّوا عَنْ سَبِيلِكَ ۖ رَبَّنَا اطْمِسْ عَلَىٰ أَمْوَالِهِمْ وَاشْدُدْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ فَلَا يُؤْمِنُوا حَتَّىٰ يَرَوُا الْعَذَابَ الْأَلِيمَ (88)

    10|88| (At length) Musa prayed, 'Our Lord! You have bestowed on Fir`awn and his chiefs splendor and wealth in the life of this world in order that126 they may mislead away from Your path. Our Lord! Destroy127 their wealth and harden their hearts so that they do not believe until they have witnessed a painful chastisement.'


    126. Imam Razi discusses the probability that the Alaam@ of Ali yudillu@ is Alaam al `aaqibah@ meaning, Ain consequence of,@ or, Aas a result of@ although he concedes that it does not have a strong case.
    127. The translation of Autmus@ follows Mujahid's understanding as in Ibn Jarir.
    Ibn `Abbas was of the same opinion (Ibn Kathir).
    Another opinion is that their gold and silver became stones (Ibn Jarir, Razi and others).
    Alusi however is skeptic about gold and silver becoming stones.

    قَالَ قَدْ أُجِيبَتْ دَعْوَتُكُمَا فَاسْتَقِيمَا وَلَا تَتَّبِعَانِّ سَبِيلَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ (89)

    10|89| He replied, 'The prayer of you two has been answered.128 Therefore, keep to the straight path, and follow not you two the path of those who do not know.'

    128. The clause is dual because either both supplicated, or when Musa supplicated, Harun said aamin.

    وَجَاوَزْنَا بِبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ الْبَحْرَ فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ وَجُنُودُهُ بَغْيًا وَعَدْوًا ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَدْرَكَهُ الْغَرَقُ قَالَ آمَنْتُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا الَّذِي آمَنَتْ بِهِ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ وَأَنَا مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ (90)

    10|90| And we took the Children of Israel across the sea. Fir`awn and his army followed them in (downright) insolence and spite; until, when the drowning overtook him he cried out, 'I confess that there is no deity save the One in whom the Children of Israel have believed, and I am of those who have submitted.'129

    129. Abu Hurayrah has reported Jibra'il as saying to the Prophet,


    يَا مُحَمَّدُ لَوْ رَأَيْتَنِي وَقَدْ أَخَذْتُ حَالًا مِنْ حَالِ الْبَحْرِ فَدَسَّيْتُهُ فِي فِيهِ مَخَافَةَ أَنْ تَنَالَهُ الرَّحْمَةُ


    AO Muhammad. Only if you had seen me! I was filling Fir`awn's mouth with clay in fear that Allah's mercy might touch him.@ (Ibn Jarir).
    The hadith is in Tirmidhi and various other collections, and has been variously evaluated, from da`if to hasan to sahih (Ibn Kathir).
    It must not be overlooked though, that figuratively treated, the hadith is a beautiful illustration of Allah's quality of mercy. Scientific precision may not be sought in religious literature (Au.).
    Zamakhshari accepts the above hadith, but rejects the ending part which says, A .. in fear that Allah's mercy might touch him.@ His objection is, (a) a dying man's faith is unacceptable anyway, (b) belief does not necessarily require utterance faith resides in the heart as in the case of a dumb person, (c) whoever wishes a man to die on disbelief, is a disbeliever himself. Imam Razi raises similar objections.
    Shawkani comes down heavily on Zamakhshari who he thinks is, after all, an upstart in hadith, not capable of distinguishing between the trustworthy and the spurious one.
    What Shawkani means is that once a hadith is proven trustworthy, it must be treated religiously, whether we can understand it or not (Au.).
    Mubarakpuri has, in his Tuhfah, summed up Khazin's answer to Zamakhshari's objection. This summary can be further summed up in one line as: Jibril's action had Allah's approval who knew that Fir`awn would not believe until he had seen the punishment, which is the time when the disbeliever's belief is of no profit. Every unbeliever is a passionate believer at the time of his death.
    The Qur'an has a verse that denies the acceptance of repentance in the situation of final despair. It said (4: 18),


    وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ حَتَّى إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّي تُبْتُ الْآنَ وَلَا الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ [النساء : 18]


    AIt is no repentance at all of those who work evil until when death comes to one of them he says, 'Now I repent.' Nor is there any repentance of those who die in the state of unbelief@ (Rashid Rida).

