Surat Al-'An`ām

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. 6

    Merits of the surah

    Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Anas b. Malik, Asma' bint Yezid, Jabir and many others have been reported in Tabarani, Ibn Marduwayh and Hakim, with the latter declaring it sahih by Muslim's standards, that this Surah was revealed in Makkah as one whole, with so many angels accompanying the revelation that they filled the space between the earth and the heaven. They were chanting glorifications and the earth seemed to be vibrating (Qurtubi).
    Asma' bint Yezid added: "I was holding the rein of the camel, and it was as if it would break the beast's bones" (Ibn Kathir).
    Nevertheless, Ibn Salah has doubted the strength of these reports (Alusi, Shabbir).
    Rashid Rida adds: The fact that so many reports have been received through so many transmitters means that they have a basis. It is possible that Ibn Salah was doubting only the addition of the words, "Except three verses," as included in certain versions.
    Tha`labi has said that six verses of this surah are Madinan, 91, 92 93, 151, 152 and 153 (Shawkani). Further, the fact that the revelation of the surah was accompanied by seventy thousand angels, and that it incorporates proofs of Allah's Oneness, the Messengership of the Prophet, the Hereafter, and rejection of false religions, means, these are the loftiest of all kinds of knowledge. It also follows that mastering of the proofs and evidences is to be taken up as a priority by a believer (Razi).
    Ibn `Abbas has been recorded in Bukhari as having said that if you wish to know something about the vile practices of pre Islamic Arab society, read verses 136 to 140 (Qurtubi).
    1. Razi writes: Five chapters of the Qur'an open with these words: viz., nos. 1, 6, 18, 34, and 35. Differences between the words madh, hamd and shukr may be noted. Madh is common for all beings, living or non living. One might say mudh words for a flower or a horse. Hamd is specific to living beings. But hamd can be said both for something or somebody one draws benefit as well for someone of no benefit. For example, one might say hamd words for a person because of his good qualities, even if the person saying the hamd might not have drawn any benefit from the one praised. In contrast, shukr is the most specific. One says shukr words only to someone from whom he has benefitted in some way. Otherwise the occasion for shukr words does not arise. The use of the word hamd in this verse is to say that Allah deserves our praises, every moment of our lives, whether or not we feel that we are experiencing one of His graces. Incidentally, hamd is the proof of one's sincerity. Finally, whoever knows the depth and extent of the created worlds, and has some knowledge of the Attributes of Allah will realize that hamd is an ocean that has no shores.
    2. The word in the original is ja`ala which indicates a creative action that is connected with a previous activity as well one that involves continuity (Ibn Jarir, Razi).
    3. The fact that Allah mentioned darknesses before light supports the theory of the ancients that He created his creations in darkness and then threw light upon them (Razi).
    Thus darkness has, according to the Qur'an, its own existence. It is not simply the absence of light as most people - including the scientists - believe (Au.).
    4. Qatadah has said, "Allah created the heavens before earth, the darknesses before light, and the Fire before Paradise” (Ibn Jarir).
    The Zoroastrians believed in two gods of creation, first, Yezdan, the creator of good, and second, Ahraman, the creator of evil, associating the former with light and the latter with darkness (Shabbir).
    In fact, Mujahid has been reported by Abu al Sheikh and Ibn Abi Hatim as of the opinion that the verse was revealed to refute the belief of the freethinkers who claimed that God did not create evil, or snakes, or anything evil. He created light and the good things alone (Shawkani).
    Qurtubi quotes a hadith of Muslim at this point. Abu Hurayrah narrates: "The Prophet took me by my hand and said: ‘Allah created the dust on Saturday. He created the mountains in it on Sunday. He created the trees in it on Monday. He created the Makruhat on Tuesday. He created "Nur" (according to another version, "Nun": Nawawi) on Wednesday. He created the beasts on Thursday. And He created Adam in the afternoon of Friday, as the last creation, in the last hours of Friday between the late afternoon hours and the nightfall'" (Qurtubi).
    Modern scientific knowledge comes remarkably close to the above statement. Details are as under.
    I. Although no satisfactory theory exists about the origin of our solar system, since every model fails to answer all the questions, as do rigorous mathematical tests, nevertheless, there is sufficient evidence for the scientists to conclude that the solar system grew out of a cloud of dust.
    Of the many postulates, one is known as the nebular hypothesis. It was first proposed by Laplace, but fell into disrepute as it failed some tests. It is being actively reconsidered now. Recently it has received a thorough analysis at the hands of a German astronomer Carl F. von Weizsacker, and reveals some positive aspects. This theory assumes the solar system as a sub eddy of the larger eddy which gave birth to the galaxies. The dust cloud in the solar sub eddy developed in time its own sub eddies of dust which gave birth to the planets with the sun at the center.
    To be sure, there are other models. But most assume dust particles colliding and coalescing and, following certain processes, leading up to the formation of the solar system. Indeed, the best bet so far on the galactic systems, although an unresolved mystery up until now, is also on condensation of primordial dust. Thus the postulates come very near to the hadith statement that Allah created dust in the first stage of the process of creation. This first phase of creation is named here as Saturday, but, obviously, as the last few words suggest, the allusion is to a long period of time, an era, or a phase.
    II. Scientists speculate that the earth began as a waterless mass of rock surrounded by a thick cloud of dust. The interior melted with the heat generated by radioactive materials, leading to a liquid core surrounded by a hard crust. In turn, the crust rests on a soft, plastic layer immediately beneath it called asthenosphere. Various chemical processes created water which in the early period occupied most of the surface area except for a huge island. In time the island split. Plate tectonics took over some 2.5 billion years ago. The crust, geologically referred to as lithosphere, split into 15 plates due to various movements of the earth. Their collision and gradual piling up over each other over millions of years created the mountains. Most of the early mountains have worn out, but the process goes on, albeit much slowly now.
    It might also be pointed out that verses 9 and 10 of surah Fussilat (no. 41) appear to be speaking of the creation of mountains in the third phase of creation. But that's not correct, for the verses there are speaking of different kinds of phases involved: not only during the creation of the earth, but also of the heavens.
    III. First biological activity began some 3.5 billion years ago. (Although a very recent finding in Australia is pushing the date back by another 350 million years). Initially, the life forms were very primitive, such as, certain strains of bacterium, extinct now. Tiny plants made their appearance for the first time, perhaps in the early Cambrian period, some 600 million years ago. Forests filled with tall trees must have appeared much later, during the Carboniferous era, lasting between 350 300 million years ago. Thus, Allah's creation of the trees on Monday (in the third phase of creation).
    IV. With regard to the fourth stage of creation, it is not clear what the Prophet meant by makruhat. Literally, the connotation is that of "the undesirable things." The narrator himself did not seek an explanation. It is possible he knew what was meant. Later hadith commentators have said that it is minerals that could have been meant. But, that is only a conjecture. Could it be creepers and reptiles: snakes, scorpions, lizards the unloved of the humans ("the undesirable things")? They could have only appeared in plenty after the establishment of thick forests, at the end of the Carboniferous era, some 300 million years ago.
    V. The fifth stage creation has two versions: one version uses the word nur (light) and the other version nun (meaning, fishes, or alternatively in the non Hejazi dialect, whales). Now, if we take it as nur, it should not lead someone to imagine that the reference is to the creation of the Sun, while it can be said fairly accurately that the Sun is 5 billion years old. The hadith does not say Allah created the Sun on Wednesday. Rather, it says that He created light on that day. This statement comes very near to scientific speculations. Very early during the creation of the solar system, while the Sun and the planets were still in their early stage of formation, the earth was being regularly struck by heavy interstellar material which would chip of huge chunks of material as well us kick up millions of tons of dust. In that phase the earth was covered with a cloud of dust which would not allow the sunlight to penetrate. As the dust settled on the surface, the earth also emitted various gases under the pressure of gravitational contraction, and chemical combinations. Those gasses would have again become a barrier between the earth and the sun rays. It is estimated that huge amounts of neon and hydrogen atoms were present in the atmosphere of that period, along with some molecules of oxygen and inert nitrogen. Subsequently, as some scientists have postulated, the atmospheric gasses reacted with each other to form ammonia, methane and water molecules. In the meanwhile, primitive life forms were developing below on the surface of the earth. Their emissions helped create the present day water, all of which is thought to be initially in the form of dense clouds of vapor engulfing the earth, in place of the original dust. (Some scientists postulate that water came from deep in the Galactic areas delivered with the help of comets entirely made of ice. If that be true then, obviously, the impact would have instantaneously created a cloud of dust and water vapor). It is only when incessant rains fell for pretty long periods that the atmosphere cleared up and the earth's surface could receive a dim sunlight. With that, new life forms developed and their emission of oxygen helped in creating and maintaining the present day atmosphere. This happened, according to some estimates, no more than 600 million years ago. But, it is quite possible, that for the earth the sun would have remained as dim as it is for those at the poles now, or, even dimmer until a much later time. The process of reduction of the density of atmosphere might have taken several hundred million years to complete before the sun was finally shining on the earth with all its glory. Thus we arrive very close to the statement that Allah created nur in the fifth stage of creation.
    Alternatively, if it is believed that the word is nun, then, we know that small fishes began to appear at the end of Cambrian period itself, some 600 million years ago. The large ones, the kind of fish we are familiar with today, to include whales, could have only appeared during the Permian period, some 250 million years ago.
    VI. As we get closer, we can be more certain of the dates. Science has quite a few evidences to prove that although life has been there for billions of years, it was mostly dominated by bacterium. Multicellular bodies appeared only 1.5 billion years ago. Small animals have only been there since the Cambrian period, i.e., about 600 million years behind us. Mammals appeared only some 200 million years ago or less. As for the beasts, they are on the scene since the middle of the Tertiary period. That is, no more than 50 million years. In fact, the kind of beasts that we are familiar with today appeared even much later, perhaps 30 million years ago. Thus their creation on Thursday.
    The above of course, does not confirm the theory of evolution. That the biological organisms appeared gradually on the earth, can be scientifically evidenced, but that they appeared by the evolutionary processes still lacks any concrete evidence.
    VII. Finally, the appearance of man. Scientists speculate that the Hominidae (the precursors of the sub family Hominidae) appeared by the process of evolution, pretty late: no more than perhaps 2 million years ago culminating in the appearance of the modern day man, the Homo Sapiens, appearing about 100,000 years ago.
    There is no fool proof evidence to the above speculation. It seems to rest on some biological data. But they are flimsy. From the first day of its presentation, the theory of evolution has been unable to resolve certain serious questions, and has, therefore, remained a hypothesis, growing weaker with the latest findings. In fact, there are no less than half a dozen schools among the scientists, each of which differs so widely from the other in tracing the tree as to leave one wondering if anyone can be trusted. Not only the sudden appearance of man on the face of the earth, in his present form, is still a complete mystery but it seems almost every animal seems to have appeared suddenly from nowhere. In contrast, the Qur'an tells us that Adam was created as one whole, out of dust, and did not evolve from Primates.
    Nevertheless, both the revelation as well as science, agree that whatever the process, man arrived on the scene last. There is no equivalent statement in any other literature apart from scientific, better depicting such a late appearance of man in the program of creation than the words of the hadith which declares the first act of Creation on Saturday, and man's creation during the last hours of Friday, separating him from a night that will be followed by a Day which in turn will herald a new epoch, a new realm the Hereafter.
    Contrast the precision of hadith statement with those of the medieval Jewish scholars who put the date of the Creation to 3760 B.C. The opinion of the Christian Church was that the Creation took place at a definite moment in 4004 B.C. Right up to the eighteenths century many scientists believed in the veracity of the statement. The Greek Orthodox Church was more cautious. They put back the Creation to 5505 B.C.!
    It might also be pointed out that some scholars have doubted the authenticity of the hadith on grounds that it speaks of creation in seven days, whereas the Qur'an states it took place in six days. But, there has been a misunderstanding. This hadith is also speaking of the creation of the heaven and earth in six days. It was man who was created on the seventh day.
    Furthermore, the Qur'anic statement "He created the heavens and the earth in six days" could be with reference to another process, and other, different, kinds of phases in the creation from the very beginning to the appearance of earth ready to support life.
    Finally, religion does not purport to solve scientific riddles. It invites man to do that. It is enough of its authenticity that it should come so close to the most widely accepted postulations (Au.).
    5. The verse does not state whom or in what sense do the unbelievers equate their Lord with. It could equally mean they equate the deities with Allah, as well as, others, e.g. nature, in His powers and Attributes. Alternatively, it could mean they equate others with Him in hamd, while all praise truly belongs to Allah (Au.).
    6. All life forms originated from clay some 3.5 billion years ago. Man feeds upon these life forms. Therefore, it can be said that although the first man, Adam was made of clay, the later generations, who feed on other life forms are also made of clay. Further, devoid of the soul, the flesh and blood are nothing but a mass of atoms - the basic brick of all matter (Au.).
    In further explanation, Qurtubi quotes a couple of ahadith and aathar to demonstrate that not only man is created from dust, but actually, each individual is created from a specific dust, and returns to that dust at death.
    Taking the lead from Qurtubi, we have taken out several reports from several origins. One of them says:


    وَقَالَ عَطَاءٌ الْخُرَاسَانِيُّ: إِذَا وَقَعَتِ النُّطْفَةُ فِي الرَّحِمِ انْطَلَقَ الْمَلَكُ الْمُوَكَّلُ بِالرَّحِمِ فَأَخَذَ مِنْ تُرَابِ الْمَكَانِ الَّذِي يُدْفَنُ فِيهِ فَيَذُرُّهُ عَلَى النُّطْفَةِ فَيَخْلُقُ اللَّهُ النَّسَمَةَ مِنَ النُّطْفَةِ وَمِنَ التُّرَابِ، فَذَلِكَ قَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى:" مِنْها خَلَقْناكُمْ وَفِيها نُعِيدُكُمْ وَمِنْها نُخْرِجُكُمْ تارَةً أُخْرى - اللآلي المصنوعة (1/ 285)


    `Ata’ al-Khurasani said: When the fertilized egg is deposited in the womb, an angel appointed for this purpose visits. He takes some dust from the place he is to be buried and places it in the fertilized egg. Thus Allah creates the new life with the fertilized egg and dust. This is the explanation of the verse (20: 55): “Out of it [dust] We have created you, to it We shall return you, and out of it We shall bring you out a second time.”
    Hilal b. Yusfaf is reported to have said:


    عن هلال بن يساف قال ما من مولود يولد إلا وفي سرته من تربة الأرض التي يموت فيها


    “There is no new born but it has in its navel dust from the earth in which it is to be buried.”
    The next is a hadith from Tabarani:


    عن ابن عمر أن حبشيا دفن بالمدينة فقال رسول الله دفن بالطينة التي خلق منها


    Ibn `Umar reported that a dark African was buried in Madinah. The Prophet remarked: “He is being buried in the dust from which he was created.”
    The following is also a hadith whose sum and substance is found in Bazzar and Hakim:


    عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ قَالَ: مَرَّ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بِجَنَازَةٍ عِنْدَ قَبْرٍ فَقَالَ: " قَبْرُ مَنْ هَذَا؟ " فَقَالُوا: قَبْرُ فُلَانٍ الْحَبَشِيِّ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ. فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: " لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللهُ , سِيقَ مِنْ أَرْضِهِ , وَسَمَائِهِ إِلَى تُرْبَتِهِ الَّتِي خُلِقَ مِنْهَا " – شعب الإيمان (12/ 297)
    هذا حديث صحيح الإسناد و لم يخرجاه و أنيس بن أبي يحيى الأسلمي هو عم إبراهيم بن أبي يحيى و أنيس ثقة معتمد و لهذا الحديث شواهد و أكثرها صحيحة منها


    Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri reports that the Prophet passed by a funeral near its grave. He asked, “Whose grave is this?” They replied, “That of an African, Messenger of Allah.” He said, “There is no deity save Allah. He was driven from his land and sky to his dust out of which he was created.”
    A similar report as above has a note in Mustadrak perhaps coming from Dhahabi: This is hadith with a trustworthy chain of narrators although the Sheikhayn did not place it in their collections .. and this hadith has several such supporting ones most of which are trustworthy.
    Ibn `Abbas is also reported as saying:


    وقال عبد الرزاق في المصنف عن ابن جريج قال أخبرني عمر بن عطاء بن وراد عن عكرمة عن ابن عباس أنه قال يدفن كل إنسان في التربة التي خلق منها


    “Every human is buried in the dust out of which he is created.”
    And, Ibn Sirin is reported to have said:


    وقال الحكيم في نوادره حدثنا الفضل بن محمد حدثنا بكر بن محمد حدثنا أبو عبد الرحمن المقبري عن إبراهيم بن يزيد الخوزي قال سمعت ابن سيرين يقول لو حلفت حلفت صادقا بارا غير شاك ولا مستثني إن الله تعالى ما خلق نبيه ولا أبا بكر ولا عمر إلا من طينة واحدة ثم ردهم إلى تلك الطينة


    “If I could, I would swear and would be true without doubt, and without exception that Allah did not create His Prophet, nor Abu Bakr and `Umar but from one [source of] dust and then returned them to that dust.”
    What he meant is that since the three are buried in the same place, they must have been created from that dust alone (Au.).
    Verse 1 spoke of the creation of the larger world, the cosmos. Verse 2 speaks of the creation of the smaller world, man (Shabbir).
    7. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Suddi and Hasan have said that by the first "term" (ajl) the allusion is to this world's term, and, by the second to that of the Hereafter, that is, the period between the destruction of this world and the Resurrection. Though, other reports coming from the same authorities suggest that the first term is each man's appointed hour of death (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    The two "terms" could also be referring to, as Abu Muslim has said, the terms of those who have passed away, and the terms of those who are yet to appear (Razi).
    8. Imam Razi writes: Some people have argued with the help of this verse that Allah is in the heavens. They also quote verse 17 of surah al Mulk (no. 67) which says:


    أَمْ أَمِنْتُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ أَنْ يُرْسِلَ عَلَيْكُمْ حَاصِبًا [الملك : 17]


    "Or do you feel secure that One who is in the heaven, will not send a violent wind against you?" The weakness in the argument should be obvious. If Allah is in the heavens, He cannot be in the earth, as the verse in question plainly states. Further, Allah has said in this surah itself, verse 12:


    قُلْ لِمَنْ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ قُلْ لِلَّهِ [الأنعام : 12]


    "Ask (them): ‘To whom belongs all that is in the heavens and earth?' Say: ‘(To) Allah.'"
    Now, believing that Allah is in the heaven would mean He owns Himself. To be sure, not a very clever idea. There are other problems too, viz., if Allah were to be in the heaven, he would be limited by the Heaven. But He actually suffers no limitations. Again, if He is in the heaven, then, either He is capable of creating another, eighth heaven above Him, or He is not. If He is not capable, then He is limited in His Powers, which is unacceptable. But if He is capable, then He would be contained by what He has created. Finally, Allah's following statements also deny His existence in a particular direction and place. He said (57: 4):


    وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنْتُمْ [الحديد : 4]


    "He is with you wherever you might be." And, (50: 16):


    وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ [ق : 16]


    "We are nearer to Him than his jugular vein."
    And, (2: 115):


    فَأَيْنَمَا تُوَلُّوا فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ اللَّهِ [البقرة : 115]


    "So wheresoever you turn, (right) there is Allah's Face."
    Subsequent to these words, Razi offers other possible explanations of the verse in question. But, as if to refute the above, or otherwise, Ibn Kathir has the following to offer as his comment of the verse in question. He says: This verse is in the same vein as that of surah Al Zukhruf, (verse 87) which says:


    وَهُوَ الَّذِي فِي السَّمَاءِ إِلَهٌ وَفِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَهٌ [الزخرف : 84]


    "It is He who is the Lord in the heaven and the Lord in the earth," meaning, there are no two or more gods.
    This of course is a very complicated issue. We might point out at this stage that the standard opinion of the Ahl al Sunnah is to accept the "fawqiyyah" of Allah without imagining Him in any particular direction (Au.).
    9. Qarn of the original has been variously interpreted: from a period lasting 20 years, to anything above but less than 100. Asad writes: ‘... in the Qur'anic usage, the term qarn does not always denote "a generation", but rather more frequently "an epoch", or "people belonging to one particular epoch", as well as "a civilization" in the historical sense of the word.'
    10. Kalbi and others have reported that Nadr b. al Harth, `Abdullah ibn Abi Umayyah (he became a Muslim later: Shafi`) and Nawfal b. Khuwaylid said to the Prophet: "We will not believe in you until a written material came down, along with four angels bearing testimony that you have been appointed a messenger of God." Allah revealed this verse in response (Alusi).
    11. This verse was in response to the Makkan chiefs suggesting to the Prophet that it would have been nice if an angel were sent down to accompany him wherever he went and declare his authenticity (Alusi).
    Ibn `Abbas has said that were an angel to come down, the people would not be able to bear his sight because of his radiance (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir); therefore, he would have to be given a human form, and hence, the doubt would remain (Au.).
    Sayyid writes: The demand that an angel be sent down suggests that the pagans did not disbelieve in the existence of Allah, nor did they contend that angels existed. Rather, it was only obduracy on their part that propelled them to make these kind of demands. They were so adamant in their attitude that the Qur'an reported about them (17: 90 93):


    وَقَالُوا لَنْ نُؤْمِنَ لَكَ حَتَّى تَفْجُرَ لَنَا مِنَ الْأَرْضِ يَنْبُوعًا (90) أَوْ تَكُونَ لَكَ جَنَّةٌ مِنْ نَخِيلٍ وَعِنَبٍ فَتُفَجِّرَ الْأَنْهَارَ خِلَالَهَا تَفْجِيرًا (91) أَوْ تُسْقِطَ السَّمَاءَ كَمَا زَعَمْتَ عَلَيْنَا كِسَفًا أَوْ تَأْتِيَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ قَبِيلًا (92) أَوْ يَكُونَ لَكَ بَيْتٌ مِنْ زُخْرُفٍ أَوْ تَرْقَى فِي السَّمَاءِ وَلَنْ نُؤْمِنَ لِرُقِيِّكَ حَتَّى تُنَزِّلَ عَلَيْنَا كِتَابًا نَقْرَؤُهُ قُلْ سُبْحَانَ رَبِّي هَلْ كُنْتُ إِلَّا بَشَرًا رَسُولًا [الإسراء : 90 - 93]


    "They said, ‘We shall not believe in you till you make a spring gush forth from the earth for us, or till you posses a garden of palms and vines and you make rivers roll forth mightily through it, or till you make the heaven fall on us in fragments, as you claim, or you bring down God and the angels as a surety, or till you posses a house of gold, or you go up the heaven, yet, we shall not believe in your going up the heaven until you bring down for us a book which we can read.' Say, ‘Glory to Allah. Am I anything except a mortal and a Messenger?’" This kind of demand suggested that it was only obduracy and ignorance of a high order on their part rather than a lack of evidence. Indeed, there was no shortage of evidence. They had been seeing the Prophet since his childhood until he was forty. They trusted him and had faith in his integrity. When he called them forth the first time from the Safa hill, he asked them if they would believe if he said that an army was preparing to attack them from the other side. In one voice they said yes. His honesty was of such level that although they denied him, they left money in his trust even up to the day he left Makkah in secrecy. Thus, it was not his trustworthiness that was in doubt. It was obduracy, plain and simple. Accordingly, the Qur'an said (6: 33):


    قَدْ نَعْلَمُ إِنَّهُ لَيَحْزُنُكَ الَّذِي يَقُولُونَ فَإِنَّهُمْ لَا يُكَذِّبُونَكَ وَلَكِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ يَجْحَدُونَ [الأنعام : 33]


    "We know that what they say hurts you. But it is not you they cry lies to. Rather, it is Allah's signs that these transgressors are disputing."
    Moreover, the proofs that they were demanding were abundantly supplied to them in the form of the Qur'an itself. They had no doubts that the high level of eloquence attained by the Qur'an, and the miraculous nature of its verses required that the Divine hand be behind it. As experts of the language they knew very well that no human could produce a masterpiece of this sort. The Arabs knew in the depth of their hearts that the message itself of the Qur'an and the manner of its presentation was something beyond imitation. Thus, it was not lack of proofs, rather, it was intransigence which led them to rejection."
    12. As Allah said elsewhere (25: 22):


    يَوْمَ يَرَوْنَ الْمَلَائِكَةَ لَا بُشْرَى يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلْمُجْرِمِينَ [الفرقان : 22]


    "The day they will see the angels, no good news will there be at that time for the criminals" (Ibn Kathir).
    The appearance to the humans of angels in their own form is to uncover the unseen. That happens only to those whose term has expired (Au.).
    13. As Allah said elsewhere (17: 95):


    قُلْ لَوْ كَانَ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَلَائِكَةٌ يَمْشُونَ مُطْمَئِنِّينَ لَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَلَكًا رَسُولًا [الإسراء : 95]


    "Say, ‘Were there to be in the earth angels, going about in peace, surely, We would have then sent unto them an angel from the heaven as a Messenger'" (Ibn Kathir).
    14. ‘Since it is impossible for man to perceive angels as they really are, the hypothetical angelic message bearer would have to assume the shape of a human being and so their demand for a direct "verification" of the message would have remained unfulfilled, and their self caused confusion unresolved' (Asad).
    15. ‘... the meaning being that a derisive rejection of spiritual truth inexorably rebounds on the scoffers and has not only a disastrous effect on their individual lives after death but also if persisted in by the majority within a community destroys the moral basis of their society and, thus, their earthly happiness and sometimes even their physical existence' (Asad).

    16. The archaeological remains and historical records of the ancient nations testify to how they met their tragic ends for turning away from truth and honesty, and stubbornly persisting in their devotion to falsehood (Mawdudi).
    17. The subtlety of this argument should not go unnoticed. The unbelievers are asked: to whom belongs whatever exists in either the heavens or on the earth. The inquirer then pauses to wait for the answer. Those questioned are themselves convinced that all belongs to God, yet while they dare not respond falsely, they are nevertheless not prepared to give the correct answer. Fearing that their response may be used in argument against their polytheistic beliefs, they keep quiet. At this, the inquirer is told to answer the question himself and to say that all belongs to God (Mawdudi).
    18. In a hadith of the Sahihayn, Abu Hurayrah has reported the Prophet,


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَّا قَضَى الْخَلْقَ كَتَبَ عِنْدَهُ فَوْقَ عَرْشِهِ إِنَّ رَحْمَتِي سَبَقَتْ غَضَبِي


    "When Allah had created the creations He declared a law (unto Himself) which is with Him above the `Arsh (to the effect), ‘My mercy shall outstrip My anger'" (Ibn Kathir).
    Muslim has another version by Salman al Farsi which says:


    جَعَلَ اللَّهُ الرَّحْمَةَ مِائَةَ جُزْءٍ فَأَمْسَكَ عِنْدَهُ تِسْعَةً وَتِسْعِينَ وَأَنْزَلَ فِي الْأَرْضِ جُزْءًا وَاحِدًا فَمِنْ ذَلِكَ الْجُزْءِ تَتَرَاحَمُ الْخَلَائِقُ حَتَّى تَرْفَعَ الدَّابَّةُ حَافِرَهَا عَن وَلَدِهَا خَشْيَةَ أَنْ تُصِيبَهُ


    "Allah has made a hundred parts of mercy. He has retained ninety nine of them with Himself and sent down to the earth a single part. It is by that part that the creations show mercy to each other, so that the mother-beast lifts her hoof off her young out of the fear of trampling it" (Sayyid).
    Muslim and Ahmad have another version narrated by Salman al Farsi which reports the Prophet (saws) as having said:


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَلَقَ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ مِائَةَ رَحْمَةٍ كُلُّ رَحْمَةٍ طِبَاقَ مَا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالأَرْضِ فَجَعَلَ مِنْهَا فِى الأَرْضِ رَحْمَةً فَبِهَا تَعْطِفُ الْوَالِدَةُ عَلَى وَلَدِهَا وَالْوَحْشُ وَالطَّيْرُ بَعْضُهَا عَلَى بَعْضٍ فَإِذَا كَانَ يَوْمُ الْقِيَامَةِ أَكْمَلَهَا بِهَذِهِالرَّحْمَةِ

     

    "The day Allah created the heavens and the earth, He also created a hundred (parts of) mercy. Every part of this mercy covers the heaven and the earth. Of it He placed a single part on the earth. It is by it that the mother shows mercy to her child, and the beasts and birds show mercy to each other. When it is The of Judgment, He will complete it with this mercy" (Shawkani).
    After re narrating the above ahadith Sayyid adds: "Apart from the above ahadith, the Prophet never failed to emphasize Allah's mercy whenever an occasion arose. When a woman was found searching for her child amongst a group of prisoners, picking up anyone she would come across, pressing it against her breast, the Prophet remarked:


    « أَتَرَوْنَ هَذِهِ الْمَرْأَةَ طَارِحَةً وَلَدَهَا فِى النَّارِ ». قُلْنَا لاَ وَاللَّهِ وَهِىَ تَقْدِرُ عَلَى أَنْ لاَ تَطْرَحَهُ. فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- « لَلَّهُ أَرْحَمُ بِعِبَادِهِ مِنْ هَذِهِ بِوَلَدِهَا ».


    "Do you think this woman will throw her child into fire?" They said: "No, O Messenger of Allah, if she has the choice not to." He rejoined: "Allah is kinder toward His creations than this woman toward her child." On another occasion he said, as reported by `Amr b. al As:


    الرَّاحِمُونَ يَرْحَمُهُمُ الرَّحْمَنُ ارْحَمُوا مَنْ فِى الأَرْضِ يَرْحَمْكُمْ مَنْ فِى السَّمَاءِ


    "The merciful are shown mercy by Allah. Show mercy to those on the earth, He who is in the heavens will show mercy to you" (Abu Da'ud, Tirmidhi).
    Jarir has reported the Prophet as saying:


    إِنَّ مَنْ لاَ يَرْحَمُ لاَ يُرْحَمُ


    "He is not shown mercy who does not show mercy" (The Sahihayn and Tirmidhi). It so happened once that the Prophet was kissing Ali's son Hasan. Al Aqra` b. Habis happened to be around. He remarked: "I have ten children. Yet, I never kiss them." The Prophet eyed him for a while and then said: "He who does not show mercy is not shown mercy" (Abu Hurayrah: the Sahihayn). Abu Hurayrah has also reported the Prophet in a report preserved by Malik and the Sheikhayn that a man was forgiven because he gave some water to a thirsty dog saying: ‘This dog is going through what I was going through of the thirst.' Allah accepted his good deed." )The text is as follows: Au):


    بَيْنَا رَجُلٌ بِطَرِيقٍ اشْتَدَّ عَلَيْهِ الْعَطَشُ فَوَجَدَ بِئْرًا فَنَزَلَ فِيهَا فَشَرِبَ ثُمَّ خَرَجَ فَإِذَا كَلْبٌ يَلْهَثُ يَأْكُلُ الثَّرَى مِنْ الْعَطَشِ فَقَالَ الرَّجُلُ لَقَدْ بَلَغَ هَذَا الْكَلْبَ مِنْ الْعَطَشِ مِثْلُ الَّذِي كَانَ بَلَغَ مِنِّي فَنَزَلَ الْبِئْرَ فَمَلَا خُفَّهُ مَاءً فَسَقَى الْكَلْبَ فَشَكَرَ اللَّهُ لَهُ فَغَفَرَ لَهُ


    During a campaign, Sayyid continues, when someone brought down young chicks from a nest and their mother began to encircle over their heads, the Prophet enquired: "Who disturbed the peace of this bird? Return her chicks to her."
    Sayyid concludes: "We could have passed over the above verse lightly. But it is necessary for a Muslim to realize the greatness of kindness and the kindness of the Kindest. Resting in his heart, this truth has deep spiritual ramifications for him. He rests in peace that whatever happens to him, good or bad, is out of mercy of His creator. If he is tested with some hardships, it is for his good, it is not a sign of Allah's rejection. Allah does not deny His mercy to anyone. It is the people who deny His mercy to themselves by disbelieving in Him."
    Asad adds: "The expression "God has willed upon Himself as a law" (kataba `ala nafsihi) occurs in the Qur'an only twice here and in verse 54 of this surah itself and in both instances with reference to His grace and mercy (rahmah); none of the other divine attributes has been similarly described. This exceptional quality of God's grace and mercy is further stressed in 7: 156 "My grace overspreads everything" and finds an echo in the authentic Traditions in which, according to the Prophet, God says of Himself, "Verily, My grace and mercy outstrip My wrath".
    19. Because of the use of the preposition "ila", it has been suggested that it could mean: He will assemble you in your graves until the Day of Judgment, when you will be brought out (Qurtubi).
    20. What the verse means to say is that even though your own speculations over who possesses the universe leads you to the conclusion that it can only belong to One God, yet, despite that, if you suggest other deities besides Him, then, as a people, you ought to be destroyed. But it is Allah's mercy which He has prescribed unto Himself as a Law that saves you from immediate extinction. This respite however is to allow you time for re consideration of the issue. It should not be imagined that, acceptance or rejection, destruction or no destruction, the matter will rest there. Rather, there will be a next life in which you will be questioned and punished for your dishonesty. As to why some people refuse to heed despite the warning delivered by the irrefutable message, the answer is, it is because they have lost their souls to other causes. Consequently, they removed the issue of reconsideration from their minds altogether; and that is so perhaps, because the message tends to question the causes to which they are presently devoted (Au.).
    21. The best that has been said about the connection between verse 12 (Say, ‘To whom belongs what is the heavens and in the earth?') and verse 13 (‘To Him belongs whatever takes rest in the night and in the day’) is by Abu Muslim. He said: First Allah spoke of the heavens and the earth (in verse 12) because there is no Space but within these two. Then He spoke about the night and the day (verse 13) because there is no Time save encompassed by these two. Thus, Allah informed us that to Him belong both Space and Time. Further, with regard to the use of the word sakana, there are two opinions. First, it implies that what takes rest is necessarily that which moves. So when it is said "ma sakana" both are automatically included and both belong to Him. Second, and the weightier interpretation is that sakana is in the sense of taking up residence. In other words, whatever takes up residence within Time and Space belongs to Him. Also, the word sakana is all inclusive, for, those that are at rest, are greater in numbers than those that move (Razi).
    22. Ibn `Abbas is reported as having said: "I did not know the meaning of "fatara" until I came across two bedouins quarrelling over a well. One of them said: Ana Fatartuha [i.e., "I originated it]'" (Zamakhshari, Razi, Shawkani).
    Razi adds some points that seem to agree with the modern cosmological speculations. He says that the word fatara has, as Ibn al Anbari pointed out, the connotation in its root of the beginning of a thing by tearing it apart from another. It leads us to believe that "the act of creation involved in its process a tearing open (or tearing apart) and then subsequent coalescing of some materials with the others." His original words are:


    فقوله فاطر السموات والأرض يريد خالقهما ومنشئهما بالتركيب الذي سبيله أن يحصل فيه الشق والتأليف عند ضم الأشياء إلى بعض


    Thus he comes close to describing an explosion and then coalescing of elements giving rise to heavenly bodies. He further adds a brilliant point by saying that an act of tearing apart can have two consequences: (i) leading to an improvement, as, e.g., Allah's words (67: 3),


    هَلْ تَرَى مِنْ فُطُورٍ [الملك : 3]


    "Do you see any crack?"
    Or (ii) leading to destruction, as in (82: 1):


    إِذَا السَّمَاءُ انْفَطَرَتْ [الإنفطار : 1]


    "When the heavens will be torn open."
    It might also be of interest to note that all acts of creation involve a tearing open; whether it is a plant out of a seed, a flower out of a bud, a chicken out of an egg, or anything else that we can think of. They all involve a tearing open of some sort or the other. Thus fatir has a greater depth of meaning that what might be suspected (Au.).
    23. Majid writes: "Frazer, in his voluminous work, gives minute and accurate details of ‘sky worship' in Vedic India, Iran, Greece, Rome, Babylonia, Egypt, China, Korea, Western Africa, Congo, Southern Africa and Eastern Africa, and of Earth worship in Vedic India, Greece, Rome, Babylonia, Assyria, China, Modern India, and in various parts of Africa and America."
    The present Pope’s act of kissing the earth first thing upon landing in a country, suggests, in the least, veneration of the "mother earth" (Au.).
    24. Majid comments: "According to the crudities of the polytheistic people, the gods actually consume the food and drink that are offered to them. The Babylonian gods, for instance, ‘conceived of in such human wise, knew thirst and hunger as did men, and had to be propitiated by drink and food' (Woolley, Abraham, p. 157)."
    As for the Christians, Majid wonders if they are any better than the ancient pagans in celebrating the festival of Eucharist during which they proceed to eat bread and drink wine, in the belief that they are the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. It is openly taught in the approved and authorized Catholic Catechism:

    Q. What is the Blessed Eucharist?
    A. The sacrament of the body and blood, soul and divinity, of Jesus Christ, under the appearance of bread and wine.
    Q. Are both the body and blood of Christ under the appearance of bread and under the appearance of wine?
    A. Yes; Christ is whole and entire, true God and true man, under the appearance of each.
    Q. Are we to believe that the God of all Glory is under the appearance of our corporeal food?
    A. Yes; as we must also believe that the same God of all Glory suffered death under the appearance of a criminal on the cross.
    Q. How can the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ?
    A. By the goodness and power of God, with whom no work shall be impossible.

    25. Hence we have `Umar ibn al Khattab's statement: "Enough for me, if (on the Day of Judgment), there is nothing for me and nothing against me" (Shabbir).
    26. Ibn `Abbas has narrated the famous hadith in Tirmidhi. He says:


    عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ أَنَّهُ كَانَ خَلْفَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ , فَقَالَ لِي وَأَنَا رَدِيفٌ خَلْفَهُ: يَا غُلامُ إِنِّي مُعَلِّمُكُ كَلِمَاتٍ فَاحْفَظْهُنَّ ,احْفَظِ اللَّهَ يَحْفَظْكَ احْفَظِ اللَّهَ تَجِدْهُ تُجَاهَكَ , وَإِذَا سَأَلْتَ فَاسْأَلِ اللَّهَ , وَإِذَا اسْتَعَنْتَ فَاسْتَعِنْ بِاللَّهِ , وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ الأُمَّةَ لَوِ اجْتَمَعُوا عَلَى أَنْ يَنْفَعُوكَ لَمْ يَنْفَعُوكَ إِلا بِشَيْءٍ قَدْ كَتَبَهُ اللَّهُ لَكَ وَلَوْ اجْتَمَعُوا عَلَى أَنْ يَضُرُّوكَ لَمْ يَضُرُّوكَ إِلَّا بِشَيْءٍ قَدْ كَتَبَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكَ , جَفَّتِ الأَقْلامُ وَطُوِيَتِ الصُّحُفُ


    "One day I shared a ride with the Prophet on the same beast. He addressed me: ‘My boy. I will teach you a few words, remember them: Be mindful of Allah, He will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, you will find Him before you. When you ask, ask Allah. When you seek help, seek Allah's help. Remember, if the peoples of the world decide to do you a good, they would not be able to do you good in the least, save for what Allah has decreed for you. And, if they were to be unanimous over doing you a harm, they would not be able to do anything, save for what Allah has decreed for you. The pens have dried, and the scriptures have been folded" (Qurtubi).
    Alusi adds: This verse forbids that someone should seek removal of an affliction by anyone other than Allah.
    He also writes: As if expounding the above hadith, Sheikh `Abdul Qadir Jilani wrote in Futuh al Ghayb what can be summarized as the following: ‘Whosoever desires peace in this life and in the Hereafter may observe sabr and rida, give up complaining to others of his kind, presenting his needs to his Lord alone. He should apply himself to His obedience, wait for an opening from Him, and cut himself off from all else save Him. He should understand that His withholding is bestowal, His punishment a reward, tribulations from Him a cure, His promises a kind of trance and His words, acts. All His acts are good, wise and in keeping with the greater needs, except that He has kept the knowledge of the wisdom behind them unto Himself, leaving no recourse for His slaves except to the acts of devotion, staying away from what is forbidden, graceful acceptance of His decree, and avoiding to ask "why," "how" and "when."'
    Every Muslim then, Alusi concludes, should keep the above quoted hadith of Tirmidhi constantly in sight.
    27. Hence the Prophet's famous oft repeated prayer words:


    لاَ مَانِعَ لِمَا أَعْطَيْتَ ، وَلاَ مُعْطِىَ لِمَا مَنَعْتَ ، وَلاَ يَنْفَعُ ذَا الْجَدِّ مِنْكَ الْجَدُّ


    “O Allah. There is none to withhold what You bestow, none to bestow what You withhold, and of no profit any one of power and possession against You” (Ibn Kathir).
    28. Qahir is someone who subdues the rebellious and humiliates the arrogant.
    29. The meaning of "wa huwa al Qahiru fawqa `ibadihi" is: "Allah is predominant over His slaves, He who humbles them, overpowering them through subjugation, by virtue of His creation of them. Thus He is above them in His irresistible power over them, and they are under Him. And He is the Wise... He is Wise: in His overpowering of His slaves, in His irresistibility over them by His power and in all His acts. He is the Knower of the benefits of a thing or its harms, from Whom neither the ends are hidden nor their beginning, whose management of affairs carries no blemish nor has He an associate in His commands" (Ibn Jarir).
    Kashshaf also agrees that the word "fawqa `ibadihi" implies Allah's predominance over the people and His absolute power over everything that one can imagine as of existence besides Him. Therefore, he adds, it is right to say that He is "a Thing, but unlike anything," or to say He is, "Known but unlike anything that is known." But it is not right to say He has "a Body but unlike any other body."
    Imam Razi builds up a long argument against those who take "fawqa" in the literal sense of Allah being "above," and denies that Allah is in any specific direction. One of his arguments is that the universe is spherical in which space is neither filled nor void. He concludes that imagining the Divinity in any specific direction or occupying a particular position would amount to either declaring Him below some of His creations, or imposing limits on Him.
    Alusi reacts to this kind of reasoning. He asserts that the belief of the Muslims, as stated clearly by Tahawi, is that Allah is "fawqa," without the suggestion of a direction. In fact, Alusi adds most brilliantly, that directions have no existence. They are merely convenient points of reference. They are a notion, an idea, and not concrete things. Imam Ahmad has a hadith in which the Prophet said:


    الله تبارك وتعالى فوق ذلك فوق العرش


    "Allah Most High is is above that, (that is), above the `Arsh."
    Another hadith of Abu Da'ud says:


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ فَوْقَ عَرْشِهِ وَعَرْشُهُ فَوْقَ سَمَوَاتِهِ


    "Allah is above His `Arsh. His `Arsh is above His heavens." While saying that he made a circle with his finger. Then he added, "And it creaks as a new saddle creaks under the weight of a rider." Another sahih hadith of the Prophet narrated by Umawi in his Maghazi tells us that when Sa`d ibn Mu`adh had given his verdict about Banu Qurayzah, the Prophet remarked:


    لقد حكمت فيهم بحكم الله من فوق سبع سماوات


    "You have given a verdict that is in line with the verdict He who is ‘above' the seven heavens."
    Ibn Majah has another hadith which says:


    بَيْنَا أَهْلُ الْجَنَّةِ فِي نَعِيمِهِمْ إِذْ سَطَعَ لَهُمْ نُورٌ فَرَفَعُوا رُءُوسَهُمْ فَإِذَا الرَّبُّ قَدْ أَشْرَفَ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ فَوْقِهِمْ فَقَالَ السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ يَا أَهْلَ الْجَنَّةِ قَالَ وَذَلِكَ قَوْلُ اللَّهِ سَلَامٌ قَوْلًا مِنْ رَبٍّ رَحِيمٍ قَالَ فَيَنْظُرُ إِلَيْهِمْ وَيَنْظُرُونَ إِلَيْهِ فَلَا يَلْتَفِتُونَ إِلَى شَيْءٍ مِنْ النَّعِيمِ مَا دَامُوا يَنْظُرُونَ إِلَيْهِ حَتَّى يَحْتَجِبَ عَنْهُمْ وَيَبْقَى نُورُهُ وَبَرَكَتُهُ عَلَيْهِمْ فِي دِيَارِهِمْ


    "While the people of Paradise would be in their pleasures, they would be engulfed by a nur. They will raise their heads and lo, it will be Allah Most High looking down on them from above them. He will say, ‘People of Paradise, Al-salamun `Alaykum O dwellers of Paradise. The Prophet recited the verse (36: 58), ‘Salam will be the word from a Kind Lord.' He will look down upon them and they will look up at Him. So long as He is in sight, they will not look at anything else until He veils Himself from them after which His nur and barakah – on them and on their dwellings – will remain."
    Alusi presents some other arguments to prove the "fawqiyyah" of Allah, but we drop them for purposes of brevity.
    Rashid Rida interjects that perhaps this verse is not the perfect point to argue about the divinity in being or not in a particular direction. The meaning is clear and has been lucidly explained by Ibn Jarir. The position of the Salaf, vis a vis the divinity, is also clear. They liked to pass over the verses discussing the Person of the divinity with silence. They said that Allah is over the `Arsh, over the seven heavens, and above the whole created world. He is "apart" from His creations. He is not limited, nor circumscribed. There is nothing like unto Him. His Attributes are described with the help of words understood by the humans, but He cannot be defined with those words. It would be better, concludes Rashid Rida, if we remained within this.
    Nonetheless, without any comment on what has been stated above, one might warn that this is an extremely difficult and delicate subject. Neither science nor revelation offer us a definitive knowledge of the created world. So far as scientific knowledge is concerned the information given about the state of the universe is far from clear. Indeed, it is to be understood in terms of mathematical equations alone. To convey in words what those equations mean, is to be trying to give a concrete shape to an abstract idea. It is said that the universe is "edgeless and boundary less," while space is thought to be probably "curved" and not "flat" and that it is expanding at a feverish pace and accelerating, so that it will keep on expanding for ever and ever. The cosmologists also assert that on the large scale the universe is homogenous and isotropic. That is, looked at from any angle, it is just the same in appearance and physical properties. But that does not mean the earth is in the center. They give the example of equidistant dots on a balloon in which every dot can be said to have a central position. The balloon example implies that we are at the edge of the universe and that the universe has a center. But, that is not correct, for, it is also asserted that there is no center to the universe. Further, there is no answer to the question, what is the nature of that which lies beyond the edge? One answer is that there is no beyond, and so the question may not be asked. Again, there are a few scientists who speculate that there might be an infinite number of universes. They are known as inflatory universes – millions of them. There are good scientific reasons to believe in their existence. None the less, humans might never come into contact with those universes because of dimensional problem. There could be eight, eleven or twenty three dimensions in those universes. Indeed our universe might have more than four dimensions, but others might be tucked away in matter and so invisible to us. What's more, some of those universes might be overlapping ours. But, when not overlapping, what's between these multiple universes? These few random points demonstrate that human knowledge is incomplete and inadequate to work out a satisfactory theory about the physical world itself. It is pointless, therefore, and even audacious to talk of a subject that involves the divinity. And hence the wise policy of silence adopted by the Salaf. We cannot say any more than that Allah is apart from His creations (Au.).
    30. It is said (as reported by Kalbi: Alusi) that (whenever the Quraysh enquired the Jews and Christians about the Prophet, they received the answer that there was nothing in their Scriptures to suggest that he was a Messenger: Alusi), the Quraysh demanded on the Prophet that he produce witnesses to his claim. In response Allah revealed this verse (Qurtubi).
    In the use of the word "thing" (in "what thing can be greater in testimony") is the hint that all else are "things" when compared to the only truly Existent Allah. Another connotation is that all "things" testify to the Oneness of Allah (Au.).
    31. Hence the Prophet has said:


    بَلِّغُوا عَنِّي وَلَوْ آيَةً


    "Transmit from me, even if it be a verse."
    In another hadith he said:


    نَضَّرَ اللَّهُ عَبْدًا سَمِعَ مَقَالَتِي فَحَفِظَها وَوَعَاهَا وَبَلَّغَهَا مَنْ لَمْ يَسْمَعْهَا فَرُبَّ حَامِلِ فِقْهٍ لا فِقْهَ لَهُ وَرُبُّ حَامِلِ فِقْهٍ ، إِلَى مَنْ هُوَ أَفْقَهُ مِنْهُ


    "May Allah keep the face of him bright and happy who heard something from me, remembered it and then passed it on to others. For, sometimes, the carrier of a point has no understanding himself, while, at other times, the carrier understands better than he to whom he passed on " (Shafi`).
    32. Qatadah and Ibn Jurayj have said that the allusion is to the Prophet. Nevertheless, a second opinion of Qatadah is that the allusion is to Islam (Ibn Jarir).
    Also see note 298 under surah Al Baqarah of this work.
    This is the answer to the Jewish and Christian claim that they did not have anything in their scriptures to suggest that Muhammad was a Messenger of God. The fact is, those who were vouchsafed the Book earlier, possess such unambiguous criteria that they can spot a Prophet among countless million other mortals just as easily as they can pick out their sons (Au.).
    Majid wrote: "There is little doubt, says a Christian biographer of the holy Prophet, that some at least among the Jews assured him that he might be, ‘or even affirmed that he was that Prophet whom the Lord their God should raise up unto them of their brothers' (Muir, p. 98)."
    33. There are several reasons why this verse has been brought here. The pagans for instance said about their idols that they had a share in divinity and that Allah had ordered them to worship them. They claimed that angels were Allah's daughters. There were other lies that they fastened upon Allah. As for the Jews and Christians, they claimed that what was revealed to them was the final word of God and that no prophet was due. Further, they committed several kinds of evils claiming that they were so ordered by Him. The Jews said ‘we are the children of God,' and, ‘we shall not enter the Fire but for a few days.' All these were lies that were fastened upon Allah, hence the verse (Razi).
    34. This verse is a continuation of the previous one. Together they are saying, "The transgressors shall not prosper (neither in this world, nor) on the Day when We shall gather them together ..." (Ibn Jarir).
    35. Asad writes: "Whenever the term shuraka' (pl. of sharik) is used in the Qur'an with reference to beliefs, it invariably denotes real or imaginary beings or forces to whom one ascribes a share in God's divinity: consequently, this concept and its utter condemnation in Islam relates not merely to the worship of false deities but also to the attribution of semi divine qualities and powers to saints (in the liturgical sense of this word), as well as to abstract notions like wealth, social status, power, nationality, etc., to which men so often ascribe an objective influence on human destinies."
    36. The fitnah of the original has been interpreted as "answer, reply, argument" etc., by authorities such as Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah and Dahhak. However, it appears that the meaning is, "When they are tried before Allah, there will be nothing for them to bank upon but to say, ‘We were not associators,' for fitnah also stands for "trial, test," etc. (Ibn Jarir).
    Qurtubi quotes a hadith from Muslim. It says:


    فيلقى العبد فيقول أي فل ألم أكرمك وأسودك وأزوجك وأسخر لك الخيل والإبل وأذرك ترأس وتربع ؟ فيقول بلى قال فيقول أفظننت أنك ملاقي ؟ فيقول لا فيقول فإني أنساك كما نسيتني ثم يلقى الثاني فيقول أي فل ألم أكرمك وأسودك وأزوجك وأسخر لك الخيل والإبل وأذرك ترأس وتربع ؟ فيقول بلى أي رب فيقول أفظننت أنك ملاقي ؟ فيقول لا فيقول فإني أنساك كما نسيتني ثم يلقى الثالث فيقول له مثل ذلك فيقول يا رب آمنت بك وبكتابك وبرسلك وصليت وصمت وتصدقت ويثني بخير ما استطاع فيقول ههنا إذاقال ثم يقال له الآن نبعث شاهدنا عليك ويتفكر في نفسه من ذا الذي يشهد علي ؟ فيختم على فيه ويقال لفخذه ولحمه وعظامه انطقي فتنطق فخذه ولحمه وعظامه بعمله وذلك ليعذر من نفسه وذلك المنافق وذلك الذي يسخط الله عليه


    "(On that Day) Allah will speak to one of His slave and say, ‘O so and so. Is it not true that I honored you, made you a leader, gave you a spouse, subdued the cattle for you and made you rich?' He will say, ‘Sure, you did my Lord.' He will ask, ‘Did you ever imagine you would meet Me?' He will reply, ‘No.' He will say, ‘Today I shall forget you as you forgot Me.' Then He will address a second one, similar to the first. Then He will speak to a third one. He will reply, ‘My Lord. I believed in You, in Your Book, in Your Messenger. I prayed, fasted and spent in charity.' He will thus speak well of himself so far as possible. He will be told, ‘Here too?!' Then it will be said, ‘Anon! We shall present witnesses over you.' He will wonder who would bear witness against him. Then his mouth will be sealed and his thighs, flesh, and bones would be ordered to speak. His thighs, flesh, and bones would bear witness against the man. This, so that the man is left with no excuse. This man, he would be a hypocrite with whom Allah would be angry."
    37. It is reported that a man went to Ibn `Abbas and asked, "What have you to say about these two verses: ‘By Allah, our Lord, we were not associators,' and, ‘And they shall not be able to conceal anything?'" Ibn `Abbas replied, "As for the unbelievers saying, ‘By Allah, our Lord, we were not associators,' that will be when they will notice that none but the believers are entering Paradise. They will say to themselves, ‘Let us deny,' and, consequently, will say, "By Allah, our Lord, we were not associators.' But, subsequently, Allah will seal their mouths. Their hands and feet will speak out (testifying against them). Then it will be that, ‘They shall not be able to conceal anything'" (Ibn Jarir).
    Nevertheless, tafasir Al Bahr al Muhit and Maz hari have said that the people alluded to here are those who had not committed open shirk but had sought help from others besides Allah, such as those who address their prayers to the dead near the graves. It is they who would claim that they were not associators (Ma`arif).
    Asad adds: "This refers to beliefs which undoubtedly imply shirk ("the ascribing divinity or divine qualities to beings or forces other than God") in the objective sense of this concept, but which the person concerned does not subjectively visualize as denying God's oneness (Razi): for instance, the mystical dogma of the "Trinity" which, in the Christian view, does not conflict with the principle of God's oneness inasmuch as it is supposed to express a "threefold aspect" of the One Deity, or the attribution of divine or semi divine qualities to saints as supposed "mediators" between man and God, and so forth."
    Sayyid writes: There are three kinds of ‘associations' and all the three were prevalent among the pagan Arabs. They believed in beings who they thought had a say in the affairs of the world: such as angels, jinn and spirits of the dead. They believed these powers resided in their idols and spoke their mind through the priests. These powers could interfere in the affairs of the people, and, either by their own will, or through intercession with the supreme God, alter the course of events.
    A second kind of shirk that they committed was by presenting their offerings to the deities, (although the priests bagged those offerings), or devoting themselves to false gods, or addressing their supplications to them. Influenced by the Persians, some of them believed that the stars too had a say in their destiny. This explains the story of Ibrahim that follows in this chapter.
    Their third kind of association was to depend for their values, laws, and the way of life in general, on the priestly class. Their priests were their law makers. Like their counter parts of modern times, they believed that what they received from their priests was Divine Law."
    38. Asad comments: "I.e., by allowing themselves to think, in their life time, that their beliefs did not offend against the principle of God's oneness (Razi)."
    39. Yusuf Ali makes his usual subtle remark: "The lies which they used to tell have now ‘wandered’ from the channels which they used to occupy, and left the liars in the lurch. In denying the indisputable fact that they took false gods, they admit of their notions and thus are practically convicted out of their own mouths."
    40. A variant reading is "wiqran" (instead of "waqran") in which case the word could be understood as "a plug" (Shawkani).
    Shabbir writes: That is the state of those who listened to the Qur'an and the words of the Prophet, not seeking guidance, rather, to work up an argument against it. Running on this track for a lengthy period, and having given their conscience a long holiday, they lost the use of the faculties of their mind insofar as truth was concerned and became blind of heart. Their own attitude was the cause of their peril, but Allah attributed it to himself since He is the Final Cause of all causes.
    41. Note the various faculties that have been spoken of: the hearts and ears, and then the sight (Thanwi, reworded).
    42. "Asatir signifies lies; or falsehoods; or fictions; or stories having no foundation, or no right tendency or tenor, such as we commonly term as legends or wonderful stories of the ancients" (Majid).
    Nadr b. al Harith had widely travelled. He used to narrate tales of Rustum and Suhrab, Isfandyar and others. When he was asked about what he thought of the Prophet's message, he quipped, ‘Tales of the ancients' (Qurtubi, Alusi).
    43. Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah and Suddi have said that it is our prophet Muhammad that the Quraysh prevented the people from seeing, while staying away from him themselves. However, according to Mujahid, which is a second opinion of Qatadah too, it is from the Qur'an that the Quraysh kept others away. There has been a third opinion, but the first is the more plausible one. However, another opinion of Ibn `Abbas is that, the allusion is to Abu Talib, the Prophet's staunch supporter, who used to prevent the people from harming the Prophet, but distanced himself from Islam. In this light the translation would be: "(Some of them, such as Abu Talib) prevent others from harming the Prophet, but themselves stay away from him (instead of accepting him as a Messenger)" Ibn Jarir.
    Apart from other books, the statement of Ibn `Abbas is in Ibn Abi Hatim, Tabrani and Hakim, the last named assessing it as a sahih report (Shawkani). And, of course, there were others of the kind among the Quraysh (Au.).
    Thanwi adds: The above explanation leads us to the rule that mere natural love (hubb al taba`i) of the awliya' is not of much significance. It is the rational basis for attachment and love (hubb al `aqaliyy) that is required of a lover.
    44. The translation is based on Qatadah's understanding. Zamakhshari says that the allusion could also be to the people of the Book who, although convinced of the authenticity of the Prophet, concealed the truth.
    45. The implication is that the unbelievers do not consider belief in Allah and His Messenger as something of an intrinsic value: something they should have done as the demand of honesty, love of truth and hatred of anything false, however dear to the carnal self. But they did not. Therefore, in the Hereafter, it is the fear of condemnation to the Fire that will invoke the wish to return. And hence, they would be lying when they will say ‘we shall believe.' The Qur'an said about them elsewhere (23: 99 100):


    حَتَّى إِذَا جَاءَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ رَبِّ ارْجِعُونِ (99) لَعَلِّي أَعْمَلُ صَالِحًا فِيمَا تَرَكْتُ كَلَّا إِنَّهَا كَلِمَةٌ هُوَ قَائِلُهَا [المؤمنون : 99 ، 100]


    "Until, when death comes to one of them he cries out, ‘My Lord. Send me back, so that I may do good deeds in affairs that I have left behind.' (He will be told) ‘Not at all. It is a word that he speaks out (without meaning it)'” Au.
    In the words of Asad (who acknowledges Razi for the idea), "... their longing for a ‘second chance’ is not dictated by love of truth for its own sake but, rather, by their dread of the evil consequences of their doings: and faith is useless unless it is desired for its own sake."
    Majid adds: "The lam (of the la kazibun) used as corroborative is sometimes difficult to express in English except by emphasis on pronunciation."
    46. Ibn Zayd has said that this verse is a continuation of the previous verse. That is, if they are sent back to this world, they would say, ‘It all amounts to nothing but this earthly life. We are not going to be resurrected' (Ibn Jarir).
    47. Asad explains: "The particle bi ma (translated as ‘for': Au) expresses here a causal connection between the denial of the truth and the subsequent suffering..."
    48. With those words they would be dispatched to the Fire (Thanwi).
    49. Since one encounters the first phase of the Day of Judgment with death, it has been metaphorically called "the Hour" here (although, normally, it refers to the Day of Judgment) - Zamakhshari.
    Alusi adds: As for the Day of Judgment being referred to as "the Hour" perhaps because it will be an hour compared to the everlasting life that will follow.
    50. `Amr b. Qays al Mala'i has said: "As the believer rises from his grave he will encounter his deeds in the best of forms enshrouded in the best of fragrance. It will ask, ‘Do you know me?' He will reply, ‘No. Except that you have a beautiful form and emit a wonderful fragrance.' It will say, ‘That is how I was in the world. I am your good deeds. I rode upon you there. Today you can ride upon me. Then he recited (19: 85): The Day when We shall gather together Al Rahman's slaves, in groups." As for the unbeliever, someone, most ugly and stinking will welcome him. It will enquire, ‘Do you know me?' He will reply, ‘No. Except that Allah has given you a terrible face and a stinking smell.' It will say, ‘That is how I was in the world. I am your evil deeds. You rode upon me there. Today I'll ride upon you.' Then he recited, ‘They shall bear their burdens on their backs. Lo. Evil is that which they bear.'"
    A similar statement has come from Suddi, except that he talks about the unbeliever alone, and the forms that his deeds will take (Ibn Jarir).
    Suddi's statement is in Ibn Abi Hatim also (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    51. Ibn `Abbas has said that this applies primarily to the life of the unbeliever" (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi).
    As for the believer, this life is a field of preparation for the life to come. Otherwise the Prophet has said:


    الدُّنْيَا مَلْعُونَةٌ، مَلْعُونٌ مَا فِيهَا إِلا عَالِمٌ أَوْ مُتَعَلِّمٌ


    "This world is accursed, and accursed is all that is within it, except for Allah's remembrance, a scholar, or a seeker of knowledge" (Qurtubi).
    Tirmidhi declared the above hadith Hasan (Au.).
    Another version says,


    الدُّنْيَا مَلْعُونَةٌ، مَلْعُونٌ مَا فِيهَا إِلا عَالِمٌ أَوْ مُتَعَلِّمٌ، وَذِكْرُ اللَّهَ، وَمَا وَالاهُ


    "This world is accursed, and accursed is all that is within it, except for Allah's remembrance, a scholar, or a seeker of knowledge, and remembrance of Allah and what comes near it.” (This is also a weak report: Au).
    And "the remembrance of Allah" of the above hadith includes everything which leads to, aids in, or is an accessory to, Allah’s remembrance, such as, a search for sustenance (within the limits of the Shari`ah) and other such activities (Ma`arif).
    52. Razi comments: All that one can think of as the "good things of life" are low of nature. They give pleasure only to the lowly. The wise and the godfearing are never bewitched by them. They realize the transitory nature of this life and the fleeting nature of the physical pleasures, and devote themselves to obtaining those attributes and qualities that raise their esteem in this world as well as in the next. For the former, the pleasures of this life are real. But to the latter they are a sport and pastime. Although, there is no difference in opinion among the people that the pleasures of this world are not "the good things of life," yet people's attitudes do not conform to their beliefs. For, on the one hand they have no difficulty in realizing that if the pleasures of the world could be "the good things of life," surely, in that event the animals fare better than the humankind. Among the animals there are some who have sex oftener than men, who eat more than men, who are physically more powerful than men, or things of that sort. On the other hand, no one amongst the men claims it as a big achievement that he had so much sex, or he can eat more than anyone else, and so forth. In fact, people are ashamed of these acts, and do not wish to discuss them in public. Consequently, they do not think much of those who indulge in the pleasures of life. On the contrary, they have lot of respect and regard for those who are noble of character, great of knowledge and ascetic of nature. Accordingly, when people criticize each other, it is for possessing the lowly things, habits and qualities, rather than the noble ones. (They say, for instance, that such a man is a glutton, another greedy, and so on. Or they compare them to animals). This establishes the fact that even in the view of those who are devoted to this world, the pleasures of this world are not the "good things of life." Yet, somehow, the people fail to realize the specious nature of these things. It is fear alone of the Standing before the Lord that opens the eyes to these realities (Razi, reworded).
    53. Hakim has recorded (in his Mustadrak: H. bin Ibrahim) the following from `Ali (ibn Abi Talib) declaring it sahih of status: "Abu Jahl said to the Prophet, ‘We do not think you are lying. Rather, we deny what you have brought to us.'" And Ibn Ishaq has recorded in his "Life of the Prophet" that once Abu Jahl, Abu Sufyan and Akhnas b. Shurayq concealed themselves in the darkness of the Haram listening to the Prophet's recitation (in Prayers he used to offer there). When, with the dawn on the horizon, they repaired to their homes, they bumped into each other. They enquired each other as to what had brought them out so early in the morning. Each confessed, and everyone agreed that they should not repeat the lapse. However, each of them broke the promise twice more. The third time Akhnas b. Shurayq met Abu Jahl and enquired: "What do you think of what Muhammad has brought?" Abu Jahl replied: "Look. We and Banu `Abd Munaf competed for honor. They fed the pilgrims, we fed the pilgrims. They helped (the distressed), we helped. They gave, we gave - until the two of us were like the two pans of a scale (equally balanced). Now they say, ‘We have a prophet who receives revelations from the heavens.' But where are we going to get a prophet from? No, by God. We shall never believe in him." A similar statement is reported of Abu Jahl before the decisive battle of Badr (Ibn Kathir).
    Another possible meaning is, ‘They do not deny you O Muhammad, rather they deny Us,' in the same vein as, when a slave is insulted, his master remarks, ‘They did not insult you man, they insulted me' (Zamakhshari).
    Alusi adds: An objection has been raised. How could the Quraysh believe in the trustworthiness of the Prophet and at the same time deny the message he had brought? Then he answers that since, having forty years experience with him, they could not say that he was lying, they believed he was under some kind of spell or had committed an error in attributing to God what he presented as revelations.
    Majid adds: "Curiously enough, one finds about exactly the same sentiments regarding the holy Prophet echoed and re echoed by some of the modern and most finished European scholars. Dr. Roberts, for example, while admiring his many noble qualities, and above all ‘his uprightness,' ‘his simplicity,' and ‘his unselfishness,' finds it difficult to defend him from being labeled ‘an impious impostor' because of his ‘fictitious revelations.'"
    54. "And there is no altering the Words of Allah": I.e., there is no changing the Law of Allah viz., the believers shall be helped in this world and in the Hereafter, as He said, elsewhere (37: 171):


    وَلَقَدْ سَبَقَتْ كَلِمَتُنَا لِعِبَادِنَا الْمُرْسَلِينَ (171) إِنَّهُمْ لَهُمُ الْمَنْصُورُونَ (172) وَإِنَّ جُنْدَنَا لَهُمُ الْغَالِبُونَ [الصافات : 171 - 173]


    "Surely, Our Word has preceded for Our slave-Messengers that it is they who shall triumph and that it is Our forces that will overcome" (Zamakhshari, Qurtubi).
    Allah also said (58: 21):


    كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَأَغْلِبَنَّ أَنَا وَرُسُلِي [المجادلة : 21]


    "Allah has written it (as a law), ‘Surely, I and My Messengers shall overcome.' Verily, Allah is Powerful, Mighty" (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    55. An implied meaning is that the Prophet was so covetous of their belief that if he could dig a tunnel in the earth or build a ladder to the heavens and bring them a sign, he would have done it (Zamakhshari).
    56. I.e., Do not grieve over them much, O Prophet, and destroy your health, for these are bent upon their own destruction (Razi, Qurtubi).
    57. The translation is based on the explanation of `Ali b. `Isa as in Razi.
    58. As a body without soul soon begins to rot, stink and decompose, deserving to be buried as soon as possible, so too a soul without higher feelings begins to stink. The spiritually dead is physically dead too (Razi).
    Mawdudi comments: "`Those who hear' refers to those whose consciences are alive, who have not atrophied their intellect and reason, and who have not closed their hearts to the truth out of irrational prejudice and mental inflexibility. In contrast to such people are those who are characterized as ‘dead' who blindly follow the old familiar beaten tracks, and can never deviate from the ways they have inherited, even when these ways are plainly at variance with the Truth.
    59. But, if He does not send down a sign, it is out of mercy, since, if, after the appearance of a clear sign, they continue in their denial, they would be destroyed following the words of Allah (17: 59):


    وَمَا مَنَعَنَا أَنْ نُرْسِلَ بِالْآيَاتِ إِلَّا أَنْ كَذَّبَ بِهَا الْأَوَّلُونَ وَآتَيْنَا ثَمُودَ النَّاقَةَ مُبْصِرَةً فَظَلَمُوا بِهَا وَمَا نُرْسِلُ بِالْآيَاتِ إِلَّا تَخْوِيفًا [الإسراء : 59]


    "And nothing prevented Us from sending the signs save that the people of old rejected them. We gave (the people of) Thamud the she camel (as a sign). But they acted wrongly with her. And We do not send a sign but as a warning (of impending destruction)" Ibn Kathir.
    Majid quotes from the Gospels: "Cf., the NT: ‘A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it but the sign of the prophet Jonas' (Mt. 16: 4). ‘And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? Verily, I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. And he left them (Mk. 8: 11)".
    60. Mawdudi has placed the following note on two verses earlier, but it is equally applicable to this verse: "Had it been required that all people should be driven to the Truth, there would have been no need to send Prophets, ... The result could have been achieved by a single sign of God's creative will. God however did not want things to happen that way. He preferred the Truth to be set before people with its supporting arguments so that by a proper exercise of their rational Judgment, they should recognize it for what it was and thereafter freely choose to embrace it as their faith. By molding their lives in conformity with this Truth such people who believe in it should demonstrate their moral superiority over the devotees of falsehood. They should continually attract men of sound morals by the force of their arguments, by the loftiness of their ideals, by the excellence of their principles and by the purity of their lives. They should thus reach their goal the establishment of the hegemony of the true faith by the natural and gradual escalation of strife against falsehood... God has created man as a responsible being, bestowed upon him a degree of power which he may exercise, granted him the freedom to choose between obedience and disobedience to God, awarded him a certain length of life in order to demonstrate his worth, and determined that at an appointed hour He will judge him for either reward or punishment in the light of his deeds."
    61. The definitive words "birds that wing their flight", instead of the simple (those that wing their flight), exclude the angels as communities (Razi).
    Imam Razi also asks about the animals in the sea, as to why they have been excluded and then answers that they can be lumped together with either those on land or in the air, as they either crawl in water (as animals on land) or swim in it as the birds swim in the air.
    62. Animals as Communities
    Abu Hurayrah has said that the different species you see beasts, insects, birds or others are all communities which will be raised on the Day of Judgment and justice rendered between them. (Hakim has declared the narration sahih: Manar). And Abu Dharr narrates:


    عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ - رضي الله عنه - قَالَ" رَأَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ - صلى الله عليه وسلم - شَاتَيْنِ تَنْتَطِحَانِ فَقَالَ : يَا أَبَا ذَرٍّ ، هَلْ تَدْرِي فِيمَ تَنْتَطِحَانِ ؟ " قُلْتُ : لَا ، قَالَ : " لَكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَدْرِي ، وَسَيَقْضِي بَيْنَهُمَا "


    "The Prophet saw two goats locked in combat. The Prophet asked: ‘Do you know what they are quarrelling over?' I said, ‘No.' He said, ‘But Allah knows and He will render justice between them'" (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Although the chain of narrators of the above hadith is weak, there is another sahih hadith which confirms the rendering of justice between animals on the Day of Judgment (Syed Ibrahim).
    The above hadith is also Musnad of Ahmad (Ibn Kathir). Muslim and Tirmidhi have reports of roughly the same meaning (Manar).
    In another hadith the Prophet said:


    لَوْلاَ أَنَّ الْكِلاَبَ أَمَةٌ مِنَ الأُمَمِ أَكْرَهُ أَنْ أُفْنِيَهَا لأَمَرْتُ بِقَتْلِهَا


    "If the dogs had not been one of the communities (ummah min al umam), I would have ordered them killed."
    It is also reported of the Prophet that he said:


    مَنْ قَتَلَ عُصْفُورًا عَبَثًا , عَجَّ إِلَى الله , عَزَّ وَجَلَّ , يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنْهُ يَقُولُ : يَا رَبِّ , إِنَّ فُلاَنًا قَتَلَنِى عَبَثًا , وَلَمْ يَقْتُلْنِى لِمَنْفَعَةٍ


    "Whoever killed a bird without a good cause would have the bird raising its voice unto Allah on the Day of Judgment, ‘My Lord. So and so killed me for no cause, killing me for no benefit’” (Razi).
    Rashid Rida adds: The gathering together of the communities of animals is strengthened by the verse which says (81: 5):


    وَإِذَا الْوُحُوشُ حُشِرَتْ [التكوير : 5]


    "When the wild animals will be gathered together."
    Communication between Animals
    Alusi states the opinion of the Sufiya that the animals communicate with each other. (Therefore, they could be sent prophets of their own). Al Sha`rani has put forth several proofs such as the Prophet's words about his camel at the time of his arrival at Madinah: "Leave her alone, for she is under command," or, the talk of the ant that Sulayman overheard, or the organization of certain animals into communities, which they could not do without being able to communicate with each other.
    To the above this writer would like to add the following.
    First and foremost, animals are not as dumb as they appear. It is not only the dolphin that we have in mind. Other animals too suggest the presence of intelligence in them. Intuition explains only the daily repertoire. But several behavioral attitudes go unexplained. For instance, once when two men were trying to trap an eagle in a forest, and it managed to escape from the net, it came back, first to pluck off the eyes of one of them, and then a second time to pluck off the eyes of the other. Obviously, if the eagle was not knowledgeable enough to know that humans have a similar organ as its own eyes, and that, without it they would never be able to trap it again in a net, it would not have come straight for the eyes. Or, to give another example, a troupe of monkeys kidnapped a young girl working in a farm in Africa, and gang raped her. They could not have done that without having the ability to judge the sex of well clothed humans. Even if they had seen naked children, how could they be sure of a girl's sex? An attack of similar nature on a maid by a male monkey was reported in the Gulf. The above well reported cases, demonstrate that the animals know much more than what is presumed about them.
    As for communication between them, there are sufficient grounds to believe that the animals communicate between themselves employing fairly well developed means of communications, bordering on the presence of a language. Certain termites for instance build nests up to 4 meter high, 2.5 meter wide 1 meter thick. The design of thousands of rooms, with arched entrances, in the upper, perhaps hundredth floor, matches with the design and location of the rooms in the first floor although the workers in both areas work independently. The whole structure in fact reveals a single mind behind its design. The nest might be dome shaped or conical, some even have chimneys. The interior has longitudinal and horizontal chambers. The outer walls are constructed from hard soil material, whereas the walls of the inner chambers - where the nurseries are located - are built from softer material. The long axis of the nest is always directed north south and the broad side faces east west. The orientation perhaps helps in ventilation. The building activity involves tens of thousands of workers, and it is hard to attribute their various, but well synchronized activities to their intuition alone, though it might be playing its part.
    Or, to take the example of birds, they migrate in flocks. Some of them fly in a V formation, so that, when one of the birds falls behind, it catches up and joins one of the wings to maintain the symmetrical formation, although the flight takes place at night. Some kind of communication must be involved.
    Indeed, it has been envisaged that the birds have different dialects. An article on "Animal Behavior" in the Macgraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology states: "One interesting aspect of birdsong is the occurrence of dialectal differences (regional variations) among population of a single species living in different areas. Several such changes that are known to occur between adjacent population of the South America rufous collared sparrow (Zonotrichia capansis) correlate with relatively major habitat changes. Very few dialectal changers occur over an enormous range of the Argentine papas, but in this case the habitat of the species also changes little. The habitat changes markedly in the Andes Mountains over short distances, however, as elevation rapidly increases, and, concurrently, many more dialectal changes occur there in birds' songs."
    Some zoologists have noticed that certain primates sing together. For example, Siamang couples (a gibbon with habitats in the rain forests of Southeast Asia) repeatedly sing loud, long and well coordinated duets. Singing in duets obviously presumes prior communication.
    A recent incident reported widely from Cameroon suggests the existence of not only communication but also consultation among the animals. It is reported that a local hunter of a village captured alive a young gorilla. The following night, a pack of 60 gorillas invaded the village looking for the missing infant. Shortly before midnight, the gorillas entered the village in a single file, ignoring gunshots fired by villagers to scare them away. But, unable to locate the baby-gorilla, they retired. The next night they came back, and this time they angrily beat on the doors and windows of the dwellings. Faced with the determination of the gorillas to recover the captive youngster, the village chief ordered the hunter to release his prey. Immediately, as the report says, "the assailants returned to the forest with shouts of joy, savoring their victory." It should be obvious that this kind of action by a pack of 60 gorillas would not have been possible without a joint plan of action preceded by consultations. The Qur'an has reported Sulayman as saying (27: 16): "We have been taught the language of the birds." It also states that he understood the talk of the ant about which the latest researches record chattering in clear tones.
    Finally, recent miniaturized microphone-recordings have been able to record the ‘talk’ of the ants. See Surah Naml, note 25 for details (Au.).
    Abu Salman Khattabi has reported Sufyan b. `Uyaynah as having said: "There is none among the humankind but someone who has a counterpart among the animals. There is someone among them who attacks like a tiger; another who runs like a wolf; a third barks like a dog; a fourth dances like a peacock. Then there is someone who resembles a swine: place before him the best of dishes and he turns away, but goes after a man’s vomit. There are some among them who will hear 50 lines of wisdom but will not retain one of them. But show him one bad example, and he will remember it and re enact it in every assembly." After reporting Sufyan, Khattabi advised: "Brother, you should know that around you are animals. Be on your guard then" (Razi, Qurtubi).
    63. By the Book, the reference is to the Tablet preserved in Bayt al Ma'mur (Au.).
    "We have omitted nothing from the Book": that is to say, in other words, Allah knows of every creation, whether it is in the land or in water. He arranges for their sustenance and their other needs, and He will gather them together. As He said (11: 6):


    وَمَا مِنْ دَابَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا عَلَى اللَّهِ رِزْقُهَا وَيَعْلَمُ مُسْتَقَرَّهَا وَمُسْتَوْدَعَهَا كُلٌّ فِي كِتَابٍ مُبِينٍ [هود : 6]


    "And there is not a crawling animal in the land but upon Allah is its sustenance. He knows its permanent or temporary place of habitat. Everything is in the Transparent Book" (Ibn Kathir and others).
    Thanwi adds: It was not necessary to pen down everything since, Allah's knowledge being Eternal, everything was in His knowledge. He did that in order to impress on His creations that everything is well organized and that the system is perfectly designed to the tiniest detail.
    64. After reporting that in view of the verse (35: 24): "And there has been a community but it had a warner," and, in view of the hadith about the horned goat and the un-horned goat, as well as various other supporting evidences, Alusi mentions that the Sufiya hold the belief that every animal community has had messengers sent to them, and that they are liable to questioning in the Hereafter. Alusi then expresses his own opinion to the effect that he would neither deny such an opinion (as Ibn al Munir has done, who wrongly attributed it to the corrupt skeptics), nor ratify it.
    Animal Communities
    Whether warners were sent to the community of animals or not, at least some of them do seem to lead a community life. Under the entry "Insects", the Macgraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology has the following to state about honeybees: "The degree of social organization in a Hymenoptera colony is most evident in the division of labor. In honeybee colonies the division of labor is achieved in an especially interesting manner. Tasks are assigned according to age. The first day after the bee's emergence as an adult, the first tasks of the female worker are to carry out wastes, to clean the cells, and to line them with a disinfectant secretion preparatory to deposition of the egg. About three days later, this young bee advances to brood nursing i.e., she provides the older larvae with honey and pollen. On the sixth day she also nurses the young larvae with specific larval food from pharyngeal glands. After about ten days more the bee becomes active in building, secreting wax and using it to make the comb. Soon afterward, she makes her first orientation flight outside the hive. About the twentieth day she begins serving as an entrance guard; finally she becomes a collector bee, remaining at this job until her death."
    The colony (or community, if we wish to use that term) is headed by a queen. Her primary function is to lay eggs. She also decides the number of male and female bees her nest will have. All unfertilized eggs result in males. Fertilization occurs during the egg laying process. If the queen relaxes a ring around the sperm duct (where sperms are stored from mating), allowing the duct to open and the sperm to drop down, fertilization occurs. Such fertilized eggs hatch out females. It is the female bees which gather honey and attend to house keeping. They can be categorized as soldiers, outside workers, inside workers and nest builders. In contrast, the male drone lives a shorter life, just long enough to mate. Mating is his only function.
    When the queen gets old and sterile, she is replaced by a younger one. And when the colony becomes too big, a young queen may march off with half of the worker bees. The swarm finds a new nesting place and builds new combs. To make the task easier, all the departing workers are provided with a measure of honey as the parting gift.
    To take the termites: the termite society is also a highly organized and integrated unit with division of labor among its members differentiated by structure, function, and behavior into castes. Although at the time of hatching all the eggs are genetically alike, the young ones grow into definite castes. The major castes are the reproductive caste, the soldier and worker castes. The soldier and the worker castes are sterile. The soldier castes work on defence, one of their function is to stick their shell like heads against the entrance of the nests, in turns, in order prevent the entry of any unwanted guest. On the other hand, the worker castes attends to nest building, house keeping, nursing, etc.
    Organization is also easily noticeable in many other animals. For instances the society of baboons is a pretty well organized one. Their troops live and move in an organized manner. When they move, the central position is taken up by the females carrying their infants with the young ones frolicking around. The senior males of the hierarchy also stay there closely guarding the females and controlling the sub adult males who stay at the periphery. Those at the periphery keep a tight look on predators and any impending danger, only snatching bits and pieces of food whenever they can. Spotting a danger, they issue warning calls. When the central hierarchy gets too old, it is replaced from the brash young males of the periphery. Some other functions are performed in turns.
    In fact, some animals cross the boundaries of class and species to live in a kind of cosmopolitan society. It has been noticed for instance that huge spaces in the forests are completely devoid of any kind of animal. And then one suddenly comes across several herds or flocks of animals. Mixed flocks of antelopes, zebra, and other wild beasts seem to be living and moving together. The same has been noticed of several species of birds. When an animal dangerous to all is spotted, a bird or a baboon will issue a warning call, putting everyone, be they on the ground, or up in the trees, on the guard, scurrying to shelters and refuges.
    These facts surely are a manifestation of the truth expressed in words: "They ask, ‘Why has no sign been sent down to him from his Lord?' Tell (them), ‘Surely, Allah is able to send down a (compelling) sign,' but most of them do know. And, (if they are looking for a sign) there is not an animal in the earth nor a bird that wings its flight, but they are communities like yourselves. We have omitted nothing from the Book" (Au.).
    65. In view of the fact that whoever is deaf by birth is also dumb, two points may be made note of. First, the Qur'an has always mentioned deafness and dumbness together. Second, it has always mentioned deafness first and dumbness later. It was not the Prophet who knew that deafness leads to dumbness, but Allah (Au.).
    66. The unbelievers are in several kinds of darknesses: disbelief, ignorance, prejudice, blind following of their predecessors, and of course, the real, tangible darkness of the hereafter (Alusi).
    67. Explaining why people remain unguided, Mawdudi writes: "We notice that a great many people pass inattentively over the countless signs of God that are scattered all over the world, and ignore even those signs which are manifest in human beings as well as in animals. It is little wonder, then, that they derive no lesson from all these signs. There are many who study zoology, botany, biology, geology, astronomy, physiology, anatomy and other branches of medical science. Others study history, archaeology and sociology. During the course of such studies they come across signs of God which, if they cared to look at them in the correct perspective, might fill their hearts with faith. But since they comment their study with a bias, and are actuated only by the desire to acquire earthly advantages, they fail to discover the signs which could lead them to the Truth."
    68. Mawdudi also writes: "When either some great calamity befalls a man or when death starkly stares him in the face, it is only to God that he turns for refuge. On such occasions even the staunchest polytheists forget their false gods and cry out to the One True God, and even the most rabid atheists stretch their hands in prayer to Him. This phenomenon is mentioned here in order to draw an instructive lesson. It shows that devotion to God and monotheism are ingrained in the human soul. No matter how overlaid this truth might be, some day it shakes off man's heedlessness and ignorance and manifests itself fully. It was the observation of this sign which had led `Ikrimah, the son of Abu Jahl, to the true faith. For when Makkah was conquered at the hands of the Prophet (peace be on him), `Ikrimah fled to Jeddah and sailed from there towards Abyssinia. During the voyage the boat ran into severe storm which threatened to capsize it. At first people began calling on their gods and goddesses. Later on, when the storm grew even worse and the passengers were sure that the boat would sink, they began to feel that it was time to call on God alone, for He alone could save them. This opened the eyes of `Ikrimah, whose heart cried out to him that if there was no effective helper for them in that situation, how could there be one elsewhere? He also recalled that this was precisely what the Prophet (peace be on him) had constantly told the people and that it was precisely because of this preaching that they had been engaged in unnecessary violent conflict with him. This was a turning point in `Ikrimah's life. He instantly made up his mind that if he survived the storm he would go straight to the Prophet Muhammad (peace on him) and place his hand in his."
    69. "The ba'sa' of the text has special reference to poverty, while darra' to sickness" (Majid).
    Sa`id b. Jubayr has said that oppressive rulers and high inflation are some of the forms that ba'sa' and darra' can take (Shawkani).
    70. The sending of ease and comfort after hardships were of the same nature as that of a kind father who both punishes his son as well as softens up at other times, hoping that the son will amend himself (Razi). As Allah said at another place (7: 94, 95):


    وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِي قَرْيَةٍ مِنْ نَبِيٍّ إِلَّا أَخَذْنَا أَهْلَهَا بِالْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَضَّرَّعُونَ (94) ثُمَّ بَدَّلْنَا مَكَانَ السَّيِّئَةِ الْحَسَنَةَ حَتَّى عَفَوْا وَقَالُوا قَدْ مَسَّ آبَاءَنَا الضَّرَّاءُ وَالسَّرَّاءُ فَأَخَذْنَاهُمْ بَغْتَةً وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ [الأعراف : 94 ، 95]


    "We did not send a Prophet to a town but We seized them with afflictions and adversity in the hope that they will soften up. Then We altered the evil with good, until they multiplied (in wealth and progeny) and said, ‘Surely, our forefathers had also experienced (both) misery and ease (and so there is nothing extraordinary about it).' Then We seized them suddenly while they were unaware" (Ibn Jarir).
    This grant of ease and comfort to an unbelieving or corrupt people, by way of test, is known as istidraj (Au.).
    The Prophet has said in a hadith of Ahmad:


    إِذَا رَأَيْتَ اللَّهَ يُعْطِي الْعَبْدَ مَا يُحِبُّ وَهُوَ مُقِيمٌ عَلَى مَعَاصِيهِ، فَإِنَّمَا ذَلِكَ لَهُ مِنْهُ اسْتِدْرَاجٌ


    "When you see one of Allah’s slave being given what he loves, while he continues with his sins, then be sure it is istidraj.” Then he recited this verse,


    فَلَمَّا نَسُوا مَا ذُكِّرُوا بِهِ فَتَحْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ أَبْوَابَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَتَّى إِذَا فَرِحُوا بِمَا أُوتُوا أَخَذْنَاهُمْ بَغْتَةً فَإِذَا هُمْ مُبْلِسُونَ


    ‘When they had clean forgotten what they were reminded of, We opened up for them the doors of every (good) thing until, when they were rejoicing in what they were given, We suddenly seized them and they were left in a quiet despair.'"
    In another hadith of Ahmad and Ibn abi Hatim he said:


    إن الله [تبارك وتعالى] إذا أراد الله بقوم بقاء - أو: نماء - رزقهم القصد والعفاف، وإذا أراد الله بقوم اقتطاعًا فتح لهم - أو فتح عليهم - باب خيانة


    "When Allah wishes to prolong the term of a people, or grant them progress and prosperity, He bestows upon them (the gifts of) thrift and self satisfaction. But when He intends to uproot a people He opens up for them the door of dishonesty" (Ibn Kathir).
    The status of the hadith could not be traced (Au.).


    وقال الحسن البصري: من وسع الله عليه فلم ير أنه يمكر به، فلا رأي له


    And Hasan al-Busri has said. “He unto whom Allah opens up affluence but did not see that he is being duped, is not a man of opinion” (Ibn Kathir).
    Thanwi adds: The rule enacted by the above verse is equally applicable to sinning Muslims.
    71. All praise to Allah for having cleansed the earth (Alusi).
    72. Shah `Abdul Qadir has said: A sinner should not delay his repentance. The sight and the hearing he possesses could be lost and, eventually, he might lose the ability to repent (Shabbir).
    73. Broadly speaking, the pagans made three demands on the Prophet: (i) He ease their lives by bringing them treasures of the world, (ii) He foretell them all that was to happen, in order that they could avoid evil and seek the good, and, (iii) He explain to them how he could, as a mortal (in need of food and drink), be chosen for messengership instead of an angel? Allah responded with this verse. Further, the verse also makes clear that although the Prophet was given "some" knowledge pertaining to the realm of the Unseen, he did not have the knowledge of "all the Unseen" (`ilm al ghayb). It is only Allah who is All knowledgeable (Shafi`).
    In the words of Asad: "The denial on the part of the Prophet of any claim to supernatural powers refers, primarily, to the demand of the unbelievers (mentioned in verse 37) that he should prove his prophetic mission by causing a "miraculous sign" to be bestowed on him. Beyond this specific reference, however, the above passage is meant to prevent any deification of the Prophet and to make it clear that he like all other prophets before him was but a mortal human being, a servant whom God had chosen to convey His message to mankind."
    74. It does not mean that Prophets depend on revelation alone for every little detail of the Law. Rather, they exercise their own Judgment as well as employ analogy to work out details (Qurtubi).
    75. Asad writes: "Can those who remain blind and deaf to God's messages find their way through life equally well as those who have achieved a spiritual vision and guidance through God's revelation?"
    76. Mawdudi writes: "Feeble minded people have always entertained the foolish misconception that the more godly a man is, the more liberated he should be from the limitations of human nature."
    77. According to Zajjaj, all those who believe in the Hereafter have been addressed in this verse. So that, adds Qurtubi, when warned by the Qur'an, a Muslim might reform himself and a non Muslim embrace the truth.
    78. Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id ibn Musayyib, Mujahid, Hasan and Qatadah have said that it is the obligatory Prayers that have been alluded to by the words ‘call upon their Lord morning and evening' (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    79. That is, you have to take them, O Muhammad, on their face value, and need not seek to know the motives of their faith, of which, all the outward signs speak of good intentions. And, conversely, that should be the outlook of your followers vis a vis yourself (Thanwi).
    80. Was it not enough to say ‘nothing of their account falls upon you,' instead of adding ‘nor any of your account falls upon them?' The answer is, two sentences have been combined to give the sense of one and that one sentence is: "No soul shall bear the burden of another" (Zamakhshari).
    81. In primary terms zulm is defined as "placement of a thing in an inappropriate place," or, "in a place not belonging to it." The extended meanings of zalim, therefore, are: wrong doer, transgressor, unjust, tyrannous etc. which are adopted as first meaning because of want of equivalent of the original meaning. Accordingly, and since, (as pointed out by Thanwi), none of these epithets can be true of the Prophet in any given situation, the primary meaning has to be kept in mind while passing over the translation (Au.).
    Ibn Jarir reports Khabbab b. al Art as saying: Aqra` b. Habis al Tamimi and `Uyaynah b. Hisn al Fizari came to the Prophet (saws) while he was in the company of Bilal, Suhayb, `Ammar, Khabbab and other Muslims of the weaker section of the society. The Qurayshi leaders belittled them and remarked that they did not mind sitting in his company but he was all the time surrounded by these lowly ones. They did not want the visiting Arab dignitaries to spot them in such company. So, was the Prophet ready to dismiss them when they came to him? After they had left he had freedom to choose his company. The Prophet agreed. They wanted that in writing. He agreed to that also and sent for `Ali to write down the agreement while the humble ones sat apart. But Allah revealed this verse in disapproval. The Prophet threw away the parchment and beckoned them to himself. He brought them so close that his knees were touching theirs. After the revelation of this verse, the Companions report that ‘We sat with him until he left us. But, subsequently, when Allah revealed the verse 28 of Surah al Kahf:


    وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ [الكهف : 28]


    "And restrain yourself with those who call upon their Lord morning and evening," he would not leave us the humble and poor ones, until we knew it was time for him to go and so we left his company. It was then that he rose up and went.' (This report is in Ibn Majah also: Qurtubi). Similar reports of the Quraysh's disapproval of the humble Muslims have come from various other narrators, such as Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, Kalbi, Mujahid and others, naming others in place of Aqra` and `Uyaynah. `Ikrimah's report says that it was `Umar who had advised the Prophet to allot some of his time to the pagan chieftains in order to asses what was up in their sleeves (Au.).
    Ibn Kathir expresses reservation about the report of Khabbab. (So does Rashid Rida who says that Aqra` and `Uyaynah were both unimportant men: Au). But similar reports, or bits and pieces of it, are in Ahmad, Ibn Abi Hatim, Abu al Sheikh, Ibn Marduwayh and others that strengthen it. In fact Muslim, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah have Sa`d b. Abi Waqqas as saying that the verse came down concerning six of the humble Companions of the Prophet (Shawkani).
    Ibn Jarir also records, as does Ibn Kathir and others, that the Quraysh had sent a delegation to Abu Talib to convey their message to the Prophet to meet them separately, without Bilal, `Ammar and others of their kind around. In fact, it was on that occasion that `Umar (who had full confidence in the humble Muslims in question: Shafi`) had suggested that their request be met in order to know what was up. Moreover, it might be recalled at this point that it was a common practice of the Companions that when a certain verse fitted exactly a certain incident, that might have actually taken place earlier or later, they still cited it as the context of revelation since they knew better than anyone else what the verse was talking about. This particular verse, as well as verse 65 below could belong to the same category. As for the doubt that the whole of surah al An`am was revealed at once, firstly, there are opinions that a few verses were revealed at Madinah; secondly, the possibility of a repeat revelation of the verses in question cannot be ruled out (Au.).
    Qurtubi adds that the Companions in question were of such status, that once when Suhayb, Salman, Bilal and other were sitting together in Madinah, Abu Sufyan happened to pass by them in the company of Abu Bakr. As a leader of the Quraysh, Abu Sufyan was trying to broker peace. As the two passed by Suhayb and others, one of them remarked, ‘Hasn't a sword of Allah taken its share of this man's head?' meaning Abu Sufyan. Abu Bakr was upset. ‘Do you say that about a leader of the Quraysh?' he asked furiously. He reported the incident to the Prophet. But the Prophet remarked, ‘Maybe, Abu Bakr, you have angered them. If you have, then you have angered Allah.' When he heard that, Abu Bakr went back to them and pleaded, ‘Brothers, have I angered you?' They replied, ‘No brother. May Allah show you mercy.'
    Qurtubi also writes: The report is in Muslim and tells us something about the kind of behavior required of a Muslim toward the godfearing, and avoidance of that which might hurt their feelings.
    82. That is, Allah (swt) made some people rich and some poor. When the poor ones among them embraced the faith, the richer ones asked derisively, ‘Are these the one's favored by God?' (Ibn `Abbas: Ibn Jarir).
    Asad notes: "As mentioned by Zamakhshari, the expression min baynina is here equivalent to min dunina, which, in this context, may suitably be rendered as "in preference of us". This would seem to be an allusion to the sarcastic incredulity with which, as a rule, non Muslims receive the claim of the Muslims that the Qur'an is the final formulation of God's message to man. The "trial" referred to above consists in the unwillingness of people of other faiths to accept this claim as valid, and so to renounce the prejudice against Islam to which their cultural and historical environment has made them, consciously or subconsciously, predisposed."
    83. Is not Allah cognizant of the thanksgiving: of their good deeds and pure intentions, and, consequently, deserving to be guided to the right path? Allah said at another place (29: 69):


    وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا [العنكبوت : 69]

     

    "Those who strive in Us, We shall guide them unto Our ways." Accordingly, we have a hadith (in Muslim) which says:


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَنْظُرُ إِلَى صُوَرِكُمْ وَأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَلَكِنْ يَنْظُرُ إِلَى قُلُوبِكُمْ وَأَعْمَالِكُمْ


    "Allah does not look at your faces and wealth. He looks at your hearts and deeds" (Ibn Kathir).
    84. Asad writes: "The peace referred to in the above expression which occurs many times in the Qur'an and has become the standard form of Muslim greeting has a spiritual connotation comprising the concepts of ethical soundness, security from all that is evil and, therefore, freedom from all moral conflict and disquiet."
    85. Ibn `Abbas has reported the Prophet:


    إذا فرغ الله من القضاء بين الخلق، أخرج كتاباً من تحت العرش، أن رحمتي سبقت غضبي، وأنا أرحم الراحمين، فيقبض قبضة أو قبضتين، فيخرج من النار خلقاً لم يعملوا خيراً، مكتوب بين أعينهم عتقاء الله


    "When Allah would have finished judging mankind, He would bring out a writing from under the `Arsh saying, ‘My mercy overtakes My anger, and I am the Most Merciful of the merciful.' Then He will scoop out with His Hands once or twice to remove from the Fire a (great many) people who had never done a good deed (in their lives). They will have written on their foreheads: ‘Allah's own freed (people)'" (Ibn Kathir).
    Abu Khalda has reported: Whenever we entered upon Abu al `Aliyyah, he recited this verse: "And when those who believe in Our signs come to you, say (to them), ‘Peace be upon you. Your Lord has prescribed mercy for Himself' (Ibn Jarir).
    86. With reference to the word "jahalah" of the text, `Ikrimah has said that (it is not lack of knowledge that is meant, rather), the sin itself, since committing a sin is a (kind or state of) "jahalah" until the man will give up. Thus, he further explained, every sinner is a "jahil" (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Qurtubi adds: It is said that everyone who prefers the life of this world over the next is a "jahil."
    Thus, Shafi` adds, a learned man may also commit a sin, and that will be an act of jahalah on his part. Nevertheless, he can always get that forgiven if he will meet with two conditions: (1) Repent sincerely, which includes a firm resolve not to repeat, and (2) make amends, which includes restoring people's rights if they are involved, or offer qada' Prayers of fasts etc., if they are Allah's rights.
    87. Some reports suggest that some people had committed certain sins in the days of ignorance, and, after accepting Islam, enquired the Prophet about those past deeds. In response these verses were revealed (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Qurtubi and others).
    88. Sayyid comments: "Thus, it is not simply the making manifest of the ways of the believers that is the objective of the Qur'an. It exposes the ways of the unbelievers too ... as also of the criminals. This was to present the contrast and to draw a dividing line between the two. A firm belief in truth and goodness demands that one has also the knowledge of the untruth and the evil. This unveiling of the two the good and the evil and of the believers and the criminals had to be part and parcel of Allah's scheme and His revelation. Any doubt in this regard .. any uncertainty about them .. any qualms, would affect the purity of concepts and the stand that the believers should take. They are two pages facing each other, two paths that part from each other and do not meet again at any point.
    "Eventually, any Islamic movement has to define and describe the ways of the unbelievers as it has to define and describe the ways of the believers: right in the world of action and not simply in the world of ideologies. This, in order that the believers can recognize other believers around them while they can mark out the criminals too. The two cannot be fraternized .. cannot be ruled by the same rod.
    "At the time of the Prophet the division was well marked: none other than the life style of the Prophet had drawn the line between truth and its ways, and falsehood and its ways. Yet we see that Allah took it upon Himself to demarcate the two. That should lead us to think of the importance.
    "Nonetheless, the problem that the Islamic movements face today is that of the distinction and separation of the two. There live right among the true believers those who are from the loins of their believing fore fathers, living in those places that have remained the Dar al Islam through and through the history of Islam, that have always surrendered to Islam as the way of life, who have followed its Law. But, today, there are people who have abandoned Islam for all practical purposes, although verbally they claim to be Muslims and think they are Muslims. But Islam is to believe in Allah as the sole Creator and Nourisher, and, consequently, for the believers to deal with life the whole of their life as dictated by Him. Whoever did not believe in Allah in this comprehensive sense, did not believe in Him at all: whatever his name or identity. Consequently, in whichever land Allah's Shari`ah is not established and His Laws not imposed, it is not the land of Islam.
    "This then is the great reality, the great hardship that the Islamic movements face: the lack of distinction of this from that. The anti Islamic forces within the Muslim body politic know this and understand the consequences of it: to their advantage. They prefer the doubt to prevail, the grey area to expand, so that, anyone who speaks a word about the distinction is held by his throat. Their crime? Their crime is that they called Muslims apostates by their act of confirming this as black or that as white and not everything as grey when, according to the rulers it should have been left to the masses, those very people of loose concepts, to judge by their own criteria.
    "Yet, there is no choice for the movement workers but to demarcate the lines, distinguish between this and that, whatever the price, not fearing anyone in this but Allah, unmindful of the consequences. It has to be made clear as to who is on the path, and who it is that is blocking it."
    89. "This alludes to God's punishment. The adversaries questioned why it was that they had openly rejected a Prophet sent by God, but had not been struck down by God's wrath. They said that the fact of his appointment by God meant that anyone who either disbelieved or insulted him would, at once, be either plunged into the earth or struck by lightning. And yet, they pointed out, the Messenger of God and his followers faced new sufferings and humiliations whereas those who abused and persecuted him enjoyed prosperity" (Mawdudi).
    90. The pagans were so sure of the Prophet not being a Messenger that they challenged the god who had sent him to destroy them, as the Qur'an quoted them elsewhere (8: 32):


    وَإِذْ قَالُوا اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كَانَ هَذَا هُوَ الْحَقَّ مِنْ عِنْدِكَ فَأَمْطِرْ عَلَيْنَا حِجَارَةً مِنَ السَّمَاءِ أَوِ ائْتِنَا بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ [الأنفال : 32]


    "When they (the pagans) said, ‘O Lord. If this be the truth from You then rain down upon us stones from above or bring us a painful chastisement" (Au.).
    91. That is because, it was intolerable to the Prophet that people should reject his beloved true Lord, Allah (Razi).
    Ibn Kathir writes: This verse does not contradict the report which says that after the visit to Tayif and rejection by its inhabitants when Jibril asked the Prophet whether he would prefer that he crush them between two large mountains, the Prophet replied that he did not want any such thing, hoping that their offspring would embrace Islam, if not they. This particular verse says that the Prophet would have punished them, if he had power, whereas, when the chance arose he did not utilize it. But, there is no contradiction. This verse is speaking of those who were demanding that a punishment be brought down, whereas the Taiyfians did not make any such demand.
    Further, at Tayif the Prophet was in a conciliatory mood, whereas, when the Makkans made several demands for punishment, at various times during the course of a decade, he could have been in different moods, and could as well have punished them, if it was in his power (Au.).
    92. Some grammarians have said (Shafi`) that if mafaatih is treated as the plural of miftah then it means "keys," whereas, but if it is understood as plural of maftah, then it means "treasures." Some scholars have, however, read the text as “mafaateeh” (as the plural of miftaah), then it is definitely “keys” (Zamakhshari). However read, the great majority have understood the word here as "keys," a meaning that has its support in a hadith of Bukhari that follows presently (Au.).
    93. A report of Bukhari says that,


    مَفَاتِيحُ الْغَيْبِ خَمْسٌ لَا يَعْلَمُهَا إِلَّا اللَّهُ لَا يَعْلَمُ مَا تَغِيضُ الْأَرْحَامُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَلَا يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي غَدٍ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَلَا يَعْلَمُ مَتَى يَأْتِي الْمَطَرُ أَحَدٌ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَلَا تَدْرِي نَفْسٌ بِأَيِّ أَرْضٍ تَمُوتُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَلَا يَعْلَمُ مَتَى تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ


    “The keys to the Unseen are five that nobody knows but Allah: No one knows what the wombs throw out but Allah. No one knows what is going to happen tomorrow but Allah. No one knows when it will rain except Allah. A man does not know in what land he will die but Allah, and, no one knows when the Hour will strike, except Allah."
    `A'isha has said: "Whoever thought that Muhammad knew what was to happen the next day, slandered against Allah."
    And, Ibn Majah and Abu Hatim in his Sahih have a report coming from the Prophet saying:


    إِنَّ مِنْ النَّاسِ مَفَاتِيحَ لِلْخَيْرِ مَغَالِيقَ لِلشَّرِّ وَإِنَّ مِنْ النَّاسِ مَفَاتِيحَ لِلشَّرِّ مَغَالِيقَ لِلْخَيْرِ فَطُوبَى لِمَنْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ مَفَاتِيحَ الْخَيْرِ عَلَى يَدَيْهِ وَوَيْلٌ لِمَنْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ مَفَاتِيحَ الشَّرِّ عَلَى يَدَيْهِ


    "Among the people there are some who are a key to good and a lock to evil. In contrast, there are some who are a key to evil and a lock to good. So, good news to him in whose hands Allah placed the keys to good, and woe unto him in whose hands He placed the keys to evil" (Qurtubi).
    Qurtubi also writes: So far as predicting rain from physical, natural signs is concerned, that is permissible. A doctor commits no sin when he predicts that if a pregnant woman's right breast is a little heavier and somewhat dark, it will be a male fetus, and, conversely, if the left breast is a little heavier and somewhat dark then it will be a female fetus, or if a woman finds the right side of her womb a bit heavier, then the child is female. So also, if a person can determine the date of the sun or moon eclipses and make predictions to that effect, then that is also allowed, since, Allah has said (36: 39): "And the moon: We have appointed its stations." Yet, those who predict eclipses ought to be reigned in because by doing so they expose the people to dangers of faith (since, ignorant of science, they think of those who can predict eclipses as men with special powers: Au). They ought to keep the knowledge to themselves and not make them public. (Thus, predictions of scientific nature are not prohibited, but preferably they should be addressed to those learned in sciences: Au).
    It is a prophecy that has been totally disapproved by Islam. The Prophet has said in a hadith of Muslim:


    مَنْ أَتَى عَرَّافًا فَسَأَلَهُ عَنْ شَىْءٍ لَمْ تُقْبَلْ لَهُ صَلاَةٌ أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةً


    "Whoever went to a fortune teller will have his forty days of prayers rejected." As for some of their predictions coming true, a hadith of Bukhari explains:


    إِنَّ الْمَلَائِكَةَ تَنْزِلُ فِي الْعَنَانِ وَهُوَ السَّحَابُ فَتَذْكُرُ الْأَمْرَ قُضِيَ فِي السَّمَاءِ فَتَسْتَرِقُ الشَّيَاطِينُ السَّمْعَ فَتَسْمَعُهُ فَتُوحِيهِ إِلَى الْكُهَّانِ فَيَكْذِبُونَ مَعَهَا مِائَةَ كَذْبَةٍ مِنْ عِنْدِ أَنْفُسِهِمْ


    "The angels descend down to the clouds. They talk to themselves of the decisions made in the heavens. Satans pick up a few words from them, then, in turn, pass them on to the fortune tellers on earth who mix a hundred lies to one piece of truth (and forecast events)."
    Further, Alusi writes, the knowledge of the Unseen is not limited to the five items mentioned in the hadith. Rather, there is no end to them. But, perhaps (Rashid Rida), they were specially mentioned because people kept enquiring about them.
    Nevertheless, as Rashid Rida has pointed out, the five keys to the Unseen as spoken of in the hadith of Bukhari, which is in support of a Qur'anic verse (31: 34) could have symbolic connotations. For example, the first, the knowledge of what will happen tomorrow, is symbolic of the events of the future, the knowledge of what the wombs throw out is that of the beginning of life, the knowledge of the rains is that of the physical laws (of the world of vegetation: Rashid Rida), the knowledge of the hour of death is that of the end of life on this planet and, finally, the knowledge of the Hour is symbolic of the Hereafter. Thus, all that can be designated as "the Unseen" is covered by the hadith (Au.).
    94. It is said that the eagle's eye is so powerful that it can sight a squirrel from a thousand meters above in the sky. How can anyone then doubt the Power of Sight of one Who gives sight? (Au.)
    95. That is, there is not a thing in existence, or yet to come into existence but it is recorded in the Lawh al Mahfuz, exactly qualified and quantified including the time at which it will come into existence and the time at which it will be destroyed (Ibn Jarir).
    The commitment to writing has not been because of the fear that Allah will forget. Rather, it is for the angels (who do the execution). Besides, the statement has been brought in here to impress on the people that if every minor detail that is otherwise considered inconsequential has been written down, then what should mankind think of the deeds being recorded upon which depend reward or punishment (Razi, Qurtubi).
    The state of a thing falling down, adds Alusi, (is an unnoticed state). But Allah pays attention to it even in that situation of its existence. How much more not caring He is of it in the state of its rest?
    96. That is, Allah draws the souls of the people during the night and then raises them up the following day (Au.).
    As for the earlier statement in the ayah, viz., “It is He who takes away your souls by the night,” Ibn Kathir explains: The word in the original is "yetawaffakum" which is normally employed for taking away a thing, and, in reference to man, taking away of the soul causing it to die. In the present context it has been employed in the sense of sending one to sleep as said Allah (with that as one of the several possible meanings: Au.), in the following verse (3: 55):


    إِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَى إِنِّي مُتَوَفِّيكَ وَرَافِعُكَ إِلَيَّ [آل عمران : 55]


    "When Allah said, ‘O `Isa I shall send down sleep upon you and raise you to Myself."
    Or, as He said (39: 42):


    اللَّهُ يَتَوَفَّى الْأَنْفُسَ حِينَ مَوْتِهَا وَالَّتِي لَمْ تَمُتْ فِي مَنَامِهَا فَيُمْسِكُ الَّتِي قَضَى عَلَيْهَا الْمَوْتَ وَيُرْسِلُ الْأُخْرَى إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى [الزمر : 42]


    "Allah withdraws the soul at the time of its death, and of that which does not die in its sleep. Then He holds back that whose death has been decreed and sends back the others to an appointed term."
    97. Majid quotes: "Qahir as an epithet applied to God means, ‘The Subduer of His creations by His sovereign authority and power, and the Dispenser of them as He pleaseth, with and against their will.' Or the ‘Overcomer, or Subduer of all created beings' (LL)."
    One of the clearest manifestations of Allah's Irresistible power is man himself. He is composed of a body which is earthly in origin: base, dark and stinking, and a soul which is: noble, subtle, radiant and pure. It is Allah's irresistibility which forces them to combine and dwell together (Razi).
    98. The "fawqa" of the text has to be understood in the sense of one above in honor and esteem. It should not be taken in the directional sense (Razi, Qurtubi).
    99. Suddi, Qatadah and others have said that "hafazah" of the text are the guardian angels who guard man from various natural calamities as well as record all that he does (Ibn Jarir).
    A single hadith is available on the subject. It is in the Sahihayn and other collections. It says:


    الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَتَعَاقَبُونَ مَلَائِكَةٌ بِاللَّيْلِ وَمَلَائِكَةٌ بِالنَّهَارِ وَيَجْتَمِعُونَ فِي صَلَاةِ الْفَجْرِ وَصَلَاةِ الْعَصْرِ ثُمَّ يَعْرُجُ إِلَيْهِ الَّذِينَ بَاتُوا فِيكُمْ فَيَسْأَلُهُمْ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ فَيَقُولُ كَيْفَ تَرَكْتُمْ عِبَادِي فَيَقُولُونَ تَرَكْنَاهُمْ يُصَلُّونَ وَأَتَيْنَاهُمْ يُصَلُّونَ


    "Angels of the night follow on the heels of the angels of day and meet each other at the Fajr and `Asr Prayer times. Then those who spent the night with you ascend to the heavens. Their Lord inquires, although He knows better than them, ‘In what condition did you leave My slaves?' They answer, ‘When we went to them they were Praying, and when we left them they were Praying'" (Manar).
    Without substantiating his statement, Qurtubi says that the angels are four in number: two for the day, two for the night. One of them writes down the evil deeds and the other virtuous ones. When a man walks, one of them places himself at the front, another at the rear. When seated, they place themselves on the left and right, as Allah said (50: 17): "Sitting on the right and left." Some have said that they are five. Four as described above, and a fifth one, who never parts company.
    Alusi discusses the nature of what the angels write: whether only what is outwardly visible to them of the acts, or, also the state of the heart? He speculates that, perhaps, they jot down everything but have no knowledge of intentions. Reports tell us that on the Day of Judgment Allah will accept some deeds and order the angels to drop the rest. The angels would assert that they wrote nothing but what the man did (and therefore, some of the deeds could not be dropped). Thereat Allah will say that He is aware of what deeds were carried out to please Him and what hypocritically. As for that hadith which says, ‘When a man intends a good deed, a good deed is written down (in his records, even if the person does not commit it),' probably, by "kutibat" (i.e., written down), what is meant is "decreed."
    Alusi also states that when a believer commits an evil deed, the angel who records good deeds, restrains the one who records evil deeds saying, "Give him some time (before you record it). Maybe he will repent."
    100. According to Ibn `Abbas, Ibrahim, Qatadah and many others, the allusion by the "rusuluna" of the text is to the angel of death and his aides (Ibn Jarir).
    Qurtubi writes: It is said that the angel of death is accompanied by seven angels of mercy and seven angels of chastisement. If the person happens to be a virtuous one, the angel of death withdraws the soul and hands it over to the angels of mercy. But, if he happens to be an evil person, then he hands the soul over to the angels of punishment. The two groups dispose the soul suitably: into `Illiyyun or Sijjin.
    101. The "la yufarritun" of the original has been interpreted as "they do not lose" by Ibn `Abbas and Suddi (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir and others). Zamakhshari has said that a literal meaning would imply neither delaying of the proceedings nor committing excesses.
    The rendering in the translation sums up the variant meanings and has been adopted by us for the sake of flow (Au.).
    Ibn Kathir adds: Angels take good care of the soul, detaining it, after its withdrawal from a person, at a place deserving of it: either in the `Illiyyun, if it happens to be a purified one, or in the Sijjin, if it happens to be a wicked one.
    See ch. 83, notes 7, 8 and 11 of this work for further explanation.
    102. Majid writes: "This is specially to combat the Christian doctrine representing Christ as Judge. ‘The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father and with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Mt. 16: 37). ‘When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; And before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; And he shall set the sheep on his right hand but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father.' (25: 31 34) ‘That there will be a General Judgment is an article of faith. The Judge will be Christ.' (CD p. 523) ‘In the Gospels, while the Father is spoken of as Judge, Christ's influence at the Judgment is also spoken of and more generally He Himself is Judge, and exercises this function on all men.' (ERE. V. p. 35)
    103. There can be several kinds of darknesses: the real, such as the darkness of the night, the figurative, such as that of ignorance of the way, or of hardships and dangers (Razi, Manar).
    104. Besides the commonly understood meaning, Ibn `Abbas has said that the punishment from ‘above' is that of tyrannous rulers and from ‘below' (dishonest) employees of a person (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani and others). And Rashid Rida wonders why bombs from above and land mines from below should not be included?!
    105. "Labisa" of the original is for confusion, or a mix up. But Suddi has interpreted it in Tabari as causing division (Au.).
    106. Although the verse is Makkan, and the first application is to the Makkan pagans who denied the truth, the last part of the verse is also applicable to the Muslim Ummah. Consequently, the commentators have quoted those reports here of the Madinan period with Bukhari's hadith as the forerunner.


    عن جَابِر بْن عَبْدِ اللَّهِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا يَقُولُ لَمَّا نَزَلَ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ {قُلْ هُوَ الْقَادِرُ عَلَى أَنْ يَبْعَثَ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابًا مِنْ فَوْقِكُمْ} قَالَ أَعُوذُ بِوَجْهِكَ {أَوْ مِنْ تَحْتِ أَرْجُلِكُمْ} قَالَ أَعُوذُ بِوَجْهِكَ فَلَمَّا نَزَلَتْ {أَوْ يَلْبِسَكُمْ شِيَعًا وَيُذِيقَ بَعْضَكُمْ بَأْسَ بَعْضٍ} قَالَ هَاتَانِ أَهْوَنُ أَوْ أَيْسَرُ


    Jabir b. `Abdullah said: "When the verse: Say, ‘He has power to send upon you a calamity from above you,' was revealed, the Prophet remarked, ‘I seek protection by Your Face (O Allah).' Then when it said, ‘Or from below your feet,' he remarked ‘I seek protection by Your Face.' Eventually, when the following passage came down, ‘Or divide you up into (hostile) groups and make you taste the violence of one another,' the Prophet (saws) said, ‘This is milder or easier'" (Ibn Jarir, Shawkani).
    Ibn Kathir adds: Bukhari has placed this hadith under various chapters. On the same subject, Muslim has the following hadith narrated by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas who reports his father:


    أَقْبَلْنَا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ حَتَّى مَرَرْنَا عَلَى مَسْجِدِ بَنِي مُعَاوِيَةَ فَدَخَلَ فَصَلَّى رَكْعَتَيْنِ وَصَلَّيْنَا مَعَهُ وَنَاجَى رَبَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ طَوِيلًا قَالَ سَأَلْتُ رَبِّي عَزَّ وَجَلَّ ثَلَاثًا سَأَلْتُهُ أَنْ لَا يُهْلِكَ أُمَّتِي بِالْغَرَقِ فَأَعْطَانِيهَا وَسَأَلْتُهُ أَنْ لَا يُهْلِكَ أُمَّتِي بِالسَّنَةِ فَأَعْطَانِيهَا وَسَأَلْتُهُ أَنْ لَا يَجْعَلَ بَأْسَهُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ فَمَنَعَنِيهَا


    "Once, we went out with the Prophet. When we passed by the mosque of Banu Mu`awiyyah, he went in and offered two rak`ah of Prayers, with us behind him. After that he supplicated to his Lord for a long hour and then said, ‘I asked my Lord for three things. Two of them He granted, but the third He would not. I asked that my Ummah be not destroyed by floods. I was granted. Then I asked that my Ummah be not destroyed by famine. That was granted. Then I asked that my Ummah be not divided into (hostile) groups (cutting each other down), but that was not granted.'"
    Musnad Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Nasa'i, Tirmidhi, and many other compilers have ahadith to this effect. In fact one of them, in Ahmad, and of a good chain of narrators, adds that once the swords are unsheathed between groups of this Ummah, it will not be withdrawn until the Day of Judgment. In some narrations the Prophet added: "I fear none for my Ummah as much as misguided leaders."
    Yet another report of Ahmad runs as follows:


    عَنْ أَبِي بَصْرَةَ الْغِفَارِيِّ ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، قَالَ : " سَأَلْتُ رَبِّي أَرْبَعًا ، فَأَعْطَانِي ثَلاثًا ، وَمَنَعَنِي وَاحِدَةً ، سَأَلْتُهُ أَنْ لا يُجْمِعَ أُمَّتِي عَلَى ضَلالَةٍ فَأَعْطَانِيهَا ، وَسَأَلْتُهُ أَنْ لا يُهْلِكَهُمْ بِالسِّنِينَ كَمَا أَهْلَكَ الأُمَمَ قَبْلَهُمْ فَأَعْطَانِيهَا ، وَسَأَلْتُهُ أَنْ لا يُظْهِرَ عَلَيْهِمْ عَدُوًّا مِنْ غَيْرِهِمْ فَأَعْطَانِيهَا ، وَسَأَلْتُهُ أَنْ لا يَلْبِسَهُمْ شِيَعًا وَلا يُذِيقَ بَعْضَهُمْ بَأْسَ بَعْضٍ فَمَنَعَنِيهَا ". (مسند أحمد بن حنبل-ن (6/ 396) - تعليق شعيب الأرنؤوط : صحيح لغيره وهذا إسناد ضعيف لإبهام الراوي عن أبي بصرة)


    Abu Basrah al-Ghifari reported the Prophet as having said, “I asked my Lord for four. He granted me three and refused me one. I asked Him that my Ummah should not agree upon an error. He granted it to me. I asked Him that my Ummah should not be destroyed by starvation as He destroyed the nations before them. He granted it to me. I asked Him that an enemy apart from them should not overcome them. He granted it to me. And I asked Him that some of them should not taste the attacks of others, but He refused it to me” (Ibn Kathir).
    107. Suddi has said that the "appointed hour" was in reference to the chastisement of the Quraysh which manifested at Badr. But, of course, the term is open and so the appointed hour can appear in this world or, it might appear in the Hereafter (Ibn Jarir).
    108. The phrase yakhuduna fi ayatina means, ‘those who enter into false, or vain discourse or speech, respecting Our sign(s)' - Majid.
    109. It is reported of `Umar ibn `Abdul `Aziz that he whipped a fasting man found in the assembly of a people drinking wine. He cited this verse: "Do not sit with them until they are engaged in other talks" (Shawkani).
    110. Although, apparently, the verse addresses the believers through the Prophet, the commentators discuss all the same whether forgetfulness was possible on the part of the Prophet. Alusi states the opinion of some that the Prophet could forget, but only in worldly matters, or such of those things as had no Shari`ah implication. Nawawi is among them. The majority, however, believes that he could forget such affairs as involving the message he was required to communicate, but Allah would remind him sooner or later, so that the possibility of him declaring a valid rule as invalid and vice versa was ruled out. In fact, there is consensus of opinion that in Shar`i affairs, it was impossible for the Prophet to commit an error out of forgetfulness, or out of error of judgment. That indeed, applied to all Messengers and Prophets, who were specially protected by Allah.
    The above discussion is, however, entirely hypothetical. It is common experience that a doctor, who, after all, is just anybody who has completed a course of study, does not prescribe, either due to forgetfulness, or out of error, cough syrup for pain in joints, or an aspirin for skin infection. How then is it expected that a Prophet, even if not protected from on High, would prescribe wrong Shari`ah rules for whatever fanciful reason that sounds good for an academic discussion? (Au.)
    111. Abu Bakr Ibn al `Arabi (not Muhiyyuddin ibn al-Arabi) has said that this verse makes the company of the major sinners (ahl al kaba'ir) impermissible. Khuwayzmandad has said that the implication is that the company of those who dispute with the Qur'an, whether believers or non believers, should be avoided. Others have included the innovators (ahl al bid`ah) in the list of those whose company should be shunned. Indeed, it is said that once an innovator sought the attention of Abu `Imran al Nakha`i saying, ‘Listen just one word.' Abu `Imran replied, ‘Not even half a word.' Fudayl b. `Iyad has said: ‘Whoever approved of an innovator will have his other good deeds declared null and void. The light of Islam will depart from his heart. Whoever married off his daughter to an innovator, severed his ties with her. Whoever sat in the company of an innovator in religion will be denied wisdom' (Qurtubi).
    112. That is, if the pagans continue to indulge in Allah's signs or make fun of His revelation, then, the godfearing have no sin upon them on their account (Suddi: Ibn Jarir).
    113. Qatadah has said that this order was abrogated by the verses of jihad (Ibn Jarir).
    114. The phrase "ittakhadhu ... lahwan" can be understood in either of two ways: (1) "they have made their religion [an object of] play and fun", or (2) "they have made play and fun [or "passing delights"] their religion" i.e., the main goal of their lives. To my mind, the latter reading is definitely preferable inasmuch as it brings out the fact that many of those who are "beguiled by the life of this world" devote themselves to the pursuit of what the Qur'an describes as "passing delights" including the pleasures which money and power can provide with something akin to religious fervor: an attitude of mind which causes them to lose sight of all spiritual and moral values" (Asad).
    115. Yusuf Ali comments: "(In ch.) vi, (verse) 32, ... we are told that the life of this world is mere play and amusement, and Religion and the Hereafter are the serious things that require our attention. Worldly people reverse this, because they are deceived by the allurements of this life."
    116. The word "ubsilu" has different connotations, such as, to be held up, arrested, humiliated, rewarded, be forbidden, or consigned to perdition (Au.).
    117. Asad writes: "Among the various meanings attributed to the word hamim are the concepts of intense heat as well as of painful cold (Qamus, Taj al `Arus)."
    118. Rashid Rida points out that the phrase in the text nuraddu `ala a`qabina, is always used by the Arabs for a situation in which one has to take a step backwards in retreat, indicating a failure of undertaking. In view of that connotation it would imply here retreating from a better position to a lower one: from monotheism to idol worship.
    119. Mawdudi comments: "It has been asserted again and again in the Qur'an that God created the heaven and earth ‘in truth.' This covers a wide range of meanings:
    “First, that the heaven and the earth have not been created just for the fun of it. This existence is not a theatrical play. This world is not a child's toy with which to amuse oneself as long as one wishes before crushing it to bits and throwing it away. Creation is rather an act of great seriousness. A great objectivity motivates it, and a wise purpose underlies it...
    "Second, it means that God has created this entire system of the universe on solid foundations of truth. The whole of the universe is based on justice, wisdom and truth. Hence, there is no scope in the system for falsehood to take root and prosper. The phenomenon of the prosperity of falsehood which we observe, is to be ascribed to the will of God, Who grants the followers of falsehood the opportunity, if they so wish, to expend their efforts in promoting unrighteousness, injustice and untruth. In the end, however, the earth will throw up all the seeds of untruth that have been sown, and in the final reckoning every follower of falsehood will see that the efforts he devoted to cultivating and watering this pernicious tree have all gone to waste (Abridged).
    120. Majid has a beautiful point: "i.e., whatever He utters must and shall be accomplished in fact. Al Huqq here is not ‘the truth.' It expresses the idea of the overpowering efficacy of His word."
    121. This does not mean that the present dominion is not His. The purpose of this statement is rather to stress that when the veil which conceals certain truths in this phase of existence will be removed and Truth becomes fully manifest, it will be then quite clear that all those who seemed or were considered to possess power and authority were utterly powerless, and that the true dominion belongs to the One True God who brought the universe into existence (Au.).
    122. The allusion here is to the second of the two mighty blows of the Sur (Razi). The first will destroy all life and the present world order. The second will herald a new phase, a new order, and when every being that ever lived will come to life again. Mankind will be assembled on earth which will be rendered flat, reckoning will be conducted and judgment pronounced (Au.).
    The Prophet said:


    إن إسرافيل قد التقم الصور، وحنى جبهته ينتظر متى يؤمر فينفخ


    "Israfil has the Sur to his mouth and with his head bent forward awaits the order to blow" (Ibn Jarir).
    The Prophet has given us some other details. In a hadith (preserved by Bukhari) he said:


    مَا بَيْنَ النَّفْخَتَيْنِ أَرْبَعُونَ قَالَ أَرْبَعُونَ يَوْمًا قَالَ أَبَيْتُ قَالَ أَرْبَعُونَ شَهْرًا قَالَ أَبَيْتُ قَالَ أَرْبَعُونَ سَنَةً قَالَ أَبَيْتُ قَالَ ثُمَّ يُنْزِلُ اللَّهُ مِنْ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَيَنْبُتُونَ كَمَا يَنْبُتُ الْبَقْلُ لَيْسَ مِنْ الْإِنْسَانِ شَيْءٌ إِلَّا يَبْلَى إِلَّا عَظْمًا وَاحِدًا وَهُوَ عَجْبُ الذَّنَبِ وَمِنْهُ يُرَكَّبُ الْخَلْقُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ


    "Between the two blows (of the Sur) there will be a gap of forty." They (the narrator Abu Hurayrah), "Will it be forty days?" He replied, "I do not say that." They asked, "Forty months?" He said, "I do not say that.” They asked, “Forty years?” He replied, “I do not say that either." Then he said, "Allah will then send down water from the heavens and they will start sprouting out like plants. There is nothing from the body of a man that remains (uneaten by the earth) but a single bone. It is the tail bone. It is from this that mankind will be resurrected."
    At this point Ibn Kathir presents a long hadith which, as he points out, is made up of several ahadith by a not so well trusted narrator. However, and although not every part of it could be checked for authenticity, we present its somewhat abridged translation because of the importance of the subject. “When Allah had finished creating the heavens and the earth,
    At this point Ibn Kathir brings in a long hadith with reference to the blowing of the Sur. He writes: Hafiz Abul Qasim Tabarani has recorded the following hadith in his collection called "Al-tiwalaat."
    Said the Prophet while amongst a few of his Companions, as reported by Abu Hurayrah: "When Allah was finished with the creation of the heavens and the earth, He created the Sur and handed it over to Israfil. He placed it on his mouth, and is looking up at the `Arsh, waiting for the command." I (the narrator) asked, "Messenger of Allah, what is this Sur?" He replied, "A trumpet." I asked, "What is it like?" He answered, "Huge. By Him who sent me with the Truth, its circumference is like the width of the heavens and the earth. He will blow into it three times. The first blast will be the Blast of Dread, the second that of Swoon and the third the Blast which will be the Standing Forth before the Lord of the worlds.
    (At some time) Allah will order Israfil to make the first blast. The blast will drive dread into every one of the heavens and earth, except him who Allah wills. He will order him to keep blowing for a long while, without break. This is referred to in the Qur'an (38: 15),


    {وَمَا يَنْظُرُ هَؤُلَاءِ إِلَّا صَيْحَةً وَاحِدَةً مَا لَهَا مِنْ فَوَاقٍ } [ص: 15]


    "These are not waiting but for a single cry, which will brook no delay."
    With that Allah will make the mountains move. They will move like clouds, as if a mirage. Then the earth will shake with all its inhabitants to resemble a boat tossed into the sea, hit by waves. It will swing with its inhabitants like a lamp hung by the roof; the winds rocking it. It is about this that it was said (79: 6-8),


    {يَوْمَ تَرْجُفُ الرَّاجِفَةُ (6) تَتْبَعُهَا الرَّادِفَةُ (7) قُلُوبٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ وَاجِفَةٌ } [النازعات: 6 - 8]


    "The day a rattling with rattle (the world) violently, followed by a second thunderous blast, the day when the hearts will throb (with fear)."
    The people will be swinging on its back, the breast-feeders will forget their young ones, the pregnant will abort pregnancy, children will go gray, the devils will fly from fear to the shores until angels appear who will strike on their faces and push them back (to the seas), the people will turn on their heels, none to save them from Allah's command, some of them calling others – that is the Day about which Allah said (40: 32),


    { يَوْمَ التَّنَادِ } [غافر: 32]


    "The Day of calling."
    They would be in that state when the earth will split up from end to end. They would be witnessing an affair never witnessed before. That will drive the people into a state of fear the extent of which only Allah knows. As they look up at the heaven, it would be like boiled oil. Then it will split, the stars will fall and its moon and sun will lose their shine. The Prophet added, 'The dead will not know about these happenings.'"
    Abu Hurayrah asked, "Who exactly are meant by the exception in the verse (27: 87),


    { فَفَزِعَ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا مَنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ} [النمل: 87]


    "In dread will be whoever is in the heavens and in the earth, except whom He wills." He answered, "The martyrs are the exceptions. It is the living who will be in dread, while the martyrs are alive with Allah, being fed, Allah will save them from the dread of that Day, and accorded them peace in its wake. That will be the torment that Allah will send upon the worst of His creatures. He has said (22: 1, 2),


    {يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّ زَلْزَلَةَ السَّاعَةِ شَيْءٌ عَظِيمٌ (1) يَوْمَ تَرَوْنَهَا تَذْهَلُ كُلُّ مُرْضِعَةٍ عَمَّا أَرْضَعَتْ وَتَضَعُ كُلُّ ذَاتِ حَمْلٍ حَمْلَهَا وَتَرَى النَّاسَ سُكَارَى وَمَا هُمْ بِسُكَارَى وَلَكِنَّ عَذَابَ اللَّهِ شَدِيدٌ } [الحج: 1، 2]


    'People, fear your Lord. Surely, the shaking of the Hour will be a great thing. The Day you witness it, every breast-feeding female will forget about its young, and every pregnant will abort what it carries. And you will see the people drunk; but they will not be drunk, rather Allah's torment will be great.'
    They will remain in the torment as long as Allah wills, except that it will be long.
    Then Allah will order Israfil to blow the Swoon-blow. When he dose that, everyone will pass out except he whom Allah wills. When all and everyone lies unconscious, and they will go cold, the angel of death will go to Allah the Overcomer, and plead, 'My Lord. Everyone in the heaven and earth is dead, except he whom You willed.' He will ask, although He knows, 'So who is left?' He will answer, 'Those who are left are: Yourself, the Living who will never die, the carriers of `Arsh, Jibril, Mika'il and myself.' He will say, 'Let Jibril and Mika'il die.' At that the `Arsh will speak out to say, 'Our Lord! Should Jibril and Mika'il die?' He will answer, 'Quiet. I have written it upon everyone below my `Arsh.' So the two will die. Then the angel of death will go to Allah, the Overommer and say, 'My Lord! Jibril and Mika'il are dead.' He will ask, 'Who is left?' He will answer, Those left are Yourself, the Living who will never die, and left are the carriers of `Arsh, and myself.' He will say, 'Let the carriers of My `Arsh die.' So they will die. Then Allah will order the `Arsh to take the Trumpet away from Israfil. Then the angel of death will come to Him and say, 'My Lord, the carriers of Your `Arsh are dead.' Allah will ask, although He knows, "So, who is left?" He will answer, 'Left are Yourself - the Living who will never die; and I am left.' He will say, 'You are a creation from among My creations. I created you for the function that you have witnessed. So, 'Die off.' He will die off. Then none will be left except Allah, the One, the Unique, the Overcomer, who did not give birth to and was not born, He will be the Last, like He was the First, He will fold the heavens and the earth in the manner of folding the scrolls, hold them in his palms, then He will turn them around three times and say, 'I am the King, I am the Overcomer, I am the Overcomer, I am the Overcomer – three times. Then He will speak out in a high note, 'Whose is the Kingdom today?' – three times. No one will answer Him. Then He will say to Himself (40: 16),


    {لِلَّهِ الْوَاحِدِ الْقَهَّارِ} [غافر: 16]


    "It is for Allah, the Overcomer."
    Allah had said (14: 48),


    {يَوْمَ تُبَدَّلُ الْأَرْضُ غَيْرَ الْأَرْضِ وَالسَّمَوَاتُ} [إبراهيم: 48]


    "The Day the earth will be changed for another earth, the heavens as well."
    Then He will spread them, flatten them, and stretch them like the stretching of an `Ukazi skin, so that (20: 107),


    {لَا تَرَى فِيهَا عِوَجًا وَلَا أَمْتًا} [طه: 107]


    "You will not see therein any depression or elevation."
    Then Allah will shake the creation, a good shaking and there they would be, on the altered earth like they were there before – he who was on the face of the earth will be on the face of the earth while he who was below the surface will be below the surface. After that He will send down water on them from the bottom of the `Arsh. Thereafter He will order the heavens to rain down water. It will rain for 40 days, until the water will be 12 yards high over them. Then Allah will order the bodies to grow. They will grow like vegetable plants, until when their bodies have completed to become what they were, Allah will say, 'Let the carriers of the `Arsh come alive.' They will come alive. Thereafter He will order Israfil to take on the Trumpet and put it against his mouth. Then He will order Jibril and Mika'il to come alive. They will come alive. Then Allah will order the spirits to be brought forth. They will be brought out. The spirits of the believers would be shining bright, while the spirits of the unbelievers would be dark. He will take hold of all of them and cast them into the Trumpet. Then He will order Israfil to blow the blow of Resurrection. The spirits will burst forth like they were bees filling the heavens and the earth. Allah will say, 'By my power and glory, let every soul return to its body.' With that the spirits in the earth will enter into the bodies. It will enter through their nostrils flowing through their bodies like poison runs through a bitten man. Then, the Prophet added, the earth will be split for you; and I'll be the first for whom the earth will split. You will come out hastening to your Lord (54: 8),


    {مُهْطِعِينَ إِلَى الدَّاعِ يَقُولُ الْكَافِرُونَ هَذَا يَوْمٌ عَسِرٌ} [القمر: 8]


    "Necks outstretched toward the Caller, the unbeliever saying, 'This is a hard day.' They will be barefoot, naked, uncircumcised and made to stand, a standing that will last 70 years; neither looked at you nor any judgment made between you. You'll cry until the tears exhaust, then you will shed tears of blood and sweat until you are in sweat up to your nostrils or your earlobes, you saying, 'Who will intercede with our Lord for us to start the judgment between us?' You will say, 'Who can be more deserving than your father Adam? Allah created him with His own Hand, blew spirit into Him, and spoke to him directly?'
    They will go to Adam and request him that. But he will refuse and say, 'I am not your man.' So they will go the prophets one after another. Every time they go to a prophet, he refuses. The Prophet added, 'Until they come to me.'
    I will go up to the front of the `Arsh and fall into prostration. I will remain in prostration until an angel will come to me and holding me by my shoulder will lift me up. Allah will say, 'O Muhammad!' I will say, 'Yes my Lord.' He will ask, although He knows, 'What's with you?' I will answer, 'My Lord! You promised to allow me to intercede with You on behalf of Your creation; so, do start judging between Your creation.' He will reply, 'I accept your intercession. I shall come to judge between you.'
    The Prophet said, "So, I will return to my place and while standing among the people, we will hear a huge consternation putting us into great fear; and lo, the inhabitants of the heaven closest to the earth will come down, twice in numbers than the men and Jinn assembled there. When they come closer to the earth, it will be filled with their Light. As they take their position, it will be asked, 'Is your Lord within you?' They will reply, 'Not yet. He is coming.'
    Then will come down from the next heaven angels twice the numbers that came down from the first heaven and twice the earth's men and Jinn. When they come closer to the earth, it will be filled with their Light. As they take their position, it will be asked, 'Is your Lord within you?' They will reply, 'Not yet. He is coming.'
    Then will come down, twice as before (from the rest of the heavens, one after another) followed by Allah the great Subduer, the Mighty, the Honored in the shades of the clouds; angels bearing His `Arsh; they will be eight angels - at the moment its bearers are four. Their feet will be at the bottom of the last of the earths. The heaven and earth on their sides, the `Arsh on their shoulders, and there being heavy (echoing) sound in their hymning, as they say,


    سبحان ذي العرش والجبروت، سبحان ذي الملك والملكوت، سبحان الحي الذي لا يموت، سبحان الذي يميت الخلائق ولا يموت، سُبُّوح قدوس قدوس قدوس، سبحان ربنا الأعلى، رب الملائكة والروح، سبحان ربنا الأعلى، الذي يميت الخلائق ولا يموت،

     

    'Glory to the Owner of the `Arsh, and of the Predominant, Glory to the Sovereign, the Monarch, Glory to the Living who will never die, Glorious, the All-Pure, the All-pure, the All-pure. Glorious is our Lord the All-high, Lord of the angels and the Spirit, Glorious is our Lord the All-high, He who deals death to the creations, and does not die.
    Thereafter Allah will place His Kursiyy on His earth where He will, and speak out saying, 'O Men and Jinn, I've remained silent from the day I created you until this day; listening to your words, and watching your deeds. Now you pay attention to me. It is your deeds and your scriptures that will be read upon you. So, whoever finds good, let him thank Allah, but whosoever finds other than that may blame none but himself.'
    Following that Allah will order Hell to be brought forth. (When it arrives) a shining neck will emerge from it. It will say (36; 60-64),


    {أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ يَا بَنِي آَدَمَ أَنْ لَا تَعْبُدُوا الشَّيْطَانَ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ (60) وَأَنِ اعْبُدُونِي هَذَا صِرَاطٌ مُسْتَقِيمٌ (61) وَلَقَدْ أَضَلَّ مِنْكُمْ جِبِلًّا كَثِيرًا أَفَلَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْقِلُونَ (62) هَذِهِ جَهَنَّمُ الَّتِي كُنْتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ (63) اصْلَوْهَا الْيَوْمَ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَكْفُرُونَ (64) } [يس: 60 - 65]


    Had I not enjoined upon you, O children of Adam, that you should not worship Shaytan, (that) surely he is your open enemy? And that you worship Me (alone)? This is the straight path. He did lead astray a great multitude of you (in the past). Were you not able to think? This is the Jahannum (then), that you were promised. Roast therein today, for that you were rejecting.’
    Allah will divide and separate the people, and the nations will go down on their knees (45: 28):


    {وَتَرَى كُلَّ أُمَّةٍ جَاثِيَةً كُلُّ أُمَّةٍ تُدْعَى إِلَى كِتَابِهَا الْيَوْمَ تُجْزَوْنَ مَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ} [الجاثية: 28]


    You will see every nation on its knees. Every nation will be called forth for its account. Today you shall be rewarded for what you were doing.
    Allah will begin to judge ignoring men and Jinn and starting with the animals – until He would have rendered justice between a horned and un-horned goat (as to why the earlier horned the latter) – until none will remain with any grudge for another. When that's achieved, He will say, 'Be dust.' It is then that unbeliever will say (78: 40):


    {يَا لَيْتَنِي كُنْتُ تُرَابًا} [النبأ: 40]


    'Oh my, only if I was dust.'
    Then it is that Allah will begin to judge between the men and jinn, first calling for justice for he who was killed for no just cause, followed by other kinds of wrongs done by one against another." (Shortened)
    Ibn Kathir ends the texts by saying that although as a single report it is not of good strength, but as pieces put together, each piece seems to have support in Sahih narrations.
    123. Asad remarks: "The term al shahadah (lit., "that which is [or "can be"] witnessed") is used in this and similar contexts as the exact antithesis of al ghayb ("that which is beyond the reach of a created being's perception"). Thus, it circumscribes those aspects of reality which can be sensuously or conceptually grasped by a created being."
    124. Ibrahim (asws) is often mentioned in this Holy Book because he was equally acceptable to the Jews, Christians, and pagans. All the three communities prided in him (Razi).
    Majid writes under p.I, n. 559: "(In the sense of a leader of mankind, Ibrahim) continues to be till this day, being the accepted head of the three great peoples of the world the Muslims, the Christians and the Jews. ‘He is not, in the first instance, the progenitor of the people, but the founder and leader of a religious movement. Like Mohammad, some 2,000 years later, he stood at the head of a great movement among the Semitic peoples and tribes' (EBr. I, p.60)."
    125. Majid comments: "`Terah' of the Bible; variously spelt as Zarah and Therach in the Talmud and Athar by Eeusebius, ‘The chief officer of King Nimrod and a great favorite with his royal master; (Polano, op. cit., p.30). ‘The apocryphal books of the Old Testament such as the Book of Jashir, represent Terah to have been a great soldier and commander of the armies of the King of Babylon.' (Marston, The Bible is True, p. 180)
    Asad adds: "In the Bible, the name of Abraham's father is given not as Azar but as Terah (the Tarah or Tarakh of the early Muslim genealogists). However, he seems to have been known by other names (or designations) as well, all of them obscure as to origin and meaning. Thus, in various Talmudic stories he is called Zarah, while Eusebius Pamphili (the ecclesiastical historian who lived towards the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth century of the Christian era) gives his name as Athar. Although neither the Talmud nor Eusebius can be regarded as authorities for the purposes of Qur'an commentary, it is not impossible that the designation Azar (which occurs in the Qur'an only once) is the pre Islamic, Arabicized form of Athar or Zarah."
    126. Majid quotes: ‘Idolatry and image worship form a very striking feature of the Babylonian religious system, and already meet us in its advanced stage of development in the earliest cultural period of which material remains have been preserved.' (ERE, VII, p.117) ‘Even Therech, who still remained chief officer to the king, became a worshipper of idols. In his house he had twelve large images of wood and stone, a separate god for each month of the year, and to these he prayed and made obeisance (Polano)."
    Among the Arabs, writes Alusi somewhere else, idol worship was introduced by `Amr b. Luhayy.
    127. Majid comments: "The Babylonian religion was an admixture of animism, image cult, and nature worship. ‘The religion of Babylonia in the earliest form known to us may be defined as a combination of local cults with animistic conceptions of the power of nature, with which man was either brought into immediate contact, or which affected his aims and his welfare. Each centre had its special patron deity in most cases conceived as masculine who was brought into association with some natural phenomenon. The two powers most commonly chosen were the sun and the moon, and by the side of these we find streams and stones personified as god' (DB. V. p.536)."
    128. The textual word is "malakut." Imam Razi says that the spirits of the humans do not miss to see the Light of Allah but because of barriers. What are these barriers? They are everything that one engages himself with apart from Allah. Obviously, the greatest of such barriers are the idols. When Ibrahim removed this barrier by devoting himself entirely to Allah and denying the significance of anything else besides Him, he was able to achieve theophany (Tajalli). Such Divine manifestation, however, adds Razi, was not with the physical eyes, rather, with the inner vision. It was, in fact, this inner vision, that helped Ibrahim to construct the argument that he presented to his people, as recounted in the following verses.
    Commenting on the use of the word ‘nuriy,' Razi quotes Imam al Haramayn as commenting: Allah's knowledge is limitless. Indeed, His knowledge of every branch of knowledge has no end. For every substance of His creations can take endless forms. Therefore, the knowledge of His kingdom has no end. Its acquisition, therefore, by any of His creation in one go is out of the question. It has to be obtained in a gradual manner. Accordingly, Allah did not say ‘araynahu,' which would mean ‘We showed him,' (in the past, and implying an instantaneous showing), rather, He said, ‘nuriy,' (comprising present and future tenses) which has the sense of the act in continuance and, hence, gradualism accompanying it.
    129. Yaqin is the word in the text. It is that state of certitude of the heart which is obtained when all doubts have been removed with the help of evidences (Razi).
    `Abdul Rahman b. `Ayyash reports:


    صلى بنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ذات غداةٍ، فقال له قائل: ما رأيتك أسفرَ وجهًا منك الغداة! قال: ومالي، وقد تبدّى لي ربّي في أحسن صورة، فقال: فيم يختصم الملأ الأعلى، يا محمد؟ قلت: أنت أعلم [يا رب] ! فوضع يده بين كتفي فوجدت بردَها بين ثدييّ، فعلمت ما في السماوات والأرض. ثم تلا هذه الآية:"وكذلك نري إبراهيم ملكوت السماوات والأرض وليكون من الموقنين"


    "One day the Prophet did his morning Prayer with us. Someone remarked, ‘I have never seen your face as bright as this morning.’ He replied, ‘Why not! My Lord came to me in the best of forms. He said, “Muhammad! What do you think the angels are arguing among themselves about?' I said, ‘You know better.' So He placed His Hands over my shoulders, and I knew all that is in the heavens and the earth.' Then the Prophet recited this verse: "That is how We showed Ibrahim the kingdom of the heavens and the earth so that he might be of those who firmly believe" (Ibn Jarir).
    Ibn Kathir reports another version of this report known as Hadith al Manam as found in Ahmad and Tirmidhi (who rates it sahih). It is narrated by Mu`adh ibn Jabal. This version has the words ‘and I felt the coldness of His hands descending down to my breast' added after ‘So He placed His Hands over my shoulders.'
    130. The Qur'an has used the word kawkab, which is applicable both to planets as well as stars. We have translated the word as star following the generally understood meaning of the ancients who did not differentiate between stars and planets, calling the former as fixed stars and the latter as moving stars. But the allusion seems to be to a planet, either, as Majid has written, "... Jupiter (Marduk), the chief god," or, "Venus (Ishtar) the chief goddess, of Babylonia." Modern archaeological researches, Majid adds in his Urdu commentary, confirms the opinion of our earliest scholars that of the celestial objects it were Jupiter and Venus that were worshipped in the ancient times (Au.).
    131. Majid quotes: ‘Temples to the moon god are found in all the large cities of Babylonia and Assyria. (EBr. XX, p. 703). Ur, the Chaldean capital, ‘was an ancient seat of lunar worship.' (JE. XII, p. 380). ‘The great temple of the Third Dynasty at Ur was dedicated to the Moon Goddess. The temple was the abode of the patron city, and the deity was its appendage: the chief priest as the representative of the deity was the ruler of the city and state' (Gregory, op. cit., p. 13).
    132. It is not necessary that the sighting of the star and the moon should have happened on the same night, with the sun sighted on the following morning. Rather, as Alusi has pointed out, the episode could have well run through several nights (Thanwi).
    133. "In ancient Babylonia the sun was worshipped from innumerical antiquity. The ideogram of the sun, like that of the moon, in the Babylonian language is always preceded by a determinative which implies divinity ... There was no deity of the pantheon whose worship enjoyed an equally continued popularity from the earliest to the latest time both in Babylonia and Assyria" (FWN. I, pp. 529 530) Majid.
    134. Note the words: "I am quit of what ‘you' associate, implying that Ibrahim himself never committed that sin (Majidi).
    Mawdudi presents the summary of conclusions which Sir Leonard Wooley arrived at as a result of the researches embodied in his work, Abraham (London, 1935).
    "It is estimated that around 2100 B.C., which is now generally accepted by scholars as the time of the advent of Abraham, the population of the city of Ur was ... maybe five hundred thousand. The city was a large industrial and commercial metropolis. Merchandise was brought to Ur from places as far away as Palmer and Nilgiri in one direction, and in the other it had developed trade relations with Anatolia. The state, of which this city was the capital, extended a little beyond the boundaries of modern Iraq in the north, and exceeded its present borders further to the west. The great majority of the population were traders and craftsmen.... Interest was rampant among them and their devotion to money making seemed all absorbing...
    "In the inscription of Ur there are references to about five thousand deities. Each city had its own deity. Each city had a chief deity which it considered its chief protector and, therefore, that deity was considered worthy of greater reverence than all the others. The chief deity of Ur was Nannar (the moon god)... , and it is for this reason that the city later became known as Kamarina (Qamar is the Arabic word for moon: Z.I.Ansari). The other major city was Larsa, which replaced Ur as the capital of the kingdom. Its chief deity was Shamash (the sun god). Under these deities there were a myriad of minor deities which had generally been chosen from among the heavenly bodies stars and planets. People considered them responsible for granting their innumerable minor prayers. Idols had been carved in the image of these celestial and terrestrial gods and goddesses and were made objects of ritual worship.
    "The idol of Nannar had been placed in a magnificent building on the top of the highest hill. Close to it was the temple of Nin Gal, the wife of Nannar. The temple of Nannar resembled a royal palace. Every night a female worshipper went to its bedroom, adorned as a bride. A great number of women had been consecrated in the name of this deity and their position was virtually that of religious prostitutes. The woman who would sacrifice her virginity for the sake of her ‘god' was held in great esteem. For a woman to give herself to some unrelated person ‘for the sake of god' was considered as a means to salvation. Needless to say, it was generally the priests who made most use of the institution.
    "Nannar was not merely a deity, but the biggest landlord, the biggest trader, the biggest industrialist and the most powerful ruler. Many orchards, buildings and huge estates had been consecrated to his temple. In addition to this, cereals, milk, gold, cloth, etc., were brought as offerings to the temple by peasants, landlords and merchants, and there was a large staff in the temple to receive the offerings. Many a factory had been established on behalf of the temple. Large scale trading was also carried out on its behalf. All these activities were conducted by the priests in the name of the deity. Moreover, the country's main court was also located in the temple. The priests functioned as judges and their Judgments were equated with those of God. The authority of the royal family was derived from Nannar. The concept was that Nannar was the true sovereign and that the ruler of the country governed merely on his behalf. Because of this relationship, the king himself was raised to the rank of a deity and was worshipped..."
    To the above account, although a bit ingenious, Mawdudi adds his own comments:
    "If the conclusions of these archaeological researches are correct, it becomes quite evident that polytheism did not consist merely of a set of religious beliefs and polytheistic rites, it rather provided the foundation on which the entire order of economic, cultural, political and social life rested. Likewise, the monotheistic mission which was undertaken by Abraham was not merely directed against the practice of idol worship. It had far wider implications, so much so that it affected the position of the royal family both as rulers and deities. It also affected the social, economic and political status and interests of the priestly class, the aristocracy in general, and in fact the entire fabric of the social life of the kingdom. To accept the teachings of Abraham meant that the entire edifice of the existing society be pulled down and raised anew on the basis of belief in One God. Hence, as soon as Abraham launched his mission, ordinary people, as well as the privileged classes, ordinary devotees, as well as Nimrod, rose at once to oppose and suppress it."
    135. The episode tells us that there is no contradiction between a man entirely devoted to the Hereafter and yet engaging himself in debates and polemics, so long as he does not commit excesses devoting himself entirely to this affair (Thanwi).
    Differences in opinion seem to have surfaced early over the nature of the episode enunciated here, whether, it was some loud thinking on the part of Ibrahim trying to figure out who his Lord was, or, was it an inductive method devised to convince the pagans of their folly. Ibn Jarir, following the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, believes that it was some loud thinking. (Rashid Rida is surprised at Ibn Jarir's preference here). But the great majority of commentators have believed, in the words of Yusuf Ali, that "his statements maybe seen as premises of his arguments against Polytheism rather than as stages in his enlightenment." Ibn Kathir also thinks that it was a novel method in polemics and not an inductive mental exercise to arrive at a logical conclusion. (Abu Hayyan was of the same opinion: Sabuni; and so was Zajjaj: Shawkani). Imam Razi presents some twelve arguments to demonstrate that Ibrahim (asws) adopted this method for the sake of argument alone. Of the several possible interpretations, one stated by Razi is that the words, "this is my Lord" were derisive. Another possibility is that when he spoke those words he meant to say, "(So) this (according to your opinion) is my Lord (let us see whether it proves to be so)." (It is in the same vein as Allah's words on the Day of Judgment (16: 27): "Where are My partners [today]?": Majid from Bahar). Ibrahim had to take this indirect route because his people were in no mood to listen to any direct criticism. Alusi and Qurtubi are also of the same opinion and agree with the notion generally prevalent among the scholars that the Prophets have never been devotees to false gods at anytime in their lives. What strengthens the opinion that it was only a method contrived to send home the point that natural objects could not be gods, is that when his people began to dispute with him, after he had demonstrated their fallacy, Ibrahim asked them, ‘Do you dispute with me concerning Allah, while He has guided me?' This means arguments about the nature of the Deity had already taken place earlier to the episode. Further, the section ends with, "That is Our Argument that We bestowed upon Ibrahim against his people. We raise in ranks whom We will. Verily, your Lord is All wise, All knowing." The conclusion is, Ibrahim was already a Messenger when he presented the argument in a most telling manner. He was not probing into the dark and reflecting over a few celestial objects to figure out if they could be gods (Au.).
    136. This was Ibrahim's response to their threats that if he did not stop disparaging their deities, he would be chastised by those very deities (Ibn Jarir).
    137. The word in the text is zulm. It was natural that it should alarm the Companions who were always very concerned about the state of their hearts. They went to the Prophet and asked (as in Bukhari’s following report):


    عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ لَمَّا نَزَلَتْ هَذِهِ الْآيَةُ {الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يَلْبِسُوا إِيمَانَهُمْ بِظُلْمٍ} شَقَّ ذَلِكَ عَلَى أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَقَالُوا أَيُّنَا لَمْ يَظْلِمْ نَفْسَهُ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَيْسَ كَمَا تَظُنُّونَ إِنَّمَا هُوَ كَمَا قَالَ لُقْمَانُ لِابْنِهِ {يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ{


    "Which of us does not transgress?" He replied: "It is the sin of association (shirk) that is alluded to. Have you not read Allah's words as spoken by Luqman to his son, ‘Surely, association (shirk) is a great transgression?'" (Ibn Jarir). Slightly differently worded, the hadith is in Bukhari also (Ibn Kathir).
    138. Jarir b. `Abdullah reports in a hadith preserved by Ahmad:


    خَرَجْنَا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَلَمَّا بَرَزْنَا مِنْ الْمَدِينَةِ إِذَا رَاكِبٌ يُوضِعُ نَحْوَنَا فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَأَنَّ هَذَا الرَّاكِبَ إِيَّاكُمْ يُرِيدُ قَالَ فَانْتَهَى الرَّجُلُ إِلَيْنَا فَسَلَّمَ فَرَدَدْنَا عَلَيْهِ فَقَالَ لَهُ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مِنْ أَيْنَ أَقْبَلْتَ قَالَ مِنْ أَهْلِي وَوَلَدِي وَعَشِيرَتِي قَالَ فَأَيْنَ تُرِيدُ قَالَ أُرِيدُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ فَقَدْ أَصَبْتَهُ قَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ عَلِّمْنِي مَا الْإِيمَانُ قَالَ تَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَتُقِيمُ الصَّلَاةَ وَتُؤْتِي الزَّكَاةَ وَتَصُومُ رَمَضَانَ وَتَحُجُّ الْبَيْتَ قَالَ قَدْ أَقْرَرْتُ قَالَ ثُمَّ إِنَّ بَعِيرَهُ دَخَلَتْ يَدُهُ فِي شَبَكَةِ جُرْذَانٍ فَهَوَى بَعِيرُهُ وَهَوَى الرَّجُلُ فَوَقَعَ عَلَى هَامَتِهِ فَمَاتَ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَلَيَّ بِالرَّجُلِ قَالَ فَوَثَبَ إِلَيْهِ عَمَّارُ بْنُ يَاسِرٍ وَحُذَيْفَةُ فَأَقْعَدَاهُ فَقَالَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قُبِضَ الرَّجُلُ قَالَ فَأَعْرَضَ عَنْهُمَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُمَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَمَا رَأَيْتُمَا إِعْرَاضِي عَنْ الرَّجُلَيْنِ فَإِنِّي رَأَيْتُ مَلَكَيْنِ يَدُسَّانِ فِي فِيهِ مِنْ ثِمَارِ الْجَنَّةِ فَعَلِمْتُ أَنَّهُ مَاتَ جَائِعًا ثُمَّ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ هَذَا وَاللَّهِ مِنْ الَّذِينَ قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ {الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يَلْبِسُوا إِيمَانَهُمْ بِظُلْمٍ أُولَئِكَ لَهُمْ الْأَمْنُ{


    "We left Madinah with the Prophet heading for a campaign. We were not far out of town when we observed someone approaching us. The Prophet said: ‘The rider seems to be intending us.' When the man came nearer he greeted us. The Prophet asked him: ‘Where are you coming from?' He replied, ‘I am coming from my family, children and the tribe.' The Prophet asked him, ‘Where are you going?' He replied, ‘I am looking for the Prophet.' The Prophet said, ‘You have found him.' He asked, ‘Messenger of Allah. What is faith?' The Prophet replied, ‘It is to believe that there is no deity save Allah, that Muhammad is His Messenger, to establish the Prayer, pay the zakah, fast during Ramadan and make pilgrimage to the House.' He said, ‘I accept that.' After that it should happen that his camel stepped into a desert rodent hole. In its struggle the beast threw him down and then itself fell upon him. The Prophet ordered, ‘Get the man out.' `Ammar b. Yasir and Hudhayfah b. al Yaman pulled the man out (from under the camel). They cried out, ‘He is dead, Messenger of Allah.' The Prophet turned away. After a pause he said, ‘Did you notice that I turned away? That was because I saw angels feeding him with fruits of Paradise. I guessed he died hungry. He is one of those about whom Allah said, "Those who believed and then did not adulterate their faith with transgression, such, for them is peace" Ibn Kathir.
    139. The implication is that the raising of ranks was the result of the arguments, or evidences, that Ibrahim was given (Razi).
    Asad adds: "The description of Abraham's reasoning as God's own argument implies that it was divinely inspired, and is therefore valid for the followers of the Qur'an as well."

    140. Since Lut was not of the seed of Ibrahim, the pronoun in verse 84 can only refer to Nuh (asws). That is, Lut was a seed of Nuh Ibn Jarir.
    Nonetheless, some scholars believe the allusion by "his seed" is to Ibrahim. Ibn Abi Hatim has reported that once Hajjaj b. Yusuf sent for Yahya b. Ya`mar. He told him: "I have heard your claim that Hasan and Husayn are the Prophet's seed. It seems you say that the proof is in the Book of Allah. Now, I have read it from end to end but could not find anything to confirm that." Yahya b. Ya`mar read out this verse and said: "The verse says `Isa is the seed of Ibrahim. But `Isa had no father. So, he was Ibrahim's seed from the mother's side" (Ibn Kathir). A similar report is in Bayhaqi (Shawkani).
    Further, the Prophet himself once held Hasan by the hand and said: "This my son is a Sayyid (a true leader)" Ibn Kathir, Qurtubi.
    141. Ibn Mas`ud held that Ilyas is another name of Idris. But, we know that Nuh himself was a seed of Idris. Therefore, the opinion of the genealogists sounds weightier who say that Ilyas was the son of Yasi, the son of Finhas, in the line of Musa Ibn Jarir.
    142. Although one hundred and twenty-four thousand Prophets and three hundred and thirteen Messengers have been raised on this earth, the Qur'an named a total of eighteen here at this point. Six more have been named elsewhere. Starting with Adam we list them here in order of their probable advent on the earth. Their probable Biblical names with approximate dates are given in brackets.
    (1) Adam, the first man and Prophet on earth.
    (2) Idris, an ancient Prophet. It is not certain if he was raised before or after Nuh.
    (3) Nuh [Noah, an ancient prophet, ancestor of Ibrahim, period unknown].
    (4) Ibrahim [Abraham, about 2100 B.C.].
    (5) Lut [Lot, a nephew of Ibrahim, about 2100 B.C.]
    (6) Isma`il [Ishmael, a son of Ibrahim].
    (7) Is haq, [Isaac, son of Ibrahim, 2060 1880 B.C.: Majid].
    (8) Ya`qub, also known as Israel, [Jacob, son of Ishaq, 2000 1850 B.C.: Majid].
    (9) Hud [about 2000 B.C.: Syed Sulayman, Hifzur Rahman].
    (10) Yusuf, [Joseph, son of Ya`qub, 1910 1800 B.C.: Majid].
    (11) Salih [about 1600 B.C.: Syed Sulayman].
    (12) Shu`ayb [period not established, but he is not the Shu`ayb of Musa].
    (13) Musa [Moses, 1520 1400 B.C.: Majid].
    (14) Harun [Aaron, Musa's brother].
    (15) Ayyub [Job, about 1300/1500 B.C.: Hifzur Rahman. But Syed Sulayman Nadwi has placed him between 700 and 1000 B.C].
    (16) Da'ud [David, d. 962 B.C.: Majid].
    (17) Sulayman, [Solomon, son of Da'ud, d. 932 B.C.: Majid].
    (18) Ilyas, same as Ilyasin of the Qur'an, [Elijah, 9th century B.C.: The New American Desk Encyclopedia].
    (19) Al Yasa` [Elisha, a successor of Elijah: Hifzur Rahman].
    (20) Yunus [Jonah, about 600 B.C.: Hifzur Rahman].
    (21) Zakariyyah [Zacharias, the caretaker of Maryam, around 30 years B.C.: Hifzur Rahman]. He is different from Zechariah of the OT who appeared in the sixth century B.C.
    (22) Yahya [John the Baptist, a contemporary of `Isa, but d. 30 C.E.].
    (23) `Isa [Jesus, son of Mary, 4 B.C.: an error occurred in dating him], and
    (24) Muhammad, [born about 569 years After Christ].
    The Qur'an also speaks of a Prophet in verse 246 of surah al Baqarah. But it does not name him. It is widely believed that his name was Shamwil. Da`ud succeeded him as a Prophet.
    The hadith literature adds another name: that of Shith who appeared immediately after Adam. A report of Abu Dhar in Ibn Hibban says he was given 50 scriptural Books.
    The above would make the list of Prophets and Messengers named either in the Qur'an or in the hadith as 26.
    In addition to the above, two other names occur in the Qur'an, with strong probability that they were Prophets: (1) Dhu al Kifl and (2) `Uzayr [Ezra of the Bible, 5th century before Christ, a contemporary of Nebuchadnezzar].
    Finally, some others have been hinted at as Prophets by the Qur'an, such as (1) Yusha` b. al Nun [Joshua, the successor of Musa. He is probably the young companion of Musa mentioned in surah al Kahaf: Hifzur Rahman]. Some historians think he too was a Prophet. (2) Hizqil, [Ezekiel, probably the one involved in the episode stated in verse 243 of surah al Baqarah. See note no. 514, and (3) Maryam, the mother of Jesus, who is considered a Prophetess by some scholars (Au.).
    143. Coming as it does from a Sufi commentator, these words acquire special significance: In this verse is the refutation of those ignorant people who believe that some men are dearer to Allah than others simply because they are what they are, such as, for instance, Muhammad, and a few Awliya' Allah whom they name. An implication drawn from this belief is that those men were, so to say, beyond the Law. Whereas, the verse makes it clear that none, not even Prophets and Messengers, were dear to Allah for their own sake. If they were dear to Him, it was because of their qualities, such as, to name one, a firm commitment to Tawhid: "Had they associated (others with Allah), all (the good things) they did would have come to naught" (Thanwi).
    144. Taking cue from Mujahid, Ibn Jarir interprets the hukm of the text as the power of intellect that is acquired through a study of revelation.
    145. Qatadah has said that by the word "them" the allusion is to the eighteen prophets named earlier; in other words, belief in them and in their message (Ibn Jarir).
    146. Ibn Jarir reports that Ibn `Abbas, Dahhak, Qatadah and others were of the opinion that those who were entrusted the message after the Quraysh rejected it, were the Ansar. (And the Muhajirun: Ibn Kathir). Nonetheless, Ibn Jarir himself believes it is the prophets and messengers who were entrusted with the message.
    After stating his own opinion that it is the Muhajirun and Ansar who have been alluded to, Rashid Rida writes an account of a dream he experienced: "I found myself in my hometown Tarabulus in Syria in the company of a few people of the town, well dressed in their caps and `imamah (head gear). A person well known there for his courage and nobility happened to step in. He was introduced to us. We greeted him and the others who were accompanying him. These new comers surprised us with a news item. They said that the time had come for the fulfillment of the prophecy contained in the verse: ‘Yet, if these (people) reject these, then, already We have entrusted it to a people who reject them not.' They asked us: ‘Do you know the latest news?' We said: ‘No.' They said: ‘Well! This is very important. Europe is talking about it. Their papers carry the news.' I can vaguely remember that they were carrying some newspapers with them. Then they named one of the Ministers of the Ottoman government, who was taking personal interest in the affair and had travelled (somewhere) in that connection. I began to wonder about the affair. Why was the minister travelling? Was he going to Europe? Had Allah subdued the hearts of those other than its present patrons? These and other questions arose in my mind and I wanted to ask some of those in whose company I had found myself. But then I woke up. It was fajr time."
    Rashid Rida does not write the year he saw the dream. But a fair guess is that it was somewhere around 1910. Nothing much happened during his own life time by way of an interpretation of the dream. However, since the beginning of the last quarter of this century, and more markedly since late 80's, a change in the atmosphere can easily be discerned. On the one hand, contradictory currents seem to be sweeping through the Islamic body politic: both of the rejection of Islam, as well as of a return to it. If there is re awakening in a part of the Islamic world, there is every sign of its rejection in another part. In fact, this trend can be noticed in every cross section of the Muslim society however small, and whichever the country or region examined. On the other hand, despite a massive drive, since over three hundred years, by the Orientalists, Western scholars, and now the media, to present a distorted figure of Islam, Islam seems to be more and more acceptable to the people of their countries now than it was ever before. Tens of thousands of people are entering Islam every year in Europe and North America. Starting from a zero representation of the local population a few decades earlier, by now about one to two percent of the population has embraced Islam in those countries. It looks as though for every person rejecting Islam in the Islamic world, there is someone in the West accepting it: Islam is neither Eastern nor Western, yet, it is a sorry affair indeed in the East, the seat of Islam. Is it possible that some decisions have been made in the Heavens (Au.)?
    147. That is, the Prophet was to follow them in the principles of religion and moral precepts which have remained unchanged throughout the ages (Zamakhshari).
    Ibn `Abbas has said that following the instruction to follow the previous prophets, our Prophet used to prostrate himself at verse 24 of surah Sad, which reports Da'ud as having prostrated himself. The report is in Bukhari (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    Qurtubi writes: The verse is a proof that, as the great majority of legists have declared, the Law of the previous prophets so long as not annulled by Islam is the Law for this Ummah. Apart from this verse, another verse also substantiates this principle. It is verse 45 of surah Al Ma'idah:


    وَكَتَبْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ فِيهَا أَنَّ النَّفْسَ بِالنَّفْسِ وَالْعَيْنَ بِالْعَيْنِ وَالْأَنْفَ بِالْأَنْفِ وَالْأُذُنَ بِالْأُذُنِ وَالسِّنَّ بِالسِّنِّ وَالْجُرُوحَ قِصَاصٌ [المائدة : 45]


    "And We decreed therein (i.e., in the Tawrah) for them: a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth and for wounds a (suitable) retaliation."
    Apart from this, there is no other verse in the Qur'an that speaks of Qisas (the law of Just Retribution). Since the Prophet's own institution of retaliation was following this verse (which was originally a Tawrah prescription), it can be deduced that the Shar` of the past prophets is the Shar` of this Ummah, so long as nothing new has been revealed and so long as there is no contradiction whatsoever.
    148. That is, they did not assign to Allah the Greatness that is due to Him when they said that He did not reveal to any mortal (Ibn Jarir).
    149. They were either some Jews (Malik b. Sayf, Finhas and others), or the Quraysh who denied that Allah revealed anything to anyone (Ibn Jarir).
    It is reported that once Malik b. Sayf and some other Jews went up to see the Prophet. He chided Malik: "I adjure you by the One who revealed the Tawrah if it is not stated therein that God hates every fat Rabbi. Now, you are a fat Rabbi who fattened himself on the money the Jews donated you." Malik's companions laughed at this. He turned to `Umar and said in his anger: "Allah never revealed anything to any mortal." (According to some reports, one of the Jews (turned to him in surprise and) questioned him if God had not revealed even to Moses. He replied, "To no one whatsoever"). Once amongst themselves, the Jews reproached him (for denying revelation to Moses). He tried to explain that he had only said that in anger. But, displeased with his reply, the Jews relieved him of his leadership role and conferred it on Ka`b b. al Ashraf (Kashshaf and others).
    150. Qurtubi remarks: Basing their opinion on this verse, the scholars disapprove of bringing out in a book form, selected parts of the Qur'anic text.
    The reproach is directed either against the collection of the holy writ in "parchments" or against "collection" itself. If the allusion is to the former, then, as Qurtubi has pointed out, it was criticized because collection in "parchments" (i.e., several parchments, rather than a single volume) helped the Jews to present to the public whatever they though fit, concealing the rest.
    Nevertheless, if, by the words, "you put them in parchments" the criticism is directed against the "act" of committing the scriptures to writing, then, two explanations are possible. First, the Jews were required to commit the revelation to memory and not "simply" put them into parchments. With several people in possession of master copies, viz., the memorized word, interpolation would have been difficult. Second, the Jews put them in several parchments, rather than making one whole book of it. Had they done that, once again interpolations, (and not only concealment, as Qurtubi has pointed out) although remaining a possibility would have certainly become more difficult (Au.).
    Asad adds: "This passage is obviously addressed to those followers of the Bible who pay lip service to its sacred character as a revealed scripture but, in reality, treat it as "mere leaves of paper" that is, as something that is of little consequence to their own conduct: for, although they pretend to admire the moral truth which it confirms, they conceal from themselves the fact that their own lives have remained empty of those truths."
    Yusuf Ali comments: "The message to Moses had unity: it was one Book. The present Old Testament is a collection of odd books ("sheets") of various kinds... In this way you can make a show, but there is no unity, and much of the spirit of the original is lost or concealed or overlaid. The same applies to the New Testament."
    151. The seriousness with which the learned Orientalists, the Arabists and Islamists, Jews and Christians, rabbis, priests and other holy men as well as the unblest, apply themselves to Islamic disciplines with colored visions, a penetrating eye but on the ludicrous, a search in depth, but for the odd opinion, connecting the unrelated with specious logic, unearthing what the Muslims have long discarded as non sensical, to produce works bathed in erudition, displaying a depth of unmatched perception, but steeped in such dishonesty, that any decent man would place them aside in revulsion after three paragraphs of reading, has perhaps never been described as succinctly as in words, "plunged in playful discourses" (Au.).
    152. "I, Muhammad b. `Umar al Razi the writer of these lines, say: I have done a lot of work on various disciplines of knowledge. But, I must admit that I did not receive blessings in consequence of them, in any measure as I received for working on this project (i.e., the commentary of the Qur'an)" Al Kabir.
    Alusi adds: By Allah's grace we have received multiple rewards in this world itself for being in the service of the Qur'an, and hope not to be denied them in the Hereafter too.
    153. Ibn `Abbas has said that by Umm al Qura, the allusion is to Makkah and by the words, "those around it," it is to the rest of the world. Qatadah has added that Makkah has been called Umm al Qura because the earth was stretched out from this point (Ibn Jarir).
    Early reports tell us that the earth was originally covered with water. When the waters began to recede, it was Makkah which appeared first (Shabbir).
    An additional reason could be that it is, in the words of Lane (Majid), the greatest of towns in dignity.
    Rashid Rida adds: Contending with this verse some of the ancient Jews and others argued that the Prophet was sent only for the Arabs. But there are several verses of the Qur'an that refute this notion. In this chapter itself Allah said in verse 19:


    وَأُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنُ لِأُنْذِرَكُمْ بِهِ وَمَنْ بَلَغَ [الأنعام : 19]


    "And this Qur'an has been revealed unto me in

    order that I might warn you and whosever it reaches."
    And He said (25: 1):


    تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ لِيَكُونَ لِلْعَالَمِينَ نَذِيرًا [الفرقان : 1]


    "Blessed is He Who sent down the Criterion unto His slave so that he might be a Warner unto the worlds (of men and Jinn)."
    And (34: 28):


    وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا كَافَّةً لِلنَّاسِ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا [سبأ : 28]


    "And We have not sent you (O Muhammad) but unto whole of the mankind: an evangelist and a warner."
    The Orientalists have also tried to argue that the Prophet was sent to the Arabs alone. But, firstly, one wonders why these knowledgeable people should not first announce their conviction that he was truly a Prophet, even if only for the Arabs? Secondly, why should they be so generous to the Arabs of the Middle East when, if they are to adhere to this text alone, the Prophet could not have been a Prophet for anyone beyond Makkah and a few villages around it, excluding even Tayif to which the Prophet seems to have vainly travelled (Au.)?
    Sayyid Qutb adds: "The Orientalists severe this verse of the Qur'an from the rest of it to argue that the Prophet aimed only at Makkah and its surroundings at the beginning of his mission. Subsequently, as his influence spread, he aspired to add the whole of the Arab Peninsula to his dominion. Finally, after his migration, his successes at establishing an Islamic state in Madinah led him to further expand upon the previous modest area of control. “But," adds Sayyid, "they have lied. For a Makkan revelation said in the earlier phase of his mission (21: 107) about the Prophet: "We have not sent you but a mercy unto the worlds." And, at another place the Qur'an said He said (34: 28): "We have not sent you but to the entire mankind, an evangelist and a warner." These verses were revealed when the Prophet's mission was still in the valleys of Makkah."
    154. Faith in the Hereafter is the central point of religion. Someone who does not fear standing before his Lord for the Reckoning, can never be religious (based on Zamakhshari).
    Sayyid Qutb writes: "Those who feel that there has to be a Hereafter where man should be punished or rewarded for his deeds, also believe in Allah and in the fact that there have to be Messengers from Him warning the people of that event. Accordingly, (when he appears) they have no difficulty in believing in him. Thereafter, they attend to their Prayers regularly because that is one thing that connects them with their Creator. Further, this act is symbolic of their acceptance of all that the revelation of Allah directs them to do."
    155. That is, belief in this Book as a revelation of Allah is not simply an opinion or an abstract idea on the part of those who believe in it. They are so serious about it that they follow its commands, so that, e.g., they perform the Prayers regularly (Au.).
    156. Although several persons, e.g., Ibn Abi Sa`d b. Sarh, Musaylimah the liar, and Ansi, have been named to refute whom these verses were revealed, it is apparent that they are open in application to whoever uttered these kind of blasphemies (Ibn Jarir). Especially, in view of the fact, adds Rashid Rida, that this chapter is Makkan whereas the above false prophets did not make their claim but after they had learnt of the Prophet's sickness just before his death.
    Alusi and Thanwi have pointed out that included in the reproach are those of the quacks who, camouflaged as godly men, claim that they are inspired, or experience visions, or see true dreams, and so forth, although, nothing of that sort happens to them.
    157. It is widely reported that `Abdullah ibn Abi Sa`d b. Sarh was one of those who was entrusted to write the Qur'anic revelations. Now, when the Prophet dictated, "the All hearing, the All Knowing" he would write down "the All knowing, the All wise." Once, when the verses concerning the creation of man (23: 24) were revealed and the Prophet (saws) recited them out, `Abdullah added, "Blessed is Allah, the best of Creators." The Prophet said: "Write that down, since those were the words revealed to me." At this, `Abdullah told himself that if Muhammad was truthful in his claim to prophethood, then he could also reveal what had been revealed to him. So he turned a renegade and joined the pagans at Makkah; although, subsequently he again became a Muslim. However, it is believed that he was the cause of revelation of these verses (Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari, and others).
    Qurtubi adds: Other reports tell us that `Abdullah b. Sa`d did not become a Muslim by himself. In fact, he was one of those four whom the Prophet had ordered killed at the fall of Makkah, even if found holding the drapes of Ka`ba. But `Abdullah hid himself with `Uthman ibn `Affan to whom he was related. `Uthman brought him out only after things had cooled off a bit after the fall of Makkah. When he presented him to the Prophet and sought his acquittal, the Prophet stayed quiet for a while. Finally, he said he was pardoning him. Later, (after `Uthman had left: Ibn Sa`d) he remarked to his Companions: "If I was slow in saying yes, it was in the hope that one of you would kill him." They asked: "Why did you not signal with your eye?" He replied: "A Prophet does not signal with his eye." None the less, subsequently `Abdullah became a good Muslim. Nothing reproachable was ever noticed of him afterward. Subsequently, at the time of his own caliphate, `Uthman appointed him a governor of Egypt. (Earlier, `Umar had also appointed him a governor: Ibn Hisham). `Abdullah waged jihad and subdued Ifriqiyyah in 27 A.H. He also brought Nubiya under Muslim control by 31 A.H. Later, he fought against the Romans in the famous battle of the Suwariyy in 34 A.H. But, when he returned to Egypt, political upheavals had begun, culminating in the murder of `Uthman. One report says he chose to stay put in Ramallah (Palestine), refusing to side with either `Ali or Mu`awiyyah. He prayed to Allah that he might die while doing his Prayers. Accordingly, one day he began his fajr Prayer. He turned right and said his taslim. Then he turned left to say his taslim, but could not. He fell dead.
    Rashid Rida however disagrees that `Abdullah ibn Abi Sarh was the cause of the revelation of this verse. He says the words "the All hearing, the All Knowing" do not occur in the Makkan chapters nor do the words "the All knowing, the All wise" or the words "the All mighty, the All wise," except in surah Luqman which was revealed after this surah, i.e., surah al An`am. So far as the narration goes about `Abdullah ibn Abi Sarh rejoining with words: "Blessed is Allah, the best of creators," Rashid Rida adds, that he did not find this report narrated in any of the Ma`thur tafsir books (i.e., those works that rely only on report). However, we know that sometimes `Umar correctly anticipated certain revelations. So did Mu`adh (ibn Jabal). It is possible that Sa`d b. Abi Sarh was led to doubt by their utterances, made a statement of similar nature (i.e., I can reveal what Allah has revealed) and turned renegade. But, during the time he was writing the revelation, none of those words that have been attributed to him were revealed. Rashid Rida also states that `Abdullah ibn Abi Sarh had re-embraced Islam before the fall of Makkah. (See narration about him in surah al-Anfal, under verse 72: Au).
    158. It is said that Nadr b. al Harth used to say that Al Lat and Al `Uzza (pre Islamic deities) would intercede for him. Allah revealed this in refutation (Ibn Jarir, Alusi and others). The report is in Ibn Abi Hatim and others (Shawkani).
    159. A sahih report (in Muslim: H. Ibrahim) says:


    يَقُولُ ابْنُ آدَمَ مَالِى مَالِى وَهَلْ لَكَ مِنْ مَالِكَ إِلاَّ مَا أَكَلْتَ فَأَفْنَيْتَ أَوْ لَبِسْتَ فَأَبْلَيْتَ أَوْ تَصَدَّقْتَ فَأَمْضَيْتَ وَمَا سِوَى ذَلِكَ فَهُوَ ذَاهِبٌ وَتَارِكُهُ لِلنَّاسِ


    "Son of Adam says, ‘My wealth. My wealth.' But, do you own anything of your wealth except that which you ate and finished off, or dressed yourself and wore it out, or gave in charity and saved it? As for the rest, you will be going away and leaving it to the people" (Ibn Kathir).
    160. All pagan religions are built on two cardinal principles: sacrifice and intercession (Rashid Rida).
    161. Although Suddi, Qatadah and Ibn Zayd have said that the splitting refers to opening up of the grain and the date palm stone to throw out the root and the stalk, Mujahid, Dahhak and Abu Malik have said that it refers to the division of the grain and the date stone into two halves by a line running through them. Ibn `Abbas however has said that faliq is equivalent of khaliq. But the later part of the verse, which speaks of the bringing forth of the living from the dead and the dead from the living leads us to believe that falaq refers to the act of splitting the seed for its sprouting (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Animal life depends entirely on plants. Human life on the other hand depends both on plant as well as animal life. Thus both, the animal as well as the human lives, depend on plant life. In turn, plant life depends on the splitting of two kinds of seeds: grains and seeds. The words therefore, "Allah is the Splitter of the grain and the date stone," embody a great amount of meaning. Apart from that there are several signs of Allah in the splitting of the seed. Firstly, the shoot that emerges is extremely tender. A child can pluck it off. Yet, it splits the ground although placed at a foot's depth in hard soil. Were a man to try piercing the ground with his finger a foot deep, he would fail to do that in as many days as the shoot does it. Secondly, the seed has two ends. From one end grows what will become its root. Its biological function is different from the shoot that sprouts from the other end which becomes the stem of the plant on the surface of the earth. Now, not only the two ends know their respective functions: the lower sucking up water and minerals, the upper engaging itself in photosynthesis, but also both seem to "know" their places in the system: one below, into the ground and the other above into the air. If the seed is placed upside down, the lower end that throws out the shoot takes a 180 degree turn to arrive at the surface. The other one too takes a U turn to go into the earth instead of ending up on the surface. Deep there inside the earth, what tells the seed that it has been placed upside down in the ground and that its two ends must proceed in the opposite directions? Experiments show that in many instances a root begins to re orient within 10 to 30 minutes of being turned upside down. In some instances a seed placed sideways knows within 12 seconds that it has been re oriented.
    "The scientists have discovered that there is a tiny instrument at the tip of the seed to determine the gravitational pull of the earth. But the "brain" seems to be somewhere else. For, a decapped root, although initially unable to re orient itself, re produces the tip within 14 to 22 hours, to help it regain its power of re orientation. In fact, in some laboratory experiments involving mutant plants, even the absence of the instrument that responds to gravity the amyloplasts did not make a difference. The plant still oriented itself in the right direction: as if there was, in addition to the amyloplasts, an alternative gravity sensing mechanism.
    "Starting with Darwin who perhaps first wrote on the subject, the scientists have progressively "discovered" the instrument and the mechanism that guides the root to the deeper earth, and how the plants respond to presence or absence (as in space experiments) of gravitational pull, but cannot explain how the mechanism came to be there in the first place. (See Scientific American, Dec. '86, "How Roots Respond to Gravity" by Michael L. Evans, Randy Moore and Karl Heinz Hasentein) Au.
    162. Ibn `Abbas has said that it refers to the creation of the dead sperm in man, and to a living body emerging from that dead sperm (Ibn Jarir). There have been several interpretations of similar nature coming from the Salaf (Ibn Kathir).
    A good example is a virus. It is no more than a speck of dust with nucleic acid (RNA) at the core with a protein core. They are in billions all around, but dead. However, let them into a living cell, and they come alive. But more amazingly, there are dust particles everywhere around us that are bits and pieces of RNA without even a protein coat. Known as viroids, they too come alive in biological cells. And, viroids are not amazing enough, we have below them what are known as prions. If somebody thought that RNA is the life-source, prions put him into puzzle. They are a bit of protein and no nucleic acid, and nothing else. And, as if for humans to learn Allah’s Will and Power, these prions can lie in certain human cells, dead, inactive for up to a decade, and then suddenly on a deadly day come alive; causing what is known as ‘the Mad Cow disease (CJD),’ death is the fate of its host (Au.).
    163. The words "Splitter of the dawn," carry several connotations. Allah Most High is the Splitter and Separator of the morning of the existent from the (darknesses of the) non existent. He is the Splitter of the morning of life; intelligence and discernment from the darknesses of the state of (lifeless) solid materials; Splitter of the morning of intellect from the darknesses of ignorance; Splitter of the morning of cosmic spiritual awareness, from the darknesses of the human earthly existence; Splitter of the morning of radiance of thought and induction from the darknesses of the necessities of the world of possibilities (Razi).
    164. Ibn Abi Hatim has narrated that when Suhayb Rumi's wife chided him for spending most of his night in prayers, Rumi replied: "Allah has made the night a means of rest except for Suhayb. When Suhayb thinks of Paradise his desires stretch, and when he thinks of the Fire his sleep flies away" (Ibn Kathir).
    165. The textual word husbana has several connotations. An alterative meaning could be: "He made them run to their appointed courses" (Au.). Another interpretation is that Allah (swt) made the Sun and the Moon run on a timed schedule. A third interpretation is that the allusion by the word "husbana" is to fire, as in verse (18: 40):


    وَيُرْسِلَ عَلَيْهَا حُسْبَانًا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ [الكهف : 40]


    "And He will send upon it (the town) a fire from the sky."
    A hadith in Muwatta', Nasa'i and Tirmidhi says the Prophet (saws) sometimes supplicated in these words:


    اللَّهُمَّ فَالِقَ الْإِصْبَاحِ وَجَاعِلَ اللَّيْلِ سَكَنًا وَالشَّمْسِ وَالْقَمَرِ حُسْبَانًا اقْضِ عَنِّي الدَّيْنَ وَأَغْنِنِي مِنْ الْفَقْرِ وَأَمْتِعْنِي بِسَمْعِي وَبَصَرِي وَقُوَّتِي فِي سَبِيلِكَ


    "O Allah, the Splitter of the dawn, the Maker of the night a means of rest, of the Sun and the Moon as the means of reckoning: relieve me from my debt, relieve me from poverty, let me enjoy (until the end of life) my hearing and sight, and my (other) powers" (Qurtubi).
    The above hadith from Muwatta’ is slightly different from that quoted by Qurtubi (Au.).
    166. It might be noted that in verse 95 Allah spoke of three earthly signs while in verse 96 of three heavenly signs (Manar).
    167. Linguistically the term mustaqarr refers to a permanent place of storage and mustawda` to a temporary one. There have been several interpretations. Ibn Mas`ud has said that they allude respectively to the womb and the grave. Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id b. Jubayr, `Ata', Mujahid and Ibrahim have said that the allusion is to the mother's womb after conception, and the father's repository of sperm. In fact, once Ibn `Abbas asked Sa`id ibn Jubayr if he had married and when he said no, he remarked: "Allah will surely bring out whatever is stored in the mustawda` of your back" (the repository of sperm). Another opinion of Ibn `Abbas is that the allusion is to the life on this earth and the father's repository of sperm respectively. Nevertheless, Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas and Sa`id ibn Jubayr themselves have also said that the former refers to the everlasting abode with the Lord and the latter to the short life in this world (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    168. Referring to the textual word is yafqahun Imam Raghib has said that, linguistically, the term fiqh stands for the process of arriving at the knowledge of the unknown with the help of the known. It can also be defined as delving into the depth of things. Accordingly, the word fiqh in Islam applied to a fuller understanding of Islamic principles. It is one level above what is generally known as `ilm (Manar).
    It might be pointed out here that what is known as the "scientific method," consists of the following steps: (i) identification of a problem, (ii) gathering of the related data, which includes generation of the data, (iii) formation of a hypothesis, (iv) conducting tests and experiments, and, finally, (v) arriving at a theory that might or might not prove to be true, much later (Au.).
    169. Asad remarks: "I.e., all are so alike in the basic principles of their life and growth, and yet so different in physiology, appearance and taste."
    170. From the first appearance of the fruit bud (a little after pollination) until its ripening, the fruit acquires different traits and characteristics: from the bitter thing in the beginning to the sweet in the end; the usually green in color, to the beautiful red, crimson, violet etc., in the final stages; from the one hot for the body to the one cool for it, or vice versa; from the once poisonous to human consumption to the delicious food for them in all these are signs that manifest themselves in stages (based on Razi).
    171. Yusuf Ali comments: "Another beautiful nature passage, referring to Allah's wonderful artistry in His Creation. In how few and how simple words, the whole pageant of Creation is placed before us. Beginning from our humble animal needs and dependence on the vegetable world, we are asked to contemplate the interaction of the living and the dead. Here is a teaching, referring not only to physical life but to the higher life above the physical plane, not only to individual life but to the collective life of nations. Then we take a peep into the daily miracle of morning, noon, and night, and pass on to the stars that guide the distant mariner. We rise still higher to the mystery of the countless individuals from the one human soul their sojourn and their destiny. So we get back to the heavens: the description of the luscious fruits which the "gentle rain from heaven" produces, leaves us to contemplate the spiritual fruits which faith will provide for us, with the aid of the showers of Allah's mercy."
    172. ‘According to Arab philologists, the term jinn signifies, primarily, "beings that are concealed from [man's] senses' (Qamus, Lisan al `Arab, Raghib)' Asad.
    Majid explains: "Jinns are a definite order of conscious beings, intelligent, corporeal and usually invisible, made of smokeless flame, as men are of clay, created before Adam. They eat and drink, and propagate their species, and are subject to death, much in the same way as human beings are. Though as a rule they are invisible to the human eye, they manifest themselves to men at will, mostly under animal form."
    If it is asked how it could be said that the people worshipped the Jinn when we know that they worshipped idols and not the Jinn directly? The answer is, they worshipped them but obeying them the way Allah is to be obeyed, as Allah said elsewhere (4: 117 120):


    إِنْ يَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِهِ إِلَّا إِنَاثًا وَإِنْ يَدْعُونَ إِلَّا شَيْطَانًا مَرِيدًا (117) لَعَنَهُ اللَّهُ وَقَالَ لَأَتَّخِذَنَّ مِنْ عِبَادِكَ نَصِيبًا مَفْرُوضًا (118) وَلَأُضِلَّنَّهُمْ وَلَأُمَنِّيَنَّهُمْ وَلَآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُبَتِّكُنَّ آذَانَ الْأَنْعَامِ وَلَآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُغَيِّرُنَّ خَلْقَ اللَّهِ وَمَنْ يَتَّخِذِ الشَّيْطَانَ وَلِيًّا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ فَقَدْ خَسِرَ خُسْرَانًا مُبِينًا (119) يَعِدُهُمْ وَيُمَنِّيهِمْ وَمَا يَعِدُهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ إِلَّا غُرُورًا [النساء : 117 - 120]


    "Indeed, they invoke not besides Him, but female (deities). (But) in truth, they invoke none other than a rebellious Shaytan, (whom) Allah has cursed, and who vowed that, ‘Assuredly I will take (unto myself) of Your slaves an appointed portion.' (He also vowed) ‘Verily, I shall lead them astray, and surely, I will arouse in them false hopes, and assuredly, I shall command them so that they shall slit the ears of the cattle and indeed, I shall order them so that they shall deface the creation of Allah.' But whoever took Shaytan for a patron, instead of Allah, surely suffered a manifest loss. He will promise them and lend them hopes. But Shaytan does not promise them save delusions" (Ibn Kathir).
    Shabbir points out that Ibrahim (asws) had also said to his father reproaching him on for idol worship: (19: 44):
    يَا أَبَتِ لَا تَعْبُدِ الشَّيْطَانَ [مريم : 44]
    "O my father. Worship not the Devil."
    Hence Allah will say to whom on the Day of Judgment (36: 60):


    أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ يَا بَنِي آدَمَ أَنْ لَا تَعْبُدُوا الشَّيْطَانَ [يس : 60]


    "Did I not take a compact from you, O Children of Adam, that you will not worship the Devil?"
    Qatadah and Suddi have said however that the allusion is to the declaration by the Arab pagans of the angels as Allah's daughters. It could also be to the Zanadiqah whose belief was that God and Shaytan are brothers: the former created men and animals, while the latter created the snakes, wild animals, scorpions, etc. This faith is very close to the belief of the Zoroastrians who thought that God (Yezdan: R. Rida) is the creator of Good, and Devil (Ahraman: R. Rida) the creator of evil (Qurtubi).
    Fi Dilal has the following foot note: "Kalbi has said in his "Kitab al Asnam" that among the Arabs the Banu Mudlaj of the Khuza`ah tribe used to worship the Jinn."
    173. That is, if the one you attribute to Him as his son (because he did not have a father: Au), be truly His son, then, the rest of the created world the cosmos should be His sons too. But you yourself do not accept this corollary (Manar).
    174. Asad's rendering of subhanahu wa ta`ala `amma yasifun is: ‘Limitless is He in His glory, and sublimely exalted above anything that men may devise by way of definition.' To this he adds the following: "I.e., utterly remote from all the imperfections and from the incompleteness which is implied in the concept of having progeny. The very concept of "definition" implies the possibility of a comparison or correlation of an object with other objects; God, however, is unique, there being "nothing like unto Him" (42: 11) and, therefore, "nothing that could be compared with Him" (112: 4) with the result that any attempt at defining Him or His "attributes" is a logical impossibility and, from the ethical point of view, a sin. The fact that He is indefinable makes it clear that the "attributes" (sifat) of God mentioned in the Qur'an do not circumscribe His reality but, rather, the perceptible effect of His activity on and within the universe created by Him."
    175. The textual word "Badi`" is to produce something without an earlier example; hence the word "bid`ah" which is to introduce a new practice in religion (Ibn Kathir).
    176. Majid writes: "This refutes the polytheism of several peoples like the Hindus, the Babylonians, and the Egyptians, which maintained that each god had a female companion or consort. Indian polytheism went further. ‘Even God', according to the Upanishads ‘had a desire for progeny and wished a wife for propagation' (Indira, Status of Women in Ancient India, pp.129 130)."
    177. That is, since Allah is the Creator, He has knowledge of all things. Now, if He had children He would have known them better than the creations who attribute sons and daughters to Him (Manar).
    178. Sayyid Qutb quotes Frank Allen as saying in one of his works: Quite often it is said that this material world does not need a creator. But if we admit that this world is in existence then we run into the difficulty of explaining it. There can be four possible explanations. Either (i) this world is only a dream and a vision, (but that seems to contradict many evidences we have of it being real, although Sir James Jeans also held the view that this is a world of illusions which has no reality beyond our minds), or, (ii) it came to existence by itself by its own force (which no man in his right mind would accept), or, (iii) it has been there since eternity (but, that leaves greater room for the acceptance of a "living" eternal power as its creator rather than a "lifeless" matter in existence since eternity), or, (vi) it should have a creator, which seems to be the most plausible alternative.
    In an earlier passage he quotes John Cleveland C. as saying in his work "God Appears in the Age of Knowledge": Chemistry tells us that the elements are in a state of decay: some slow some fast. This means that matter will not last for ever, which also means that it has not been there since eternity. We also have evidence that the creation of matter was not a gradual affair. Rather it sprang up suddenly. Science can even tell us when that happened. It also tells us that from the beginning of the affair the physical world has been following a set of laws. These are strong proofs that it has a creator.
    Further, if the material world could not be its own creator, then the non material world, (the living) is all the more impossible of self creation. There is sufficient evidence to prove that the force that brought this world into existence is endowed with the powers of intellect and wisdom. He also seems to have a will. Obviously, these facts point to a creator.”
    That this world has to have a creator is a matter of common sense. But the scientists who take up this discussion, in their effort to demonstrate that it need not, are running into huge difficulties. To take just one aspect, they are discovering that fine-tuning of the universe, the laws governing it, the origin of life and its continuance, all point to a designing agent. Dr. Michael Behe writes: “A planet in the right region of the solar system, in the right region of a galaxy, in a universe with the right kinds of laws to produce chemicals with the right kinds of properties – this is all necessary for life, but still very far from sufficient. The planet itself has to be not too big and not too small, with enough but not too much water, the right kind of minerals in the right places, a core active enough to power plate tectonics but not so active as to blow everything apart, and much, much more. Some of these factors considered in isolation may be less improbable, others more improbable, but all are critical. If one of them were missing, intelligent life would be precluded.” (The Edge of Evolution, p. 212, The Free Press, 2007). And, “The laws and constants of the universe are finely tuned to allow life. So, too, are the physical and chemical properties of elements such as carbon and simple compounds such as water. So, too, is earth’s location in the galaxy and solar system. So, too, are details of the earth’s size, composition, and history .. The physical and chemical properties of DNA, proteins, lipids, and other substances are superbly fit for the roles they play in the cell. No other kinds of molecules are known that could plausibly fill those roles.. one would be hard pressed to find a category of biomolecule or basic feature of life that isn’t finely tuned.” (Ibid, p. 214).
    179. The word in the original is yudrikuhu. Most commentators have understood it in the way we have translated it here. Alternatively, it could be rendered as "encompass Him." That is, a vision of Allah (swt) is not denied, but a vision that can fully encompass Him, comprehend Him, or grasp Him in full, has been denied. This is how `A'isha (ra) understood it. When Masruq asked her (in a report in Ibn Abi Hatim: Ibn Kathir), whether Muhammad saw his Lord, she replied: "Glory to Allah. My hair stands on ends for what you say." Then she recited this verse: "Visions cannot grasp Him. But He can grasp visions. He is the All subtle, the All aware."
    The Beatific Vision, however, will not be denied to the dwellers in Paradise. It will be denied to those who deny His vision anywhere: in this world or the next. This is proven by several ahadith. One of them says:


    إِنَّكُمْ سَتَرَوْنَ رَبَّكُمْ كَمَا تَرَوْنَ هَذَا الْقَمَرَ لَا تُضَامُّونَ فِي رُؤْيَتِهِ


    "You shall see your Lord in the Hereafter just as you can see the full moon now, without doubting your sight."
    (A report in Muslim narrated by Suhayb says:


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


    “When the people of Paradise would have entered Paradise, and the people of Fire, the Fire, a caller will call: "O people of Paradise. Allah has made a promise to you which He wishes to fulfill." They will enquire: ‘What is it? Did He not effect increase in the weight of our balance, brightened our faces, admitted us into Paradise and released us from the Fire?' At that the veil will be removed and they will see Him. And, He would not have given them anything dearer than to be seeing Him.”
    Therefore, the interpretation of the present verse is: Visions cannot sight Him in this world. In the Hereafter, the true believers will see Him, but they will not be able to encompass Him fully. Some scholars have stressed that humans with these five senses can never see Him. Therefore they will be granted a new sense by which they will be able to see Him (Ibn Jarir). `Amr b. al Kufiyy was also of this opinion (Razi). Further, Razi adds a few lines later, the posterity might note the point that two major Companions of the Prophet held different opinions about the Prophet having seen or not seen his Lord in his nocturnal journey (`A'isha being of the opinion that he did not see his Lord, but Ibn `Abbas maintaining that he did). But that did not lead them to calling each other misguided, or innovators (bida`i).
    Razi also writes: Allah has spoken of His vision being granted to the believers in several other parts of the Qur'an. In one place (10: 26) He said:


    لِلَّذِينَ أَحْسَنُوا الْحُسْنَى وَزِيَادَةٌ [يونس : 26]


    "For those who do good, there will be good, and more," where "more" has been explained as the Beatific Vision; and (18: 110),


    فَمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاءَ رَبِّهِ [الكهف : 110]


    "Therefore, whoever desires meeting His Lord," which promises the Vision; and (83: 15),


    كَلَّا إِنَّهُمْ عَنْ رَبِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَمَحْجُوبُونَ [المطففين : 15]


    "Nay. That Day they shall be veiled from their Lord."
    And, Qurtubi adds another example (75: 23):


    وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ نَاضِرَةٌ (22) إِلَى رَبِّهَا نَاظِرَةٌ [القيامة : 22 ، 23]


    "Faces that Day will be bright. Looking at their Lord."
    Ibn Kathir writes: Thus it turns out that it is in the sense of comprehending a reality that the word idrak has been used in this verse. That is, something the believers would never attain even when they are granted the Beatific Vision, just as one sees the moon, without comprehending its reality in full. When `Ikrimah was asked about this verse (in a report in Ibn Abi Hatim) he responded in the following manner: ‘Do you see the sky?' The questioner replied: ‘Of course.' `Ikrimah asked: ‘Do you see the whole of it?!' Hence, Qatadah has said: ‘Allah is greater than that anyone should ever comprehend Him.'
    As for the question, can anyone see Allah with these physical eyes, it is well known that Ibn `Abbas held an opinion different from `A'isha. Treating a report as of the same standard as those of the Sahihayn, although they did not narrate it, Hakim has recorded `Ikrimah as saying: "I heard Ibn `Abbas say that Muhammad saw His Lord. I asked him, ‘Has not Allah said, "Visions cannot grasp Him"?' He replied, ‘May you lose your mother. The allusion there is to the Nur (Light). If He appears in His Nur, none can grasp Him.'" According to another version he said, "Nothing can withstand Him." Of course, Ibn Kathir adds, there is a tradition of the Prophet too which conforms the latter part of what Ibn `Abbas said. One in the Sahihayn narrates Abu Musa al Ash`ariyy as saying that the Prophet said:


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَنَامُ وَلاَ يَنْبَغِى لَهُ أَنْ يَنَامَ يَرْفَعُ الْقِسْطَ وَيَخْفِضُهُ وَيُرْفَعُ إِلَيْهِ عَمَلُ النَّهَارِ بِاللَّيْلِ وَعَمَلُ اللَّيْلِ بِالنَّهَارِ حِجَابُهُ النُّورُ لَوْ كَشَفَهُ لَأَحْرَقَتْ سُبُحَاتُ وَجْهِهِ مَا انْتَهَى إِلَيْهِ بَصَرُهُ مِنْ خَلْقِهِ


    "Allah does not sleep and it behooves Him not to sleep. He raises and lowers the Scale. The deeds of the day are raised up to Him by the night, and the deeds of the night by the day. His veil is Nur. If He were to remove the veil, the Glory of His Face will burn down His creations to the extent of His vision."
    Quote from Ibn Kathir ends here.
    180. Allah is too subtle for visions to grasp Him. Yet He is All aware, so He can grasp all visions, no matter how subtle they be (Razi, Alusi, Manar).
    Asad comments: "The term latif denotes something that is extremely subtle in quality, and therefore intangible and unfathomable. Whenever this term occurs in the Qur'an with reference to God in conjunction with the adjective khabir ("All Aware"), it is invariably used to express the idea of His inaccessibility to human perception, imagination or comprehension, as contrasted with His Own all awareness (see apart from the above verse, also 22: 63, 31: 16, 33: 34). In the two instances where the combination of latif and khabir carries the definite article al (6: 103 and 67: 14), the expression huwa 'l latif has the meaning of "He alone is unfathomable" implying that this quality of His is unique and absolute."
    181. Razi writes: Just as idrak is to comprehend fully with one's physical eye, basirah (pl. basa'ir) is to comprehend a thing fully with one's internal eye. Allah said (75: 14):


    بَلِ الْإِنْسَانُ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ بَصِيرَةٌ [القيامة : 14]


    "Rather, man is well aware of himself"
    The textual word herewith is basa'ir, plural of basirah, which means light of the heart (Shawkani).
    182. Qadi has pointed out that this refutes any misgiving about the concept of fatalism in Islam. Further, the verse demonstrates by implication that someone who refuses to think, rationalize things, or follow the course of reason, does it to his own loss. He closes the doors of bestowal both from his self as well as his Lord (based on Razi).
    183. That is, ‘I am not a keeper of the record of your deeds so that I may punish or reward you. I am only a warner' (Razi).
    184. Another possible rendering could be, in the words of Asad: "And thus do We give many facets to Our messages."
    185. The word darasta of the text has been variously read, allowing for other meanings such as: "you have studied (the older Scriptures)," "you have learnt (from others)," "you have read (books)," "you have been taught," etc. And the purport of the verse ("Thus We make distinct the signs so that they may say, ‘You have taken lessons;' and so that We may make it plain to a people who know") is: That is how We present the Qur'anic text in a variety of styles so that you might not conclude (O unbelievers) that Muhammad learnt it from others; and We do that because We have taken it upon Ourselves to make the message clear to those who have knowledge (Ibn Jarir). A report in Hakim however, declared sahih of narrators although Bukhari and Muslim did not include in their compilation, has Ubayy b. Ka`b saying: "The Prophet taught me to read it as "darasta" (Ibn Kathir).
    186. Asad explains: "I.e., no mortal has it in his power to cause another person to believe unless God graces that person with His guidance."
    187. Hafiz: i.e., someone who makes note of their words and deeds (Ibn Kathir).
    188. Wakil: i.e., someone who is made in charge of their sustenance and their behavior (Ibn Kathir). Penrice defines the word as: "One who takes care of anything for another, guardian of one's interests, a patron, administrator, disposer of affairs, witness over a bargain."
    189. According to a report in Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Marduwayh, when the Prophet belittled pagan deities, the Makkans threatened that if he would not desist they would in retaliation condemn his Lord. This verse was revealed in response (Shawkani). It has also been reported that some Muslims used to revile pagan gods for which Allah expressed His disapproval through this verse. Further, the rule is general. That is, when there is fear that a good deed will become the cause of an evil, it better be avoided. For example, it is good to forbid the vice. But, when it is strongly felt that preventing it will lead to greater evil, then forbidding it is a sin and not a virtue (Zamakhshari, Razi).
    It is reported of Abu Mansur that he asked: "How come Allah forbid us to revile something that deserves to be reviled, (although so displeasing to Him) that He asked us to wage a war against them?!" Then he answered himself that reviling false gods is not an obligation while fighting in the cause of Islam is an obligation. That is, if reactions of a severe nature result from a non obligatory action, then that action becomes unlawful (Alusi, Manar).
    The Prophet once said:

     

    عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قَالَ :مِنَ الْكَبَائِرِ شَتْمُ الرَّجُلِ وَالِدَيْهِ. فَقَالُوا : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ هَلْ يَشْتِمُ الرَّجُلُ وَالِدَيْهِ؟ فَقَالَ :« نَعَمْ يَسُبُّ أَبَا الرَّجُلِ فَيَسُبُّ أَبَاهُ وَيَسُبُّ أُمَّهُ فَيَسُبُّ أُمَّهُ

     

    The Prophet said, "It is major sin for a man to revile his parents." They asked: "Messenger of Allah. Can someone revile his parents?" He replied: "Yes. He reviles another’s father, and he revile his parents" (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). The hadith is in Muslim and Tirmidhi (S. Ibrahim).
    Zamakhshari adds: It is said that both Hasan al-Busri and Ibn Sirin came to attend a funeral. They found some women also attending the event. When Ibn Sirin saw them he turned back and left. But Hasan did not, saying, "If we give up an obligation because of an accompanying evil, then we will have to do without many obligations."
    Hence, Shafi` adds, if it is known that admonishing a man will invoke him out of spite to greater evils, then he should not be admonished.
    Asad adds: "This prohibition of reviling anything that other people hold sacred even in contravention of the principle of God's oneness is expressed in the plural and is, therefore, addressed to all believers. Thus, while Muslims are expected to argue against the false beliefs of others, they are not allowed to abuse the objects of those beliefs and to hurt thereby the feelings of their erring fellow men."
    Rashid Rida writes that by implication the word Kafir ought not be used for the unbelievers in general. That is because originally the word Kafir stood for concealing or hiding something, in which sense the Qur'an used the word for a farmer (48: 29). In earlier times it was used for those unbelievers who concealed the truth in their hearts of Allah's Oneness. But, with the passage of time, the word has acquired the connotations of insult and humiliation. Now, since insulting or humiliating the people is not allowed in Islam, the unbelievers may not be called Kafirs now. The Hanafiyyah, for instance, state (in Mu`in al Hukkam) that if a Muslim insults a Dhimmi, he deserves retribution. They have also ruled that if a Muslim said to a Dhimmi "O Kafir" and he felt humiliated, (he has to be compensated).
    Sayyid Qutb adds: "The previous verse instructed the Prophet to "turn aside from the associators." This one instructs the believers how they should do it. It should be done with grace and not in the cheap manner of calling their deities names or disparaging them in some manner. This is the kind of attitude that is becoming of the believers: those who have confidence in their faith, whose hearts and minds rest assured in the correctness of the opinions held by them."
    190. Asad writes: "(This implies) that it is in the nature of man to regard the beliefs which have been implanted in him from childhood, and which he now shares with his social environment, as the only true and possible ones with the result that a polemic against those beliefs often tends to provoke a hostile psychological reaction."
    As for Allah decking out fair their evil deeds to the unbelievers, Mawdudi offers the following explanation: "Here we should understand .. that God declares those things which take place as a result of the operation of the laws of nature to be His own act, for it is He Who has made those laws. Whatever results from the operation of those laws, therefore, results from His command. Whenever God states that a certain act was His, the same might be described by humans as occurring in the natural course of things."
    Rashid Rida puts it in another way: The "becoming fair" of the evil deeds is because of the actions which preceded those deeds and which were themselves a matter of choice. The unbelievers chose to disbelieve in the message, and clung to their old ways. When they re confirmed their attitudes to the old ways, they began to approve of them and love them. That love (of what is in one's practice), is the law of nature, a making of Allah. Yet they are fully responsible for it since they are in the situation of approving the reprehensible by their choice. Allah only created a liking for one's own practices. He did not impose the likings and those practices. Belief and disbelief are not planted in the hearts. They are a matter of choice.
    191. "Here is one of the most important teachings of Islam: Miracles, signs, wonders, portents, or whatever they might be called, in no case occur by any action of the messenger of God, but by the power of God Himself. No miracle, however clear its evidentiary value, is ever an act of a mortal. The prophet or apostle has no hand in its causation: he only uses it by the command of God, as an evidence of the veracity of his claims. A miracle is nothing but an invasion of the order of nature, as known to us in common experience, by the command of the Creator of nature, to exhibit the veracity of the claims of His messenger" (Majid).
    192. It is reported that once the Prophet invited the Quraysh to Islam. They said: Muhammad, you tell us that Musa had a rod with which he struck a rock and it sprouted 12 springs. You say `Isa quickened the dead. You say Thamud were given a (miraculous) camel. Bring us a sign too. The Prophet asked them what sort of a sign would satisfy them. They said, “Let Mount Safa be converted to gold.” He asked them if they would believe if that was done. They assured him that they would. The Prophet got up to supplicate. Jibril appeared and told him that if they would not believe after the sign they would be destroyed, but, if left alone, some of them would surely turn to their Lord in repentance. The Prophet agreed to the proposal and this verse was revealed (Ibn Jarir, Razi, Qurtubi).
    Further, in the words of Rashid Rida, if they denied the Qur'an, which throws out so many challenges and is an irrefutable Sign by itself, then denying anything else would be much easier. They could easily say to a physical sign that it was magic, a sleight of hand, a deception of the eye, and so forth.
    193. That is, even if Allah were to send a fresh sign, He would turn away the hearts of the unbelievers from believing in it because they refused to believe at the first instance the message became clear to them as something from their Lord (Au.).
    Asad writes: "... so long as they remain blind to the truth in consequence of their unwillingness to acknowledge it and this in accordance with the law of cause and effect which God has imposed on His creation."
    That is the Sunnah of Allah, writes Rashid Rida. The "causes" belong to the creations and are their making. But Allah attributes the "effects" of those "causes" to Himself, since, after all, nothing comes to being but by His leave. Yet many are misguided by this kind of statements because they refuse to think.
    Sayyid adds: "It is not the lack of evidences or proofs that leads the hearts to disbelief. It is the sickness of the heart, the despoiling of its true nature, the abstruseness of the self. On the other hand, guidance is something that does not come to those who do not go for it, who do not strive for it."


    194. The word qubulan as appearing in the text can be understood variously. One possible meaning is "species after species." That is, "Were We to gather together every (dead) thing: species after species, or groups after groups," they would still not believe. This is the opinion of Qatadah. Another possibility is "tribe after tribe" which is the opinion of `Abdullah b. Yezid and Mujahid (Ibn Jarir). The translation follows the interpretation of Ibn `Abbas as in Ibn Jarir too (Au.).
    195. This is in response to their claim in the earlier verse that, "if a sign came to them they would believe" (Ibn Jarir).
    196. "The people under discussion are so perverse that they do not prefer to embrace the Truth in preference to falsehood by rightly exercising their choice and volition. The only way that is left for them to become lovers of the Truth is, therefore, that by His overpowering will God should render them truth loving not by their choice and volition, but by metamorphasizing their very nature. Such a course, however, goes against the wisdom which underlies the creation of man" (Mawdudi).
    197. Sayyid comments: "There are a few points that must find a proper perspective in the minds of the readers for a full realization of the meaning involved in this verse and others of similar nature. Firstly, faith and unfaith, guidance and misguidance are not directly related to proofs and evidences. The truth contains the proof in itself. It has its own grip over the heart, making it incline to itself and cling to it. But there are deterrents that fall in between the heart and the truth. Allah said about the attitude of the unbelievers:


    وَمَا يُشْعِرُكُمْ أَنَّهَا إِذَا جَاءَتْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ (109) وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَارَهُمْ كَمَا لَمْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِهِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَنَذَرُهُمْ فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ [الأنعام : 109 ، 110]


    "And what will make you (O Muslims) realize that when it (the sign) comes they will not believe. We turn away their hearts and eyes because they did not believe in it in the first instance, and leave them in their insolence stumbling blindly.”
    So, whatever happened to them earlier, is most likely to happen again even after the signs are revealed to prevent them from believing. The inspiration to believe is already there within the hearts. It is external impediments that come in the way. And it is the external impediments that must be attended to.
    Secondly, it is Allah's will to which ultimately all affairs return and depend upon, whether it be the affairs concerned with guidance or error. Nevertheless, Allah's will has determined that man be initially given the freedom to choose. In this lies his test. Whoever is inclined to guidance and is prepared at his heart to receive it, will have Allah's Will lead him to it notwithstanding in what situation he happens to be. In contrast, if someone shows disinclination to the divine guidance, ignoring the evidences that are apparent to him, then Allah's Will also works to lead him to error and throw him off the track, wandering blindly in darknesses. Allah's Will of course fully circumscribes men and, in the final resort, decisions concerning all affairs return to Him alone. Hence Allah's words: "We turn away their hearts and eyes because they did not believe in it in the first instance (that the truth became apparent to them), and leave them in their insolence stumbling blindly."
    Thirdly, whether they be obedient or habitual sinners, they are all equally in the power of Allah under His command and rule. None of them can bring into existence anything save by Allah's decree and determination in consonance with the Sunan of Allah that He has set concerning the affairs of His creations. But, in so far as the believers are concerned, they work to harmonize within the limited freedom of choice that they enjoy what is imposed upon them by Allah's irresistible Will, that works on their bodies, on every cell, and in every recess of the mind .. they try to harmonize this .. along with their own submission, adopted by choice, and following their acceptance of the guidance. In consequence of this, they are in peace with themselves. They realize that what is imposed on them from on High, and what they adopt by choice, both follow the same rules and are controlled by the same Power. As for others, they too have no choice over what is enforced by Allah's Will. But, in so far as those areas are concerned, where they have the freedom to choose, they opt to rebel against Allah, His Plans and His Will. They end up wretched because of the split that their personalities undergo.
    198. Thus it is nothing exceptional with you, O Prophet, that you should be tried (Ibn Jarir). As Waraqah b. Nawfal had said to the Prophet, adds Ibn Kathir, "No one ever came with the message you have brought, but he had enemies."
    199. It is reported that once when Abu Dharr entered the mosque the Prophet asked him if he had offered (the two rak`ah of) Prayers. When he said no, he instructed him to do so. When he was through the Prophet asked him if he had sought Allah's refuge from the evil of the Shayatin of men and Jinn? Abu Dharr asked: "Are there Shayatin of men?" The Prophet replied: "Yes" (Ibn Jarir). The hadith is weak. But it comes to us through several ways gathering strength (Ibn Kathir).
    Zamakhshari quotes Malik b. Dinar as saying that to him the devils of men are more fearful than the Devil himself, for the latter can be chased away with the words of Allah but the former cannot be got rid of as easily.
    200. The translation follows the understanding of `Ikrimah, Suddi, Mujahid and Ibn `Abbas as in Ibn Jarir (Au.).
    Mawdudi writes: "The Prophet (peace be upon him) is told that he should not be unnerved even if the evil ones among both mankind and the jinn stood united against him and opposed him with all their might. For this was not the first time that such a thing had happened. Whenever a Prophet came and tried to lead people to the Truth, all the satanic forces joined hands to defeat his purposes."
    201. Mawdudi comments: "... according to the Qur'an there is a tremendous difference between ‘God's will' and ‘God's good pleasure.' The failure to differentiate between the two often gives rise to serious misconceptions. If a certain things takes place in accordance with the universal will of God, and thus by His sanction, that does not necessarily mean that God is pleased with it. Nothing at all takes place in the world unless God permits it to take place, unless He makes it a part of His scheme, and unless He makes it possible for that event to take place by creating its necessary conditions. The act of stealing on the part of a thief, the act of homicide on the part of a murderer, the wrong and corruption of the wrong doer and corrupt, the unbelief of the unbeliever and the polytheism of the polytheist none of these are possible without the will of God. Likewise, the faith of the believer and the piety of the pious are inconceivable without the will of God. In short, both these require the will of God. But whereas the things in the first category do not please Him, those in the second do.
    "Even though the will of God is oriented to ultimate good, the course of the realization of that good is paved with conflict between the forces of light and darkness, of good and evil, or what is firm and pure on the one hand and what is corrupt and defiled on the other. With larger interests in view, God has endowed man with the disposition of obedience as well as of disobedience. He has created in man Abrahamic and Mosaic as well as Nimrodic and Pharaonic potentialities. Both the pure, unadulterated human nature and satanic urges are ingrained in man's nature and have been provided with opportunity to work themselves out by coming into conflict with each other. He has granted those species of His creatures who are possessed of authority (viz. man and jinn) the freedom to choose between good and evil. Whosoever chooses to act righteously has been given the power to do so, and the same is the case with him who chooses to be evil. People of both categories are in a position to use material resources within the framework of the broader considerations underlying God's governance of His universe. God will be pleased, however, only with those who are working for good. God likes His creatures to exercise their freedom of choice properly and commit themselves to good out of their own volition."
    202: Majid writes: "anzala ilaykum" is not quite the same as "anzala `alykum." Hence the rendering of the former phrase as ‘sent down toward you.'
    203. Although the first recipient was the Prophet, it seems more likely that the Ummah has been addressed through him (Au.).
    204. That is, perfect it is in truth when the Word is a statement of fact, or is a past report, and in justice when it is a commandment or a prohibition: Qatadah (Ibn Kathir).
    205. Asad explains: "(That is), regarding the true nature of human life and its ultimate destiny, the problem of revelation, the relationship between God and man, the meaning of good and evil, etc. Apart from leading man astray from spiritual truths, such guesswork gives rise to the arbitrary rules of conduct and self imposed inhibitions to which the Qur'an alludes, by way of example, in verses 118 and 119."
    206. The choice of words may be noted. Allah said, "Your Lord is well aware of those who swerve away.." Here, the last few words indicate that it is by his own choice that a person swerves away," while in the following words, "He is well aware of the rightly guided," (and not "those who chose guidance") the implication hidden is that being on the right guidance is to a great degree because of the original implantation of tawhid in the human soul (Alusi).
    207. That is, what has been declared unlawful in verse 3 of Al Ma'idah which says:


    حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنْزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ وَالْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَالْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَالْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَالنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَا أَكَلَ السَّبُعُ إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى النُّصُبِ وَأَنْ تَسْتَقْسِمُوا بِالْأَزْلَامِ ذَلِكُمْ فِسْقٌ الْيَوْمَ يَئِسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ دِينِكُمْ فَلَا تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِ الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ فِي مَخْمَصَةٍ غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍ لِإِثْمٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ [المائدة : 3]


    "Forbidden unto you are carrion, blood, swine's flesh, what has been consecrated to other than Allah, the (beast) strangled (to death), or (the one that died) by a violent blow, or by a fall from a height, or one gored with the horns (to death by another animal), and (the one killed and) devoured by the wild beasts unless you have sacrificed them duly and what is slaughtered on the altars ..." (up to) ... "whoever is forced in (extreme) hunger (to eat of the unlawful) without any inclination (in the heart) for a sin, surely (for such) Allah is Forgiving, Kind" (Ibn Jarir).
    208. This excludes however that animal over which Allah's Name was not pronounced due to forgetfulness, the slaughterer being either a Muslim or one of the People of the Book. On the other hand, if anyone does not spell the Name intentionally, then the slaughtered animal is unlawful to Muslims (Ibn Jarir). This happens to be the opinion of the Hanafiyyah, Imam Malik, Ahmad b. Hanbal, and according to one report, that of Imam Shafe`i too, although other opinions have also been attributed to him (Ibn Kathir).
    209. According to a report in Muslim, Nuwas b. Sam`an asked the Prophet about what constitutes sin. He replied:


    الإِثْمُ مَا حَاكَ فِى نَفْسِكَ وَكَرِهْتَ أنْ يَطَّلِعَ عَلَيْهِ النَّاسُ


    "Sin is that which pricks you in the heart and which you would not like the people to know about" (Ibn Kathir).
    210. The verse tells us that of sins there are two kinds: those committed with the body organs and those committed with the heart (Alusi, Thanwi).
    211. "The purpose of this and the following verse is not, as might appear in the first glance, a repetition of already pronounced food laws but, rather, a reminder that the observance of such laws should not be made an end in itself and an object of ritual: and this is the reason why these two verses have been placed in the midst of a discourse on God's transcendental unity and the ways of men's faith. The "errand views" spoken of in verse 119 are such as that lay stress on artificial rituals and taboos than on spiritual values" (Asad).
    212. A man called Al Mukhtar b. Abu `Ubayd nicknamed Abu Is haq used to claim that he received revelations. Ibn Zumayyil says, "I was sitting in the assembly of Ibn `Abbas (during the pilgrimage season: Ibn Kathir) when a man came in and asked: "O Ibn `Abbas. Abu Is haq claims that he received wahiyy (revelations) last night. What's your opinion?" Ibn `Abbas replied: "The man spoke the truth." Ibn Zumayyil says I protested. Ibn `Abbas said: "There are two types of revelations: the one which Allah sends to His Messengers, and the other which the devil sends to his friends." Then he recited this verse (Ibn Jarir).
    213. `Abdullah ibn Kathir (not the famous commentator Ibn Kathir: Au.) has said that the devils used to whisper into the hearts of the pagans thoughts such as: ‘What after all is the difference between the animal that died by itself and the one that was slaughtered? Were they not both the same? So why should one be lawful and the other unlawful?' Ibn `Abbas has said that the pagans used to say, in effect: ‘The animal that dies a natural death is the slaughtered of Allah. How come then, that the revelation declares the slaughtered of men lawful but the slaughtered of Allah unlawful?' Allah revealed this verse in response. Some other reports suggest that the Jews had also circulated similar doubts (Ibn Jarir).
    Reports about Jews raising such doubts are in Tirmidhi, Abu Da'ud, Bazzar and others, with the last mentioned declaring them of hasan status. But Hakim has declared one version Sahih (Shawkani).
    214. Declaring the lawful of Allah as unlawful or the other way round, is to commit shirk as the Prophet told `Adiyy b. Hatim who denied that the Christians ever took Lords besides Allah. The Prophet asked him:


    "أَلَيْسَ يُحَرِّمُونَ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ فَتُحَرِّمُونَهُ وَيُحِلُّونَ مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ، فَتَسْتَحِلُّونَهُ؟"قُلْتُ: بَلَى، قَالَ:"فَتِلْكَ عِبَادَتُهُمْ"


    "Did it not happen that the rabbis and priests declared the lawful of Allah as unlawful or the unlawful of Allah as lawful?" When `Adiyy said yes, the Prophet said: "That was taking them Lords besides Allah" (Ibn Kathir).
    Tirmidhi has a slightly different version of the hadith, which he declared of Hasan status.
    215. Thus, the rightly guided is likened to the living, and the "path" itself to light (based on Thanwi).
    216. Mawdudi comments: "The law of God with regard to those to whom light is presented but who willfully refuse to act according to it, preferring to follow their crooked path even after they have been invited to follow the Straight Way, is that in the course of time such people begin to cherish darkness, and to enjoy groping their way into dark, stumbling and falling as they proceed."
    217. The allusion is to the scheming and plotting against Islam and its message. Allah said at another place (34: 31 33):


    وَلَوْ تَرَى إِذِ الظَّالِمُونَ مَوْقُوفُونَ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ يَرْجِعُ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ الْقَوْلَ يَقُولُ الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا لِلَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا لَوْلَا أَنْتُمْ لَكُنَّا مُؤْمِنِينَ (31) قَالَ الَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا لِلَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا أَنَحْنُ صَدَدْنَاكُمْ عَنِ الْهُدَى بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءَكُمْ بَلْ كُنْتُمْ مُجْرِمِينَ (32) وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا لِلَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا بَلْ مَكْرُ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ إِذْ تَأْمُرُونَنَا أَنْ نَكْفُرَ بِاللَّهِ وَنَجْعَلَ لَهُ أَنْدَادًا [سبأ : 31 ، 33]


    "If you were to see the transgressors held before their Lord, some of them replying to others; the weaker ones saying to the arrogant ones, ‘If not for you, we would have been believers.' Those who had been arrogant replying to the weak ones, ‘Was it we who prevented you from guidance after it had come to you? Rather, you were yourself criminals.' The weaker ones would say to the arrogant ones, ‘Rather, it was your scheming day in and day out wherewith you provoked us to disbelieve in Allah and declare His equals'" (Ibn Kathir).
    Asad writes: "Because the consciousness of their importance makes them more or less impervious to criticism, the "great ones" (Asad's rendering of "akabira mujrimiha") are, as a rule, rather less inclined than other people to question the moral aspect of their own behavior; and the resulting self righteousness only too often causes them to commit grave misdeeds."
    218. The Quraysh were of the opinion that the Prophet was not the right choice for Messengership. They said that one of their men should have been chosen for it, as the Qur'an said (43: 31):


    وَقَالُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ هَذَا الْقُرْآنُ عَلَى رَجُلٍ مِنَ الْقَرْيَتَيْنِ عَظِيمٍ [الزخرف : 31]


    "They say, ‘Only if this Qur'an had been sent down unto a man of one of the two great towns (i.e., Makkah and Tayif)." But Allah knew who was most suitable for the mission. The Prophet said in a hadith of Muslim:


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ اصْطَفَى مِنْ وَلَدِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِسْمَاعِيلَ وَاصْطَفَى مِنْ بَنِي إِسْمَاعِيلَ كِنَانَةَ وَاصْطَفَى مِنْ بَنِي كِنَانَةَ قُرَيْشًا وَاصْطَفَى مِنْ قُرَيْشٍ بَنِي هَاشِمٍ وَاصْطَفَانِي مِنْ بَنِي هَاشِمٍ


    "Allah chose Isma`il from the sons of Ibrahim. He chose Kinanah from the sons of Isma`il. From Banu Kinanah He chose the Quraysh. From the Quraysh He chose Banu Hashim. And from Banu Hashim He chose me." And Ibn Mas`ud has been reported as saying in Musnad Ahmad: "Allah surveyed the hearts of the people and found the heart of Muhammad the best. So He chose him for Messengership. Then He surveyed the hearts of the people and found the hearts of his Companions better than the rest of the people. So He made them supporters of His Messenger. They fight for his religion. So what the Muslims see as good is good in the sight of Allah and what the Muslims see as evil is evil in the sight of Allah." (By Muslims he meant perhaps the Companions: Au.). It is also said that someone spotted Ibn `Abbas entering the mosque. He was much impressed by his personality. He enquired: "Who is this man?" They said: "Ibn `Abbas." (A cousin of the Prophet). The man remarked: "Allah knows best where to place His Message" (Ibn Kathir).
    (Another direct implication of the choice of the words is): "Allah knows best in what place should He place His revelation" (Zamakhshari).
    219. Hence a hadith of Muslim says:


    إِنَّ الْغَادِرَ يُنْصَبُ لَهُ لِوَاءٌ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَيُقَالُ هَذِهِ غَدْرَةُ فُلاَنٍ


    "A flag post will be pitched near the buttocks of every dishonest person. It will be said, ‘This is the dishonesty of so and so'" (Ibn Kathir).
    220. It is reported by several narrators that the Prophet (saws) was once asked about how the hearts open up for Islam. He answered:


    إن النور إذا دخل الصدر انفسح فقيل : يا رسول الله هل لذلك من علم يعرف ؟ قال : نعم التجافي عن دار الغرور و الإنابة إلى دار الخلود و الاستعداد للموت قبل نزوله


    "It is a light which is placed in his heart so that the heart relaxes and opens up." He was asked if there was an external sign. He replied: "Inclination toward the everlasting abode, disinclination toward the deceptive world, and preparations for death before the appointed hour" (Ibn Jarir).
    Various versions of this hadith have been reported by `Abdul Razzaq, Firyabi, Ibn Abi Shaybah, `Abd b. Humayd, Ibn al Mundhir, Marduwayh and Bayhaqi (Shawkani). Ibn Kathir adds: some of the chain of narrations are complete while some are discontinuous.
    What Ibn Kathir means perhaps is that although, because of some weakness or the other, none of the ahadith can be declared sahih, as a whole they acquire the status of hasan because of multiple narrations (Au.).
    221. The textual word is "haraj" (pl.: harjah) which is used for a tree within a grove so thickly surrounded with other trees that no one, (neither beast nor man), can reach it. This is how a bedouin explained the word to `Umar ibn al Khattab when he asked him. In response `Umar said: "That is the example of the heart of a hypocrite. No good will ever enter into it." The word however has a general connotation of "constriction" as Allah said (22: 78):

     

    وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ [الحج : 78]


    "He did not place on you any constriction in the religion."
    Sa`id ibn Jubayr has pointed out another connotation when he said "haraj" is that state in which a man finds no way out but upward (Ibn Jarir).
    222. The Qur'an did not say "yas`adu" which would mean he climbs up; rather, it used a stronger form to says "yassa`adu" which means "he struggles to ascend." That is because the act of ascension causes constriction to the heart: a feeling of the heart being left behind as one climbs up, say in an aircraft. One could get the same feeling while climbing a mountain, but the ascent there is so gradual one would fail to notice it. Further, the Qur'an did not say, "as if he is climbing a mountain." It used the word "heaven" in conjunction with the word "yassa`adu" which put together with "harajan" express the sensation of one whose heart has to overcome the gravitational pull of the earth as his body speedily rises up. One may ask himself. If the Prophet was the author of this Book, how was he able to describe so accurately a sensation that mankind had to wait fourteen hundred years for the invention of air crafts to experience? (Au.).
    223. This feeling of constriction manifests itself when the man hears about God, His Oneness, His Attributes, etc. The man feels very uncomfortable. In contrast, when someone other than God is mentioned in his presence, his breast opens up with cheer (Au.).
    224. The opinion of Ibn `Abbas is that by the textual word "rijs" the allusion is to Shaytan who is bound to a man when he decides to disbelieve. The word is also used for dirt and filth (Ibn Jarir).


    225. It is reported that in pre Islamic times when an Arab camped in a valley he would say: "I seek refuge with the lord of this valley," meaning the Jinn. That is, men's acknowledgement of the power of the Jinn lies in the former placing them in an advantageous position. This is what is alluded to by one taking advantage of the other (Zamakhshari). Other scholars have said that the fact that the Jinn enjoy the obedience of mankind is the advantage that one draws of the other (Au.).
    Yusuf Ali adds: "It is common experience that the forces of evil make an alliance with each other, and seem thus to make a profit by their mutual log rolling. But this is only in this material world. When the limited term expires, their unholy alliance will be exposed, and there will be nothing but regrets."
    226. Ibn `Abbas has said that in the light of this verse, it is not right for anyone to speak on behalf of Allah, admitting some to Paradise and assigning others to Hell fire (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). This statement of Ibn `Abbas is in Ibn al Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatim and Abu al Sheikh (Shawkani).
    227. Sayyid Qutb writes: "A universal rule of great consequence has been enunciated here. It concerns the nature of friendship between the Satans of men and Jinn. The evil doers, that is, those who commit the sin of association, in some form or the other, gather their forces together on one front in order to thwart the truth and guidance. They assist each other in confronting the Prophets and believers in them. These, just as they are men of the same nature, no matter how different their outward appearances, also share a common interest, viz., to force their lordship on the people, as well as follow their carnal desires unrestrained by the divine commandments.
    "We discover them as one block in every epoch, some supporting the others, despite deep differences among themselves over other issues. But, when the confrontation is with the religion of Allah and His beloved ones, they are one body. Thus, it is the sharing of the objectives that makes them friends of each other. Therefore, in keeping with what they strive for in this world, they would be kept together in the Hereafter.
    "We have been seeing these forces – for the past several centuries a huge force commanding the participation of the Satanic men of the crusaders, the zionists, the pagans and the communists, who have been, despite differences among themselves, one against Islam, and against the destruction of every Islamic movement.
    "It is of course an awesome gang. It commands centuries of experience against Islam, armed with the most dreadful tools of destruction, to be employed in the implementation of its Satanic strategies. This ganging up is an interpretation of the words of Allah: "That is how We let some of the transgressors befriend each other."
    "But the Prophet and those who would follow him in his ways, are told not to be concerned too much about them. They are consoled in words: ‘Had your Lord willed, they would not have done it. Therefore leave them alone, and that which they forge.'"
    228. The translation adopted here follows Qatadah's explanation, who said, "Allah lets some of the transgressor befriend others because of their deeds. Accordingly, a believer is the friend (waliyy) of another believer, wheresoever the two might be: close at hand or afar. And an unbeliever is the friend of an unbeliever, wheresoever the two might be. Faith is not the name of good wishes or of dreams (Ibn Jarir).
    There has been another interpretation. It also originates from Qatadah. In Mawdudi's words it is: "Just as the wrong doers had been accomplices in sin and evil during their earthly life, they would remain companions in the After life as well as share in punishment."
    The attribution to Allah of letting some befriend others, adds Rashid Rida, is following the general rule that, in the final resort, it is Allah who sanctions all deeds. It is not that things were destined that way, as the Qadariyyah said, nor was there a denial of choice, as the Jabariyyah alleged. Rather, it was similarities in outlook and purposes with full agreement over transgression that some of the men came to befriend others. ‘By Allah,' adds Rashid Rida, ‘if you were to be obedient to Allah but did not know others who are similarly in acts of obedience, it will not hurt you. So too, if you were to be sinning, but kept the company of the most righteous, it would do you no profit. Merely the company of this or that group would do you no good, if you do not come up with the right kind of deeds.'
    Rashid Rida also quotes from Abu Sheikh that Mansur b. Abi al Aswad said, "I asked A`mash about this verse as to what have you heard from your elders (senior Followers the tabe`iyyun) in explanation?" He replied, "I heard them say that when the people are corrupt they come to have the most evil of them as their leader." This is how the senior tabe`iyyun understood the verse, although the hadith that is often quoted in this connection, viz., "You will have rulers over you who are the like of you," is extremely weak.
    229. The scholars are divided over messengers to the Jinn, whether they were raised from among themselves or those of the mankind addressed them too. Dahhak has said that messengers were sent to them from among them, but Ibn Jurayj feels differently, and a statement of Ibn `Abbas implies that the messengers to them were from mankind. As for the words here "from among you", the explanation is that they are in the same vein as the verse speaking of both river and sea waters: "pearls and corals come out of them," (55: 22) although what is meant is from one of them (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Rashid Rida however rejects the argument and points out that the verse quoted to prove the point does not hold its ground because ancient Arabs did not know that even rivers can produce pearls and precious stones as remarked by Sale, the famous translator of the Qur'an, in his notes on Baydawi. All the same, the verse:


    إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا كِتَابًا أُنْزِلَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مُوسَى [الأحقاف : 30]


    "We have heard a Book sent down after Musa" (46: 30) tell us that at least Musa (asws) was sent unto them too.
    Nonetheless, Kalbi has stated that the messengers unto the Jinn were from among themselves until the commissioning of our Prophet who was the messenger unto both men and Jinn (Zamakhshari).
    Imam Razi feels that in the absence of clear evidence, one might accept the face value of the words of the verse in question: "O assembly of Jinn and mankind! Did not Messengers come to you from among you?"
    Qadi Thana'ullah Panipati has also stated in his Tafsir Maz hari that since the Jinn were there before men on earth, messengers from among themselves should have been sent to them (Ma`arif).
    230. Here it is stated that the unbelievers will admit that they were on the wrong. But elsewhere in the Qur'an, it is stated that they will refuse to admit that they were associators. E.g.,


    وَاللَّهِ رَبِّنَا مَا كُنَّا مُشْرِكِينَ [الأنعام : 23]


    "By God, O our Lord, we were not of the associators (6: 23)". How do we reconcile the two? The answer is, the Day of Judgment will be a long affair, with people passing through various stages. At one stage they might deny, but at another, they would admit (Razi).
    231. Another interpretation has been to understand "zulm" here as "the sin of association." The meaning then would be, "That is because your Lord was not such as to destroy the towns for their sin of association, while its people were unaware (of the message and the messengers)." Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari. Or, in the words of Majid: "This is because thy Lord is not one to destroy a town for its wrong doing while its people are unaware."
    232. The verse implies, says Qurtubi, that the righteous of the Jinn will be with mankind in Paradise, while the sinners will share the Fire with them.
    233. The word ghafil of the original is used when someone is unable to pay attention to something because of his pre occupation with another affair (Qurtubi).
    234. The addition of "full of mercy" to the earlier Attribute, "the Self sufficient", is to emphasize that although Allah is in no need of anyone's service, and that the attitudes of His slaves do not matter to Him at all, yet, despite being "Self sufficient" in the absolute sense, He is not blind to the needs of His slaves, as some people, although Islamically educated, seem to believe (Thanwi).
    In contrast, adds Shafi`, Allah has not made any of His creation self sufficient in any sense. For, instead of co operating with others of his kind, when a man sees himself self sufficient, he begins to act tyrannically towards others. The Qur'an has said:


    كَلَّا إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَيَطْغَى (6) أَنْ رَآهُ اسْتَغْنَى [العلق : 6 ، 7]


    "Man rebels if he perceives himself self sufficient." (96: 6, 7)
    235. Yusuf Ali comments: "Allah is not dependent on our prayer or service. It is out of His Mercy that He desires our own good. Any race or people to whom He gives chances should understand that and that its failure does not affect Allah. H could create others in their place, as He did in times past, and is doing in our own day, if only we had the wit to see it."
    Mawdudi elaborates: "The Qur'anic statement: ‘Your Lord is Self sufficient' signifies that God is in need of nothing from anyone, that none of His interests will be jeopardized by disobedience to Him, and that no benefit will accrue to Him from obedience. Even if all human beings became disobedient, God's dominion will not shrink, nor will His dominion expand, if everybody were to become obedient and serve and worship Him as they ought to. God is dependent neither upon their show of veneration nor upon their offerings. He lavishes His limitless treasure on human beings and seeks nothing in return.
    "The other statement, namely that ‘Your Lord is full of compassion', has been made here to emphasize two things. First, that when God urges human beings to follow the Right Way, and asks them not to do anything in conflict with the Ultimate Reality, He does not do so because their good behavior benefits Him or their misconduct harms Him. He does so because good conduct is beneficial to man himself, as evil conduct is harmful to him. Hence it is out of sheer benevolence that God urges man to develop righteous conduct, for it will raise him to great heights, and He urges him to avoid evil conduct because it will lead to his own degradation. Second, that God is not unduly stern in judging man. He gets no pleasure from punishing people. He is not on the look out for slight lapses for which to convict and punish and persecute people. God is highly compassionate towards all His creatures and governs with utmost mercy and benevolence, and the same characterizes His dealings with human beings as well. Hence, He constantly forgives the sins of the people. Many disobey, indulge in sins, commit crimes, disregard God's commands, even though they are nourished by the sustenance He provides. God, nevertheless, continuously treats them with forbearance and forgives them. Again and again, He grants them respite in order that they may take heed, understand things properly and reform themselves. Had He been excessively stern, He could have obliterated them instantly and raised up another people. He could have put an end to humanity and brought into being an altogether different species of creation."
    236. Some have understood "makanatikum" as "tamakkunikum", i.e., "within your range of possibility" (Ibn Jarir and others). The whole sentence then would be: "O my people! Do whatever is in your range of possibility," or, as Asad has worded it, "Do all that may be within your power."
    237. In this is the censure of the innovations of our times some approved by the Shuyukh – that in fact are a lot similar to what is depicted here as the innovations of the pre Islamic times.
    238. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah and Suddi have said that the allusion is to a practice of the pagan Arabs. At the time of the harvest of grain or fruits, they assigned a share to Allah and a share to their idols and deities. Now, if the wind blew a part of the share of the deities into that assigned to Allah, they would bring it back. (According to one report, saying, "This, [i.e., the deity], is after all poor"). But if the share assigned to Allah got mixed up with that of the idols, they would not bother about it, and hence the verse (Ibn Jarir).
    239. "Evil is the way they judge:" Evil for more than one reason. First, transgression upon the laws of Allah. Second, commitment of the sin of association in the worship of Allah since, no one should be given any share in an act with which Allah's nearness is sought. Third, preferential treatment of those associated with Allah. And fourth, doing something that has no basis in reason and logic (Manar).
    Mawdudi writes: "In order to grasp what lay at the root of these superstitions, it is essential to know that the portion which these ignorant people earmarked for God was devoted to helping the indigent, the poor, travellers and so on. On the other hand, the portion earmarked for offerings to the ‘partners' actually went directly to the coffers of the priestly class or was offered at the shrines and thus ultimately reached the priests and caretakers of those shrines. Over the course of centuries these selfish religious leaders had impressed upon those simple minded people that there was no harm in God's share being reduced, but that of God's dear ones, far from being diminished, should be increased."
    Mufti Shafi` has a perceptive point: Much the same is the attitude of most practicing Muslims today. Out of their total time of the day, they assign a share to Allah (for the purposes of worship, acts of devotion, etc.), and a share to worldly activities. But, if their worldly activities demand excess time, they take it out of what is assigned to Allah. In contrast, they never let the time allotted for this worldly activities to be encroached by the time assigned for next worldly activities. Evil is the way they judge.
    240. Majid comments: "This may possibly refer to the ancient Semitic practice of child sacrifice, which had been very general, (vide ERE. I, pp. 390 91). Infanticide with a religious motive has also been wide spread. In India, for example, ‘children were thrown into the sacred river Ganges, and adoration paid to the alligators who fed on them.' (EBr. XIV, p. 516, 11th ed.). The allusion may also be to the modern craze for ‘contraception' a subtle form of infanticide."
    241. In the like manner, to some Muslims various acts amounting to shirk, such as, visiting the graves, making offerings there, seeking the intercession of the buried, slaughtering animals in their name, etc., are decked out fair. Although, such of those as do these things, do not term them as acts of worship, but, for all purposes they are no less than that (Manar).
    242. "Had Allah willed, they would not have done it": The verse obviously does not mean that the deeds of the sinners are imposed upon them by way of pre destination: something over which they have no control as the Jabariyyah have alleged. Rather, it was Allah's will that He equip the humans with reason and intellect, make them susceptible to influences, good and bad, and give them the power to choose between good and evil. He could have, of course, if He willed, forced everyone to right conduct, but He did not do that for the purposes of trial. Hence the latter verse adds that they did that out of ignorance and foolishness. Were they to exchange their ignorance with knowledge, they would not commit such vile things (Manar).
    243. Such cattle were named as Sa'ibah, Wasilah and Bahirah (Ibn Jarir).
    244. Yusuf Ali writes: "A taboo of certain foods is sometimes a device of the priesthood to get special things for itself. It has to be imposed by pretending that the prohibitions for others is by the will of Allah."
    245. There were cattle that they forbid their backs unto themselves, that is, they neither rode them (not even for Hajj: Abu Wa'il) nor used them for yoke (Ibn Jarir).
    246. Mujahid has said that they marked out certain camels over which they would not spell Allah's Name under any circumstance, neither when they rode on them, or loaded on them, nor when they milked them (Ibn Jarir).
    247. They related these practices to Allah's commands, forging lies against Him (Ibn Jarir).
    Asad writes: "The pre Islamic Arabs falsely claimed that the taboos were ordained by God, as is made clear in the last part of this verse. One of these supposed, arbitrary "ordinances" laid down that only the priests of the particular idol and some men belonging to the tribe could eat the flesh of such dedicated animals, while women were not allowed to do so (Zamakhshari)."
    248. Ibn `Abbas and Qatadah have said that the allusion by the words "ma fi butuniha," is to their milk which their men drank but not their women. But Mujahid has said that the reference is to what the wombs carried. Both could be correct (Ibn Jarir).
    249. This piece would apply to those cattle whose womb contents the pagans forbid unto their women (Au.).
    250. The reference is to the pagan practices (more prevalent in the tribes of Rabi`ah and Mudar) of burying alive female infants either out of fear of poverty (`Ikrimah), or out of shame in giving her away to a male when she grew up (Au). Some of them killed them and fed them to the dogs (Ibn Jarir and others). The allusion could also be to the vows that some of the pagans made that if they received so many males, they would sacrifice one of them, such as the vow of `Abdul Muttalib (Zamakhshari, Razi).
    Qurtubi writes: It is reported that one of the Companions used to appear in a grievous mood. Once, the Prophet asked him the reason. He replied, "Messenger of Allah. I've committed a sin that I wonder if Allah will forgive despite my Islam." The Prophet asked him to explain what it was. The man said: "I was one of those who used to bury their female infants. Once my wife gave birth to a girl and pleaded that I let her live. I agreed. She grew into a most beautiful girl. Proposals began coming in. But a shallow sense of honor took over me. I did not want her to be married off, and I did not want to keep her unmarried. One day I told my wife that I was proposing to visit such and such a tribe and wished to take the daughter along. She was pleased, got her ready with some bright clothes, jewelry, and all that stuff, and then took promise from me that I would safeguard her. On the way we stopped at a well. I peeped in. The daughter's sixth sense told her that I wished to push her in. She clung to me with tears in her eyes and pleaded, ‘Father! What do you want to do this with me?' I felt kind at her. But then I looked at the well and my false sense of honor got better of me. She again clung to me and pleaded for mercy. I felt kind towards her. But, as I looked at the well, and at her in turns, my false sense of honor took charge of me and I pushed her down, head first. She cried from the well, ‘Father! You killed me.' I hung along until she ceased calling. Then I left the place." The Prophet and his Companions wept and he said: "If I were to punish someone for a deed of the pre Islamic times, I would punish this man."
    251. The verse tells us by implication that all that is in the earth is lawful to man, unless there is a commandment to the contrary (Razi).
    252. The opinions are divided over whether the "due" is zakah or sadaqah? Ibn Jarir believes that until the institution of zakah, it was sadaqah that was meant. But, later, with the laying down of zakah rules, it is the obligatory zakah that is meant.
    253. This verse is the basis of Imam Abu Hanifa's opinion that so far as farm products go, there is no minimum limit, rather, one should give out as zakah one tenth of whatever is harvested, whether that be little or more (Razi). Such is also the opinion of Imam Hanbal (Ma`arif).
    Fiqh Points
    The following are from Mufti Shafi`
    The minimum of wealth, trade goods, or cattle that is liable for zakah has been delineated by the Prophet himself. But ahadith that speak of zakah on farm products do not say anything about the minimum. Hence, zakah must be offered on whatever is produced, less or more. The minimum for various items is as follows:

    (i) On any treasure found accidentally, or, gold, silver and such precious metals, one in 5.
    (ii) On any farm product that is irrigated with natural water, one in 10.
    (iii) On any farm product that is artificially irrigated (by means of canals, wells, etc.), one in 20.
    (iv) Savings, (whether in cash or gold), trade goods, etc., one in 40.

    It should be apparent from above that the zakah imposed seems to depend on ease or difficulty of procurement of wealth. If it is easily obtained, such as a treasure, then it is one fifth that has to be given away as zakah. Over farm produce, that are irrigated by natural means, such as rain water, one is required to pay off one half of what one would pay over easily found wealth. But if the farm is irrigated by artificial means, that is, requiring greater human effort, then it is reduced to one half of what one would pay over a farm irrigated by natural means. Finally, over the wealth one earns by trade and merchandize, which involves lots of efforts, the amount is one half of the farms irrigated by artificial means.
    Quote from Shafi` ends here.
    According to the Hanafiyyah, zakah must be paid for every land produce except timber, grass, canes, plants grown for seeds, and plants of medicinal value. Some fruits and vegetables (not all) are also exempt (Alamgiriyyah). But the rules and exemptions are different with other fuqaha' (Au.).
    254. The "over indulgence" (israf) is applicable both to giving less as well as to giving out more than necessary, as reported of Thabit b. Qays b. Shimas who, when he went up to pluck his dates, vowed, "no one shall come to me but I shall give him some dates." By the evening he was left with nothing (Ibn Jarir). Mujahid however has said that if you were to spend gold amounting to what Ibn Qubays had, seeking Allah's pleasure, you would not be committing israf. But if you spent a little while displeasing Him, then, that would be israf (Shawkani).
    Accordingly, following the harvest, some Companions of the Prophet hung bunches of dates in the mosque. The hungry used a stick to bring down what they needed (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). In fact, according to a report in Abu Da'ud and Ahmad of good strength the Prophet had ordered that whoever harvested more than 11 wasaqs of dates, should hang a bunch in the mosque for the poor (Shawkani).
    255. Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Hasan have said that "hamulah" of the original alludes to those camels that are used for burden while "farsh" to those of them that are not used for burden because of their youth. But some others, such as Hasan, Qatadah, Suddi, Dahhak, and, according to one report Ibn `Abbas too, have said that "farsh" (so named because of its closeness to the earth), is applicable to any animal that is not used for carrying loads such as the little ones of the camel as well as bovines viz., goats, sheep, etc. (Ibn Jarir). The interpretation of Zayd b. Aslam is that "farsh" alludes to the use of the hide and wool for sleeping on or for covering against cold in winter (Ibn Kathir).
    256. Eight that make pairs: that is, sheep, goat, camel, and cow: two of each make a pair. Although there were other domesticated animals, the pagans played their nefarious game of declaring this lawful or that unlawful on these eight (Au.).
    "The term zawj denotes a pair of things as well as each of the two constituents of the pair" (Asad).
    257. Whatever of the bovine cattle yields wool is Da'n in Arabic (Razi).
    258. "Question as to whether the male offspring is lawful and the female is unlawful are presented in some detail to show how unreasonable their superstitions are" (Mawdudi).
    259. Suddi, Ibn Zayd and others have said that the pagan Arabs whimsically prohibited this or that of the cattle, or a part of its body, to themselves or to their women. When asked why, they would refer its illegality to God. Allah refuted them in this verse declaring once again that these cattle are lawful unto everyone (Au.). And the first of those who introduced these practices was `Amr b. Luhayy (Zamakhshari).
    260. As context of revelation, Ta'us has reported his father as saying that the pagan Arabs declared things lawful and unlawful whimsically (such as the beast lawful for their men but unlawful for their women: Au). Allah revealed this verse to outline what exactly was lawful and what unlawful (Ibn Jarir).
    Imam Shafe`i's explanation is that the Prophet was enquired about the unlawfulness of certain items. He was instructed by this verse to tell them that at that moment (in Makkah) he did not find anything in what was revealed to him unlawful save a few things as described in the verse. Hence the choice of words: "Say, I do not find in that revealed to me anything prohibited .." (Qurtubi). This of course left the door open for further prohibitions in Madinah. Alusi expresses more or less the same opinion.
    261. A question arises. Is the list of the unlawful stated herewith all inclusive or have there been additions, such as, for instance, Jallalah (a domestic animal that eats refuse of other animals)? One would assume that `A'isha believed that the list herewith is comprehensive. It is reported (Ibn Jarir) that she did not consider flesh of the forest beasts as prohibited. So was the opinion of Ibn `Abbas. (Ibn Kathir classifies `A'isha's statement as sahih gharib). Ibn Kathir also reports from Bukhari, Abu Da'ud and Hakim that someone asked Jabir b. `Abdullah if it was true that the Prophet had declared meat of the domestic donkey as unlawful at the time of the Khayber campaign? He replied that the Habr (i.e., Ibn `Abbas) did not accept the report. (When asked) he would recite this verse: "Say, ‘I do not find in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, save that .." to the end. Nonetheless, a report in Abu Da'ud and Musnad of Ahmad says that when someone asked Ibn `Umar about hedgehog and he recited this verse in reply. When someone else interjected that the Prophet had said about hedgehog that it was one of the abominations. Ibn `Umar said: "If the Prophet has said that, then, let it be as he said" (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    Notwithstanding the above reports, Ibn Kathir is inclined to feel that this verse overrules all that has been added on to the list of the prohibited by the founders of the madhahib such as, meat of the domestic donkey, of beasts of forest, and of every bird that picks up things with its talons. He also states that according to some scholars this verse has been abrogated by the verses in Surah al Ma'idah on this topic as well as statements in the hadith literature that talk of a few other things apart from what has been stated in the verse in question.
    Shawkani thinks that since reports coming from the Prophet about the unlawfulness of other things apart from those mentioned in this verse are trustworthy, there is no escape from them.
    Accordingly, to Imam Malik, Shafe`i and Abu Hanifah, every beast of the forest that tears its prey apart is prohibited (Qurtubi).
    262. The prohibition however applies only to its consumption. The skin for instance could be made use of. According to a hadith in Bukhari, Nasa'i and Ahmad narrated by Ibn `Abbas, Sawda b. Zam`ah enquired the Prophet about a goat that had died. He allowed her to get it skinned and use it after tanning it (Ibn Kathir). But the prohibition stays for fat, since skin is not eaten but fat is.
    263. For explanation see Surah al Ma'idah, note 24.
    Shanqiti disagrees with Ibn Kathir's opinion and believes that the list of the unlawful was enlarged by the Sunnah after the revelation of this verse. He devotes scores of pages towards the discussion concerning the lawful and the unlawful of the animals. Hereunder is a summary. If the name of an Imam does not appear in the parenthesis, it means either that animal is lawful according to him or merely undesirable (makruh) but lawful.
    The Lawful:
    Rabbit, the big desert lizard, locusts. (By consensus).
    The Unlawful:
    Wild beasts in general: those that tear apart their prey (the four Imams). This is based on the hadith of Abu Hurayrah in Sahih Muslim: "Every wild animal with claws is forbidden." There is a hadith by Abu Tha`labah too, to this effect, both in Bukhari and Muslim.
    Wild birds: those that hold their prey with their talons (Abu Hanifah, Shafe`i, Ibn Hanbal). Ibn `Abbas has reported in Sahih Muslim that: "The Prophet prohibited every wild animal with claws and every bird with talons."
    Domestic donkey: (the four Imams). There are innumerable ahadith to this effect in Bukhari, Muslim and others.
    Horse: (considered an abomination by Malik and Abu Hanifah).
    Dog, monkey, elephant, cat: (the four Imams).
    Fox: (Ibn Hanbal, Abu Hanifah and Shafe`i).
    All creepers, crawlers, such as rats, snakes, scorpions, frogs, bats, chameleons, cockroaches, spiders, worms, etc.: (the four Imams). Allah has said (7: 157): "And it (the Qur'an) forbids the unclean."
    Insects: (the four Imams).
    Jallalah: opinions vary. (It is that animal which has fed itself on other animals' faeces). Most scholars restrict the consumption of its flesh, milk or egg, to only after it has been fed on natural feed for a certain number of days or weeks.
    Cannibalism: Prohibited by consensus.
    264. Since what remains within the flesh and bones is not running blood, it is not considered unlawful Qatadah (Ibn Jarir).
    265. Ibn `Abbas has said that the allusion is to camels and ostriches. But Sa`id b. Jubayr has said that by implication chicken, ducks and birds resembling them are also included. Although, Mujahid has added that the Jews eat chicken, ducks, and birds (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    266. Jabir b. `Abdullah has reported: "I heard the Prophet say at the time Makkah fell,


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ حَرَّمَ بَيْعَ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْتَةِ وَالْخِنْزِيرِ وَالأَصْنَامِ ». فَقِيلَ : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَرَأَيْتَ شُحُومَ الْمَيْتَةِ فَإِنَّهَا تُطْلَى بِهَا السُّفُنُ وَيُدْهَنُ بِهَا الْجُلُودُ وَيَسْتَصْبِحُ بِهَا النَّاسُ فَقَالَ :« لاَ هُوَ حَرَامٌ ». ثُمَّ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- :« قَاتَلَ اللَّهُ الْيَهُودَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَّا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْهِمْ شُحُومَهَا جَمَلُوهَا ثُمَّ بَاعُوهُ وَأَكَلُوا ثَمَنَهُ »


    ‘Allah and His Messenger have prohibited the sale of wine, carrion, swine and idols.' It was said, ‘Messenger of Allah. What would you say about fat? We use it for oiling the hide, to fill up gaps and crevices in boats, and the people use it as fuel for their lamps.' He said, ‘No it is unlawful,’ and then added, ‘May Allah destroy the Jews. They were prohibited fat, but they liquefied it, sold it, and devoured its price (Ibn Kathir).
    The hadith is in the six canonical collections (Hussain b. Ibrahim).
    According to other versions, the Prophet (saws) added:


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ إِذَا حَرَّمَ عَلَى قَوْمٍ أَكْلَ شَيْءٍ حَرَّمَ عَلَيْهِمْ ثَمَنَهُ


    "When Allah prohibits the consumption of a thing He also prohibited its value" (Ibn Kathir).
    267. This shows that Allah's disobedience leads to the loss of worldly blessings also (Thanwi).
    268. The pagans presumed to say that the very fact that for centuries they had remained worshipping idols and treating certain kinds of animals (and practices) as forbidden, was proof in itself that at one point or the other Allah had ordered those things, or, was not displeased with them. Had He been displeased, He could have forced them to abandon their ways. This explains the last part of the verse which asks them to produce a Scripture confirming their claim: ‘Have you any knowledge that you can put forth before us? You follow not but conjectures and are attempting nothing but guess work.' And since they could not bring up any written proof, it demonstrated that they were arguing falsely. Accordingly, the Prophet was asked to say to them, ‘Allah's is the argument that reaches home.' That is, your arguments do not. As for their statement that had Allah willed He could have forcibly led them aright, the answer is, yes, ‘Had Allah willed, He would have guided you all,' but that is not the way in which He deals with the people: forcing His guidance upon them (based partly on Ibn Jarir: Au).
    Majid writes: "The pagans used the word ‘willed' in the sense of ‘pleased' or ‘approved' they confused the former with the latter and therein lay the fallacy.. Thus they confused the power and ability by God on everyone to do whatever He chose with His approval of every course of action."
    Zamakhshari has another point: If the pagans are true in their claim that they have been forced by the Divine Decree to adopt the ways they have adopted, then they should not have enmity with the Muslims who, by their own logic, are bound by the same Divine Decree in believing in Allah as One and Muhammad as His Messenger.
    269. The purport of the verse is, it were wrong ideas of this sort (viz., Allah's will and man's helplessness: Au.) that led many people astray in the past. Had that been the case, Allah would not have sent them Messengers punishing those who rejected them (Ibn Kathir).
    270. Asad comments: "In other words, the real relationship between God's knowledge of the future (and, therefore, the ineluctability of what is to happen in the future) on the one hand, and man's free will, on the other two propositions which, on the face of it, seem to contradict one another is beyond man's comprehension; but since both are postulated by God, both must be true. The very concept of "God" presupposes His omniscience; and the very concept of morality and moral responsibility presupposes free will on man's part. Had God so willed, every human being would have been forced to live righteously; but this would have amounted to depriving man of his free will, and morality of all its meaning."
    271. A statement of Suddi in Tabari could imply that the Arabs were asked to produce witnesses from the non Arabs, since they themselves were a party to the dispute.
    272. The words in the parenthesis are from Ibn Jarir.
    273. The Sahihayn have Abu Dharr reporting that the Prophet said:


    ذَاكَ جِبْرِيلُ عَرَضَ لِى فِى جَانِبِ الْحَرَّةِ فَقَالَ بَشِّرْ أُمَّتَكَ أَنَّهُ مَنْ مَاتَ لاَ يُشْرِكُ بِاللَّهِ شَيْئًا دَخَلَ الْجَنَّةَ. فَقُلْتُ يَا جِبْرِيلُ وَإِنْ سَرَقَ وَإِنْ زَنَى قَالَ نَعَمْ. قَالَ قُلْتُ وَإِنْ سَرَقَ وَإِنْ زَنَى قَالَ نَعَمْ. قَالَ قُلْتُ وَإِنْ سَرَقَ وَإِنْ زَنَى قَالَ نَعَمْ وَإِنْ شَرِبَ الْخَمْرَ


    "That was Jibril who presented himself at the Harra (mountainous region of Madinah) saying, ‘Give glad tidings to your Ummah that whoever died having not associated anyone with Allah, will enter Paradise.’ I asked him: "O Jibril, even if he committed adultery and theft?" He said: “Yes.” I said, “"Even if he committed adultery and theft?" He said, ‘Yes.’ I asked: "Even if he committed adultery and theft?" He replied: "Even if he committed adultery and theft, and even if he drank wine" (Ibn Kathir).
    274. Parents' rights are so great that whenever Allah spoke of His own rights, He followed up with the rights of parents (Ibn Kathir). That is because, Alusi writes, after Allah it is parents who are the cause of a child's birth as it is they whose tireless efforts make it possible for him to reach manhood.
    In fact, the rights hold, even if the parents are idol worshippers. We have a hadith in the Sahihayn which reports someone asking the Prophet about:


    عَنْ ابْنِ مَسْعُودٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ أَنَّ رَجُلًا سَأَلَ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَيُّ الْأَعْمَالِ أَفْضَلُ قَالَ الصَّلَاةُ لِوَقْتِهَا وَبِرُّ الْوَالِدَيْنِ ثُمَّ الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ


    “What deed was the most virtuous in Islam. He replied that it was to offer Prayers on time, to be dutiful toward the parents and Jihad in the cause of Allah (Ibn Kathir).
    The above version is from Bukhari (Au).
    Then there is the famous story of Asma’s mother visiting her daughter Asma’ at Madinah during the armistice between the Prophet and Makkans. Asma’ enquired the Prophet whether she could receive her pagan mother and treat her well. He answered, “Yes. Treat her well” (Au.).
    275. Mufti Shafi` says that not to (Islamically) educate and train one's children is tantamount to slaughtering them, since that leads them to an un Islamic life. He substantiates his opinion with a verse (6: 122) which says about the believer:


    أَوَمَنْ كَانَ مَيْتًا فَأَحْيَيْنَاهُ [الأنعام : 122]


    "Is he then, who was dead, then We gave him life." In this verse Allah spoke of the unbeliever as dead.
    Majid adds: "The prohibition may well be extended to the modern craze for ‘birth control' or the use of contraceptives to limit the number of offspring or to prevent pregnancy altogether. Now the whole neo Malthusianism as is called this application of the theory of restricting the population is based on the assumption that the reproduction power of man exceeds his power of increasing his food supply. But experience has demonstrated absolute untenability of this assumption, and means of subsistence, not only in one country but in the world at large, have, since the time of Malthus, the first modern promulgator of the doctrine, more than kept pace with the growth of population."
    276. Majid comments: "It is in consonance with this Divine guarantee that, contrary to what Malthus and his disciples calculated, population has not outrun the means of subsistence, and the truth of the old economic adage has been completely vindicated that ‘while every addition to the population means another mouth to feed, it also implies another pair of hands.'"
    Asad too agrees. He remarks: "This may possibly refer to abortions dictated by economic reasons."
    The Sahihayn also have the report that someone asked about the greatest sin. The Prophet replied,


    قَالَ رَجُلٌ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَيُّ الذَّنْبِ أَكْبَرُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ قَالَ أَنْ تَدْعُوَ لِلَّهِ نِدًّا وَهُوَ خَلَقَكَ قَالَ ثُمَّ أَيٌّ قَالَ ثُمَّ أَنْ تَقْتُلَ وَلَدَكَ خَشْيَةَ أَنْ يَطْعَمَ مَعَكَ قَالَ ثُمَّ أَيٌّ قَالَ ثُمَّ أَنْ تُزَانِيَ بِحَلِيلَةِ جَارِكَ


    "That you should declare someone equal to Allah while He created you." He asked, "And then which one?" The Prophet replied, "That you should kill your child out of fear that he would share your food." He enquired, "And then which one?" The Prophet replied, "That you should commit adultery with your neighbor's wife" (Ibn Kathir).
    277. The words "do not go near" imply that one ought to avoid even those acts that provoke the desire and lead to the indecent deeds (Shabbir).
    278. According to Ibn `Abbas and Dahhak, the allusion could be to the pagan idea that adultery in secret was not a sin, only the one committed in open was (Ibn Jarir).
    The Sahihayn have the following report of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud. The Prophet said:


    عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ لَا أَحَدَ أَغْيَرُ مِنْ اللَّهِ وَلِذَلِكَ حَرَّمَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ


    "There is none with greater sense of honor than Allah. Hence He has forbidden all kinds of indecencies, be they open or secret."
    The two also have a report which says that once Sa`d b. `Ubadah said:


    قَالَ سَعْدُ بْنُ عُبَادَةَ لَوْ رَأَيْتُ رَجُلًا مَعَ امْرَأَتِي لَضَرَبْتُهُ بِالسَّيْفِ غَيْرَ مُصْفَحٍ فَبَلَغَ ذَلِكَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ أَتَعْجَبُونَ مِنْ غَيْرَةِ سَعْدٍ وَاللَّهِ لَأَنَا أَغْيَرُ مِنْهُ وَاللَّهُ أَغْيَرُ مِنِّي وَمِنْ أَجْلِ غَيْرَةِ اللَّهِ حَرَّمَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ


    "Were I to see my wife with another man, I would kill him spontaneously." When the Prophet heard about it he remarked: "Does Sa`d's sense of honor surprise you? By Allah, I have a greater sense of honor than Sa`d and Allah has a greater sense of honor than me. Accordingly, He prohibited all that is indecent, be they open or secret" (Ibn Kathir).
    279. The Sahihayn have preserved a report coming through Ibn Mas`ud which reports the Prophet (saws) as having said:


    لَا يَحِلُّ دَمُ امْرِئٍ مُسْلِمٍ يَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَّا بِإِحْدَى ثَلَاثٍ النَّفْسُ بِالنَّفْسِ وَالثَّيِّبُ الزَّانِي وَالْمَارِقُ مِنْ الدِّينِ التَّارِكُ لِلْجَمَاعَةِ


    "A Muslim's blood who asserts that there is no deity worthy of worship save Allah, and that I am His Messenger, is not lawful save in case of the following three: life for life, a married adulterer, an apostate who abandons the community" (Ibn Kathir).
    280. According to Ibn Zayd, the words "save in a goodly manner" are explained by verse 6 of Al Nisa' which says:


    وَمَنْ كَانَ غَنِيًّا فَلْيَسْتَعْفِفْ وَمَنْ كَانَ فَقِيرًا فَلْيَأْكُلْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ [النساء : 6]


    "He who is well-off might desist. However, he who is poor may take in a goodly manner" (Ibn Jarir).
    281. Opinions have varied about when a person attains full strength of body and mind: from when puberty is achieved - to the age of 30 (Ibn Jarir). See note 24 of Surah al Nisa' for a detailed discussion.
    282. "The meaning is that God does not expect man to behave with ‘mathematical’ equity which, in view of the many intangible factors involved, is rarely attainable in human dealings but expects him to do his best towards achieving this goal" (Asad).
    283. It is part of Allah's covenant that He should be obeyed and His Messenger be acknowledged (Ibn Jarir).
    284. That is, these are the commandments that Allah sent you through His Messengers, (such as Ibrahim and his progeny), and not worship of the idols, killing of the infant or burying alive of the female children which you do (based partly on Ibn Jarir).
    285. That is, the path of innovations, whims and fancies, base desires, and so forth (Au.).
    Majid writes: "This entirely reproves and repudiates the specious and complacent doctrine held by the Romans, and in fact by many polytheistic nations, that ‘different paths adopted to different notions and grades of knowledge converge to the same Divinity, and that the most erroneous religion is good if it forms good dispositions and inspires virtuous actions' (Lecky)."
    `Abdullah (ibn Mas`ud) has reported:


    عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ قَالَ خَطَّ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ خَطًّا بِيَدِهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ هَذَا سَبِيلُ اللَّهِ مُسْتَقِيمًا قَالَ ثُمَّ خَطَّ عَنْ يَمِينِهِ وَشِمَالِهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ هَذِهِ السُّبُلُ وَلَيْسَ مِنْهَا سَبِيلٌ إِلَّا عَلَيْهِ شَيْطَانٌ يَدْعُو إِلَيْهِ ثُمَّ قَرَأَ { وَإِنَّ هَذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا السُّبُلَ}


    "Once the Prophet drew a line on the ground and said, ‘This is the path of Allah.' Then he drew other lines (diverging from it) on the left and the right side, and said, ‘These are the paths at the head of every one of them sits a Shaytan inviting thereto.' Then he recited this verse: "And that this is My path, the straight one. Therefore, follow it, and follow not the (other) paths'" (Ibn Jarir).
    The report is in Nasa'i, Ibn Marduwayh and Hakim with the latter declaring it as sahih of status (Shawkani).
    286. Qurtubi has the following. Irbad b. Sariyyah narrated the following in Ibn Majah:


    وَعَظَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَوْعِظَةً ذَرَفَتْ مِنْهُ الأَعْيُنُ، وَوَجِلَتْ مِنْهُ الْقُلُوبُ، قُلْنَا: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، هَذِهِ مَوْعِظَةُ مُوَدِّعٍ، فَمَا تَعْهَدْ إِلَيْنَا؟ قَالَ:"لَقَدْ تَرَكْتُكُمْ عَلَى الْبَيْضَاءِ لَيْلُهَا كَنَهَارِهَا، لا يَزِيغُ عَنْهَا بَعْدِي إِلا هَالِكٌ، وَمَنْ يَعِشْ مِنْكُمْ فَسَيَرَى اخْتِلافًا كَثِيرًا، فَعَلَيْكُمْ بِمَا عَرَفْتُمْ مِنْ سُنَّتِي، وَسُنَّةِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ، وَعَلَيْكُمْ بِالطَّاعَةِ، وَإِنْ عَبْدًا حَبَشِيًّا، عَضُّوا عَلَيْهَا بِالنَّوَاجِذِ، فَإِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُ كَالْجَمَلِ الأَنِفِ حَيْثُمَا قِيدَ انْقَادَ"


    "Once the Prophet admonished us so powerfully that our eyes were filled with tears, and our hearts softened. We said, ‘Messenger of Allah! This is an eye filling admonition. Would you like to enjoin us something?' He said, ‘I have left you on a white (patch) whose night is like its day (in brightness). So, none will slip but he who will destroy himself. Whoever lives after me will witness many differences. Upon you then would be those of my Sunnah you have known, and the Sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs. And upon you is obedience, even if it were to be a flat nosed Abyssinian (your ruler). Hold on to this them by your teeth. A believer is like a tamed camel. He goes wheresoever he is led." This sahih hadith is also in Tirmidhi in near about the same words.
    Sahal b. Tustari has said: "May you follow the Sunnah and the ways of the pious predecessors. I fear that a time will come when a man would hate to hear that he should follow the Prophet in every detail. The people would shun the company of anyone who will preach that, and humiliate him."
    It is reported that once Abu Musa al Ash`ari saw a new practice in the mosque (perhaps in Kufa). He spoke to `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud about it telling him that he was between its acceptance and rejection, and wanted Ibn Mas`ud to see it himself. When they went to the next Prayer, they found people sitting in groups of tens and twenties. Every group had a leader. He would say, "Say Allahu Akbar a hundred times" and they would say Allahu Akbar a hundred times. Then he would say, "Say Subhana Allah a hundred times," and they would say it a hundred times. It went on until the congregational Prayers began. `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud was very upset about it. They said they were not doing it but to obtain rewards. He remarked: "How many people do not intend to obtain rewards but miss it!"
    Hussain Saleem Asad remarked that the chain of narration of this report is sound. And `Amr b. Salamah reported that he saw most of those that were present in that dhikr halqah among the Khawarij taunting us on the day of Nahrawan (the place `Ali fought the Khawarij). And the lesson is, one ought to stay close to the Sunnah, and introduce not any innovation [Au.].
    And Sufyan Thawri has said: "An innovation is dearer to Shaytan than a sin because a man committing the latter seeks forgiveness but the former does not."
    Quotations from Qurtubi end here.
    287. It is widely reported of Ibn `Abbas that he considered verses 151 153 as those "Muhkamat" about which Allah spoke in verse 7 of Surah Al `Imran.
    Mawdudi comments: "It is an essential corollary of the natural covenant mentioned above that man should follow the way prescribed by his Lord; and deflection from the orders of God, or serving anyone other than Him, constitutes a primary breach of that covenant. Once this breach has been committed, every single article of the covenant is likely to be violated one after the other. Moreover, it should also be remembered that man cannot acquit himself of the highly delicate, extensive and complex set of responsibilities entailed by this covenant unless he accepts the guidance of God and tries to follow the way prescribed by Him."
    288. The words in parenthesis are from Ibn Jarir.
    289. Ihsan is to do something in the most spirited fashion while remaining within the rules of the Shari`ah. The allusion by the words "unto one who excelled" could both be to Musa who excelled (in his mission) as well as the true believers of his time who excelled (in all they were asked to do) Ibn Jarir.
    289a. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Qatadah and others have said that the allusion by the words, “two groups before us” is to Jews and Christians (Ibn Kathir).
    290. Imam Razi does not spare the occasion to deny the movement of Allah. Qurtubi says that Allah's "coming and going" does not involve movement. Yet He does come and go but we do not know the "how" of it.
    291. It is widely reported that it is the Sun rising from the West that is alluded to by the sign. A hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah says that


    لَا تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا فَإِذَا رَآهَا النَّاسُ آمَنَ مَنْ عَلَيْهَا فَذَاكَ حِينَ {لَا يَنْفَعُ نَفْسًا إِيمَانُهَا لَمْ تَكُنْ آمَنَتْ مِنْ قَبْلُ}


    the Hour will not strike until the Sun rises from the West. With that happening, everyone would believe in Allah, but that would be the time about which Allah said: "The day some of His signs appear, of no profit will then be the belief of him who did not believe earlier, or did not earn good (deeds) through his faith." (The hadith is in Bukhari and almost all other Masanid: Ibn Kathir). Another hadith narrated by Safwan b. `Assal says the Prophet (saws) said:


    إِنَّ بِالْمَغْرِبِ بَابًا مَفْتُوحًا لِلتَّوْبَةِ مَسِيرَتُهُ سَبْعُونَ سَنَةً لاَ يُغْلَقُ حَتَّى تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ مِنْ نَحْوِ


    "In the West there is a repentance door, of width seventy years. It will remain open until the Sun appears from that side."
    A report coming from Abu Dharr is as follows:


    عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِأَبِي ذَرٍّ حِينَ غَرَبَتْ الشَّمْسُ أَتَدْرِي أَيْنَ تَذْهَبُ قُلْتُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَعْلَمُ قَالَ فَإِنَّهَا تَذْهَبُ حَتَّى تَسْجُدَ تَحْتَ الْعَرْشِ فَتَسْتَأْذِنَ فَيُؤْذَنُ لَهَا وَيُوشِكُ أَنْ تَسْجُدَ فَلَا يُقْبَلَ مِنْهَا وَتَسْتَأْذِنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَنَ لَهَا يُقَالُ لَهَا ارْجِعِي مِنْ حَيْثُ جِئْتِ فَتَطْلُعُ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا فَذَلِكَ قَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى {وَالشَّمْسُ تَجْرِي لِمُسْتَقَرٍّ لَهَا ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ}


    "The Prophet asked him at sunset time, ‘Do you know where the Sun goes when it sets?' He replied, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.' He said, ‘It keeps going until it prostrates itself below the `Arsh. Then it seeks permission (to rise) and it is allowed. But a time will come when it will prostrate itself but it will not be accepted and asks permission (to rise) but it will not be allowed. It will be to, ‘Return to where you came from and so it will rise from the West. That is the interpretation of the statement of Allah (36: 38): "And the Sun moves in its appointed course. That is the decree of the All Mighty, the All knowing"' (Ibn Jarir).
    But we have taken the hadith from Bukhari (Au.).
    One might be led to believe that the hadith about the Sun prostrating itself below the `Arsh confirms the idea that the earth is stationary and the sun revolves around it. Such an opinion is incorrect. We shall explain it in detail when we take up the verse quoted viz., 36: 38 (Au.).
    There are other reports from the Prophet which speak of three signs: the rising of the Sun from the West, (the appearance of) Dajjal, and a Beast rising from the earth (which will speak to the people). [A hadith to this effect is in Tirmidhi: Ibn Kathir]. Another hadith narrated by Hasan (al Busri) says:


    بَادِرُوا بِالأَعَمَالِ سِتًّا: الدَّجَّالَ، وَالدُّخَانَ، وَدَابَّةَ الأَرْضِ، وَطُلُوعَ الشَّمْسِ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا، وَأَمْرَ الْعَامَّةِ، وَخُوَيِّصَةَ أَحَدِكُمْ


    "Hurry up with good deeds before the six things: Dajjal, the Smoke, a Beast from the earth, rising of the Sun from the West, rule by the masses and especially, your affair (Ibn Jarir). A few other signs have been added to the above six in a report of Muslim: Yajuj and Majuj, `Isa's descent, three caving in of the lands: one in the East, another in the West and a third in the Arabian Peninsula, and a fire that will appear from the Yemen to drive people to the Field of Reckoning, resting with them when they would stop in the night or for their siesta (Ibn Kathir).
    292. The allusion is to the deeds in the light of faith, conforming with Islamic principles (Au.). According to Suddi and Dahhak, those who regularly performed good deeds prior to the Signs of the Doomsday, would have them accepted even after the Signs. But those who led a life of impiety, even if they were believers, but began acting good only after the appearance of the Signs, will not have their deeds accepted (Ibn Jarir).
    293. The verse is equally applicable to Jews and Christians as well as to the innovators in Islam (Ibn Jarir).
    294. The textual words "created schism in their religion" imply that it is a fundamental principles and it is the mainstay of the religion that is alluded to. Differences in details cannot be avoided, and cannot be termed as creating schism in religion (based on Shabbir and he from Shah `Abdul `Aziz).
    295. The Salaf are unanimous over the opinion that by "the good" the allusion is to the words "La ilaha illa Allah" pronounced with sincerity, and by "the evil" it is to Association (Ibn Jarir).
    The verse however is applicable to deeds also. We have a hadith in Nasa`i, Ibn Majah and Ahmad which says:


    مَنْ صَامَ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ مِنْ كُلِّ شَهْرٍ فَقَدْ صَامَ الدَّهْرَ كُلَّهُ


    "Whoever fasted three days of every month is as if one who fasted the whole year round." Tirmidhi has the following words added: "And then he recited: ‘Whoever brought (a) good (deed) shall have (rewards) ten times its like. Nevertheless, whoever brought (an) evil (deed), he shall not be recompensed but with its like.'" This hadith Qudsi of Bukhari, Muslim and Nasa'i, (is in the same vein which) says:


    مَنْ هَمَّ بِحَسَنَةٍ فَلَمْ يَعْمَلْهَا كَتَبَ لَهُ عَشْرَ أَضْعَافٍ إِلَى سَبْعِ مِائَةِ ضِعْفٍ إِلَى أَضْعَافٍ كَثِيرَةٍ , وَمَنْ هَمَّ بِسَيِّئَةٍ , فَلَمْ يَعْمَلْهَا كُتِبَتْ لَهُ حَسَنَةٌ , فَإِنْ عَمِلَهَا كُتِبَتْ عَلَيْهِ سَيِّئَةٌ وَاحِدَةٌ أَوْ مَحَاهَا , وَلا يَهْلِكُ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِلا هَالِكٌ


    "Whoever intended a good deed but could not do it will have a good deed written into his account. If he does it then anything between ten to seven hundred or more is written down in his account. However, if someone intended an evil deed but did not do it, a good deed is written down in his account. But if he commits it, only one is written down - unless Allah, the Honored, the Exalted, erases it. So none will be destroyed by Allah save one who will destroy himself" (Ibn Kathir).
    After narrating the hadith Ibn Kathir explains that there are three kinds of people who intend to do an evil but do not: First, someone who abandoned it for the sake of Allah. He shall have a good deed written in his account. Second, he who forgot about it. There is nothing against him and nothing for him. Third, he who tried but failed, for some reason or the other, to perform the evil deed he had intended. He is like him who did it. This follows the principle laid down in another hadith which says:


    إِذَا الْتَقَى الْمُسْلِمَانِ بِسَيْفَيْهِمَا فَالْقَاتِلُ وَالْمَقْتُولُ فِي النَّارِ فَقُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ هَذَا الْقَاتِلُ فَمَا بَالُ الْمَقْتُولِ قَالَ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حَرِيصًا عَلَى قَتْلِ صَاحِبِهِ


    "When two Muslims cross swords then the killer and the killed are in the Fire." They asked: "The killer yes, but what about the killed one?" He replied: "He was quite ready to kill his companion."
    296. What do the words "millah of Ibrahim" imply? Ibn Kathir helps with a hadith. Ahmad has a report coming from Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet (saws) was asked:


    أَحَبُّ الدِّينِ إِلَى اللَّهِ الْحَنِيفِيَّةُ السَّمْحَةُ


    "What religion is the most approved of by Allah?" He replied: "Al Hanifiyyah al Samha (i.e., the upright, the easy)." The text is from Bukhari (Au.).
    Ibn Kathir then explains that it is the religion of the middle path, the one that avoids extremes is the most approved of by Allah. Accordingly, we have `A'isha telling us that once when some acrobatic men were putting up a show, the Prophet let her watch until she had had enough. On that occasion the Prophet said:


    لتعلم يَهودُ أن في ديننا فُسْحَةً، إني أرسلت بِحَنيفيَّة سَمْحَة


    "So that the Jews might know that there is lot of flexibility in our religion. I have been sent with Hanifiyyah Samha (i.e., the upright, the easy)." This hadith is in the Sahihayn.
    297. A great many of the Salaf have said that by the textual term "nusuk" the allusion here is to sacrifice (Ibn Jarir).
    298. Suddi has said that Allah made us succeed the disbelieving generations of the past times (Ibn Jarir, Alusi).
    After mentioning Suddi's interpretation, Zamakhshari adds another possible meaning as: Men as Allah's Khalifah in His earth, enjoying its contents and utilizing it the way it pleases them.
    Apart from mentioning Suddi's interpretation as well as agreeing with the possibility of Zamakhshari's opinion, Alusi adds Hasan's opinion: "Generation after generation Allah replaces one people after another. This is the meaning of being khalifah in the land."
    299. According to Suddi the ranks referred to in the verse are related to wealth and provisions (Ibn Jarir).
    300. Imam Ahmad has preserved the following narration of Abu Hurayrah. The Prophet said:


    لَوْ يَعْلَمُ الْمُؤْمِنُ مَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ الْعُقُوبَةِ مَا طَمِعَ فِي الْجَنَّةِ أَحَدٌ وَلَوْ يَعْلَمُ الْكَافِرُ مَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ الرَّحْمَةِ مَا قَنَطَ مِنْ الْجَنَّةِ أَحَدٌ خَلَقَ اللَّهُ مِائَةَ رَحْمَةٍ فَوَضَعَ رَحْمَةً وَاحِدَةً بَيْنَ خَلْقِهِ يَتَرَاحَمُونَ بِهَا وَعِنْدَ اللَّهِ تِسْعَةٌ وَتِسْعُونَ رَحْمَةً


    "If the believer knew what punishments are with Allah, no one would ever covet Paradise. And if the unbeliever knew what mercy is with Allah, no one would despair of Paradise. Allah created a hundred parts of mercy. One part He distributed among His creations by which they show mercy to each other. And with Allah are ninety nine (parts of it)" Ibn Kathir.
     

    Merits of the surah

    Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Anas b. Malik, Asma' bint Yezid, Jabir and many others have been reported in Tabarani, Ibn Marduwayh and Hakim, with the latter declaring it sahih by Muslim's standards, that this Surah was revealed in Makkah as one whole, with so many angels accompanying the revelation that they filled the space between the earth and the heaven. They were chanting glorifications and the earth seemed to be vibrating (Qurtubi).
    Asma' bint Yezid added: "I was holding the rein of the camel, and it was as if it would break the beast's bones" (Ibn Kathir).
    Nevertheless, Ibn Salah has doubted the strength of these reports (Alusi, Shabbir).
    Rashid Rida adds: The fact that so many reports have been received through so many transmitters means that they have a basis. It is possible that Ibn Salah was doubting only the addition of the words, "Except three verses," as included in certain versions.
    Tha`labi has said that six verses of this surah are Madinan, 91, 92 93, 151, 152 and 153 (Shawkani). Further, the fact that the revelation of the surah was accompanied by seventy thousand angels, and that it incorporates proofs of Allah's Oneness, the Messengership of the Prophet, the Hereafter, and rejection of false religions, means, these are the loftiest of all kinds of knowledge. It also follows that mastering of the proofs and evidences is to be taken up as a priority by a believer (Razi).
    Ibn `Abbas has been recorded in Bukhari as having said that if you wish to know something about the vile practices of pre Islamic Arab society, read verses 136 to 140 (Qurtubi).

    بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَجَعَلَ الظُّلُمَاتِ وَالنُّورَ ۖ ثُمَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ يَعْدِلُونَ (1)

    6|1| (All) Praise1 belongs to Allah who created the heavens and the earth, and appointed2 darknesses3 and light.4 Yet, those who have disbelieved equate (others) with their Lord.5


    1. Razi writes: Five chapters of the Qur'an open with these words: viz., nos. 1, 6, 18, 34, and 35. Differences between the words madh, hamd and shukr may be noted. Madh is common for all beings, living or non living. One might say mudh words for a flower or a horse. Hamd is specific to living beings. But hamd can be said both for something or somebody one draws benefit as well for someone of no benefit. For example, one might say hamd words for a person because of his good qualities, even if the person saying the hamd might not have drawn any benefit from the one praised. In contrast, shukr is the most specific. One says shukr words only to someone from whom he has benefitted in some way. Otherwise the occasion for shukr words does not arise. The use of the word hamd in this verse is to say that Allah deserves our praises, every moment of our lives, whether or not we feel that we are experiencing one of His graces. Incidentally, hamd is the proof of one's sincerity. Finally, whoever knows the depth and extent of the created worlds, and has some knowledge of the Attributes of Allah will realize that hamd is an ocean that has no shores.
    2. The word in the original is ja`ala which indicates a creative action that is connected with a previous activity as well one that involves continuity (Ibn Jarir, Razi).
    3. The fact that Allah mentioned darknesses before light supports the theory of the ancients that He created his creations in darkness and then threw light upon them (Razi).
    Thus darkness has, according to the Qur'an, its own existence. It is not simply the absence of light as most people - including the scientists - believe (Au.).
    4. Qatadah has said, "Allah created the heavens before earth, the darknesses before light, and the Fire before Paradise” (Ibn Jarir).
    The Zoroastrians believed in two gods of creation, first, Yezdan, the creator of good, and second, Ahraman, the creator of evil, associating the former with light and the latter with darkness (Shabbir).
    In fact, Mujahid has been reported by Abu al Sheikh and Ibn Abi Hatim as of the opinion that the verse was revealed to refute the belief of the freethinkers who claimed that God did not create evil, or snakes, or anything evil. He created light and the good things alone (Shawkani).
    Qurtubi quotes a hadith of Muslim at this point. Abu Hurayrah narrates: "The Prophet took me by my hand and said: ‘Allah created the dust on Saturday. He created the mountains in it on Sunday. He created the trees in it on Monday. He created the Makruhat on Tuesday. He created "Nur" (according to another version, "Nun": Nawawi) on Wednesday. He created the beasts on Thursday. And He created Adam in the afternoon of Friday, as the last creation, in the last hours of Friday between the late afternoon hours and the nightfall'" (Qurtubi).
    Modern scientific knowledge comes remarkably close to the above statement. Details are as under.
    I. Although no satisfactory theory exists about the origin of our solar system, since every model fails to answer all the questions, as do rigorous mathematical tests, nevertheless, there is sufficient evidence for the scientists to conclude that the solar system grew out of a cloud of dust.
    Of the many postulates, one is known as the nebular hypothesis. It was first proposed by Laplace, but fell into disrepute as it failed some tests. It is being actively reconsidered now. Recently it has received a thorough analysis at the hands of a German astronomer Carl F. von Weizsacker, and reveals some positive aspects. This theory assumes the solar system as a sub eddy of the larger eddy which gave birth to the galaxies. The dust cloud in the solar sub eddy developed in time its own sub eddies of dust which gave birth to the planets with the sun at the center.
    To be sure, there are other models. But most assume dust particles colliding and coalescing and, following certain processes, leading up to the formation of the solar system. Indeed, the best bet so far on the galactic systems, although an unresolved mystery up until now, is also on condensation of primordial dust. Thus the postulates come very near to the hadith statement that Allah created dust in the first stage of the process of creation. This first phase of creation is named here as Saturday, but, obviously, as the last few words suggest, the allusion is to a long period of time, an era, or a phase.
    II. Scientists speculate that the earth began as a waterless mass of rock surrounded by a thick cloud of dust. The interior melted with the heat generated by radioactive materials, leading to a liquid core surrounded by a hard crust. In turn, the crust rests on a soft, plastic layer immediately beneath it called asthenosphere. Various chemical processes created water which in the early period occupied most of the surface area except for a huge island. In time the island split. Plate tectonics took over some 2.5 billion years ago. The crust, geologically referred to as lithosphere, split into 15 plates due to various movements of the earth. Their collision and gradual piling up over each other over millions of years created the mountains. Most of the early mountains have worn out, but the process goes on, albeit much slowly now.
    It might also be pointed out that verses 9 and 10 of surah Fussilat (no. 41) appear to be speaking of the creation of mountains in the third phase of creation. But that's not correct, for the verses there are speaking of different kinds of phases involved: not only during the creation of the earth, but also of the heavens.
    III. First biological activity began some 3.5 billion years ago. (Although a very recent finding in Australia is pushing the date back by another 350 million years). Initially, the life forms were very primitive, such as, certain strains of bacterium, extinct now. Tiny plants made their appearance for the first time, perhaps in the early Cambrian period, some 600 million years ago. Forests filled with tall trees must have appeared much later, during the Carboniferous era, lasting between 350 300 million years ago. Thus, Allah's creation of the trees on Monday (in the third phase of creation).
    IV. With regard to the fourth stage of creation, it is not clear what the Prophet meant by makruhat. Literally, the connotation is that of "the undesirable things." The narrator himself did not seek an explanation. It is possible he knew what was meant. Later hadith commentators have said that it is minerals that could have been meant. But, that is only a conjecture. Could it be creepers and reptiles: snakes, scorpions, lizards the unloved of the humans ("the undesirable things")? They could have only appeared in plenty after the establishment of thick forests, at the end of the Carboniferous era, some 300 million years ago.
    V. The fifth stage creation has two versions: one version uses the word nur (light) and the other version nun (meaning, fishes, or alternatively in the non Hejazi dialect, whales). Now, if we take it as nur, it should not lead someone to imagine that the reference is to the creation of the Sun, while it can be said fairly accurately that the Sun is 5 billion years old. The hadith does not say Allah created the Sun on Wednesday. Rather, it says that He created light on that day. This statement comes very near to scientific speculations. Very early during the creation of the solar system, while the Sun and the planets were still in their early stage of formation, the earth was being regularly struck by heavy interstellar material which would chip of huge chunks of material as well us kick up millions of tons of dust. In that phase the earth was covered with a cloud of dust which would not allow the sunlight to penetrate. As the dust settled on the surface, the earth also emitted various gases under the pressure of gravitational contraction, and chemical combinations. Those gasses would have again become a barrier between the earth and the sun rays. It is estimated that huge amounts of neon and hydrogen atoms were present in the atmosphere of that period, along with some molecules of oxygen and inert nitrogen. Subsequently, as some scientists have postulated, the atmospheric gasses reacted with each other to form ammonia, methane and water molecules. In the meanwhile, primitive life forms were developing below on the surface of the earth. Their emissions helped create the present day water, all of which is thought to be initially in the form of dense clouds of vapor engulfing the earth, in place of the original dust. (Some scientists postulate that water came from deep in the Galactic areas delivered with the help of comets entirely made of ice. If that be true then, obviously, the impact would have instantaneously created a cloud of dust and water vapor). It is only when incessant rains fell for pretty long periods that the atmosphere cleared up and the earth's surface could receive a dim sunlight. With that, new life forms developed and their emission of oxygen helped in creating and maintaining the present day atmosphere. This happened, according to some estimates, no more than 600 million years ago. But, it is quite possible, that for the earth the sun would have remained as dim as it is for those at the poles now, or, even dimmer until a much later time. The process of reduction of the density of atmosphere might have taken several hundred million years to complete before the sun was finally shining on the earth with all its glory. Thus we arrive very close to the statement that Allah created nur in the fifth stage of creation.
    Alternatively, if it is believed that the word is nun, then, we know that small fishes began to appear at the end of Cambrian period itself, some 600 million years ago. The large ones, the kind of fish we are familiar with today, to include whales, could have only appeared during the Permian period, some 250 million years ago.
    VI. As we get closer, we can be more certain of the dates. Science has quite a few evidences to prove that although life has been there for billions of years, it was mostly dominated by bacterium. Multicellular bodies appeared only 1.5 billion years ago. Small animals have only been there since the Cambrian period, i.e., about 600 million years behind us. Mammals appeared only some 200 million years ago or less. As for the beasts, they are on the scene since the middle of the Tertiary period. That is, no more than 50 million years. In fact, the kind of beasts that we are familiar with today appeared even much later, perhaps 30 million years ago. Thus their creation on Thursday.
    The above of course, does not confirm the theory of evolution. That the biological organisms appeared gradually on the earth, can be scientifically evidenced, but that they appeared by the evolutionary processes still lacks any concrete evidence.
    VII. Finally, the appearance of man. Scientists speculate that the Hominidae (the precursors of the sub family Hominidae) appeared by the process of evolution, pretty late: no more than perhaps 2 million years ago culminating in the appearance of the modern day man, the Homo Sapiens, appearing about 100,000 years ago.
    There is no fool proof evidence to the above speculation. It seems to rest on some biological data. But they are flimsy. From the first day of its presentation, the theory of evolution has been unable to resolve certain serious questions, and has, therefore, remained a hypothesis, growing weaker with the latest findings. In fact, there are no less than half a dozen schools among the scientists, each of which differs so widely from the other in tracing the tree as to leave one wondering if anyone can be trusted. Not only the sudden appearance of man on the face of the earth, in his present form, is still a complete mystery but it seems almost every animal seems to have appeared suddenly from nowhere. In contrast, the Qur'an tells us that Adam was created as one whole, out of dust, and did not evolve from Primates.
    Nevertheless, both the revelation as well as science, agree that whatever the process, man arrived on the scene last. There is no equivalent statement in any other literature apart from scientific, better depicting such a late appearance of man in the program of creation than the words of the hadith which declares the first act of Creation on Saturday, and man's creation during the last hours of Friday, separating him from a night that will be followed by a Day which in turn will herald a new epoch, a new realm the Hereafter.
    Contrast the precision of hadith statement with those of the medieval Jewish scholars who put the date of the Creation to 3760 B.C. The opinion of the Christian Church was that the Creation took place at a definite moment in 4004 B.C. Right up to the eighteenths century many scientists believed in the veracity of the statement. The Greek Orthodox Church was more cautious. They put back the Creation to 5505 B.C.!
    It might also be pointed out that some scholars have doubted the authenticity of the hadith on grounds that it speaks of creation in seven days, whereas the Qur'an states it took place in six days. But, there has been a misunderstanding. This hadith is also speaking of the creation of the heaven and earth in six days. It was man who was created on the seventh day.
    Furthermore, the Qur'anic statement "He created the heavens and the earth in six days" could be with reference to another process, and other, different, kinds of phases in the creation from the very beginning to the appearance of earth ready to support life.
    Finally, religion does not purport to solve scientific riddles. It invites man to do that. It is enough of its authenticity that it should come so close to the most widely accepted postulations (Au.).
    5. The verse does not state whom or in what sense do the unbelievers equate their Lord with. It could equally mean they equate the deities with Allah, as well as, others, e.g. nature, in His powers and Attributes. Alternatively, it could mean they equate others with Him in hamd, while all praise truly belongs to Allah (Au.).

    هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ مِنْ طِينٍ ثُمَّ قَضَىٰ أَجَلًا ۖ وَأَجَلٌ مُسَمًّى عِنْدَهُ ۖ ثُمَّ أَنْتُمْ تَمْتَرُونَ (2)

    6|2| He it is who created you out of clay6 and then decreed a term (for each of you). And there is (a final) decreed term with Him.7 Yet, you doubt.


    6. All life forms originated from clay some 3.5 billion years ago. Man feeds upon these life forms. Therefore, it can be said that although the first man, Adam was made of clay, the later generations, who feed on other life forms are also made of clay. Further, devoid of the soul, the flesh and blood are nothing but a mass of atoms - the basic brick of all matter (Au.).
    In further explanation, Qurtubi quotes a couple of ahadith and aathar to demonstrate that not only man is created from dust, but actually, each individual is created from a specific dust, and returns to that dust at death.
    Taking the lead from Qurtubi, we have taken out several reports from several origins. One of them says:


    وَقَالَ عَطَاءٌ الْخُرَاسَانِيُّ: إِذَا وَقَعَتِ النُّطْفَةُ فِي الرَّحِمِ انْطَلَقَ الْمَلَكُ الْمُوَكَّلُ بِالرَّحِمِ فَأَخَذَ مِنْ تُرَابِ الْمَكَانِ الَّذِي يُدْفَنُ فِيهِ فَيَذُرُّهُ عَلَى النُّطْفَةِ فَيَخْلُقُ اللَّهُ النَّسَمَةَ مِنَ النُّطْفَةِ وَمِنَ التُّرَابِ، فَذَلِكَ قَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى:" مِنْها خَلَقْناكُمْ وَفِيها نُعِيدُكُمْ وَمِنْها نُخْرِجُكُمْ تارَةً أُخْرى - اللآلي المصنوعة (1/ 285)


    `Ata’ al-Khurasani said: When the fertilized egg is deposited in the womb, an angel appointed for this purpose visits. He takes some dust from the place he is to be buried and places it in the fertilized egg. Thus Allah creates the new life with the fertilized egg and dust. This is the explanation of the verse (20: 55): “Out of it [dust] We have created you, to it We shall return you, and out of it We shall bring you out a second time.”
    Hilal b. Yusfaf is reported to have said:


    عن هلال بن يساف قال ما من مولود يولد إلا وفي سرته من تربة الأرض التي يموت فيها


    “There is no new born but it has in its navel dust from the earth in which it is to be buried.”
    The next is a hadith from Tabarani:


    عن ابن عمر أن حبشيا دفن بالمدينة فقال رسول الله دفن بالطينة التي خلق منها


    Ibn `Umar reported that a dark African was buried in Madinah. The Prophet remarked: “He is being buried in the dust from which he was created.”
    The following is also a hadith whose sum and substance is found in Bazzar and Hakim:


    عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ قَالَ: مَرَّ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بِجَنَازَةٍ عِنْدَ قَبْرٍ فَقَالَ: " قَبْرُ مَنْ هَذَا؟ " فَقَالُوا: قَبْرُ فُلَانٍ الْحَبَشِيِّ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ. فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: " لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللهُ , سِيقَ مِنْ أَرْضِهِ , وَسَمَائِهِ إِلَى تُرْبَتِهِ الَّتِي خُلِقَ مِنْهَا " – شعب الإيمان (12/ 297)
    هذا حديث صحيح الإسناد و لم يخرجاه و أنيس بن أبي يحيى الأسلمي هو عم إبراهيم بن أبي يحيى و أنيس ثقة معتمد و لهذا الحديث شواهد و أكثرها صحيحة منها


    Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri reports that the Prophet passed by a funeral near its grave. He asked, “Whose grave is this?” They replied, “That of an African, Messenger of Allah.” He said, “There is no deity save Allah. He was driven from his land and sky to his dust out of which he was created.”
    A similar report as above has a note in Mustadrak perhaps coming from Dhahabi: This is hadith with a trustworthy chain of narrators although the Sheikhayn did not place it in their collections .. and this hadith has several such supporting ones most of which are trustworthy.
    Ibn `Abbas is also reported as saying:


    وقال عبد الرزاق في المصنف عن ابن جريج قال أخبرني عمر بن عطاء بن وراد عن عكرمة عن ابن عباس أنه قال يدفن كل إنسان في التربة التي خلق منها


    “Every human is buried in the dust out of which he is created.”
    And, Ibn Sirin is reported to have said:


    وقال الحكيم في نوادره حدثنا الفضل بن محمد حدثنا بكر بن محمد حدثنا أبو عبد الرحمن المقبري عن إبراهيم بن يزيد الخوزي قال سمعت ابن سيرين يقول لو حلفت حلفت صادقا بارا غير شاك ولا مستثني إن الله تعالى ما خلق نبيه ولا أبا بكر ولا عمر إلا من طينة واحدة ثم ردهم إلى تلك الطينة


    “If I could, I would swear and would be true without doubt, and without exception that Allah did not create His Prophet, nor Abu Bakr and `Umar but from one [source of] dust and then returned them to that dust.”
    What he meant is that since the three are buried in the same place, they must have been created from that dust alone (Au.).
    Verse 1 spoke of the creation of the larger world, the cosmos. Verse 2 speaks of the creation of the smaller world, man (Shabbir).
    7. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Suddi and Hasan have said that by the first "term" (ajl) the allusion is to this world's term, and, by the second to that of the Hereafter, that is, the period between the destruction of this world and the Resurrection. Though, other reports coming from the same authorities suggest that the first term is each man's appointed hour of death (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    The two "terms" could also be referring to, as Abu Muslim has said, the terms of those who have passed away, and the terms of those who are yet to appear (Razi).

    وَهُوَ اللَّهُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَفِي الْأَرْضِ ۖ يَعْلَمُ سِرَّكُمْ وَجَهْرَكُمْ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تَكْسِبُونَ (3)

    6|3| He is Allah in the heavens and in the earth.8 He knows your open and your secret; and knows what you earn (of the deeds).


    8. Imam Razi writes: Some people have argued with the help of this verse that Allah is in the heavens. They also quote verse 17 of surah al Mulk (no. 67) which says:


    أَمْ أَمِنْتُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ أَنْ يُرْسِلَ عَلَيْكُمْ حَاصِبًا [الملك : 17]


    "Or do you feel secure that One who is in the heaven, will not send a violent wind against you?" The weakness in the argument should be obvious. If Allah is in the heavens, He cannot be in the earth, as the verse in question plainly states. Further, Allah has said in this surah itself, verse 12:


    قُلْ لِمَنْ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ قُلْ لِلَّهِ [الأنعام : 12]


    "Ask (them): ‘To whom belongs all that is in the heavens and earth?' Say: ‘(To) Allah.'"
    Now, believing that Allah is in the heaven would mean He owns Himself. To be sure, not a very clever idea. There are other problems too, viz., if Allah were to be in the heaven, he would be limited by the Heaven. But He actually suffers no limitations. Again, if He is in the heaven, then, either He is capable of creating another, eighth heaven above Him, or He is not. If He is not capable, then He is limited in His Powers, which is unacceptable. But if He is capable, then He would be contained by what He has created. Finally, Allah's following statements also deny His existence in a particular direction and place. He said (57: 4):


    وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنْتُمْ [الحديد : 4]


    "He is with you wherever you might be." And, (50: 16):


    وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ [ق : 16]


    "We are nearer to Him than his jugular vein."
    And, (2: 115):


    فَأَيْنَمَا تُوَلُّوا فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ اللَّهِ [البقرة : 115]


    "So wheresoever you turn, (right) there is Allah's Face."
    Subsequent to these words, Razi offers other possible explanations of the verse in question. But, as if to refute the above, or otherwise, Ibn Kathir has the following to offer as his comment of the verse in question. He says: This verse is in the same vein as that of surah Al Zukhruf, (verse 87) which says:


    وَهُوَ الَّذِي فِي السَّمَاءِ إِلَهٌ وَفِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَهٌ [الزخرف : 84]


    "It is He who is the Lord in the heaven and the Lord in the earth," meaning, there are no two or more gods.
    This of course is a very complicated issue. We might point out at this stage that the standard opinion of the Ahl al Sunnah is to accept the "fawqiyyah" of Allah without imagining Him in any particular direction (Au.).

    وَمَا تَأْتِيهِمْ مِنْ آيَةٍ مِنْ آيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ إِلَّا كَانُوا عَنْهَا مُعْرِضِينَ (4)

    6|4| Yet, not a sign comes to them of the (many) signs of their Lord but they keep turning away from it.


    فَقَدْ كَذَّبُوا بِالْحَقِّ لَمَّا جَاءَهُمْ ۖ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِيهِمْ أَنْبَاءُ مَا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُونَ (5)

    6|5| They have cried lies to the Truth when it came to them, therefore, very soon the news of what they were mocking shall come to them.


    أَلَمْ يَرَوْا كَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ مِنْ قَرْنٍ مَكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَا لَمْ نُمَكِّنْ لَكُمْ وَأَرْسَلْنَا السَّمَاءَ عَلَيْهِمْ مِدْرَارًا وَجَعَلْنَا الْأَنْهَارَ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهِمْ فَأَهْلَكْنَاهُمْ بِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَأَنْشَأْنَا مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ قَرْنًا آخَرِينَ (6)

    6|6| Have they not seen how many generations9 We have destroyed before them whom We established in the earth in a manner that We have not established you; We made the heavens pour down rains upon them in torrents and set rivers rolling beneath them; nevertheless We destroyed them because of their sins and gave rise to other epochs after them.


    9. Qarn of the original has been variously interpreted: from a period lasting 20 years, to anything above but less than 100. Asad writes: ‘... in the Qur'anic usage, the term qarn does not always denote "a generation", but rather more frequently "an epoch", or "people belonging to one particular epoch", as well as "a civilization" in the historical sense of the word.'

    وَلَوْ نَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ كِتَابًا فِي قِرْطَاسٍ فَلَمَسُوهُ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ لَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنْ هَٰذَا إِلَّا سِحْرٌ مُبِينٌ (7)

    6|7| | Had We sent down unto you (O Muhammad) a book on a parchment which they touched with their own hands, surely, those who have disbelieved would have said, ‘This is nothing but plain magic.'10


    10. Kalbi and others have reported that Nadr b. al Harth, `Abdullah ibn Abi Umayyah (he became a Muslim later: Shafi`) and Nawfal b. Khuwaylid said to the Prophet: "We will not believe in you until a written material came down, along with four angels bearing testimony that you have been appointed a messenger of God." Allah revealed this verse in response (Alusi).
    11. This verse was in response to the Makkan

    وَقَالُوا لَوْلَا أُنْزِلَ عَلَيْهِ مَلَكٌ ۖ وَلَوْ أَنْزَلْنَا مَلَكًا لَقُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ ثُمَّ لَا يُنْظَرُونَ (8)

    6|8| They said, ‘Only if an angel had been sent down unto him.'11 But, had We sent an angel, the matter would be settled and they would not receive a reprieve.12

    chiefs suggesting to the Prophet that it would have been nice if an angel were sent down to accompany him wherever he went and declare his authenticity (Alusi).
    Ibn `Abbas has said that were an angel to come down, the people would not be able to bear his sight because of his radiance (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir); therefore, he would have to be given a human form, and hence, the doubt would remain (Au.).
    Sayyid writes: The demand that an angel be sent down suggests that the pagans did not disbelieve in the existence of Allah, nor did they contend that angels existed. Rather, it was only obduracy on their part that propelled them to make these kind of demands. They were so adamant in their attitude that the Qur'an reported about them (17: 90 93):


    وَقَالُوا لَنْ نُؤْمِنَ لَكَ حَتَّى تَفْجُرَ لَنَا مِنَ الْأَرْضِ يَنْبُوعًا (90) أَوْ تَكُونَ لَكَ جَنَّةٌ مِنْ نَخِيلٍ وَعِنَبٍ فَتُفَجِّرَ الْأَنْهَارَ خِلَالَهَا تَفْجِيرًا (91) أَوْ تُسْقِطَ السَّمَاءَ كَمَا زَعَمْتَ عَلَيْنَا كِسَفًا أَوْ تَأْتِيَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ قَبِيلًا (92) أَوْ يَكُونَ لَكَ بَيْتٌ مِنْ زُخْرُفٍ أَوْ تَرْقَى فِي السَّمَاءِ وَلَنْ نُؤْمِنَ لِرُقِيِّكَ حَتَّى تُنَزِّلَ عَلَيْنَا كِتَابًا نَقْرَؤُهُ قُلْ سُبْحَانَ رَبِّي هَلْ كُنْتُ إِلَّا بَشَرًا رَسُولًا [الإسراء : 90 - 93]


    "They said, ‘We shall not believe in you till you make a spring gush forth from the earth for us, or till you posses a garden of palms and vines and you make rivers roll forth mightily through it, or till you make the heaven fall on us in fragments, as you claim, or you bring down God and the angels as a surety, or till you posses a house of gold, or you go up the heaven, yet, we shall not believe in your going up the heaven until you bring down for us a book which we can read.' Say, ‘Glory to Allah. Am I anything except a mortal and a Messenger?’" This kind of demand suggested that it was only obduracy and ignorance of a high order on their part rather than a lack of evidence. Indeed, there was no shortage of evidence. They had been seeing the Prophet since his childhood until he was forty. They trusted him and had faith in his integrity. When he called them forth the first time from the Safa hill, he asked them if they would believe if he said that an army was preparing to attack them from the other side. In one voice they said yes. His honesty was of such level that although they denied him, they left money in his trust even up to the day he left Makkah in secrecy. Thus, it was not his trustworthiness that was in doubt. It was obduracy, plain and simple. Accordingly, the Qur'an said (6: 33):


    قَدْ نَعْلَمُ إِنَّهُ لَيَحْزُنُكَ الَّذِي يَقُولُونَ فَإِنَّهُمْ لَا يُكَذِّبُونَكَ وَلَكِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ يَجْحَدُونَ [الأنعام : 33]


    "We know that what they say hurts you. But it is not you they cry lies to. Rather, it is Allah's signs that these transgressors are disputing."
    Moreover, the proofs that they were demanding were abundantly supplied to them in the form of the Qur'an itself. They had no doubts that the high level of eloquence attained by the Qur'an, and the miraculous nature of its verses required that the Divine hand be behind it. As experts of the language they knew very well that no human could produce a masterpiece of this sort. The Arabs knew in the depth of their hearts that the message itself of the Qur'an and the manner of its presentation was something beyond imitation. Thus, it was not lack of proofs, rather, it was intransigence which led them to rejection."
    12. As Allah said elsewhere (25: 22):


    يَوْمَ يَرَوْنَ الْمَلَائِكَةَ لَا بُشْرَى يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلْمُجْرِمِينَ [الفرقان : 22]


    "The day they will see the angels, no good news will there be at that time for the criminals" (Ibn Kathir).
    The appearance to the humans of angels in their own form is to uncover the unseen. That happens only to those whose term has expired (Au.).

    وَلَوْ جَعَلْنَاهُ مَلَكًا لَجَعَلْنَاهُ رَجُلًا وَلَلَبَسْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ مَا يَلْبِسُونَ (9)

    6|9| Besides, had We sent an angel, assuredly We would have made him a man13 and (thus) would have confused them over a matter they confuse themselves.14


    13. As Allah said elsewhere (17: 95):


    قُلْ لَوْ كَانَ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَلَائِكَةٌ يَمْشُونَ مُطْمَئِنِّينَ لَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَلَكًا رَسُولًا [الإسراء : 95]


    "Say, ‘Were there to be in the earth angels, going about in peace, surely, We would have then sent unto them an angel from the heaven as a Messenger'" (Ibn Kathir).
    14. ‘Since it is impossible for man to perceive angels as they really are, the hypothetical angelic message bearer would have to assume the shape of a human being and so their demand for a direct "verification" of the message would have remained unfulfilled, and their self caused confusion unresolved' (Asad).

    وَلَقَدِ اسْتُهْزِئَ بِرُسُلٍ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ فَحَاقَ بِالَّذِينَ سَخِرُوا مِنْهُمْ مَا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُونَ (10)

    6|10| Indeed, Messengers have been mocked at before you. But those who scoffed at them, were hemmed in by the very thing they mocked.15


    15. ‘... the meaning being that a derisive rejection of spiritual truth inexorably rebounds on the scoffers and has not only a disastrous effect on their individual lives after death but also if persisted in by the majority within a community destroys the moral basis of their society and, thus, their earthly happiness and sometimes even their physical existence' (Asad).

    قُلْ سِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ ثُمَّ انْظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ (11)

    6|11| Say, ‘Go about in the land and see what was the end of those who cried lies.'16

    16. The archaeological remains and historical records of the ancient nations testify to how they met their tragic ends for turning away from truth and honesty, and stubbornly persisting in their devotion to falsehood (Mawdudi).

    قُلْ لِمَنْ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ قُلْ لِلَّهِ ۚ كَتَبَ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ الرَّحْمَةَ ۚ لَيَجْمَعَنَّكُمْ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ ۚ الَّذِينَ خَسِرُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ فَهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ (12)

    6|12| Say, ‘To whom belongs what is the heavens and in the earth?' Say, ‘To Allah.'17 He has prescribed unto Himself mercy.18 He shall gather you all together on the Day of Judgment.19 There is no doubt about it.20 (Yet) Those who have lost their souls .. they .. they will not believe.


    17. The subtlety of this argument should not go unnoticed. The unbelievers are asked: to whom belongs whatever exists in either the heavens or on the earth. The inquirer then pauses to wait for the answer. Those questioned are themselves convinced that all belongs to God, yet while they dare not respond falsely, they are nevertheless not prepared to give the correct answer. Fearing that their response may be used in argument against their polytheistic beliefs, they keep quiet. At this, the inquirer is told to answer the question himself and to say that all belongs to God (Mawdudi).
    18. In a hadith of the Sahihayn, Abu Hurayrah has reported the Prophet,


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَّا قَضَى الْخَلْقَ كَتَبَ عِنْدَهُ فَوْقَ عَرْشِهِ إِنَّ رَحْمَتِي سَبَقَتْ غَضَبِي


    "When Allah had created the creations He declared a law (unto Himself) which is with Him above the `Arsh (to the effect), ‘My mercy shall outstrip My anger'" (Ibn Kathir).
    Muslim has another version by Salman al Farsi which says:


    جَعَلَ اللَّهُ الرَّحْمَةَ مِائَةَ جُزْءٍ فَأَمْسَكَ عِنْدَهُ تِسْعَةً وَتِسْعِينَ وَأَنْزَلَ فِي الْأَرْضِ جُزْءًا وَاحِدًا فَمِنْ ذَلِكَ الْجُزْءِ تَتَرَاحَمُ الْخَلَائِقُ حَتَّى تَرْفَعَ الدَّابَّةُ حَافِرَهَا عَن وَلَدِهَا خَشْيَةَ أَنْ تُصِيبَهُ


    "Allah has made a hundred parts of mercy. He has retained ninety nine of them with Himself and sent down to the earth a single part. It is by that part that the creations show mercy to each other, so that the mother-beast lifts her hoof off her young out of the fear of trampling it" (Sayyid).
    Muslim and Ahmad have another version narrated by Salman al Farsi which reports the Prophet (saws) as having said:


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَلَقَ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ مِائَةَ رَحْمَةٍ كُلُّ رَحْمَةٍ طِبَاقَ مَا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالأَرْضِ فَجَعَلَ مِنْهَا فِى الأَرْضِ رَحْمَةً فَبِهَا تَعْطِفُ الْوَالِدَةُ عَلَى وَلَدِهَا وَالْوَحْشُ وَالطَّيْرُ بَعْضُهَا عَلَى بَعْضٍ فَإِذَا كَانَ يَوْمُ الْقِيَامَةِ أَكْمَلَهَا بِهَذِهِالرَّحْمَةِ

     

    "The day Allah created the heavens and the earth, He also created a hundred (parts of) mercy. Every part of this mercy covers the heaven and the earth. Of it He placed a single part on the earth. It is by it that the mother shows mercy to her child, and the beasts and birds show mercy to each other. When it is The of Judgment, He will complete it with this mercy" (Shawkani).
    After re narrating the above ahadith Sayyid adds: "Apart from the above ahadith, the Prophet never failed to emphasize Allah's mercy whenever an occasion arose. When a woman was found searching for her child amongst a group of prisoners, picking up anyone she would come across, pressing it against her breast, the Prophet remarked:


    « أَتَرَوْنَ هَذِهِ الْمَرْأَةَ طَارِحَةً وَلَدَهَا فِى النَّارِ ». قُلْنَا لاَ وَاللَّهِ وَهِىَ تَقْدِرُ عَلَى أَنْ لاَ تَطْرَحَهُ. فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- « لَلَّهُ أَرْحَمُ بِعِبَادِهِ مِنْ هَذِهِ بِوَلَدِهَا ».


    "Do you think this woman will throw her child into fire?" They said: "No, O Messenger of Allah, if she has the choice not to." He rejoined: "Allah is kinder toward His creations than this woman toward her child." On another occasion he said, as reported by `Amr b. al As:


    الرَّاحِمُونَ يَرْحَمُهُمُ الرَّحْمَنُ ارْحَمُوا مَنْ فِى الأَرْضِ يَرْحَمْكُمْ مَنْ فِى السَّمَاءِ


    "The merciful are shown mercy by Allah. Show mercy to those on the earth, He who is in the heavens will show mercy to you" (Abu Da'ud, Tirmidhi).
    Jarir has reported the Prophet as saying:


    إِنَّ مَنْ لاَ يَرْحَمُ لاَ يُرْحَمُ


    "He is not shown mercy who does not show mercy" (The Sahihayn and Tirmidhi). It so happened once that the Prophet was kissing Ali's son Hasan. Al Aqra` b. Habis happened to be around. He remarked: "I have ten children. Yet, I never kiss them." The Prophet eyed him for a while and then said: "He who does not show mercy is not shown mercy" (Abu Hurayrah: the Sahihayn). Abu Hurayrah has also reported the Prophet in a report preserved by Malik and the Sheikhayn that a man was forgiven because he gave some water to a thirsty dog saying: ‘This dog is going through what I was going through of the thirst.' Allah accepted his good deed." )The text is as follows: Au):


    بَيْنَا رَجُلٌ بِطَرِيقٍ اشْتَدَّ عَلَيْهِ الْعَطَشُ فَوَجَدَ بِئْرًا فَنَزَلَ فِيهَا فَشَرِبَ ثُمَّ خَرَجَ فَإِذَا كَلْبٌ يَلْهَثُ يَأْكُلُ الثَّرَى مِنْ الْعَطَشِ فَقَالَ الرَّجُلُ لَقَدْ بَلَغَ هَذَا الْكَلْبَ مِنْ الْعَطَشِ مِثْلُ الَّذِي كَانَ بَلَغَ مِنِّي فَنَزَلَ الْبِئْرَ فَمَلَا خُفَّهُ مَاءً فَسَقَى الْكَلْبَ فَشَكَرَ اللَّهُ لَهُ فَغَفَرَ لَهُ


    During a campaign, Sayyid continues, when someone brought down young chicks from a nest and their mother began to encircle over their heads, the Prophet enquired: "Who disturbed the peace of this bird? Return her chicks to her."
    Sayyid concludes: "We could have passed over the above verse lightly. But it is necessary for a Muslim to realize the greatness of kindness and the kindness of the Kindest. Resting in his heart, this truth has deep spiritual ramifications for him. He rests in peace that whatever happens to him, good or bad, is out of mercy of His creator. If he is tested with some hardships, it is for his good, it is not a sign of Allah's rejection. Allah does not deny His mercy to anyone. It is the people who deny His mercy to themselves by disbelieving in Him."
    Asad adds: "The expression "God has willed upon Himself as a law" (kataba `ala nafsihi) occurs in the Qur'an only twice here and in verse 54 of this surah itself and in both instances with reference to His grace and mercy (rahmah); none of the other divine attributes has been similarly described. This exceptional quality of God's grace and mercy is further stressed in 7: 156 "My grace overspreads everything" and finds an echo in the authentic Traditions in which, according to the Prophet, God says of Himself, "Verily, My grace and mercy outstrip My wrath".
    19. Because of the use of the preposition "ila", it has been suggested that it could mean: He will assemble you in your graves until the Day of Judgment, when you will be brought out (Qurtubi).
    20. What the verse means to say is that even though your own speculations over who possesses the universe leads you to the conclusion that it can only belong to One God, yet, despite that, if you suggest other deities besides Him, then, as a people, you ought to be destroyed. But it is Allah's mercy which He has prescribed unto Himself as a Law that saves you from immediate extinction. This respite however is to allow you time for re consideration of the issue. It should not be imagined that, acceptance or rejection, destruction or no destruction, the matter will rest there. Rather, there will be a next life in which you will be questioned and punished for your dishonesty. As to why some people refuse to heed despite the warning delivered by the irrefutable message, the answer is, it is because they have lost their souls to other causes. Consequently, they removed the issue of reconsideration from their minds altogether; and that is so perhaps, because the message tends to question the causes to which they are presently devoted (Au.).

    وَلَهُ مَا سَكَنَ فِي اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ ۚ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ (13)

    6|13| To Him belongs whatever takes rest in the night and in the day.21 He is the All hearing, the All knowing.


    21. The best that has been said about the connection between verse 12 (Say, ‘To whom belongs what is the heavens and in the earth?') and verse 13 (‘To Him belongs whatever takes rest in the night and in the day’) is by Abu Muslim. He said: First Allah spoke of the heavens and the earth (in verse 12) because there is no Space but within these two. Then He spoke about the night and the day (verse 13) because there is no Time save encompassed by these two. Thus, Allah informed us that to Him belong both Space and Time. Further, with regard to the use of the word sakana, there are two opinions. First, it implies that what takes rest is necessarily that which moves. So when it is said "ma sakana" both are automatically included and both belong to Him. Second, and the weightier interpretation is that sakana is in the sense of taking up residence. In other words, whatever takes up residence within Time and Space belongs to Him. Also, the word sakana is all inclusive, for, those that are at rest, are greater in numbers than those that move (Razi).

    قُلْ أَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَتَّخِذُ وَلِيًّا فَاطِرِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ يُطْعِمُ وَلَا يُطْعَمُ ۗ قُلْ إِنِّي أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ أَوَّلَ مَنْ أَسْلَمَ ۖ وَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ (14)

    6|14| Say, ‘Shall I take for a Protector other than Allah, the Originator22 of the heavens and the earth,23 who feeds and is not fed?'24 Say, ‘I have been ordered to be the first of those who submit, and be not you of the Associators.’


    22. Ibn `Abbas is reported as having said: "I did not know the meaning of "fatara" until I came across two bedouins quarrelling over a well. One of them said: Ana Fatartuha [i.e., "I originated it]'" (Zamakhshari, Razi, Shawkani).
    Razi adds some points that seem to agree with the modern cosmological speculations. He says that the word fatara has, as Ibn al Anbari pointed out, the connotation in its root of the beginning of a thing by tearing it apart from another. It leads us to believe that "the act of creation involved in its process a tearing open (or tearing apart) and then subsequent coalescing of some materials with the others." His original words are:


    فقوله فاطر السموات والأرض يريد خالقهما ومنشئهما بالتركيب الذي سبيله أن يحصل فيه الشق والتأليف عند ضم الأشياء إلى بعض


    Thus he comes close to describing an explosion and then coalescing of elements giving rise to heavenly bodies. He further adds a brilliant point by saying that an act of tearing apart can have two consequences: (i) leading to an improvement, as, e.g., Allah's words (67: 3),


    هَلْ تَرَى مِنْ فُطُورٍ [الملك : 3]


    "Do you see any crack?"
    Or (ii) leading to destruction, as in (82: 1):


    إِذَا السَّمَاءُ انْفَطَرَتْ [الإنفطار : 1]


    "When the heavens will be torn open."
    It might also be of interest to note that all acts of creation involve a tearing open; whether it is a plant out of a seed, a flower out of a bud, a chicken out of an egg, or anything else that we can think of. They all involve a tearing open of some sort or the other. Thus fatir has a greater depth of meaning that what might be suspected (Au.).
    23. Majid writes: "Frazer, in his voluminous work, gives minute and accurate details of ‘sky worship' in Vedic India, Iran, Greece, Rome, Babylonia, Egypt, China, Korea, Western Africa, Congo, Southern Africa and Eastern Africa, and of Earth worship in Vedic India, Greece, Rome, Babylonia, Assyria, China, Modern India, and in various parts of Africa and America."
    The present Pope’s act of kissing the earth first thing upon landing in a country, suggests, in the least, veneration of the "mother earth" (Au.).
    24. Majid comments: "According to the crudities of the polytheistic people, the gods actually consume the food and drink that are offered to them. The Babylonian gods, for instance, ‘conceived of in such human wise, knew thirst and hunger as did men, and had to be propitiated by drink and food' (Woolley, Abraham, p. 157)."
    As for the Christians, Majid wonders if they are any better than the ancient pagans in celebrating the festival of Eucharist during which they proceed to eat bread and drink wine, in the belief that they are the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. It is openly taught in the approved and authorized Catholic Catechism:

    Q. What is the Blessed Eucharist?
    A. The sacrament of the body and blood, soul and divinity, of Jesus Christ, under the appearance of bread and wine.
    Q. Are both the body and blood of Christ under the appearance of bread and under the appearance of wine?
    A. Yes; Christ is whole and entire, true God and true man, under the appearance of each.
    Q. Are we to believe that the God of all Glory is under the appearance of our corporeal food?
    A. Yes; as we must also believe that the same God of all Glory suffered death under the appearance of a criminal on the cross.
    Q. How can the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ?
    A. By the goodness and power of God, with whom no work shall be impossible.

    قُلْ إِنِّي أَخَافُ إِنْ عَصَيْتُ رَبِّي عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ (15)

    6|15| Say, ‘I fear chastisement of a Great Day if I should disobey my Lord.


    مَنْ يُصْرَفْ عَنْهُ يَوْمَئِذٍ فَقَدْ رَحِمَهُ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْمُبِينُ (16)

    6|16| Whosoever is averted from it that Day – to him He would have showed mercy. That is the great triumph.'25

    25. Hence we have `Umar ibn al Khattab's statement: "Enough for me, if (on the Day of Judgment), there is nothing for me and nothing against me" (Shabbir).

    وَإِنْ يَمْسَسْكَ اللَّهُ بِضُرٍّ فَلَا كَاشِفَ لَهُ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ وَإِنْ يَمْسَسْكَ بِخَيْرٍ فَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (17)

    6|17| And, were Allah to afflict you with an evil, none can remove it but He.26 And, were He to cause you a blessing, then, He has power over all things.27


    26. Ibn `Abbas has narrated the famous hadith in Tirmidhi. He says:


    عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ أَنَّهُ كَانَ خَلْفَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ , فَقَالَ لِي وَأَنَا رَدِيفٌ خَلْفَهُ: يَا غُلامُ إِنِّي مُعَلِّمُكُ كَلِمَاتٍ فَاحْفَظْهُنَّ ,احْفَظِ اللَّهَ يَحْفَظْكَ احْفَظِ اللَّهَ تَجِدْهُ تُجَاهَكَ , وَإِذَا سَأَلْتَ فَاسْأَلِ اللَّهَ , وَإِذَا اسْتَعَنْتَ فَاسْتَعِنْ بِاللَّهِ , وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ الأُمَّةَ لَوِ اجْتَمَعُوا عَلَى أَنْ يَنْفَعُوكَ لَمْ يَنْفَعُوكَ إِلا بِشَيْءٍ قَدْ كَتَبَهُ اللَّهُ لَكَ وَلَوْ اجْتَمَعُوا عَلَى أَنْ يَضُرُّوكَ لَمْ يَضُرُّوكَ إِلَّا بِشَيْءٍ قَدْ كَتَبَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكَ , جَفَّتِ الأَقْلامُ وَطُوِيَتِ الصُّحُفُ


    "One day I shared a ride with the Prophet on the same beast. He addressed me: ‘My boy. I will teach you a few words, remember them: Be mindful of Allah, He will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, you will find Him before you. When you ask, ask Allah. When you seek help, seek Allah's help. Remember, if the peoples of the world decide to do you a good, they would not be able to do you good in the least, save for what Allah has decreed for you. And, if they were to be unanimous over doing you a harm, they would not be able to do anything, save for what Allah has decreed for you. The pens have dried, and the scriptures have been folded" (Qurtubi).
    Alusi adds: This verse forbids that someone should seek removal of an affliction by anyone other than Allah.
    He also writes: As if expounding the above hadith, Sheikh `Abdul Qadir Jilani wrote in Futuh al Ghayb what can be summarized as the following: ‘Whosoever desires peace in this life and in the Hereafter may observe sabr and rida, give up complaining to others of his kind, presenting his needs to his Lord alone. He should apply himself to His obedience, wait for an opening from Him, and cut himself off from all else save Him. He should understand that His withholding is bestowal, His punishment a reward, tribulations from Him a cure, His promises a kind of trance and His words, acts. All His acts are good, wise and in keeping with the greater needs, except that He has kept the knowledge of the wisdom behind them unto Himself, leaving no recourse for His slaves except to the acts of devotion, staying away from what is forbidden, graceful acceptance of His decree, and avoiding to ask "why," "how" and "when."'
    Every Muslim then, Alusi concludes, should keep the above quoted hadith of Tirmidhi constantly in sight.
    27. Hence the Prophet's famous oft repeated prayer words:


    لاَ مَانِعَ لِمَا أَعْطَيْتَ ، وَلاَ مُعْطِىَ لِمَا مَنَعْتَ ، وَلاَ يَنْفَعُ ذَا الْجَدِّ مِنْكَ الْجَدُّ


    “O Allah. There is none to withhold what You bestow, none to bestow what You withhold, and of no profit any one of power and possession against You” (Ibn Kathir).

    وَهُوَ الْقَاهِرُ فَوْقَ عِبَادِهِ ۚ وَهُوَ الْحَكِيمُ الْخَبِيرُ (18)

    6|18| He is The Subduer,28 supreme over His slaves;29 (yet) He is the All wise, the All aware.


    28. Qahir is someone who subdues the rebellious and humiliates the arrogant.
    29. The meaning of "wa huwa al Qahiru fawqa `ibadihi" is: "Allah is predominant over His slaves, He who humbles them, overpowering them through subjugation, by virtue of His creation of them. Thus He is above them in His irresistible power over them, and they are under Him. And He is the Wise... He is Wise: in His overpowering of His slaves, in His irresistibility over them by His power and in all His acts. He is the Knower of the benefits of a thing or its harms, from Whom neither the ends are hidden nor their beginning, whose management of affairs carries no blemish nor has He an associate in His commands" (Ibn Jarir).
    Kashshaf also agrees that the word "fawqa `ibadihi" implies Allah's predominance over the people and His absolute power over everything that one can imagine as of existence besides Him. Therefore, he adds, it is right to say that He is "a Thing, but unlike anything," or to say He is, "Known but unlike anything that is known." But it is not right to say He has "a Body but unlike any other body."
    Imam Razi builds up a long argument against those who take "fawqa" in the literal sense of Allah being "above," and denies that Allah is in any specific direction. One of his arguments is that the universe is spherical in which space is neither filled nor void. He concludes that imagining the Divinity in any specific direction or occupying a particular position would amount to either declaring Him below some of His creations, or imposing limits on Him.
    Alusi reacts to this kind of reasoning. He asserts that the belief of the Muslims, as stated clearly by Tahawi, is that Allah is "fawqa," without the suggestion of a direction. In fact, Alusi adds most brilliantly, that directions have no existence. They are merely convenient points of reference. They are a notion, an idea, and not concrete things. Imam Ahmad has a hadith in which the Prophet said:


    الله تبارك وتعالى فوق ذلك فوق العرش


    "Allah Most High is is above that, (that is), above the `Arsh."
    Another hadith of Abu Da'ud says:


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ فَوْقَ عَرْشِهِ وَعَرْشُهُ فَوْقَ سَمَوَاتِهِ


    "Allah is above His `Arsh. His `Arsh is above His heavens." While saying that he made a circle with his finger. Then he added, "And it creaks as a new saddle creaks under the weight of a rider." Another sahih hadith of the Prophet narrated by Umawi in his Maghazi tells us that when Sa`d ibn Mu`adh had given his verdict about Banu Qurayzah, the Prophet remarked:


    لقد حكمت فيهم بحكم الله من فوق سبع سماوات


    "You have given a verdict that is in line with the verdict He who is ‘above' the seven heavens."
    Ibn Majah has another hadith which says:


    بَيْنَا أَهْلُ الْجَنَّةِ فِي نَعِيمِهِمْ إِذْ سَطَعَ لَهُمْ نُورٌ فَرَفَعُوا رُءُوسَهُمْ فَإِذَا الرَّبُّ قَدْ أَشْرَفَ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ فَوْقِهِمْ فَقَالَ السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ يَا أَهْلَ الْجَنَّةِ قَالَ وَذَلِكَ قَوْلُ اللَّهِ سَلَامٌ قَوْلًا مِنْ رَبٍّ رَحِيمٍ قَالَ فَيَنْظُرُ إِلَيْهِمْ وَيَنْظُرُونَ إِلَيْهِ فَلَا يَلْتَفِتُونَ إِلَى شَيْءٍ مِنْ النَّعِيمِ مَا دَامُوا يَنْظُرُونَ إِلَيْهِ حَتَّى يَحْتَجِبَ عَنْهُمْ وَيَبْقَى نُورُهُ وَبَرَكَتُهُ عَلَيْهِمْ فِي دِيَارِهِمْ


    "While the people of Paradise would be in their pleasures, they would be engulfed by a nur. They will raise their heads and lo, it will be Allah Most High looking down on them from above them. He will say, ‘People of Paradise, Al-salamun `Alaykum O dwellers of Paradise. The Prophet recited the verse (36: 58), ‘Salam will be the word from a Kind Lord.' He will look down upon them and they will look up at Him. So long as He is in sight, they will not look at anything else until He veils Himself from them after which His nur and barakah – on them and on their dwellings – will remain."
    Alusi presents some other arguments to prove the "fawqiyyah" of Allah, but we drop them for purposes of brevity.
    Rashid Rida interjects that perhaps this verse is not the perfect point to argue about the divinity in being or not in a particular direction. The meaning is clear and has been lucidly explained by Ibn Jarir. The position of the Salaf, vis a vis the divinity, is also clear. They liked to pass over the verses discussing the Person of the divinity with silence. They said that Allah is over the `Arsh, over the seven heavens, and above the whole created world. He is "apart" from His creations. He is not limited, nor circumscribed. There is nothing like unto Him. His Attributes are described with the help of words understood by the humans, but He cannot be defined with those words. It would be better, concludes Rashid Rida, if we remained within this.
    Nonetheless, without any comment on what has been stated above, one might warn that this is an extremely difficult and delicate subject. Neither science nor revelation offer us a definitive knowledge of the created world. So far as scientific knowledge is concerned the information given about the state of the universe is far from clear. Indeed, it is to be understood in terms of mathematical equations alone. To convey in words what those equations mean, is to be trying to give a concrete shape to an abstract idea. It is said that the universe is "edgeless and boundary less," while space is thought to be probably "curved" and not "flat" and that it is expanding at a feverish pace and accelerating, so that it will keep on expanding for ever and ever. The cosmologists also assert that on the large scale the universe is homogenous and isotropic. That is, looked at from any angle, it is just the same in appearance and physical properties. But that does not mean the earth is in the center. They give the example of equidistant dots on a balloon in which every dot can be said to have a central position. The balloon example implies that we are at the edge of the universe and that the universe has a center. But, that is not correct, for, it is also asserted that there is no center to the universe. Further, there is no answer to the question, what is the nature of that which lies beyond the edge? One answer is that there is no beyond, and so the question may not be asked. Again, there are a few scientists who speculate that there might be an infinite number of universes. They are known as inflatory universes – millions of them. There are good scientific reasons to believe in their existence. None the less, humans might never come into contact with those universes because of dimensional problem. There could be eight, eleven or twenty three dimensions in those universes. Indeed our universe might have more than four dimensions, but others might be tucked away in matter and so invisible to us. What's more, some of those universes might be overlapping ours. But, when not overlapping, what's between these multiple universes? These few random points demonstrate that human knowledge is incomplete and inadequate to work out a satisfactory theory about the physical world itself. It is pointless, therefore, and even audacious to talk of a subject that involves the divinity. And hence the wise policy of silence adopted by the Salaf. We cannot say any more than that Allah is apart from His creations (Au.).

    قُلْ أَيُّ شَيْءٍ أَكْبَرُ شَهَادَةً ۖ قُلِ اللَّهُ ۖ شَهِيدٌ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكُمْ ۚ وَأُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ لِأُنْذِرَكُمْ بِهِ وَمَنْ بَلَغَ ۚ أَئِنَّكُمْ لَتَشْهَدُونَ أَنَّ مَعَ اللَّهِ آلِهَةً أُخْرَىٰ ۚ قُلْ لَا أَشْهَدُ ۚ قُلْ إِنَّمَا هُوَ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ وَإِنَّنِي بَرِيءٌ مِمَّا تُشْرِكُونَ (19)

    6|19| Say, ‘What thing counts most in testimony?'30 Say, ‘Allah. He is a witness between me and you. And this Qur'an has been revealed unto me in order that I warn you thereby, as well as whomsoever it may reach.31 Will you testify that there are gods besides Allah?' Say, ‘I shall not testify (any such absurdity).' Say, ‘Indeed, He is one God. And I absolve myself of all that you associate (with Him).'


    30. It is said (as reported by Kalbi: Alusi) that (whenever the Quraysh enquired the Jews and Christians about the Prophet, they received the answer that there was nothing in their Scriptures to suggest that he was a Messenger: Alusi), the Quraysh demanded on the Prophet that he produce witnesses to his claim. In response Allah revealed this verse (Qurtubi).
    In the use of the word "thing" (in "what thing can be greater in testimony") is the hint that all else are "things" when compared to the only truly Existent Allah. Another connotation is that all "things" testify to the Oneness of Allah (Au.).
    31. Hence the Prophet has said:


    بَلِّغُوا عَنِّي وَلَوْ آيَةً


    "Transmit from me, even if it be a verse."
    In another hadith he said:


    نَضَّرَ اللَّهُ عَبْدًا سَمِعَ مَقَالَتِي فَحَفِظَها وَوَعَاهَا وَبَلَّغَهَا مَنْ لَمْ يَسْمَعْهَا فَرُبَّ حَامِلِ فِقْهٍ لا فِقْهَ لَهُ وَرُبُّ حَامِلِ فِقْهٍ ، إِلَى مَنْ هُوَ أَفْقَهُ مِنْهُ


    "May Allah keep the face of him bright and happy who heard something from me, remembered it and then passed it on to others. For, sometimes, the carrier of a point has no understanding himself, while, at other times, the carrier understands better than he to whom he passed on " (Shafi`).

    الَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ يَعْرِفُونَهُ كَمَا يَعْرِفُونَ أَبْنَاءَهُمُ ۘ الَّذِينَ خَسِرُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ فَهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ (20)

    6|20| Those to whom We gave the Book recognize him as they recognize their sons.32 Yet, those who have lost their souls, they will not believe.


    32. Qatadah and Ibn Jurayj have said that the allusion is to the Prophet. Nevertheless, a second opinion of Qatadah is that the allusion is to Islam (Ibn Jarir).
    Also see note 298 under surah Al Baqarah of this work.
    This is the answer to the Jewish and Christian claim that they did not have anything in their scriptures to suggest that Muhammad was a Messenger of God. The fact is, those who were vouchsafed the Book earlier, possess such unambiguous criteria that they can spot a Prophet among countless million other mortals just as easily as they can pick out their sons (Au.).
    Majid wrote: "There is little doubt, says a Christian biographer of the holy Prophet, that some at least among the Jews assured him that he might be, ‘or even affirmed that he was that Prophet whom the Lord their God should raise up unto them of their brothers' (Muir, p. 98)."

    وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَىٰ عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا أَوْ كَذَّبَ بِآيَاتِهِ ۗ إِنَّهُ لَا يُفْلِحُ الظَّالِمُونَ (21)

    6|21| And who can do greater wrong than him who fastened a lie upon Allah, or cried lies to His signs? Verily, the wrong doers shall not prosper.33


    33.
    There are several reasons why this verse has been brought here. The pagans for instance said about their idols that they had a share in divinity and that Allah had ordered them to worship them. They claimed that angels were Allah's daughters. There were other lies that they fastened upon Allah. As for the Jews and Christians, they claimed that what was revealed to them was the final word of God and that no prophet was due. Further, they committed several kinds of evils claiming that they were so ordered by Him. The Jews said ‘we are the children of God,' and, ‘we shall not enter the Fire but for a few days.' All these were lies that were fastened upon Allah, hence the verse (Razi).

    وَيَوْمَ نَحْشُرُهُمْ جَمِيعًا ثُمَّ نَقُولُ لِلَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا أَيْنَ شُرَكَاؤُكُمُ الَّذِينَ كُنْتُمْ تَزْعُمُونَ (22)

    6|22| The day We shall gather together34 all of them and ask those who associated (others with Him), ‘Where are your associates whom you were alleging?'35


    34. This verse is a continuation of the previous one. Together they are saying, "The transgressors shall not prosper (neither in this world, nor) on the Day when We shall gather them together ..." (Ibn Jarir).
    35. Asad writes: "Whenever the term shuraka' (pl. of sharik) is used in the Qur'an with reference to beliefs, it invariably denotes real or imaginary beings or forces to whom one ascribes a share in God's divinity: consequently, this concept and its utter condemnation in Islam relates not merely to the worship of false deities but also to the attribution of semi divine qualities and powers to saints (in the liturgical sense of this word), as well as to abstract notions like wealth, social status, power, nationality, etc., to which men so often ascribe an objective influence on human destinies."

    ثُمَّ لَمْ تَكُنْ فِتْنَتُهُمْ إِلَّا أَنْ قَالُوا وَاللَّهِ رَبِّنَا مَا كُنَّا مُشْرِكِينَ (23)

    6|23| There shall then be no argument36 for them but to say, ‘By Allah, our Lord, we were not associators.'37


    36. The fitnah of the original has been interpreted as "answer, reply, argument" etc., by authorities such as Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah and Dahhak. However, it appears that the meaning is, "When they are tried before Allah, there will be nothing for them to bank upon but to say, ‘We were not associators,' for fitnah also stands for "trial, test," etc. (Ibn Jarir).
    Qurtubi quotes a hadith from Muslim. It says:


    فيلقى العبد فيقول أي فل ألم أكرمك وأسودك وأزوجك وأسخر لك الخيل والإبل وأذرك ترأس وتربع ؟ فيقول بلى قال فيقول أفظننت أنك ملاقي ؟ فيقول لا فيقول فإني أنساك كما نسيتني ثم يلقى الثاني فيقول أي فل ألم أكرمك وأسودك وأزوجك وأسخر لك الخيل والإبل وأذرك ترأس وتربع ؟ فيقول بلى أي رب فيقول أفظننت أنك ملاقي ؟ فيقول لا فيقول فإني أنساك كما نسيتني ثم يلقى الثالث فيقول له مثل ذلك فيقول يا رب آمنت بك وبكتابك وبرسلك وصليت وصمت وتصدقت ويثني بخير ما استطاع فيقول ههنا إذاقال ثم يقال له الآن نبعث شاهدنا عليك ويتفكر في نفسه من ذا الذي يشهد علي ؟ فيختم على فيه ويقال لفخذه ولحمه وعظامه انطقي فتنطق فخذه ولحمه وعظامه بعمله وذلك ليعذر من نفسه وذلك المنافق وذلك الذي يسخط الله عليه


    "(On that Day) Allah will speak to one of His slave and say, ‘O so and so. Is it not true that I honored you, made you a leader, gave you a spouse, subdued the cattle for you and made you rich?' He will say, ‘Sure, you did my Lord.' He will ask, ‘Did you ever imagine you would meet Me?' He will reply, ‘No.' He will say, ‘Today I shall forget you as you forgot Me.' Then He will address a second one, similar to the first. Then He will speak to a third one. He will reply, ‘My Lord. I believed in You, in Your Book, in Your Messenger. I prayed, fasted and spent in charity.' He will thus speak well of himself so far as possible. He will be told, ‘Here too?!' Then it will be said, ‘Anon! We shall present witnesses over you.' He will wonder who would bear witness against him. Then his mouth will be sealed and his thighs, flesh, and bones would be ordered to speak. His thighs, flesh, and bones would bear witness against the man. This, so that the man is left with no excuse. This man, he would be a hypocrite with whom Allah would be angry."
    37. It is reported that a man went to Ibn `Abbas and asked, "What have you to say about these two verses: ‘By Allah, our Lord, we were not associators,' and, ‘And they shall not be able to conceal anything?'" Ibn `Abbas replied, "As for the unbelievers saying, ‘By Allah, our Lord, we were not associators,' that will be when they will notice that none but the believers are entering Paradise. They will say to themselves, ‘Let us deny,' and, consequently, will say, "By Allah, our Lord, we were not associators.' But, subsequently, Allah will seal their mouths. Their hands and feet will speak out (testifying against them). Then it will be that, ‘They shall not be able to conceal anything'" (Ibn Jarir).
    Nevertheless, tafasir Al Bahr al Muhit and Maz hari have said that the people alluded to here are those who had not committed open shirk but had sought help from others besides Allah, such as those who address their prayers to the dead near the graves. It is they who would claim that they were not associators (Ma`arif).
    Asad adds: "This refers to beliefs which undoubtedly imply shirk ("the ascribing divinity or divine qualities to beings or forces other than God") in the objective sense of this concept, but which the person concerned does not subjectively visualize as denying God's oneness (Razi): for instance, the mystical dogma of the "Trinity" which, in the Christian view, does not conflict with the principle of God's oneness inasmuch as it is supposed to express a "threefold aspect" of the One Deity, or the attribution of divine or semi divine qualities to saints as supposed "mediators" between man and God, and so forth."
    Sayyid writes: There are three kinds of ‘associations' and all the three were prevalent among the pagan Arabs. They believed in beings who they thought had a say in the affairs of the world: such as angels, jinn and spirits of the dead. They believed these powers resided in their idols and spoke their mind through the priests. These powers could interfere in the affairs of the people, and, either by their own will, or through intercession with the supreme God, alter the course of events.
    A second kind of shirk that they committed was by presenting their offerings to the deities, (although the priests bagged those offerings), or devoting themselves to false gods, or addressing their supplications to them. Influenced by the Persians, some of them believed that the stars too had a say in their destiny. This explains the story of Ibrahim that follows in this chapter.
    Their third kind of association was to depend for their values, laws, and the way of life in general, on the priestly class. Their priests were their law makers. Like their counter parts of modern times, they believed that what they received from their priests was Divine Law."

    انْظُرْ كَيْفَ كَذَبُوا عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِهِمْ ۚ وَضَلَّ عَنْهُمْ مَا كَانُوا يَفْتَرُونَ (24)

    6|24| Behold! How they lied against themselves38 and lost unto them is all that they were forging.39


    38. Asad comments: "I.e., by allowing themselves to think, in their life time, that their beliefs did not offend against the principle of God's oneness (Razi)."
    39. Yusuf Ali makes his usual subtle remark: "The lies which they used to tell have now ‘wandered’ from the channels which they used to occupy, and left the liars in the lurch. In denying the indisputable fact that they took false gods, they admit of their notions and thus are practically convicted out of their own mouths."

    وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَسْتَمِعُ إِلَيْكَ ۖ وَجَعَلْنَا عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ أَكِنَّةً أَنْ يَفْقَهُوهُ وَفِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرًا ۚ وَإِنْ يَرَوْا كُلَّ آيَةٍ لَا يُؤْمِنُوا بِهَا ۚ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَاءُوكَ يُجَادِلُونَكَ يَقُولُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنْ هَٰذَا إِلَّا أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ (25)

    6|25| Of them there are some who listen to you. But We have set a barrier against their hearts lest they understand, and in their ears is a deafness.40 Even if they see all the signs, they will not believe in them.41 Insomuch that when they come to you, they dispute with you, the unbelievers remarking, ‘Surely, this is nothing but tales of the ancients.'42


    40. A variant reading is "wiqran" (instead of "waqran") in which case the word could be understood as "a plug" (Shawkani).
    Shabbir writes: That is the state of those who listened to the Qur'an and the words of the Prophet, not seeking guidance, rather, to work up an argument against it. Running on this track for a lengthy period, and having given their conscience a long holiday, they lost the use of the faculties of their mind insofar as truth was concerned and became blind of heart. Their own attitude was the cause of their peril, but Allah attributed it to himself since He is the Final Cause of all causes.
    41. Note the various faculties that have been spoken of: the hearts and ears, and then the sight (Thanwi, reworded).
    42. "Asatir signifies lies; or falsehoods; or fictions; or stories having no foundation, or no right tendency or tenor, such as we commonly term as legends or wonderful stories of the ancients" (Majid).
    Nadr b. al Harith had widely travelled. He used to narrate tales of Rustum and Suhrab, Isfandyar and others. When he was asked about what he thought of the Prophet's message, he quipped, ‘Tales of the ancients' (Qurtubi, Alusi).

    وَهُمْ يَنْهَوْنَ عَنْهُ وَيَنْأَوْنَ عَنْهُ ۖ وَإِنْ يُهْلِكُونَ إِلَّا أَنْفُسَهُمْ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ (26)

    6|26| They prevent (others) from him, and themselves stay away from him,43 but they ruin none but themselves, though they perceive not.


    43. Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah and Suddi have said that it is our prophet Muhammad that the Quraysh prevented the people from seeing, while staying away from him themselves. However, according to Mujahid, which is a second opinion of Qatadah too, it is from the Qur'an that the Quraysh kept others away. There has been a third opinion, but the first is the more plausible one. However, another opinion of Ibn `Abbas is that, the allusion is to Abu Talib, the Prophet's staunch supporter, who used to prevent the people from harming the Prophet, but distanced himself from Islam. In this light the translation would be: "(Some of them, such as Abu Talib) prevent others from harming the Prophet, but themselves stay away from him (instead of accepting him as a Messenger)" Ibn Jarir.
    Apart from other books, the statement of Ibn `Abbas is in Ibn Abi Hatim, Tabrani and Hakim, the last named assessing it as a sahih report (Shawkani). And, of course, there were others of the kind among the Quraysh (Au.).
    Thanwi adds: The above explanation leads us to the rule that mere natural love (hubb al taba`i) of the awliya' is not of much significance. It is the rational basis for attachment and love (hubb al `aqaliyy) that is required of a lover.

    وَلَوْ تَرَىٰ إِذْ وُقِفُوا عَلَى النَّارِ فَقَالُوا يَا لَيْتَنَا نُرَدُّ وَلَا نُكَذِّبَ بِآيَاتِ رَبِّنَا وَنَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ (27)

    6|27| If you were only to see them when they will be detained by the Fire; then (it is that) they will wish, ‘Would that we could be sent back (to the world)! We shall not deny the signs of our Lord and shall be of the believers!


    بَلْ بَدَا لَهُمْ مَا كَانُوا يُخْفُونَ مِنْ قَبْلُ ۖ وَلَوْ رُدُّوا لَعَادُوا لِمَا نُهُوا عَنْهُ وَإِنَّهُمْ لَكَاذِبُونَ (28)

    6|28| Rather, that (of the evil) that they used to conceal earlier became manifest to them,44 so that, were they to be returned, they would surely return to what they were forbidden, for they are liars.45


    44. The translation is based on Qatadah's understanding. Zamakhshari says that the allusion could also be to the people of the Book who, although convinced of the authenticity of the Prophet, concealed the truth.
    45. The implication is that the unbelievers do not consider belief in Allah and His Messenger as something of an intrinsic value: something they should have done as the demand of honesty, love of truth and hatred of anything false, however dear to the carnal self. But they did not. Therefore, in the Hereafter, it is the fear of condemnation to the Fire that will invoke the wish to return. And hence, they would be lying when they will say ‘we shall believe.' The Qur'an said about them elsewhere (23: 99 100):


    حَتَّى إِذَا جَاءَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ رَبِّ ارْجِعُونِ (99) لَعَلِّي أَعْمَلُ صَالِحًا فِيمَا تَرَكْتُ كَلَّا إِنَّهَا كَلِمَةٌ هُوَ قَائِلُهَا [المؤمنون : 99 ، 100]


    "Until, when death comes to one of them he cries out, ‘My Lord. Send me back, so that I may do good deeds in affairs that I have left behind.' (He will be told) ‘Not at all. It is a word that he speaks out (without meaning it)'” Au.
    In the words of Asad (who acknowledges Razi for the idea), "... their longing for a ‘second chance’ is not dictated by love of truth for its own sake but, rather, by their dread of the evil consequences of their doings: and faith is useless unless it is desired for its own sake."
    Majid adds: "The lam (of the la kazibun) used as corroborative is sometimes difficult to express in English except by emphasis on pronunciation."

    وَقَالُوا إِنْ هِيَ إِلَّا حَيَاتُنَا الدُّنْيَا وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمَبْعُوثِينَ (29)

    6|29| They say, ‘It all amounts to nothing but this earthly life.46 We will not be resurrected.'


    46. Ibn Zayd has said that this verse is a continuation of the previous verse. That is, if they are sent back to this world, they would say, ‘It all amounts to nothing but this earthly life. We are not going to be resurrected' (Ibn Jarir).

    وَلَوْ تَرَىٰ إِذْ وُقِفُوا عَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ ۚ قَالَ أَلَيْسَ هَٰذَا بِالْحَقِّ ۚ قَالُوا بَلَىٰ وَرَبِّنَا ۚ قَالَ فَذُوقُوا الْعَذَابَ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَكْفُرُونَ (30)

    6|30| But, if you were to see them when they will be detained before their Lord, when He will ask, ‘Is this not real?' They will cry out, ‘So it is, by our Lord.' He will say, ‘Therefore taste the chastisement for47 what you were denying.'48


    47. Asad explains: "The particle bi ma (translated as ‘for': Au) expresses here a causal connection between the denial of the truth and the subsequent suffering..."
    48. With those words they would be dispatched to the Fire (Thanwi).

    قَدْ خَسِرَ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِلِقَاءِ اللَّهِ ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَاءَتْهُمُ السَّاعَةُ بَغْتَةً قَالُوا يَا حَسْرَتَنَا عَلَىٰ مَا فَرَّطْنَا فِيهَا وَهُمْ يَحْمِلُونَ أَوْزَارَهُمْ عَلَىٰ ظُهُورِهِمْ ۚ أَلَا سَاءَ مَا يَزِرُونَ (31)

    6|31| Losers indeed are those who cried lies to encounter with Allah; until, when the Hour (of death)49 comes suddenly upon them, they cry out, ‘Alas for the excesses we committed therein.' They shall be bearing their burdens upon their backs.50 Lo! Evil is that which they will bear.


    codeigniter Since one encounters the first phase of the Day of Judgment with death, it has been metaphorically called "the Hour" here (although, normally, it refers to the Day of Judgment) - Zamakhshari.
    Alusi adds: As for the Day of Judgment being referred to as "the Hour" perhaps because it will be an hour compared to the everlasting life that will follow.
    50. `Amr b. Qays al Mala'i has said: "As the believer rises from his grave he will encounter his deeds in the best of forms enshrouded in the best of fragrance. It will ask, ‘Do you know me?' He will reply, ‘No. Except that you have a beautiful form and emit a wonderful fragrance.' It will say, ‘That is how I was in the world. I am your good deeds. I rode upon you there. Today you can ride upon me. Then he recited (19: 85): The Day when We shall gather together Al Rahman's slaves, in groups." As for the unbeliever, someone, most ugly and stinking will welcome him. It will enquire, ‘Do you know me?' He will reply, ‘No. Except that Allah has given you a terrible face and a stinking smell.' It will say, ‘That is how I was in the world. I am your evil deeds. You rode upon me there. Today I'll ride upon you.' Then he recited, ‘They shall bear their burdens on their backs. Lo. Evil is that which they bear.'"
    A similar statement has come from Suddi, except that he talks about the unbeliever alone, and the forms that his deeds will take (Ibn Jarir).
    Suddi's statement is in Ibn Abi Hatim also (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).

    وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ ۖ وَلَلدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لِلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ ۗ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ (32)

    6|32| The life of this world is a sport and a pastime.51 It is the Abode of the Hereafter that is better for the godfearing.52 Will you not, then, think?


    codeigniter Ibn `Abbas has said that this applies primarily to the life of the unbeliever" (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi).
    As for the believer, this life is a field of preparation for the life to come. Otherwise the Prophet has said:


    الدُّنْيَا مَلْعُونَةٌ، مَلْعُونٌ مَا فِيهَا إِلا عَالِمٌ أَوْ مُتَعَلِّمٌ


    "This world is accursed, and accursed is all that is within it, except for Allah's remembrance, a scholar, or a seeker of knowledge" (Qurtubi).
    Tirmidhi declared the above hadith Hasan (Au.).
    Another version says,


    الدُّنْيَا مَلْعُونَةٌ، مَلْعُونٌ مَا فِيهَا إِلا عَالِمٌ أَوْ مُتَعَلِّمٌ، وَذِكْرُ اللَّهَ، وَمَا وَالاهُ


    "This world is accursed, and accursed is all that is within it, except for Allah's remembrance, a scholar, or a seeker of knowledge, and remembrance of Allah and what comes near it.” (This is also a weak report: Au).
    And "the remembrance of Allah" of the above hadith includes everything which leads to, aids in, or is an accessory to, Allah’s remembrance, such as, a search for sustenance (within the limits of the Shari`ah) and other such activities (Ma`arif).
    52. Razi comments: All that one can think of as the "good things of life" are low of nature. They give pleasure only to the lowly. The wise and the godfearing are never bewitched by them. They realize the transitory nature of this life and the fleeting nature of the physical pleasures, and devote themselves to obtaining those attributes and qualities that raise their esteem in this world as well as in the next. For the former, the pleasures of this life are real. But to the latter they are a sport and pastime. Although, there is no difference in opinion among the people that the pleasures of this world are not "the good things of life," yet people's attitudes do not conform to their beliefs. For, on the one hand they have no difficulty in realizing that if the pleasures of the world could be "the good things of life," surely, in that event the animals fare better than the humankind. Among the animals there are some who have sex oftener than men, who eat more than men, who are physically more powerful than men, or things of that sort. On the other hand, no one amongst the men claims it as a big achievement that he had so much sex, or he can eat more than anyone else, and so forth. In fact, people are ashamed of these acts, and do not wish to discuss them in public. Consequently, they do not think much of those who indulge in the pleasures of life. On the contrary, they have lot of respect and regard for those who are noble of character, great of knowledge and ascetic of nature. Accordingly, when people criticize each other, it is for possessing the lowly things, habits and qualities, rather than the noble ones. (They say, for instance, that such a man is a glutton, another greedy, and so on. Or they compare them to animals). This establishes the fact that even in the view of those who are devoted to this world, the pleasures of this world are not the "good things of life." Yet, somehow, the people fail to realize the specious nature of these things. It is fear alone of the Standing before the Lord that opens the eyes to these realities (Razi, reworded).

    قَدْ نَعْلَمُ إِنَّهُ لَيَحْزُنُكَ الَّذِي يَقُولُونَ ۖ فَإِنَّهُمْ لَا يُكَذِّبُونَكَ وَلَٰكِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ يَجْحَدُونَ (33)

    6|33| We are aware indeed that it grieves you the things they say. But, it is not you they cry lies to, rather the transgressors it is the signs of Allah that they deny.53


    53. Hakim has recorded (in his Mustadrak: H. bin Ibrahim) the following from `Ali (ibn Abi Talib) declaring it sahih of status: "Abu Jahl said to the Prophet, ‘We do not think you are lying. Rather, we deny what you have brought to us.'" And Ibn Ishaq has recorded in his "Life of the Prophet" that once Abu Jahl, Abu Sufyan and Akhnas b. Shurayq concealed themselves in the darkness of the Haram listening to the Prophet's recitation (in Prayers he used to offer there). When, with the dawn on the horizon, they repaired to their homes, they bumped into each other. They enquired each other as to what had brought them out so early in the morning. Each confessed, and everyone agreed that they should not repeat the lapse. However, each of them broke the promise twice more. The third time Akhnas b. Shurayq met Abu Jahl and enquired: "What do you think of what Muhammad has brought?" Abu Jahl replied: "Look. We and Banu `Abd Munaf competed for honor. They fed the pilgrims, we fed the pilgrims. They helped (the distressed), we helped. They gave, we gave - until the two of us were like the two pans of a scale (equally balanced). Now they say, ‘We have a prophet who receives revelations from the heavens.' But where are we going to get a prophet from? No, by God. We shall never believe in him." A similar statement is reported of Abu Jahl before the decisive battle of Badr (Ibn Kathir).
    Another possible meaning is, ‘They do not deny you O Muhammad, rather they deny Us,' in the same vein as, when a slave is insulted, his master remarks, ‘They did not insult you man, they insulted me' (Zamakhshari).
    Alusi adds: An objection has been raised. How could the Quraysh believe in the trustworthiness of the Prophet and at the same time deny the message he had brought? Then he answers that since, having forty years experience with him, they could not say that he was lying, they believed he was under some kind of spell or had committed an error in attributing to God what he presented as revelations.
    Majid adds: "Curiously enough, one finds about exactly the same sentiments regarding the holy Prophet echoed and re echoed by some of the modern and most finished European scholars. Dr. Roberts, for example, while admiring his many noble qualities, and above all ‘his uprightness,' ‘his simplicity,' and ‘his unselfishness,' finds it difficult to defend him from being labeled ‘an impious impostor' because of his ‘fictitious revelations.'"

    وَلَقَدْ كُذِّبَتْ رُسُلٌ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ فَصَبَرُوا عَلَىٰ مَا كُذِّبُوا وَأُوذُوا حَتَّىٰ أَتَاهُمْ نَصْرُنَا ۚ وَلَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَلَقَدْ جَاءَكَ مِنْ نَبَإِ الْمُرْسَلِينَ (34)

    6|34| Messengers were indeed cried lies to before you, but they endured with patience the denial they met and the persecution they faced, until Our help reached them. There is no altering the Words of Allah.54 Already, some account of (previous) Messengers has reached you.


    54. "And there is no altering the Words of Allah": I.e., there is no changing the Law of Allah viz., the believers shall be helped in this world and in the Hereafter, as He said, elsewhere (37: 171):


    وَلَقَدْ سَبَقَتْ كَلِمَتُنَا لِعِبَادِنَا الْمُرْسَلِينَ (171) إِنَّهُمْ لَهُمُ الْمَنْصُورُونَ (172) وَإِنَّ جُنْدَنَا لَهُمُ الْغَالِبُونَ [الصافات : 171 - 173]


    "Surely, Our Word has preceded for Our slave-Messengers that it is they who shall triumph and that it is Our forces that will overcome" (Zamakhshari, Qurtubi).
    Allah also said (58: 21):


    كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَأَغْلِبَنَّ أَنَا وَرُسُلِي [المجادلة : 21]


    "Allah has written it (as a law), ‘Surely, I and My Messengers shall overcome.' Verily, Allah is Powerful, Mighty" (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).

    وَإِنْ كَانَ كَبُرَ عَلَيْكَ إِعْرَاضُهُمْ فَإِنِ اسْتَطَعْتَ أَنْ تَبْتَغِيَ نَفَقًا فِي الْأَرْضِ أَوْ سُلَّمًا فِي السَّمَاءِ فَتَأْتِيَهُمْ بِآيَةٍ ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَمَعَهُمْ عَلَى الْهُدَىٰ ۚ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْجَاهِلِينَ (35)

    6|35| Yet, if their spurning bears heavily on you, why if you can seek a tunnel in the earth or a ladder to the heaven and bring them a sign.55 Had Allah wished, He would have brought them together upon guidance. Therefore, be not of the ignorant.56


    55. An implied meaning is that the Prophet was so covetous of their belief that if he could dig a tunnel in the earth or build a ladder to the heavens and bring them a sign, he would have done it (Zamakhshari).
    56. I.e., Do not grieve over them much, O Prophet, and destroy your health, for these are bent upon their own destruction (Razi, Qurtubi).

    إِنَّمَا يَسْتَجِيبُ الَّذِينَ يَسْمَعُونَ ۘ وَالْمَوْتَىٰ يَبْعَثُهُمُ اللَّهُ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ يُرْجَعُونَ (36)

    6|36| Those who listen, respond positively.57 As for the (spiritually) dead,58 Allah will resurrect them and then to Him they shall be returned.


    57. The translation is based on the explanation of `Ali b. `Isa as in Razi.
    58. As a body without soul soon begins to rot, stink and decompose, deserving to be buried as soon as possible, so too a soul without higher feelings begins to stink. The spiritually dead is physically dead too (Razi).
    Mawdudi comments: "`Those who hear' refers to those whose consciences are alive, who have not atrophied their intellect and reason, and who have not closed their hearts to the truth out of irrational prejudice and mental inflexibility. In contrast to such people are those who are characterized as ‘dead' who blindly follow the old familiar beaten tracks, and can never deviate from the ways they have inherited, even when these ways are plainly at variance with the Truth.

    وَقَالُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ عَلَيْهِ آيَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّهِ ۚ قُلْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَادِرٌ عَلَىٰ أَنْ يُنَزِّلَ آيَةً وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ (37)

    6|37| They ask, ‘Why has no sign been sent down to him from his Lord?' Say, ‘Surely, Allah is able to send down a (compelling) sign,'59 but most of them do not know.60


    59. But, if He does not send down a sign, it is out of mercy, since, if, after the appearance of a clear sign, they continue in their denial, they would be destroyed following the words of Allah (17: 59):


    وَمَا مَنَعَنَا أَنْ نُرْسِلَ بِالْآيَاتِ إِلَّا أَنْ كَذَّبَ بِهَا الْأَوَّلُونَ وَآتَيْنَا ثَمُودَ النَّاقَةَ مُبْصِرَةً فَظَلَمُوا بِهَا وَمَا نُرْسِلُ بِالْآيَاتِ إِلَّا تَخْوِيفًا [الإسراء : 59]


    "And nothing prevented Us from sending the signs save that the people of old rejected them. We gave (the people of) Thamud the she camel (as a sign). But they acted wrongly with her. And We do not send a sign but as a warning (of impending destruction)" Ibn Kathir.
    Majid quotes from the Gospels: "Cf., the NT: ‘A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it but the sign of the prophet Jonas' (Mt. 16: 4). ‘And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? Verily, I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. And he left them (Mk. 8: 11)".
    60. Mawdudi has placed the following note on two verses earlier, but it is equally applicable to this verse: "Had it been required that all people should be driven to the Truth, there would have been no need to send Prophets, ... The result could have been achieved by a single sign of God's creative will. God however did not want things to happen that way. He preferred the Truth to be set before people with its supporting arguments so that by a proper exercise of their rational Judgment, they should recognize it for what it was and thereafter freely choose to embrace it as their faith. By molding their lives in conformity with this Truth such people who believe in it should demonstrate their moral superiority over the devotees of falsehood. They should continually attract men of sound morals by the force of their arguments, by the loftiness of their ideals, by the excellence of their principles and by the purity of their lives. They should thus reach their goal the establishment of the hegemony of the true faith by the natural and gradual escalation of strife against falsehood... God has created man as a responsible being, bestowed upon him a degree of power which he may exercise, granted him the freedom to choose between obedience and disobedience to God, awarded him a certain length of life in order to demonstrate his worth, and determined that at an appointed hour He will judge him for either reward or punishment in the light of his deeds."
    61. The definitive words "birds that wing their flight", instead of the simple (those that wing their flight), exclude the angels as communities (Razi).
    Imam Razi also asks about the animals in the sea, as to why they have been excluded and then answers that they can be lumped together with either those on land or in the air, as they either crawl in water (as animals on land) or swim in it as the birds swim in the air.

    وَمَا مِنْ دَابَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا طَائِرٍ يَطِيرُ بِجَنَاحَيْهِ إِلَّا أُمَمٌ أَمْثَالُكُمْ ۚ مَا فَرَّطْنَا فِي الْكِتَابِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ ۚ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يُحْشَرُونَ (38)

    6|38| And, there is not an animal in the earth nor a bird that wings its flight,61 but they are communities like yourselves.62 We have omitted nothing from the Book.63 Then, to their Lord they shall be mustered.64


    62. Animals as Communities
    Abu Hurayrah has said that the different species you see beasts, insects, birds or others are all communities which will be raised on the Day of Judgment and justice rendered between them. (Hakim has declared the narration sahih: Manar). And Abu Dharr narrates:


    عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ - رضي الله عنه - قَالَ" رَأَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ - صلى الله عليه وسلم - شَاتَيْنِ تَنْتَطِحَانِ فَقَالَ : يَا أَبَا ذَرٍّ ، هَلْ تَدْرِي فِيمَ تَنْتَطِحَانِ ؟ " قُلْتُ : لَا ، قَالَ : " لَكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَدْرِي ، وَسَيَقْضِي بَيْنَهُمَا "


    "The Prophet saw two goats locked in combat. The Prophet asked: ‘Do you know what they are quarrelling over?' I said, ‘No.' He said, ‘But Allah knows and He will render justice between them'" (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Although the chain of narrators of the above hadith is weak, there is another sahih hadith which confirms the rendering of justice between animals on the Day of Judgment (Syed Ibrahim).
    The above hadith is also Musnad of Ahmad (Ibn Kathir). Muslim and Tirmidhi have reports of roughly the same meaning (Manar).
    In another hadith the Prophet said:


    لَوْلاَ أَنَّ الْكِلاَبَ أَمَةٌ مِنَ الأُمَمِ أَكْرَهُ أَنْ أُفْنِيَهَا لأَمَرْتُ بِقَتْلِهَا


    "If the dogs had not been one of the communities (ummah min al umam), I would have ordered them killed."
    It is also reported of the Prophet that he said:


    مَنْ قَتَلَ عُصْفُورًا عَبَثًا , عَجَّ إِلَى الله , عَزَّ وَجَلَّ , يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنْهُ يَقُولُ : يَا رَبِّ , إِنَّ فُلاَنًا قَتَلَنِى عَبَثًا , وَلَمْ يَقْتُلْنِى لِمَنْفَعَةٍ


    "Whoever killed a bird without a good cause would have the bird raising its voice unto Allah on the Day of Judgment, ‘My Lord. So and so killed me for no cause, killing me for no benefit’” (Razi).
    Rashid Rida adds: The gathering together of the communities of animals is strengthened by the verse which says (81: 5):


    وَإِذَا الْوُحُوشُ حُشِرَتْ [التكوير : 5]


    "When the wild animals will be gathered together."
    Communication between Animals
    Alusi states the opinion of the Sufiya that the animals communicate with each other. (Therefore, they could be sent prophets of their own). Al Sha`rani has put forth several proofs such as the Prophet's words about his camel at the time of his arrival at Madinah: "Leave her alone, for she is under command," or, the talk of the ant that Sulayman overheard, or the organization of certain animals into communities, which they could not do without being able to communicate with each other.
    To the above this writer would like to add the following.
    First and foremost, animals are not as dumb as they appear. It is not only the dolphin that we have in mind. Other animals too suggest the presence of intelligence in them. Intuition explains only the daily repertoire. But several behavioral attitudes go unexplained. For instance, once when two men were trying to trap an eagle in a forest, and it managed to escape from the net, it came back, first to pluck off the eyes of one of them, and then a second time to pluck off the eyes of the other. Obviously, if the eagle was not knowledgeable enough to know that humans have a similar organ as its own eyes, and that, without it they would never be able to trap it again in a net, it would not have come straight for the eyes. Or, to give another example, a troupe of monkeys kidnapped a young girl working in a farm in Africa, and gang raped her. They could not have done that without having the ability to judge the sex of well clothed humans. Even if they had seen naked children, how could they be sure of a girl's sex? An attack of similar nature on a maid by a male monkey was reported in the Gulf. The above well reported cases, demonstrate that the animals know much more than what is presumed about them.
    As for communication between them, there are sufficient grounds to believe that the animals communicate between themselves employing fairly well developed means of communications, bordering on the presence of a language. Certain termites for instance build nests up to 4 meter high, 2.5 meter wide 1 meter thick. The design of thousands of rooms, with arched entrances, in the upper, perhaps hundredth floor, matches with the design and location of the rooms in the first floor although the workers in both areas work independently. The whole structure in fact reveals a single mind behind its design. The nest might be dome shaped or conical, some even have chimneys. The interior has longitudinal and horizontal chambers. The outer walls are constructed from hard soil material, whereas the walls of the inner chambers - where the nurseries are located - are built from softer material. The long axis of the nest is always directed north south and the broad side faces east west. The orientation perhaps helps in ventilation. The building activity involves tens of thousands of workers, and it is hard to attribute their various, but well synchronized activities to their intuition alone, though it might be playing its part.
    Or, to take the example of birds, they migrate in flocks. Some of them fly in a V formation, so that, when one of the birds falls behind, it catches up and joins one of the wings to maintain the symmetrical formation, although the flight takes place at night. Some kind of communication must be involved.
    Indeed, it has been envisaged that the birds have different dialects. An article on "Animal Behavior" in the Macgraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology states: "One interesting aspect of birdsong is the occurrence of dialectal differences (regional variations) among population of a single species living in different areas. Several such changes that are known to occur between adjacent population of the South America rufous collared sparrow (Zonotrichia capansis) correlate with relatively major habitat changes. Very few dialectal changers occur over an enormous range of the Argentine papas, but in this case the habitat of the species also changes little. The habitat changes markedly in the Andes Mountains over short distances, however, as elevation rapidly increases, and, concurrently, many more dialectal changes occur there in birds' songs."
    Some zoologists have noticed that certain primates sing together. For example, Siamang couples (a gibbon with habitats in the rain forests of Southeast Asia) repeatedly sing loud, long and well coordinated duets. Singing in duets obviously presumes prior communication.
    A recent incident reported widely from Cameroon suggests the existence of not only communication but also consultation among the animals. It is reported that a local hunter of a village captured alive a young gorilla. The following night, a pack of 60 gorillas invaded the village looking for the missing infant. Shortly before midnight, the gorillas entered the village in a single file, ignoring gunshots fired by villagers to scare them away. But, unable to locate the baby-gorilla, they retired. The next night they came back, and this time they angrily beat on the doors and windows of the dwellings. Faced with the determination of the gorillas to recover the captive youngster, the village chief ordered the hunter to release his prey. Immediately, as the report says, "the assailants returned to the forest with shouts of joy, savoring their victory." It should be obvious that this kind of action by a pack of 60 gorillas would not have been possible without a joint plan of action preceded by consultations. The Qur'an has reported Sulayman as saying (27: 16): "We have been taught the language of the birds." It also states that he understood the talk of the ant about which the latest researches record chattering in clear tones.
    Finally, recent miniaturized microphone-recordings have been able to record the ‘talk’ of the ants. See Surah Naml, note 25 for details (Au.).
    Abu Salman Khattabi has reported Sufyan b. `Uyaynah as having said: "There is none among the humankind but someone who has a counterpart among the animals. There is someone among them who attacks like a tiger; another who runs like a wolf; a third barks like a dog; a fourth dances like a peacock. Then there is someone who resembles a swine: place before him the best of dishes and he turns away, but goes after a man’s vomit. There are some among them who will hear 50 lines of wisdom but will not retain one of them. But show him one bad example, and he will remember it and re enact it in every assembly." After reporting Sufyan, Khattabi advised: "Brother, you should know that around you are animals. Be on your guard then" (Razi, Qurtubi).
    63. By the Book, the reference is to the Tablet preserved in Bayt al Ma'mur (Au.).
    "We have omitted nothing from the Book": that is to say, in other words, Allah knows of every creation, whether it is in the land or in water. He arranges for their sustenance and their other needs, and He will gather them together. As He said (11: 6):


    وَمَا مِنْ دَابَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا عَلَى اللَّهِ رِزْقُهَا وَيَعْلَمُ مُسْتَقَرَّهَا وَمُسْتَوْدَعَهَا كُلٌّ فِي كِتَابٍ مُبِينٍ [هود : 6]


    "And there is not a crawling animal in the land but upon Allah is its sustenance. He knows its permanent or temporary place of habitat. Everything is in the Transparent Book" (Ibn Kathir and others).
    Thanwi adds: It was not necessary to pen down everything since, Allah's knowledge being Eternal, everything was in His knowledge. He did that in order to impress on His creations that everything is well organized and that the system is perfectly designed to the tiniest detail.
    64. After reporting that in view of the verse (35: 24): "And there has been a community but it had a warner," and, in view of the hadith about the horned goat and the un-horned goat, as well as various other supporting evidences, Alusi mentions that the Sufiya hold the belief that every animal community has had messengers sent to them, and that they are liable to questioning in the Hereafter. Alusi then expresses his own opinion to the effect that he would neither deny such an opinion (as Ibn al Munir has done, who wrongly attributed it to the corrupt skeptics), nor ratify it.
    Animal Communities
    Whether warners were sent to the community of animals or not, at least some of them do seem to lead a community life. Under the entry "Insects", the Macgraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology has the following to state about honeybees: "The degree of social organization in a Hymenoptera colony is most evident in the division of labor. In honeybee colonies the division of labor is achieved in an especially interesting manner. Tasks are assigned according to age. The first day after the bee's emergence as an adult, the first tasks of the female worker are to carry out wastes, to clean the cells, and to line them with a disinfectant secretion preparatory to deposition of the egg. About three days later, this young bee advances to brood nursing i.e., she provides the older larvae with honey and pollen. On the sixth day she also nurses the young larvae with specific larval food from pharyngeal glands. After about ten days more the bee becomes active in building, secreting wax and using it to make the comb. Soon afterward, she makes her first orientation flight outside the hive. About the twentieth day she begins serving as an entrance guard; finally she becomes a collector bee, remaining at this job until her death."
    The colony (or community, if we wish to use that term) is headed by a queen. Her primary function is to lay eggs. She also decides the number of male and female bees her nest will have. All unfertilized eggs result in males. Fertilization occurs during the egg laying process. If the queen relaxes a ring around the sperm duct (where sperms are stored from mating), allowing the duct to open and the sperm to drop down, fertilization occurs. Such fertilized eggs hatch out females. It is the female bees which gather honey and attend to house keeping. They can be categorized as soldiers, outside workers, inside workers and nest builders. In contrast, the male drone lives a shorter life, just long enough to mate. Mating is his only function.
    When the queen gets old and sterile, she is replaced by a younger one. And when the colony becomes too big, a young queen may march off with half of the worker bees. The swarm finds a new nesting place and builds new combs. To make the task easier, all the departing workers are provided with a measure of honey as the parting gift.
    To take the termites: the termite society is also a highly organized and integrated unit with division of labor among its members differentiated by structure, function, and behavior into castes. Although at the time of hatching all the eggs are genetically alike, the young ones grow into definite castes. The major castes are the reproductive caste, the soldier and worker castes. The soldier and the worker castes are sterile. The soldier castes work on defence, one of their function is to stick their shell like heads against the entrance of the nests, in turns, in order prevent the entry of any unwanted guest. On the other hand, the worker castes attends to nest building, house keeping, nursing, etc.
    Organization is also easily noticeable in many other animals. For instances the society of baboons is a pretty well organized one. Their troops live and move in an organized manner. When they move, the central position is taken up by the females carrying their infants with the young ones frolicking around. The senior males of the hierarchy also stay there closely guarding the females and controlling the sub adult males who stay at the periphery. Those at the periphery keep a tight look on predators and any impending danger, only snatching bits and pieces of food whenever they can. Spotting a danger, they issue warning calls. When the central hierarchy gets too old, it is replaced from the brash young males of the periphery. Some other functions are performed in turns.
    In fact, some animals cross the boundaries of class and species to live in a kind of cosmopolitan society. It has been noticed for instance that huge spaces in the forests are completely devoid of any kind of animal. And then one suddenly comes across several herds or flocks of animals. Mixed flocks of antelopes, zebra, and other wild beasts seem to be living and moving together. The same has been noticed of several species of birds. When an animal dangerous to all is spotted, a bird or a baboon will issue a warning call, putting everyone, be they on the ground, or up in the trees, on the guard, scurrying to shelters and refuges.
    These facts surely are a manifestation of the truth expressed in words: "They ask, ‘Why has no sign been sent down to him from his Lord?' Tell (them), ‘Surely, Allah is able to send down a (compelling) sign,' but most of them do know. And, (if they are looking for a sign) there is not an animal in the earth nor a bird that wings its flight, but they are communities like yourselves. We have omitted nothing from the Book" (Au.).

    وَالَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا صُمٌّ وَبُكْمٌ فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ ۗ مَنْ يَشَإِ اللَّهُ يُضْلِلْهُ وَمَنْ يَشَأْ يَجْعَلْهُ عَلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ (39)

    6|39| Those who cry lies to Our signs are deaf and dumb65 in darknesses.66 Whomsoever Allah wills, He leads him away, and whomsoever He wills, He sets him on a straight path.67


    65. In view of the fact that whoever is deaf by birth is also dumb, two points may be made note of. First, the Qur'an has always mentioned deafness and dumbness together. Second, it has always mentioned deafness first and dumbness later. It was not the Prophet who knew that deafness leads to dumbness, but Allah (Au.).
    66. The unbelievers are in several kinds of darknesses: disbelief, ignorance, prejudice, blind following of their predecessors, and of course, the real, tangible darkness of the hereafter (Alusi).
    67. Explaining why people remain unguided, Mawdudi writes: "We notice that a great many people pass inattentively over the countless signs of God that are scattered all over the world, and ignore even those signs which are manifest in human beings as well as in animals. It is little wonder, then, that they derive no lesson from all these signs. There are many who study zoology, botany, biology, geology, astronomy, physiology, anatomy and other branches of medical science. Others study history, archaeology and sociology. During the course of such studies they come across signs of God which, if they cared to look at them in the correct perspective, might fill their hearts with faith. But since they comment their study with a bias, and are actuated only by the desire to acquire earthly advantages, they fail to discover the signs which could lead them to the Truth."

    قُلْ أَرَأَيْتَكُمْ إِنْ أَتَاكُمْ عَذَابُ اللَّهِ أَوْ أَتَتْكُمُ السَّاعَةُ أَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ تَدْعُونَ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ (40)

    6|40| Say, ‘Have you considered, if Allah's chastisement comes upon you, or the Hour (of death) comes to you, will you appeal to other than Allah, if you are true?'


    بَلْ إِيَّاهُ تَدْعُونَ فَيَكْشِفُ مَا تَدْعُونَ إِلَيْهِ إِنْ شَاءَ وَتَنْسَوْنَ مَا تُشْرِكُونَ (41)

    6|41| Rather, it is to Him you will appeal, and He will remove if He will that which made you resort to the appeal; and, (at that moment), you forget (those) you associate (with Him).68


    68. Mawdudi also writes: "When either some great calamity befalls a man or when death starkly stares him in the face, it is only to God that he turns for refuge. On such occasions even the staunchest polytheists forget their false gods and cry out to the One True God, and even the most rabid atheists stretch their hands in prayer to Him. This phenomenon is mentioned here in order to draw an instructive lesson. It shows that devotion to God and monotheism are ingrained in the human soul. No matter how overlaid this truth might be, some day it shakes off man's heedlessness and ignorance and manifests itself fully. It was the observation of this sign which had led `Ikrimah, the son of Abu Jahl, to the true faith. For when Makkah was conquered at the hands of the Prophet (peace be on him), `Ikrimah fled to Jeddah and sailed from there towards Abyssinia. During the voyage the boat ran into severe storm which threatened to capsize it. At first people began calling on their gods and goddesses. Later on, when the storm grew even worse and the passengers were sure that the boat would sink, they began to feel that it was time to call on God alone, for He alone could save them. This opened the eyes of `Ikrimah, whose heart cried out to him that if there was no effective helper for them in that situation, how could there be one elsewhere? He also recalled that this was precisely what the Prophet (peace be on him) had constantly told the people and that it was precisely because of this preaching that they had been engaged in unnecessary violent conflict with him. This was a turning point in `Ikrimah's life. He instantly made up his mind that if he survived the storm he would go straight to the Prophet Muhammad (peace on him) and place his hand in his."

    وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَىٰ أُمَمٍ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ فَأَخَذْنَاهُمْ بِالْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَضَرَّعُونَ (42)

    6|42| We sent (messengers) before you to other nations. We seized them with misery and adversity,69 that haply they might soften.


    69. "The ba'sa' of the text has special reference to poverty, while darra' to sickness" (Majid).
    Sa`id b. