Surat Al-'Aĥqāf

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. 46

    Merits of the Surah

    1. Except for stray opinions, there is consensus that this Surah is entirely Makkan (Qurtubi, Alusi and others).

    بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ حم (1)

    46|1| Ha. Mim.2


    2. “The appearance of these letters at the beginning of this chapter and mentioning of ‘the Revelation’ in the following verses suggests that these are the letters of the Arabic language from which ‘the Revelation’ has been composed, yet it happens to be only one of its kind, with no other composition to match with it. This is the strongest proof that it is ‘from Allah, the All-mighty, the All-wise.’
    “These opening verses also suggest the relationship that prevails between this ‘Book, revealed by Allah,’ and the ‘Cosmic Book’ – the heavens and the earth and what is between them - that His hand has wrought: a relationship that the inner sight is able to perceive.
    “Both these Books are established on Truth: ‘We have not created the heavens and the earth and what is between them but in truth.’
    “Both manifest power and wisdom, and wisdom demands termination of the created world at an appointed hour.
    “Both the books are open to view and display signs of Allah. They both speak of Allah’s power and testify to His wisdom. The Cosmic Book testifies to the truth of the written Book.
    “The written Book asserts that God is one, that He is the Sustainer of all things, since He is the Creator of all things, Organizer of all things, Regulator of all things. And the open-to-all Cosmic Book loudly speaks out the same truth. Its own working system, its organization and arrangement .. its operation .. all of these bear to the truths stated in the Revealed Book. It speaks of the oneness of their Maker, Organizer, Regulator and Sustainer: He who creates by knowledge, originates with knowledge. In everything that He creates, there are stamps of a Creator who is One. From where then have the Associators with Him brought their deities? What have those deities created? In what of the created world do they have a share?” (Sayyid).

    تَنْزِيلُ الْكِتَابِ مِنَ اللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ (2)

    46|2| Sending down of the Book by Allah, the All-mighty, the All-wise.


    مَا خَلَقْنَا السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَأَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى ۚ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا عَمَّا أُنْذِرُوا مُعْرِضُونَ (3)

    46|3| We have not created the heavens and the earth and what is between them but in truth and for an appointed term. But those who have disbelieved are turning away from what they are being warned.


    قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ مَا تَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ أَرُونِي مَاذَا خَلَقُوا مِنَ الْأَرْضِ أَمْ لَهُمْ شِرْكٌ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ ۖ ائْتُونِي بِكِتَابٍ مِنْ قَبْلِ هَٰذَا أَوْ أَثَارَةٍ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ (4)

    46|4| Say, ‘Have you considered those you invoke other than Allah, show me what is it they have created out of the earth, or, have they a share in the heavens? Bring me a Book earlier than this or any remnant of knowledge if you are true.’3


    3. “Atharatan” has been read in two ways leading to varying understandings, but close in meaning. The majority opinion is expressed in the translation. A reported meaning attributed to Ibn `Abbas is that the allusion is to “Chad” but without any further elaboration.
    Shawkani’s commentator points out that Ibn Hajr has (in his Fath) discounted as untrustworthy the report that comes from Ibn `Abbas. All the same, some commentators tend to believe that by “Chad” the allusion is to the science of drawing lines on the earth and predicting the future, to some accuracy. This knowledge has been withdrawn, and the discipline has disappeared. A Prophetic report confirms that once humanity did possess this knowledge of the “Chad.” A hadith in Muslim, Abu Da’ud, Nasa’i and others confirms that it was revealed knowledge. It says
    “(Mu`awiyyah b. al-Hakam al-Sulami) said to the Prophet, “Some of our men draw lines. (What about it?)” He answered, “One of the Prophets used to draw lines. So, if someone’s lines agree with his, then, that’s it.”
    Nawawi states that “that’s it” makes it “mubah” but since the knowledge (which could have only come through revelation) is lost, there is no chance of anyone’s lines being correct, and, therefore, drawing lines to learn of the future, is now prohibited.
    Qurtubi adds: At present, there is no way left for knowing the future but true dreams. All other doors are closed, and prediction is disallowed.

    وَمَنْ أَضَلُّ مِمَّنْ يَدْعُو مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ مَنْ لَا يَسْتَجِيبُ لَهُ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَهُمْ عَنْ دُعَائِهِمْ غَافِلُونَ (5)

    46|5| And, who can be more misguided than he who invokes those that will not respond to him till the Day of Judgment. Indeed, they are unaware of their invocation.


    وَإِذَا حُشِرَ النَّاسُ كَانُوا لَهُمْ أَعْدَاءً وَكَانُوا بِعِبَادَتِهِمْ كَافِرِينَ (6)

    46|6| And when the people are gathered, they will be their enemies and will be deniers of their worship of them.4


    4. It is reported that pagan deities and idols will be given power of speech on the Day of Judgment (Alusi).
    Whether it is idols, angels, satans or humans that were chosen for worship, they will all disown those that were devoted to them. Even Satan will disown them as in a Qur’anic verse (14: 22):
    Arabic Text ???
    “And Satan will say when the matter is concluded, ‘Allah promised you a true promise, and I too promised. But I failed in my promise. And I had no power over you except that I invited you and you responded to me. Therefore, do not blame me, blame your own selves. I cannot come to your aid nor can you come to my aid. I disown your former (act of) associating me (with Allah).’ Surely, a painful chastisement (awaits) the wrong-doers.”
    Sayyid notes: “Another point of note is that although it is a fact that the reference at the time of the revelation was to certain false gods, familiar to humankind, it may not be ignored that the text is wider in scope, meaning, and application, and will remain so during every historical phase.
    Who – of whichever age, in whatever place - can be in greater wrong than he who is devoted to other than Allah? None of them - whoever they may be - to whom the people are devoted, can respond to the call of their devotees. It is because, there is no Lord but One, who possesses all and everything, without whose approval nothing can be moved. They do not in fact have any power of doing themselves good or bad. To call them, then, is shirk, to apply to them is shirk, to fasten hope upon them is shirk, fearing them is shirk, although, admittedly, their association is not perceptible, because it is so subtle.”
    Yusuf Ali expounds further: “As there is no argument at all in favour of your sham worship, what sense is there in it? Either your false gods are senseless stocks and stones which will never answer you to the end of Time, being themselves devoid of understanding, or they are real objects which will disown you at the last. If you worshipped Self, your own misused faculties will witness against you at the last (xli. 20-23). If you worshipped good men or prophets, like Jesus, they will disown you (v. 119). Similarly, if you worshipped angels, they will disown you (xxxiv. 40-41).”

    وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُنَا بَيِّنَاتٍ قَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِلْحَقِّ لَمَّا جَاءَهُمْ هَٰذَا سِحْرٌ مُبِينٌ (7)

    46|7| When Our revelations are recited to them as clear evidences, the unbelievers said of the truth when it came to them, ‘This is manifest magic.’


    أَمْ يَقُولُونَ افْتَرَاهُ ۖ قُلْ إِنِ افْتَرَيْتُهُ فَلَا تَمْلِكُونَ لِي مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا ۖ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا تُفِيضُونَ فِيهِ ۖ كَفَىٰ بِهِ شَهِيدًا بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكُمْ ۖ وَهُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ (8)

    46|8| Or do they say, ‘He has forged it?’ Say, ‘If I have forged it, then you cannot avail me aught against Allah.5 He knows well that in which you indulge. Sufficient is He as a witness between me and you; He is the All-forgiving, the All-merciful.’


    5. That is, if it is supposed that the Prophet (saws) forged the Qur’an then, Allah (swt) would have punished him and no one would have been able to help him against Allah.
    Yusuf Ali again, “‘If I forged a message from myself as one purporting to come from Allah, you would not be able to see me enjoy any of the blessings from Allah which I enjoy: you would not see me calm and relying on Allah, nor would you see me bear the reputation of being a trustworthy man.’ A liar comes to an evil end. But what about those who talk so glibly and freely about things which they know not? Allah knows all and He is my witness! According to Ibn Kathir, the verse means that if the Prophet’s claim to be Allah’s messenger would have been a false one, he would have been stricken by a severe punishment from Allah and none had the power to avert that punishment.”

    قُلْ مَا كُنْتُ بِدْعًا مِنَ الرُّسُلِ وَمَا أَدْرِي مَا يُفْعَلُ بِي وَلَا بِكُمْ ۖ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ وَمَا أَنَا إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ مُبِينٌ (9)

    46|9| Say, ‘I am not an innovation among the Messengers,6 nor do I know what will be done with me or with you.7 I only follow that which is revealed to me; and I am not but a plain warner.’


    6. That is, as a Messenger I am not a new phenomenon. There have been Messengers before me with similar messages (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Yusuf Ali puts it in different words, “‘What is there to forge? All prophets have taught the Unity of Allah and our duty to mankind. I bring no new fangled doctrine, but eternal truths that have been known to good men through the ages. It is to reclaim you that I have come, I do not know what will be your fate for all this callousness, nor what you will do to me. But this I know, that I am preaching truth and righteousness as inspired by Allah. My duty is only to proclaim aloud and clearly the Message entrusted to me by Allah. The rest I leave to Allah.’”
    Another possible connotation is stated by Zamakhshari and Razi, “I am not an innovative Messenger to be producing every one of the miracles that you demand of me, or give you on your demand news of all that is in the Unseen.”
    7. Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Hasan, Qat adah and others have said that this ayah has been abrogated (in meaning) in view of a later ayah of Surah al-Fath (no. 2) which said,
    “So that Allah may forgive you what has been your shortcoming of the past and the future..”
    Reports say that when this latter ayah was revealed, one of the Companions congratulated the Prophet (saws) and asked, “What about us?” So, Allah revealed (33: 47):
    “And give glad tidings to the believers that for them is from Allah a great grace.”
    He also revealed (48: 5-6),
    “In order that He might admit the believing men and believing women into gardens beneath which run springs, abiding therein, and so that He might expiate their evil deeds and that indeed is easy for Allah, and in order that He might punish the hypocritical men and hypocritical women, the associating men and associating women: those who conjecture about Allah, an evil conjecture..” (Ibn Jarir and, Zamakhshari without quoting the verses).
    Hasan al-Basri added, “As for the next world, Allah’s refuge that the Prophet should not know what will happen to him. He knew that He will be in Paradise. But in reference to this world the meaning is, ‘I do not know what will happen to me; whether I will be exiled (from Makkah) as Messengers before me were exiled, or will I be killed as Prophets before me were killed, or, will you be sunk into the earth or struck with stones (from the heaven).’” (Ibn Jarir, Razi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    Ibn Kathir adds: “That it cannot be said anything about anyone in certain terms, with regard to what will be done to him in the Hereafter, is established by several Prophetic reports; except of course, such of those about whom he predicted that they will be in Paradise, e.g., the ten who were given the glad tiding (al-`ashara al-mubashsharah), or, `Abdullah b. Salam, Ghumida, Bilal, Suraqah, `Abdullah (Jabir’s father), the seventy that were martyred at Bi'r Ma`una, Zayd b. Haritha, Ja`far, Ibn Raw ah a, and a few others. One of the narrations in support is in Bukhari and Ahmad:
    Kharijah b. Zayd reported that Umm al-`Ala was one of their women who had pledged Islam at the hands of the Prophet. She reported that `Uthman b. Maz`un fell to their lot when they drew lots in housing the emigrants (immediately after emigration to Madinah). Umm al- `Ala said, “`Uthman was with us and I was nursing him until he died. We covered him up with a cloth until, when the Prophet (saws) entered I remarked, ‘May Allah show you mercy O Abu Sa’ib (i.e., `Uthman b. Maz`un), my testimony be for you: Allah has honored you.’ The Prophet asked, ‘How did you know that Allah has honored him?’ I said, ‘I do not know, may my parents be sacrificed for you O Messenger of Allah, (if not he) then who (should be honored?)’ He said, ‘As to him, by Allah, death has been on him. By Allah, I hope good for him although I do not know what will be done to me despite the fact that I am a Messenger of Allah.’ She said, ‘By Allah, after this I shall never bear witness to anyone’s purity.’ Later she said, ‘That aggrieved me a little. Then I slept off and saw a stream flowing for `Uthman. So I went up to the Prophet and reported it. He said, ‘That was his deeds.’”
    Qurtubi refers to Tha`labi’s statement with reference to the above hadith-statement that that was the time in his mission (immediately after emigration, when `Uthman b. Maz`un died: Au.), when the Prophet (saws) had not yet been told that his past and future errors had been forgiven. Thus, the ayah is not abrogated. It carries a piece of news (which cannot be altered or abrogated: Au.).
    It is plain however to deduce from the verse in discussion that the Prophet could not have known, either about himself or his followers, everything that was going to happen in every detail, in this world or the Next – to which could be the allusion (Au.).
    Sayyid explains the theme: “The Prophet had no misgivings about himself. He was a human being who had been addressed by Allah. He pronounced what was revealed to him. This is the hallmark of a Prophet. He does not ask why. He does not seek proofs and evidences from his Lord. He does not seek a special status for himself. He does what he is told. He preaches what he receives in accordance with what he receives. He says, ‘I do not know what will be done to me or to you. I only follow that which is revealed to me.’
    "This is also the attitude of his followers. They follow the Prophetic ways. They remain calling to Islam, without knowing what the ends will be, without knowing anything of the future. They do not seek evidences or proofs from their Lord, for enough signs are there in their hearts. They do not seek to be especial in any way, for their specialty is that they have been chosen..”

    قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ كَانَ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ وَكَفَرْتُمْ بِهِ وَشَهِدَ شَاهِدٌ مِنْ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ عَلَىٰ مِثْلِهِ فَآمَنَ وَاسْتَكْبَرْتُمْ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ (10)

    46|10| Say, ‘Have you considered, if it be from Allah, but you rejected it, while a witness from the Children of Israel testifies to its like,8 and entered into faith, but you waxed proud?! Surely, Allah guides not the wrongdoing folk.’


    8. Although the verse is Makkan, it applied well to `Abdullah b. Salam who bore witness to the truth of this Qur’an as well as to its like, the Torah. This was the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Dahhak, `Ikrimah, Suddi, Thawri and many others (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Ibn Jarir and Shawkani have a long narrative here that speaks of `Abdullah b. Salam embracing Islam in a Synagogue when the Prophet (saws) was visiting it. But it contradicts the famous hadith in Sahih works, which says that he presented himself to the Prophet to embrace Islam. Therefore, we ignore it (Au.).
    Imam Razi notes that no specific person could have been referred to. It is a general statement concerning anyone who studied the Torah, believed in it, and then entered into Islam testifying to its truth. Thus, to restrict it to `Abdullah ibn Salam, as thought by some, is not correct.

    وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَوْ كَانَ خَيْرًا مَا سَبَقُونَا إِلَيْهِ ۚ وَإِذْ لَمْ يَهْتَدُوا بِهِ فَسَيَقُولُونَ هَٰذَا إِفْكٌ قَدِيمٌ (11)

    46|11| And the unbelievers say with regard to the believers, ‘If it had been a good (thing), they would not have outstripped us to it;’9 and since they are not guided by it, they will surely say, ‘This is an old falsehood.’


    9. The allusion was to Bilal, `Amm ar, Suhayb, Khabb ab and others of their like (Ibn Kathir), and Zinneerah, `Umar’s slave-girl (Shawkani).
    Asad adds: “.. the above ‘saying’ has undoubtedly timeless import inasmuch as the poor and lowly have always been among the first to follow a prophet. Moreover, it may also have a bearing on our times as well, inasmuch as the materially powerful nations, whom their technological progress has blinded to many spiritual verities, are increasingly contemptuous of the weaknesses of those civilizations in which religion still plays an important, albeit largely formalistic, role; and so, not realizing that this very formalism and the ensuing cultural sterility, and not religious faith as such, is the innermost cause of that weakness, they attribute it to the influence of religion per se, saying, as it were, ‘If religion were any good, we would have been the first in holding on to it’ – thus ‘justifying’ their own materialistic attitude and their refusal to be guided by spiritual considerations.”

    وَمِنْ قَبْلِهِ كِتَابُ مُوسَىٰ إِمَامًا وَرَحْمَةً ۚ وَهَٰذَا كِتَابٌ مُصَدِّقٌ لِسَانًا عَرَبِيًّا لِيُنْذِرَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُحْسِنِينَ (12)

    46|12| Yet before it was the Book of Musa, a guide and a mercy; and this is a Book confirming, in Arabic tongue, so that it might warn the wrongdoers, and as glad tiding to those who excel.


    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ (13)

    46|13| Surely, those who said, ‘Allah is our Lord,’ and then stayed steadfast, no fear shall be on them nor shall they grieve.10


    10. “The words, ‘Allah is our Lord,’ is not simply a statement made out. Indeed, it is not merely a catechism. But rather, it is a complete way of life that includes its every facet; in fact, every movement and every feeling. It becomes a criterion for thoughts and ideas, for the people, things, acts, events and relationships; everything in existence.
    “Allah is our Lord: so, worship is His right alone, the direction is toward Him, of Him is the fear, and in Him is the trust.“Allah is our Lord: so, none is to be taken account of except Allah, and, there is no fear of anyone, no striving for anyone except He.
    “Allah is our Lord: so, every activity, every thought, and every evaluation is directed to Him.
    “Allah is our Lord: so, there is no seeking the commandment but from Him, and no authority but for His Laws and no guidance except His.
    “Allah is our Lord: so, everything and everyone who is in existence is related to us and we meet them as related to Allah.
    “Allah is our Lord: A complete way of life on this pattern; not a mere word uttered by the tongue, not a negative attitude or escape from the realities of life.
    “Then comes steadfastness … after the path has been chosen, the heart’s steadfastness, the soul’s tranquility ... no regrets, no hesitancy, no doubts, no skepticism, and hence steadfastness of the deeds and acts, on the chosen path, the path filled with thorns, obstacles and hurdles, with side openings here and there (for those who wish to take the escape route).
    “Such are those who shall have nothing to fear and nothing to regret” (Sayyid).

    أُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا جَزَاءً بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (14)

    46|14| Those are the companions of Paradise, abiding therein; as a recompense for what they were doing.


    وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ إِحْسَانًا ۖ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ كُرْهًا وَوَضَعَتْهُ كُرْهًا ۖ وَحَمْلُهُ وَفِصَالُهُ ثَلَاثُونَ شَهْرًا ۚ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُ وَبَلَغَ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً قَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَصْلِحْ لِي فِي ذُرِّيَّتِي ۖ إِنِّي تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَإِنِّي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ (15)

    46|15| We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents. His mother bore him in pain and gave birth in pain;11 and his bearing and his weaning is in thirty months;12 until when he attains his full strength13 and attains forty, he says, ‘My Lord, grant me that I be grateful for the blessings wherewith You have blessed me and my parents, and that I should do such good deeds as would please You; and make righteous for me my children. I turn to you (in penitence) and I am of those who have surrendered.’14


    11. Majid quotes a few medical authorities on the pain that a woman bears in pregnancy: “Nature demands in her body a pitiless dictatorship of the ripening fetus, concentrates all her forces for the protection of this tiny lump of now living matter, and mercilessly demands for the latter the most complete self-abnegation on the part of all the organs and tissues of the mother.”.. “In case of the fertilization of her gamete by the male sex cell, woman is robbed of entire periods of her own individual life in which the biological processes are absorbed by the ‘physical altruism.’” .. “Though a physiological state, pregnancy imposes a strain on the efficient working of every system of the body..” “In no other living creature is the birth of a new individual accompanied by so much suffering as in the human race.” “Birth-giving pains are the most unbearable and, owing to the construction of woman’s body, are absolutely unavoidable.”
    (Hadith literature is full of the rights of parents, and, in particular, of the mother). A single hadith may be quoted here. It is in Ibn Majah and Ahmed:
    A man asked the Prophet, “Who deserves my good behavior most?” He replied, “Your mother.” He asked, “Who after her?” He said, “Your mother.” He asked, “Who after her?” He replied, “Your mother.” He asked, “Who after her?” He replied, “Your father.”
    Sayyid comments: "How true..! It is reported that,
    A man from Yemen appeared with his mother on his shoulders. He began to go round the Ka`ba saying, “I am her tamed camel. If she scares her mount, I will not be scared, and, she did not carry me more (than this).” Then he asked Ibn `Umar, “Have I recompensed her?” He replied, “No. Not even by a nail.”
    Sayyid quotes the above as a hadith, and his commentator traces it to Al-Bahr of Bazzar. But it could not be located there. In the above two books it is preserved as a report involving Ibn `Umar and not the Prophet (Au.).
    12. If this verse is compared with another of the Qur’an (2: 233):
    “And (let the mothers) suckle their children two full years. This is for him who wishes to complete the suckling,” then, the conclusion drawn by the legal authorities is that a successful birth can take place six months after pregnancy, (i.e., thirty months including pregnancy and feeding, minus 24 months of feeding).
    Alusi adds: The minimum is known (i.e. six months), and has been the reported observation of one of the Greek philosophers; but there is no consensus over the maximum period of pregnancy. Ibn Sina reports in his “Kitab al-Shifa’) that he came to know through very reliable sources that a woman gave birth four year after pregnancy, and that the child had grown teeth.
    Ibn Kathir presents a report which says that once `Uthman had condemned a woman to stoning because she gave birth to a child in six months after pregnancy, and that `Ali intervened and explained that the possibility was there. He used these two verses to make the deduction. But the report is not found in any hadith collection, and seems to be forged, although no Hadith Doctor has said so, obviously because it is not there at all in any hadith collection. Ibn Jarir does not mention it either (Au.).
    13. At this point “ashadd (fi ‘l `umuri)” [attainment of full age] perhaps alludes to forty years, as the following words of the ayah indicate (Au.).
    Ibn Kathir states: “When he has attained his full age”: i.e., at the age when his physical and mental maturity is complete and he has attained (a few) abilities. (This could happen early for some, later for others). Forty years however is the time in life when the intellect is at its full maturity, comprehensive abilities are well achieved and when further changes are not likely.
    In other words, the interpretation of “ashadd (fi ‘al `umuri)” will depend on the context. If basic obligations are concerned, such as Salah, Zakah, participation in Jihad, etc., the “attaining of full age” is physical maturity. But when the attainment of “full mental maturity” is concerned, it would be forty as stated by some of the Salaf (Au.). Zamakhshari writes: We could also say that the age of full maturity starts in early thirties and ends with forty.
    14. It is said that the verse was revealed in reference to Abu Bakr and his father Abu Quhafa. It is also said that there was none among the Emigrants or Ansar except Abu Bakr who had the distinction of he, his parents and children (three generations) bearing testimony to the truth of Islam (Zamakhshari, Razi). Indeed, his slaves could also be mentioned (Au.).
    Qurtubi writes: Although the application is general, applying to everyone who is qualified with qualities stated in this passage, its immediate application was to Abu Bakr. A single report may be presented here. It is from Muslim:
    The Prophet (saws) asked a group of Companions: “Which of you is fasting today?” Abu Bakr said, “I.” He asked, “Which of you has been to the graveyard today following a bier?” Abu Bakr replied, “I.” He asked, “Which of you has fed a destitute today?” Abu Bakr replied, “I.” He asked, “Which of you has visited a sick man today?” Abu Bakr replied, “I.” The Prophet said, “Never will these qualities combine in a man but he will enter Paradise.”

    أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ نَتَقَبَّلُ عَنْهُمْ أَحْسَنَ مَا عَمِلُوا وَنَتَجَاوَزُ عَنْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ فِي أَصْحَابِ الْجَنَّةِ ۖ وَعْدَ الصِّدْقِ الَّذِي كَانُوا يُوعَدُونَ (16)

    46|16| They are those – among the Companions of Paradise - from whom We shall accept the best of what they did, and shall pass over their evil deeds15 - the promise of true word that they were being promised.


    15. Ibn Abi Hatim reports from Yusuf b. Sa`d, who narrated on the authority of Muhammad b. Hatib, that once while `Ali lay on a couch, `Ammar, Sa`sa`ah, Ashtar and Muhammad b. Abi Bakr, who were sitting around, began to talk ill of `Uthman. One of them said, “Now, you have someone here. Why should you not get his opinion?” So they asked `Ali. He answered, “`Uthman was of those about whom Allah said, ‘They are those – in Paradise - from whom We shall accept the best of what they did, and shall pass over their evil deeds.’ Then he added, “By Allah, (it applied to) `Uthman and his companions.” At that Yusuf added, “I asked Muhammad b. Hatib, ‘By Allah, did you hear this from `Ali?’ He answered, ‘By Allah, I heard this from `Ali” (Ibn Kathir).

    وَالَّذِي قَالَ لِوَالِدَيْهِ أُفٍّ لَكُمَا أَتَعِدَانِنِي أَنْ أُخْرَجَ وَقَدْ خَلَتِ الْقُرُونُ مِنْ قَبْلِي وَهُمَا يَسْتَغِيثَانِ اللَّهَ وَيْلَكَ آمِنْ إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ فَيَقُولُ مَا هَٰذَا إِلَّا أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ (17)

    46|17| As for him who said to his parents, ‘Fie upon you.16 Are you promising me that I will be brought forth, when already (many) generations have passed before me?’17 while they call upon Allah for help (saying), ‘Woe unto you! Believe. Surely, Allah’s promise is true.’ But he says, ‘This is nothing but tales of the ancients.’


    16. Yusuf Ali’s commentary offers solace to many: “A godly man often has an ungodly son, who flouts all that the father held sacred, and looks upon his father himself as old-fashioned and unworthy of respect or regard. The contrast in an individual family may be matched by the contrast in the passing and the rising generations of mankind. All this happens as a passing phase in the nominal evolution of mankind, and there is nothing in this to be despondent about. What we have to do is for the mature generations to bring up their successors in godly ways, and for the younger generations to realize that age and experience count for something, especially in the understanding of spiritual matters and other matters of the highest moment to man.”
    Some of the earliest commentators have reportedly said that it was `Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Bakr who had said this to his parents. But this is not correct. (Although it is true that he was late in embracing Islam, having fought against Muslims at Badr and Uhud: Qurtubi at v.71 of al-An`am), he was an excellent Muslim (who was earlier known as `Abd al Ka`ba, which was changed on the Prophet’s suggestion to `Abd al-Rahman after he embraced Islam. He was a participant at Hudaybiyyah: Qurtubi). It is said that when Marwan was trying to recruit support for Mu`awiyyah, who had decided to nominate Yezid as his successor, he (Marwan) began to say in (the Prophet’s) mosque that if Mu`awiyyah was nominating a caliph after him then (it was nothing new) as he was following the “sunnah” of Abu Bakr and `Umar, who too had nominated. At that `Abd al-Rahman interrupted him to say, “But rather this is the Sunnah of the Roman and Persian emperors.” Marwan was mad at him and tried to get him arrested. But `Abd al-Rahman escaped into the house of (his sister) `A’isha. Frustrated, Marwan said, “It is this man about whom Allah (swt) revealed, ‘He who said to his parents, fie upon you.’” When this statement reached `A’isha she reacted strongly, and said, “Marwan lied. It was not `Abd al-Rahman. If I wished I could reveal the name of the person who had said this to his parents. But rather, the Messenger of Allah had cursed Marwan’s father (Al-Hakam b. abi al-` As) while Marwan was in his loins. Thus, Marwan is an outcome of Allah’s curse” (Zamakhshari, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    Ibn Kathir and Shawkani also present a shorter version of the above report as in Bukhari.
    Moreover, Alusi and some others add, the latter part of the verse tells us emphatically that it cannot be applied to `Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Bakr. He had also participated in the battles of Yamamah against the apostates.
    17. That is, so many generations have passed before, but none came back alive (Ibn Jarir).

    أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ حَقَّ عَلَيْهِمُ الْقَوْلُ فِي أُمَمٍ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنْسِ ۖ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا خَاسِرِينَ (18)

    46|18| They are the ones against whom the Word has come true from among nations of Jinn and Men that passed away before them18 – that they were the losers.


    18. This verse is evidential that the Jinn also die and are replaced by new generations (Alusi).

    وَلِكُلٍّ دَرَجَاتٌ مِمَّا عَمِلُوا ۖ وَلِيُوَفِّيَهُمْ أَعْمَالَهُمْ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ (19)

    46|19| And for everyone are degrees,19 according to what they did, so that He might recompense them in full for their deeds; and they shall not be wronged.


    19. That is, ranks both in Paradise as well as in Hellfire, in accordance with the deeds (Au.).

    وَيَوْمَ يُعْرَضُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا عَلَى النَّارِ أَذْهَبْتُمْ طَيِّبَاتِكُمْ فِي حَيَاتِكُمُ الدُّنْيَا وَاسْتَمْتَعْتُمْ بِهَا فَالْيَوْمَ تُجْزَوْنَ عَذَابَ الْهُونِ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَسْتَكْبِرُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَبِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَفْسُقُونَ (20)

    46|20| And the day the unbelievers are exposed to the Fire, ‘You exhausted your good things in the life of the world,20 and enjoyed them well. Today you shall be recompensed with a punishment of extreme humiliation for that you waxed proud in the earth without any right and for that you were wont to act corruptions.’21


    20. It is reported that the Prophet went up the platform (known as Suffah) where the impoverished Muslims spent their time. He found them with tattered clothes that had been patched up with leather pieces. He asked them, in effect, “Are you better today than what you will be tomorrow, well-dressed up and covering your homes with drapes, like you cover the Ka`bah with drapes?” They replied, “That day we should be in a better condition.” He said, “Rather, today you are in a better condition” (Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari).
    And, Qays al-Ash`ari reports his father saying, “My son! Only if you had seen us those days with the Prophet, when it would rain upon us and we would begin to stink like goats, because we wore (rough) woolen clothes.” It is reported of `Umar that when he visited Syria, he was offered a dinner full of delicacies. He remarked, “This is for us! But what about those of the poor Muslims who left this world in a state that they could not fill their stomachs, not even from barley meals?” Khalid b. al-Walid said, “They will be rewarded with Paradise.” Umar’s eyes became wet. He said, “If this is the junk that we get, then, surely, they left us high and dry, far removed from us” (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi). `Umar also said at that point, writes Zamakhshari, “I would rather reserve the good things for the Hereafter.”
    Qurtubi adds: In our modern culture, it might be enough if one ate what comes by the way, not going after the dainties and delicacies (wasting his time getting them). Today, the emphasis has to be on the consumption of that alone which is lawful.
    (That is, these are times of plenty, when we need not worry over the high quality of food we consume, as against the poor quality consumed by the Salaf, but rather, we might only take care not to consume the unlawful. And of course, in all circumstances, moderation should never be lost sight of: Au.).
    21. That is, they were corrupt of heart and corrupt of limbs (Alusi).

    وَاذْكُرْ أَخَا عَادٍ إِذْ أَنْذَرَ قَوْمَهُ بِالْأَحْقَافِ وَقَدْ خَلَتِ النُّذُرُ مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا اللَّهَ إِنِّي أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ (21)

    46|21| Mention the brother of `Aad22 when he warned his people in (the region of) Ahqaf,23 while warners had already been before him and after him24 (proclaiming): ‘that you worship not but Allah. I fear for you chastisement of a great day.’


    22. That is, Hud (asws) – Qurtubi.
    To begin by saying, “the brother of ` Ad” is to throw a hint to the Quraysh that the Messenger raised among you, is, after all, a brother of yours. Does a brother deserve the kind of treatment you have meted him? Further, does not brotherhood demand that you have good faith in him? On the other hand, the Prophet is reminded that he should not forget how other Prophets, brothers of their nations, were treated earlier. Finally, the Quraysh might be reminded that despite ties of brotherhood, or of friendship, the nations of other Prophets had to meet with the destruction because of their rejection (Sayyid, rephrased).
    23. Ahqaf is plural of hiqf which, according to most commentators, is for curved sand dunes, high, but not as high as mountains. The area identified is between `Oman and Hadr al-Mawt in Yemen. Some scholars have stated that it was the name of a geographical area.
    Syed Sulayman Nadwi’s research leads him to conclude in his Ard al-Qur’an, that the ` Ad lived in the Empty Quarter of today’s Saudi Arabia.
    24. The statement that warners came after Hud can have two possible meanings. It is possible that after the destruction of the main body of ` Ad, the rest, as well as those that were rescued, were sent warners after Hud had died. Another possible meaning, as expressed by Zamakhshari, is that there might have been warners, (sort of minor Prophets: Au.), raised after Hud had been commissioned among the main body of `Ad, as aides to him and working for his cause in other areas of the land (Au.).

    قَالُوا أَجِئْتَنَا لِتَأْفِكَنَا عَنْ آلِهَتِنَا فَأْتِنَا بِمَا تَعِدُنَا إِنْ كُنْتَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ (22)

    46|22| They said, ‘Have you come to us to delude us away from our gods? Then bring us what you are threatening us with, if you should be of the truthful.’


    قَالَ إِنَّمَا الْعِلْمُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَأُبَلِّغُكُمْ مَا أُرْسِلْتُ بِهِ وَلَٰكِنِّي أَرَاكُمْ قَوْمًا تَجْهَلُونَ (23)

    46|23| He said, ‘(Its) Knowledge is only with Allah.25 I merely deliver to you what I am sent with. Otherwise, I see you as a people behaving ignorantly.’


    25. That is, Allah (swt) knows best whether you deserve to be punished immediately, or should you be given respite (Razi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).

    فَلَمَّا رَأَوْهُ عَارِضًا مُسْتَقْبِلَ أَوْدِيَتِهِمْ قَالُوا هَٰذَا عَارِضٌ مُمْطِرُنَا ۚ بَلْ هُوَ مَا اسْتَعْجَلْتُمْ بِهِ ۖ رِيحٌ فِيهَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ (24)

    46|24| Then, when they saw it as a cloud advancing towards their valleys,26 they said, ‘This is a cloud which will bring us rain.’ Rather, it is that which you sought to hasten: a wind wherein is a painful chastisement.27


    26. The original term `aridh is for clouds that gather up at the horizon (Zamakhshari, Qurtubi).
    27. Our own Prophet would feel very concerned when he saw clouds advancing. ` A’isha reports, as in Muslim:
    “I never saw the Prophet laughing out boisterously so as to see his throat. Most of the time he smiled.” Then she added, “When he saw a piece of cloud or experienced high winds, the effect could be seen on his countenance.” Once she said (to him), “I see people feel glad when they see clouds in hope that it will bring rain. But as for you, I can see concern on your face when you see them advancing.” He said, “O `A’isha, what guarantee is there that they are not laden with chastisement? A nation was punished by the wind. A people saw the chastisement (coming), but said, ‘This is a cloud which will bring us rain.’” (Zamakhshari, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir and others).
    Another report, (shortened here: Au.), also of Muslim has `A’isha saying that when the winds blew hard the Prophet (saws) would say,
    “O Allah. I ask you for its best, the best that it bears and the best for which it was sent. And I seek Your refuge from its evil, the evil it bears, and the evil for which it was sent.” She added, “When the sky was filled with it and what it contains of lightning and thunder, His (facial) hue changed. He would go out, come in, go up and come back. When it rained he would feel relieved and I could see it on his face” (Ibn Kathir).
    Qurtubi adds: The Prophet said, as in the Sahih of Muslim,
    “I have been helped with Saba’, while `Ad were destroyed by the Dabbur (winds).”

    تُدَمِّرُ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ بِأَمْرِ رَبِّهَا فَأَصْبَحُوا لَا يُرَىٰ إِلَّا مَسَاكِنُهُمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْقَوْمَ الْمُجْرِمِينَ (25)

    46|25| It will destroy every thing by the command of its Lord.’ So, by morning there was nothing to be seen except their dwellings.28 That is how We recompense a criminal people.


    28. Trees were uprooted, they were lifted high up in the air and dashed back against the ground. Then the winds piled sands upon them so that there was nothing left to be seen except a few of their ruined dwellings.

    وَلَقَدْ مَكَّنَّاهُمْ فِيمَا إِنْ مَكَّنَّاكُمْ فِيهِ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُمْ سَمْعًا وَأَبْصَارًا وَأَفْئِدَةً فَمَا أَغْنَىٰ عَنْهُمْ سَمْعُهُمْ وَلَا أَبْصَارُهُمْ وَلَا أَفْئِدَتُهُمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ إِذْ كَانُوا يَجْحَدُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَحَاقَ بِهِمْ مَا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُونَ (26)

    46|26| Indeed, We had established them in a way We have not established you. We made for them hearing, sights and hearts. But their hearing, sights and hearts did not avail them aught when they denied the signs of Allah; and that enveloped them which they were ridiculing.29


    29. Yusuf Ali comments: “The ‘Ad and their successors the Thamud were more richly endowed with the faculties of the arts, sciences, and culture than ever were the Quraish before Islam. ‘Hearing and seeing’ refer to the experimental faculties; the word ‘heart’ in Arabic includes intellect, or the rational faculties, as well as the instruments of feeling and emotion, the aesthetic faculties. The Second ‘Ad, or Thamud, have left interesting traces of their architecture in the country round the Hijr.”

    وَلَقَدْ أَهْلَكْنَا مَا حَوْلَكُمْ مِنَ الْقُرَىٰ وَصَرَّفْنَا الْآيَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ (27)

    46|27| Surely, We have destroyed towns around you and have varied the signs that haply they will return.30


    30. That is, the Makkans passed by the destroyed nations of old as they traveled about: `Ad, who were in Ahqaf above Hadr al-Mawt in Yemen; Thamud, whose dwellings were between their towns and Syria; Saba’, who had lived in Yemen; Madyan which they came across as they went to Ghazzah; and the Dead Sea where lay the dwellings of the people of Lut (Ibn Kathir).

    فَلَوْلَا نَصَرَهُمُ الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ قُرْبَانًا آلِهَةً ۖ بَلْ ضَلُّوا عَنْهُمْ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ إِفْكُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُوا يَفْتَرُونَ (28)

    46|28| Then, why did not those help them that they took for gods besides Allah as means of nearness? But they disappeared from them. That was their slander, and what they had been forging.


    وَإِذْ صَرَفْنَا إِلَيْكَ نَفَرًا مِنَ الْجِنِّ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقُرْآنَ فَلَمَّا حَضَرُوهُ قَالُوا أَنْصِتُوا ۖ فَلَمَّا قُضِيَ وَلَّوْا إِلَىٰ قَوْمِهِمْ مُنْذِرِينَ (29)

    46|29| And when We turned towards you a group of Jinn31 listening to the Qur’an.32 When they attended it they said, ‘Listen in silence.’ When it was concluded, they turned back to their people warning.33


    31. The word “nafar” is for any number between 3 and 20 (Sayyid).
    32. The ayah was revealed to impress on the Quraysh that their rejection of the Islamic faith was, by all standards of behavior, quite unreasonable, seeing that the most ardent and fanatic of unbelievers – the Jinn – had embraced Islam (Thanwi).
    A few points may be noted in connection with the timing of the Prophet’s contact with the Jinn. First, the Jinn heard the Qur’an first time when the Prophet was returning from his unsuccessful trip to Ta’if. The event took place at a time when disappointment could touch the Prophet’s heart. It must have been quite consoling for him to feel that if the humans had rejected him, as in Makkah and Ta’if, the Jinn had accepted. Secondly, had the encounter taken place right at the start of the mission, the Quraysh would have had another point against him: have not the devils believed in you? Is that not enough? Thirdly, the Quraysh had already alleged that the Prophet (saws) was influenced by a Jinn. Had he told them that they visited him regularly and that they had believed in him, he would have become known in the land more as one who controlled or was controlled by the Jinn, rather than as a simple human, but a Prophet (Au.).
    33. A study of the mass of reports that have been recorded in this connection, and reproduced by Ibn Jarir Tabari, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, Sayyid Qutub and others suggests that the listening of the Qur’an by the Jinn, or, the Prophet delivering them the message, occurred several times, both in Makkah as well as in Madinah. (Khifaji has worked it out as six encounters in all: Thanwi, Ma`arif, Shabbir). Ibn Is-haq (and Ibn Hisham: Sami) have preserved a report which says that after the failed journey of Ta’if, as the Prophet was returning, he spent a night at Nakhlah. It was there that a group of Jinn of the Nasibin listened to his recitation. Without surrounding details, the report is also in Bukhari. It says,
    Abu Hurayrah reported that he used to carry the Prophet’s gear for ablution and call of nature. One day when he began to follow him with his paraphernalia he asked, “Who is it?” He answered, “Myself, Abu Hurayrah.” He said, “Look for me some stones that I can cleanse myself with, but do not bring me a bone, nor dung.” So I gave him some stone which I was carrying in a corner of my cloak and placed them by his side and left. When he was over I walked along him and asked, “What about the bones and dung?” He answered, “They are food for the Jinn. A delegation of the Nasibin Jinn came to me and asked me for provision. So I prayed to Allah that they should not pass by a bone nor a piece of dung but should find their food therein.”
    This of course is a report of the Madinan period but the Prophet (saws) could be referring to the event before Hijrah. Alternatively, he might have been referring to another occasion, taking place after Hijrah. But the fact remains that the first hearing by the Jinn happened a year or two before Hijrah; although there are differences in details, which could be, once again, because of more than one event being involved. In fact, adds Thanwi, one narrative says that due to the influence of the first batch of Jinn, a batch of 300 Jinn came to embrace Islam at his hand.
    We have a report in the Sahihayn whose Muslim version suggests that although the Jinn heard the Prophet recite the Qur’an, he himself remained ignorant of their hearing. But, it might be noted that this is the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, and not a statement of the Prophet (saws). The report is as follows,
    Ibn `Abbas said that the Prophet neither recited the Qur’an to the Jinn, nor did he see them. But rather, he started out with a few of his Companions intending the `Ukaz market. By that time a barrier had been placed between them and the devils, and news from the heavens; and flames of fire were being flung at them. So the devils returned to their kind. They asked, what’s wrong with you? They replied, a barrier has been placed between us and news from the heavens; and flames of fire are being flung at us. They said, this is none other than the indication that something new has happened; so spread out in the easts and wests of the lands and look for what is it because of which we are barred from the news of the heaven. So they set out to the easts and wests. A few of them who had started off towards Tihama, passed by him (the Prophet) while he was in Nakhla (a place between Makkah and Ta’if). They were heading towards the `Ukaz fair. He was then doing his Fajr Prayer along with his Companions. When they heard the Qur’an, they listened quietly and said, this is what has come between us and the news of the heaven. They went back to their kind and said, O our people, “We have heard a strange recitation that leads to right path. So we have believed, and we shall never associate anyone as partner with our Lord.” Thereupon, Allah revealed, “And when We turned towards you a group of Jinn ,,..”
    Indeed, there is another report coming from Ibn `Abbas, as in Tabari which leads us to believe that the Prophet (saws) encountered the Jinn or gave his message to them more than once. This one says that they were seven in number, from Nasibin and that the Prophet appointed them messengers for their people.
    Ibn Mas`ud once remarked, as in a report preserved by Abu Bakr ibn Shaybah, that they came down while he was reciting the Qur’an in Nakhlah .. They were nine and one of them was called Zawba`ah. It was in reference to this that Allah (swt) revealed, “And when We turned towards you a group of Jinn listening to the Qur’an. When they attended it they said, ‘Listen in silence.’ When it was concluded, they turned back to their people warning.”
    Another report confirms that the Jinn had come to know of the Prophet’s appearance in Makkah itself; one of them says, as in Bukhari,
    `Abdullah ibn `Umar reported, “I never heard `Umar saying about something that 'I guess it is this way,' except that it turned out to be the way he said. Once when he was in an assembly, a handsome man passed by. (That was Sawad b. Qarib: Ibn Hajr). `Umar said, ‘Either my guess is wrong or this man is still on his religion of pagan days. Or he must have been their soothsaying priest. Get me the man.’ So he was called in. He asked him making the same comment to him. The man said, ‘I have never experienced a Muslim who was received in such (evil) manner.’
    (According to another report, the man was pretty upset at being referred to as a former soothsaying priest. But `Umar calmed him by saying that there was nothing to be so upset about it since, before Islam, ‘After all, we were worse off as associators in Allah’s divinity’: Au.).
    `Umar said, ‘But I bind you to tell me the story.’ He said, ‘In pagan times I was indeed a soothsaying priest.’ He asked, ‘What’s the strangest of things that your Jinni ever brought you?’
    He replied, ‘Once while I was in the market when one of those female Jinni came up to me and I could see that she was scared. She said, “Have you noticed the disappointment among the Jinn after they were turned back and so have instead begun to follow the camel-riders (i.e., the Arabs)?
    `Umar said, ‘You spoke the truth. At one time, while I (`Umar) was sleeping near their idols a man appeared with a calf and slaughtered it. Thereat a crier cried out in a manner I never heard a crier cry out in a louder voice. It said, “O Jalih, (according to other reports: O the people of Dhar ih) a successful affair: an eloquent man says, there is no deity save Allah.” Thereat, the people jumped and I said, I shall not rest until I have known what is behind all this. Then, once again someone called, “O Jal ih, a successful affair: an eloquent man says, there is no deity save Allah.” I left the place and we had not attempted at anything before it was said, “Here is a Prophet.”’
    A report preserved by Hakim and declared having the narrators of same quality as of the Sahihayn, has the fuller story of Sawad b. Qarib, according to which he was actually warned by one of his Jinni-companions of the Prophet’s advent while he was in India. Sawad would not believe, if not for three warnings during three nights. He came back to Arabia. By then the Prophet had already migrated to Madinah. He met him there and entered into faith. (The report in Hakim has, apart from Hakim’s own judgment, internal evidences of its trustworthiness from the kind of sentences that perhaps only the Jinn or soothsayers could make. The report mentions that the Prophet (saws) and his Companions were quite pleased by his entry into Islam, which confirms the reported version above, which says that Sawad was a soothsaying-priest in Jahiliyyah, whose conversion to Islam made the Prophet happy: Au.).
    Thus it is possible that in that first instance the Jinn chanced upon the Prophet reciting the Qur’an, without he knowing of their presence. Then they retreated to their kind, warning them and sending back delegations after delegations. One of those that could be quoted is in Muslim. It goes as follows:
    ` Amir said that he asked `Alqamah about Ibn Mas`ud whether he was with the Prophet the night of the Jinn. `Alqamah said that he had asked Ibn Mas`ud whether anyone of you was with the Prophet the night of Jinn? He said, no, but we were with the Prophet (saws) another night when we missed him. We searched him in the valleys and mountain wedges. We said to ourselves, “Was he flown away by the Jinn, or kidnapped (by men)?” That was one of the worst nights that a people could have spent. As the morning came, there he was, coming from the Hira side. We said, “Messenger of Allah, we missed you and looked for you. But, not finding you we spent a night worse than any people spent their night.” He said, “There came to me a caller from the Jinn. I went with him and recited the Qur’an to them.” Then, Ibn Mas`ud added, he took us along and showed us their marks and their fires. They had asked him for provision and he told them, “Every bone on which Allah’s name has been pronounced that falls into your hand will be full of meat for you. And every piece of dung will be fodder for your cattle. Then the Prophet added, “Do not cleanse yourself using the two for they are food for your brothers.”
    (Ibn Mas`ud saying “no” to the inquiry at the start tells us that the allusion by the ‘night of the Jinn’ was to the first encounter in Nakhlah when the Jinn chanced upon the Prophet: Au.).
    Yet another report confirms that the Prophet (saws) had contacts with the Jinn at Makkah. Ibn Mas`ud reports, as in Ahmed:
    The Prophet said, “I spent the last night reciting upon the Companions (from among the) Jinn in Hajun.” (Hajun: a place little outside Makkah).
    Another report confirming the Prophet’s contacts with Jinn at Makkah is also in Ahmed. It has `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud saying,
    Once while we were with the Prophet in Makkah in the company of a few Companions when he said, “Let one of your men rise up, but let not any man rise up with me who has the slightest of deceit in his heart.” So I got up and took with me a leather bottle that I did not imagine but that it had water. In any case, I went out with the Prophet (saws) until when we were at the upper end of Makkah I saw a huge crowd of dark bodies gathered together. He drew a line for me and said, “Stand here until I come back to you.” So I stood there and the Prophet went up to them. I saw them crowding upon him. He spent a good part of the night with them to come back to me only at Fajr. He asked, “Did you remain standing O Ibn Mas`ud?” I said, “Messenger of Allah. Had you not instructed me to stand until I come back to you?” He asked, “Do you have any water for ablution?” I said yes and opened the bottle and lo, it had a non-intoxicating beverage (of dates). I said, “Messenger of Allah, when I brought it I had not thought but that it will have water, but it is this beverage.” He said, “A good fruit and clean water.” He made ablution therewith. Then, as he got up to Pray, two of them said, “Messenger of Allah, we wish that you give us assurance with regard to the Prayer.” So the Prophet made them line up behind him and prayed. When they had left, I asked, “Who were they, Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Those were Jinn of Nasibin. They had come to me disputing over a few issues that had occurred between them. They asked me for provision and I provided them.” I asked, “Did you have something to provide them with, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “I provided them with the refuse (of others). They will not find dung but will find it barley and not a bone but enveloped (with meat).” Ibn Mas`ud added, “It was at that point that the Prophet instructed against cleansing oneself with dung or bones.”
    (Nasibin was a place near Diyar Bakr in Syria, while Nakhlah at a night’s distance from Makkah. And, it is reported that the Prophet (saws) hard recited to them Surah al-Rahman: Alusi).
    Other versions supply some other information such as, when the Prophet returned, he asked whether Ibn Mas`ud had crossed the line he had drawn. When told no, he said that he could not guarantee they would have ever met again until the Day of Judgment, had Ibn Mas`ud crossed the line. Ibn Mas`ud also reported that he saw them as eagles. Perhaps on another occasion they looked like dark palm trees, which started to recede like receding dark patches of the night before dawn, with merely a few remaining with him by dawn. On one occasion they were many and covered the Prophet wholly, to the extent that Ibn Mas`ud thought he should rather seek the help of the people to rescue the Prophet but changed his mind when he saw that the Prophet was using his walking stick to push them back and was saying, “Sit down.” The Prophet had then remarked, “Had you come out of the line, I could not have guaranteed that one of them would have snatched you away.” Ibn Mas`ud also heard plenty of noises and when inquired the Prophet, was told that there was a dispute over a murder between them which he had resolved.
    In connection with the Jinn’s encounters with humans, especially as snakes, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir and others present several stories. Some involve a few of those who received the Qur’an directly from the Prophet. Ibrahim Nakha`i, for instance, reported that while he was traveling with a few students of Ibn Mas`ud (who was then not in their company) for Hajj, they came across a (white) dead snake in a field (filled with dead snakes). This one exhumed the perfume of misk. Ibrahim told his companions to proceed while he himself went up to the perfuming snake, and after some curious examination, wrapped it in a piece of cloth and buried it. Then he rejoined his colleagues. At nightfall two women showed up and asked, “Which of you buried `Amr?” They said they had buried no one that day. She said, “Sure one of you did. We are referring to the snake you buried.” Then they added that he was the last of those Jinns that had taken the Qur’an directly from the Prophet (saws). There was a battle between the believing and unbelieving Jinn, in which `Amr was killed. When it was reported to `Uthman ibn `Affan (according to other reports to `Umar ibn al-Khattab), he remarked, “If you saw this, and are true, then you are saying something strange, but if you have lied, then the lie will be on you.”
    There are many stories in Tafsir works involving encounters with believing Jinn, but neither the strength of the above report could be established, nor of others. Nonetheless there are Sahih reports which say that the Prophet prohibited that snakes found in Madinan homes be killed. They might be given three day’s notice. If the snake would not leave, then it was not Jinn but the Devil, and so could be killed. The Jinn used to visit Madinah in the form of snakes to learn Islam. (Scholars say that the instructions were for the times when the Prophet was alive). There is a hadith in Muslim according to which a visitor found a snake in Abu Sa`id al-Khudri’s house. He got up to kill it but Abu Sa`id prevented him saying that during the time of the Prophet, a young man killed one such snake found in his house, but himself died immediately (Au.).

    قَالُوا يَا قَوْمَنَا إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا كِتَابًا أُنْزِلَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مُوسَىٰ مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ يَهْدِي إِلَى الْحَقِّ وَإِلَىٰ طَرِيقٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ (30)

    46|30| They said, ‘O our people! We have indeed heard a Book sent down after Musa:34 testifying to that which was before it, guiding to the truth and to a straight path.’


    34. To the question as to why did those Jinn ignore to mention the revelation given to `Isa, one answer is that they were Jewish Jinn, and the other is that because the scriptures given to `Isa were only complimentary to the main revelation, viz., Torah revealed to Musa (Zamakhshari, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir and others). Hence we notice that when the Prophet (saws) was taken to Waraqah b. Nawfal, at the start of the revelations, he remarked (although a Christian: Au.), “this is the same message that had been sent down to Musa (Ibn Kathir). However, adds Alusi, trustworthy sources do not say anything about the Jinn having been Jewish.

    يَا قَوْمَنَا أَجِيبُوا دَاعِيَ اللَّهِ وَآمِنُوا بِهِ يَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ مِنْ ذُنُوبِكُمْ وَيُجِرْكُمْ مِنْ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ (31)

    46|31| ‘O our people! Hearken to Allah’s Caller, and believe in him. He will forgive you your sins35 and will rescue you from a painful chastisement.36


    35. This translation follows the understanding of some scholars, as stated by Thanwi, who treated the textual “min” as “zaidah.” However, others have read it as “tab`idiyyah” in which case the meaning would be: “He will forgive some of the sins;” i.e., not all sins; and the reason is that entry into Islam guarantees forgiveness of sins pertaining to Allah’s rights, but not the rights of the humans, (such as usurpation of another’s property). Their rights must be restored (Zamakhshari, Thanwi).
    36. Since this ayah has not mentioned Paradise as the reward for the believing Jinn, but rather, only promises rescue from the Fire, some scholars have thought that perhaps Paradise is for humans alone and that the Jinn will not enter it. Notable among such scholars were Hasan (al-Busri) and Imam Abu Hanifah. But Imam Shafe`i, Malik and Ibn Abi Layla (as also Nawawi: Alusi), held the opinion that they too will enter Paradise. A few texts are cited in support. One is (55: 56),
    “Neither men nor Jinn would have touched them.”
    And, (55: 74),
    “And whoever feared standing before his Lord shall have two gardens; which of your Lord’s blessings then will you two deny?” (Meaning Jinn and mankind).
    Qushayri however stated that this is one of those issues about which nothing has been told us in definite terms (Qurtubi).
    As for Abu Hanifa’s position, the fact is that in view of non-availability of a clear text, he refused to take any stand, this way or that, because such issues can only be categorically decided by the main sources. This has been stated by Nasafi in his “Taysir” (Alusi, Thanwi).
    Thanwi adds that because of the texts quoted above, and another in Surah al-An’am (6: 132), which comes after the mention of Jinn and mankind, and which says,
    “For each are ranks according to their deeds,” the majority have held opinion that the Jinn will be in Paradise.
    On the other hand, a figure like `Umar ibn `Abdul `Aziz said that the Jinn will be placed at the outskirts of Paradise.
    On a different front, Qushayri has an interesting note in his Tafsir. With reference to the words “Respond to the caller of Allah, he writes what sounds more appealing in Arabic,
    It is said that there are two kinds of responses: responding to Allah and responding to the caller. Now, response to the caller is through the presence of the means – that is, the Messenger, on whom be peace. The response to Allah should be open when the message comes from the envoy, and should be in secret when the cognizance comes from the meanings that dawns upon the heart. Thus, there is a respondent who responds with his body, another with his heart, a third with his soul and another in secret. As for he who hesitated at the caller calling him, hastening not with a response, is put off from what he was being addressed.

    وَمَنْ لَا يُجِبْ دَاعِيَ اللَّهِ فَلَيْسَ بِمُعْجِزٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَيْسَ لَهُ مِنْ دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاءُ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُبِينٍ (32)

    46|32| He who does not hearken to Allah’s Caller, is not the one to frustrate in the earth, and he will not have protectors besides Him. Such of them are in a manifest error.’


    أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا أَنَّ اللَّهَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَلَمْ يَعْيَ بِخَلْقِهِنَّ بِقَادِرٍ عَلَىٰ أَنْ يُحْيِيَ الْمَوْتَىٰ ۚ بَلَىٰ إِنَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (33)

    46|33| Have they not seen that Allah, who created the heavens and earth and was not wearied with their creation,37 has the power over quickening the dead? Yes indeed. He has power over all things.


    37. “This is to emphatically deny the idea of fatigue and weariness to God implied in the Bible. Cf. the OT: ‘And on the seventh day God ended the work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his works which God created and made (Gen. 2: 2,3). ‘For in six days the Lord made heaven and the earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day.’ (20: 11) And the NT: ‘And God did rest the seventh day from all his works’ (He. 4: 4).” - Majid.
    The idea of rest on the seventh day is extended to rest in the 'seventh year.' Western universities allow their senior teaching staff a sabbatical (every seventh year) off for rest to (Au.).

    وَيَوْمَ يُعْرَضُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا عَلَى النَّارِ أَلَيْسَ هَٰذَا بِالْحَقِّ ۖ قَالُوا بَلَىٰ وَرَبِّنَا ۚ قَالَ فَذُوقُوا الْعَذَابَ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَكْفُرُونَ (34)

    46|34| And the day those who disbelieved will be exposed to the Fire: ‘Is this not real?’ They will answer, ‘Yes, by our Lord.’ He will say, ‘Then taste the punishment for that you were disbelieving.’


    فَاصْبِرْ كَمَا صَبَرَ أُولُو الْعَزْمِ مِنَ الرُّسُلِ وَلَا تَسْتَعْجِلْ لَهُمْ ۚ كَأَنَّهُمْ يَوْمَ يَرَوْنَ مَا يُوعَدُونَ لَمْ يَلْبَثُوا إِلَّا سَاعَةً مِنْ نَهَارٍ ۚ بَلَاغٌ ۚ فَهَلْ يُهْلَكُ إِلَّا الْقَوْمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ (35)

    46|35| Observe patience then as the Messengers of firm resolution observed patience,38 and seek not to hasten it for them. The day they see what they are being promised, it will be as if they did not tarry but an hour of the day. A deliverance.39 Then, shall any be destroyed except the transgressing people?


    38. Who were the Messengers of firm resolution? Some say that they were Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, `Isa and our own Prophet; others name others, some others mention larger numbers, while a few say that every Messenger was of firm resolution (Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir and others). Ibn Marduwayh has a report according to which Jabir b. `Abdullah held the opinion that there were 313 Messengers of firm resolution (Shawkani).
    39. One of the connotations is that the allusion is to the Qur’an which is a nothing but deliverance (of a message) – Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir and others.