    آلْآنَ وَقَدْ عَصَيْتَ قَبْلُ وَكُنْتَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ (91)

    10|91| Now!? While you had disobeyed earlier and you were of those who work corruption.130

    130. When all signs of imminent death have appeared, and the Unseen becomes the Seen, then declaration of faith is of no avail. In fact, the scholars have said that it is such a difficult situation that, were a believer to utter words of disbelief, they would not be taken seriously. At that moment they are not well thought out utterances (Shafi`).

    فَالْيَوْمَ نُنَجِّيكَ بِبَدَنِكَ لِتَكُونَ لِمَنْ خَلْفَكَ آيَةً ۚ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِنَ النَّاسِ عَنْ آيَاتِنَا لَغَافِلُونَ (92)

    10|92| So, today We shall rescue you in body131 so that you may be a sign to those behind you.132 But surely, a great many of the people are oblivious of Our signs.

    131. It is said that after Fir`awn's army was drowned, the Israelites expressed the fear that Fir`awn himself might have escaped. (They held him in such awe as to consider him above being drowned in that humiliating manner: Zamakhshari). So Allah brought his dead body to the surface. It looked like a red bull (Ibn Jarir).
    Zamakhshari states that an alternative explanation of Abi badanika@ is Abody alone," i.e., barren of clothes, or, naked, and quotes a poetic piece in support.
    Interestingly, it is well known that quite often a drowned person's body shows up on the beaches naked. This is another example of the Qur'anic usage of words and phrases that allow for a variety of reconcilable meanings (Au.).
    132. Majid quotes the Jewish Encyclopedia: AHis mummy has been found at Thebes, and is now in the Museum at Cairo.@
    Shafi` has his reservations saying that Fir`awn, a title for every ruler of Musa's time, has not been identified beyond doubt.
    But Maurice Bucaille (The Bible, the Qur'an and Science), is almost certain that the mummy discovered by Loret in 1898 at Thebes (where it lay in the underground tomb for 3000 years) and which now lies in the Cairo Museum, is of Mernepath, (son of Ramesses II) who was Musa's contemporary. In 1975 special investigations were conducted on the mummy involving radiographic studies. Endoscopic examination of the thorax and the abdomen was also conducted. Although it was not possible to determine definitely, but drowning seemed to be the cause of death, or from very violent shocks preceding the moment when he was drowned.

    وَلَقَدْ بَوَّأْنَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ مُبَوَّأَ صِدْقٍ وَرَزَقْنَاهُمْ مِنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ فَمَا اخْتَلَفُوا حَتَّىٰ جَاءَهُمُ الْعِلْمُ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَقْضِي بَيْنَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فِيمَا كَانُوا فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ (93)

    10|93| And We sheltered the Children of Israel in a goodly shelter,133 and provided them with good sustenance.134 And they did not differ (among themselves) until (after) knowledge had come to them.135 Verily, your Lord will judge between them on the Day of Standing in what they were differing.

    133. Literally Asidq@ is truth. In this context it could mean in its extension that the promise of settling the Israelites in their desired land (Palestine), was fulfilled.
    The allusion is, according to Dahhak, Qatadah and others, as in Ibn Jarir, to Egypt and Syria. Ibn Kathir believes that Musa established his rule in Egypt after Fir`awn's drowning, and he is not far from modern research results. See note 191 of surah al A`raf.
    134. The words that the reader is expected to supply here are: 'but, instead of giving thanks for those blessings, the Israelites worked up mischief by creating differences amongst themselves' (Au.).
    135. This verse draws the following commentary from Mawdudi: AHere reference is made to the schism and dissensions which the Israelites caused and the ever new religious cults which they invented. It is pointed out here that they had not acted in ignorance of the truth; their actions rather emanated from mischievous designs. For they had been provided by God with the true religion and they knew its fundamental principles, its requirements and the features which distinguish the true faith from the false ones. They were also well aware of what constitutes disobedience, on what matters man will be held to account by God, and on what principles man should fashion his life. Despite these clear directives the Israelites transformed their true faith into a multitude of religious cults, and developed them all on foundations altogether divergent from those provided by God.@

    فَإِنْ كُنْتَ فِي شَكٍّ مِمَّا أَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ فَاسْأَلِ الَّذِينَ يَقْرَءُونَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ ۚ لَقَدْ جَاءَكَ الْحَقُّ مِنْ رَبِّكَ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُمْتَرِينَ (94)

    10|94| If you are in any doubt over what We have sent down to you, ask those who recite the Book (given to them) before you.136 Surely, the truth has indeed come to you from your Lord. Therefore, be not of the doubters.137

    136. That is, if the Prophet was in any doubt about the differences that arose among the previous nations, he could ask the people of the Book whether it was true or not. That is how Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Zayd and other have understood the verse. They have also pointed out that it is only those of the people of the Book who had believed in Prophet Muhammad that were to be consulted; (since they were the only honest ones among them: Au.). It is another thing that the Prophet said, AI do not doubt and I do not ask@ (Ibn Jarir). These words of the Prophet are from a mursal (stubbed) report, and so a kind of weak hadith (Shawkani).
    The sentence might surprise some: could the Prophet doubt revelations that came to him? But, that is because people forget that such constructions are common in every language. For instance, Ibn Jarir explains, one might say to his son, AIf you are my son, don't you do such and such a thing.@ Obviously, it does not mean the man is in doubt about his son's parentage.
    Zamakhshari has another explanation. He says the form chosen is not to cast doubt on the Prophet's belief, rather, to confirm the correctness of the knowledge of Israeli scholars (especially those who had, in consequence of such information coming from an unlettered Prophet, embraced Islam).
    Imam Razi however takes the bold step to suggest that the Prophet was, after all, a human. And human hearts are prone to occasional visitation of doubts and skepticism. A man has no control over passing thoughts. Verses of this kind were for the treatment of such passing thoughts.
    Further, such usage is not foreign to the Qur'an. For example verse 89 above, which says, addressing Musa and Harun, ATherefore, follow not you two the path of those who do not know.@ Obviously, it was not expected of Musa and Harun that they would, being in doubt over what was revealed to them, follow the path of the ignorant. There are several verses of this nature in the Qur'an (Au.).
    137. Although Ibn Jarir has said that any other interpretation except the apparent meaning has no evidence in its support, Ibn Kathir hints at, as against Zamakhshari's clear expression, the possibility that these words are directed at the Prophet's followers.

    وَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ فَتَكُونَ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ (95)

    10|95| Nor be of those who cried lies to Allah's signs, lest you be of the losers.

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ حَقَّتْ عَلَيْهِمْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ (96)

    10|96| Surely, those about whom your Lord's word has come into effect will never believe.

    وَلَوْ جَاءَتْهُمْ كُلُّ آيَةٍ حَتَّىٰ يَرَوُا الْعَذَابَ الْأَلِيمَ (97)

    10|97| Even if every sign came to them until they have seen a painful punishment.

    فَلَوْلَا كَانَتْ قَرْيَةٌ آمَنَتْ فَنَفَعَهَا إِيمَانُهَا إِلَّا قَوْمَ يُونُسَ لَمَّا آمَنُوا كَشَفْنَا عَنْهُمْ عَذَابَ الْخِزْيِ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَمَتَّعْنَاهُمْ إِلَىٰ حِينٍ (98)

    10|98| Why, there was not a township that believed so that its belief profited it,138 except for the nation of Yunus?139 When they believed We removed from them a punishment of disgrace in the life of this world and We allowed them enjoyment for a time.140

    138. The translation here is literal. However, Ibn Jarir, Razi, Ibn Kathir and others have understood this passage as, AThere has not been a town that believed and profited from its belief, (so that the punishment to be sent down was withheld), except the people of Yunus.@ Ibn Jarir traces this understanding to Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Qatadah. Imam Razi quotes from Waahidi that Ibn `Abbas was of the opinion that whenever the Qur'an used Alaw laa@ it meant, Awhy not?@ except in two places. One, here, and the other in verse (11: 116). In both these places the meaning is, simply, Athere was not.@
    In simpler words, the ayah could be saying, ‘Why haven’t there been cities other than that of Yunus, who believed so that their belief profited them? (Au.).
    It has been further explained by the same authorities that when the people of Yunus laid the lies on him, and he lost all hopes that they would mend their ways, he warned them of the punishment about to descend on them. Following that he left the town in anger. Behind him the people regretted and feared that they could be punished. And that was true. The punishment had almost struck them when they came out of the town, en masse, and supplicated for forgiveness. They were forgiven and the punishment was withdrawn.
    139. It was widely believed by the Salaf that the people of Yunus (Biblical Jonah) occupied lands in Nineveh near today's Mosul (in present day Iraq) Ibn Kathir.
    Yusuf Ali adds: AIts site is believed to be marked by the two mounds on the left bank of the Tigris, opposite the flourishing city of Mosul on the right bank, about 320 miles north north west of Baghdad. One of the mounds bears the name of AThe Tomb of Nabi Yunus.@
    Majid writes: ASon of Amittai, he lived probably in the middle of the 8th century B.C. `He spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath hepher.' (2 Ki. 14: 25). 'The story presupposes a pre exilic date, when Assyria was at the height of its power and Nineveh was the metropolis of the world' (VJE. p. 325).@ Mawdudi has a few more details, but, perhaps originating from the Biblical sources, are not too trustworthy.
    140. Mufti Shafi` cites the following commentary by Mawdudi: AHowever, were one to reflect on the allusions to the story of Yunus in the Qur'an, and on the information provided by the 'Book of Jonah', it comes out very clearly that Prophet Yunus fell short in his Prophetic duties. Perhaps in his impatience he left his place before it was appropriate.@ (Unless there are two versions of the original commentary in Urdu. Quotation cited by Shafi` do not match the present English version, although quite close in sum and substance: Au.).
    After citing the above, Shafi` raises the objection to the use of such strong terms of disrespect for a Prophet, when it is well known that Prophets can neither commit a sin nor abandon their duty. Further, he points out, Biblical texts as claimed by the said commentator might support his conclusions, but the Qur'an does not: neither here, nor in surah al Saffaat. Moreover, the supposition that Allah broke His own rule (as the commentator has stated) is nowhere in the Qur'an. (Shafi` cites another example of Allah forgiving a people after the Punishment was brought close: AWe raised the Tur (saying), hold fast unto what I give you@- 2: 63). Also, where does the Qur'an or the Sunnah state that AYunus left the place before it was appropriate?" The supposition that Allah broke His own rule of punishing a people (for their denial) because Yunus had failed in his duties is a completely wrong understanding of the verse.
    In contrast, commentary works such as Bahr, Maz hari, Ruh al Ma`ani, as well as of Tabari, Qurtubi and Zamakhshari, have all expressed a different opinion. They have said that the people of Yunus were spared the punishment after they had seen its signs because they earnestly sought forgiveness and not because Yunus failed in his duties. Zajjaj has said that actually they saw the signs of punishment and not the punishment itself, a view supported by Qurtubi. Ibn Mas`ud is close to this opinion. None of the above mentioned commentators have said that Yunus fell short of his duties. As for Allah's censure (directed at Yunus [asws] in surah al Saffat), it was because after warning his people and leaving the town, Yunus wished to leave the land altogether. But since he was not yet ordered to migrate, his further journey was, in keeping with Qur'anic way of strong reprimands over minor errors committed by Prophets and, in view of their high position with Allah, was deemed as Arunning away.@ This is how, more or less, Alusi has explained the verse in question.
    When these details were pointed out to Mawdudi, Shafi` continues, he cited the opinion of a few authorities, who actually did not hold such an extreme opinion, except for Wahab b. Munabbih about whom it is well known that he relied on Israeli reports. Shafi` cautions that although he himself has relied on some Israeli reports in the explanation of Yunus' intended emigration, they must be taken with a grain of salt. Infallible Qur'anic texts should not be interpreted in the light of Jewish reports.

    وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ لَآمَنَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا ۚ أَفَأَنْتَ تُكْرِهُ النَّاسَ حَتَّىٰ يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ (99)

    10|99| And, had your Lord wished, surely, whoever is in the earth would have believed, everyone of them, all together.141 Will you then compel mankind until they have become believers?

    141. The textual addition of Ajami`an@ after Akulluhum@ is for emphasis (Ibn Jarir).

    وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَنْ تُؤْمِنَ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَيَجْعَلُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ (100)

    10|100| It is not for any soul to believe but by Allah's leave. He places the abomination (of disbelief)142 upon those who do not think.

    142. Our rendering is literal. The meaning offered by Ibn `Abbas for the Qur'anic word Arijs@ however, is, as in Ibn Jarir, Aanger.@

    قُلِ انْظُرُوا مَاذَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ وَمَا تُغْنِي الْآيَاتُ وَالنُّذُرُ عَنْ قَوْمٍ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ (101)

    10|101| Say, 'Look at what is there in the heavens and the earth.' But, signs and warnings143 are of no use to a people not ready to believe.

    143. ANudhur@ can either be the plural of Aindhaar@ (the choice made here: Au.) or the plural of Anadheer@ meaning Awarners@ (Shawkani).

    فَهَلْ يَنْتَظِرُونَ إِلَّا مِثْلَ أَيَّامِ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ قُلْ فَانْتَظِرُوا إِنِّي مَعَكُمْ مِنَ الْمُنْتَظِرِينَ (102)

    10|102| Are they then waiting for (a day) similar to the days of those who went before them? Say, 'Then wait. I am also with you among those who are waiting.'

    ثُمَّ نُنَجِّي رُسُلَنَا وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ حَقًّا عَلَيْنَا نُنْجِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ (103)

    10|103| Then We deliver Our Messengers144 and those who believed. That is a binding upon Us (that) We should deliver the believers.

    144. The term AMessengers@ (in plural) offers a difficulty. The previous verse addressed Prophet Muhammad's contemporary unbelievers. They were told to wait for days like the days of the previous unbelievers who were destroyed. The following verse should have said, to a common reader, AThen (when the day comes) We shall deliver the Messenger (meaning Muhammad);@ but instead, it says, AThen We deliver the Messengers.@ The answer is, after the declaration of what could happen to the unbelievers of the Prophet's time, this present verse leaves out what is understood without being stated, a technique called Aijaz@ in Arabic and ellipticism in English. What has been left out after the concealed threat to the unbelievers in verse 102 is the following, AThe days of the past nations (mentioned in verse 102) were evil days: the days when they were punished. Now, if you are waiting for similar days, then you should know that whenever such days visited the past nations, Our rule happened to be what remains today, viz., We deliver the Messengers and their followers, punishing only the unbelievers.@ With the missing sentence supplied, verses 102 and 103 should be understood in the following manner: A[102] Are they then waiting for (a day) similar to the days of those who went before them? Say, '(If that is so) then wait. I am also with you among those who are waiting.' (Those were the days when the past nations were destroyed for their denial. And, Our rule is that when such punishments descend) [103] We deliver Our Messengers and those who believed. It is Our bound duty (that) We should deliver the believers@ (Au.).
    Rashid Rida has called this verse (103) as, in the words of Asad, Aone of the most outstanding examples of the elliptic mode of expression (ijaz) to be found in the Qur'an.@

    قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ فِي شَكٍّ مِنْ دِينِي فَلَا أَعْبُدُ الَّذِينَ تَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلَٰكِنْ أَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ الَّذِي يَتَوَفَّاكُمْ ۖ وَأُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ (104)

    10|104| Say, 'O people! If you harbor any doubt regarding my religion, then (know that) I do not worship those you worship besides Allah.145 Rather, I worship the God who deals you death.146 And I have been ordered that I should be of the believers.'

    145. Asad comments: AThe use of the pronoun alladhina in the phrase Athose whom you worship@ shows that it relates here to rational beings like saints, etc. and not to inanimate representations.@
    146. That is, if you are in any doubt concerning my religion, then, is it not more fitting that it is your religion that you should be doubting? After all, I am devoted to the One who deals you death, whereas, those you call upon, cannot do that. So, whose religion should you be doubting? (Ibn Jarir).

    وَأَنْ أَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا وَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ (105)

    10|105| And that, 'Set your face147 to the religion in an upright manner. And by no means be of those who associate.'

    147. Asad notes: AIn classical Arabic usage, and particularly in the Qur'an, the word ‘face’ is often employed as a metonym for one's whole being because it is the face, more than any other part of the human body, that expresses man's personality.@

    وَلَا تَدْعُ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَنْفَعُكَ وَلَا يَضُرُّكَ ۖ فَإِنْ فَعَلْتَ فَإِنَّكَ إِذًا مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ (106)

    10|106| And never invoke, besides Allah, that which cannot benefit you nor harm you. If you did that, then surely you will be of the transgressors.

    وَإِنْ يَمْسَسْكَ اللَّهُ بِضُرٍّ فَلَا كَاشِفَ لَهُ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ وَإِنْ يُرِدْكَ بِخَيْرٍ فَلَا رَادَّ لِفَضْلِهِ ۚ يُصِيبُ بِهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ ۚ وَهُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ (107)

    10|107| And, were Allah to visit you with an affliction, there is no remover thereof, save He. And, if He wished you any good, there is none to bar His bounty. He affects therewith whom He will of His slaves. He is the All forgiving, the All merciful.

    قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَكُمُ الْحَقُّ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ ۖ فَمَنِ اهْتَدَىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَنْ ضَلَّ فَإِنَّمَا يَضِلُّ عَلَيْهَا ۖ وَمَا أَنَا عَلَيْكُمْ بِوَكِيلٍ (108)

    10|108| Say, 'O people! The truth has come to you from your Lord. Therefore, whosoever is guided, is guided to his own benefit, and whosoever went astray, his going astray is to his own loss. I am not a guardian over you.'

    وَاتَّبِعْ مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيْكَ وَاصْبِرْ حَتَّىٰ يَحْكُمَ اللَّهُ ۚ وَهُوَ خَيْرُ الْحَاكِمِينَ (109)

    10|109| And, follow (O Prophet) that which is being revealed to you. And observe patience until Allah judges. And He is the best of judges.148

    148. If we are to follow Ibn Zayd's understanding, as in Ibn Jarir, the rendering of the last part of the verse should be, AUntil Allah sends His command, and He is the best of those who send commands.@ The command itself was sent down later in Madinah. It was to wage jihad against them.
    End note: Imam Razi writes at this point that he completed the commentary of this Surah in great distress because of his father's demise and requests that the readers pray for Athat poor soul (miskin)@ and Athis poor soul@ (meaning himself).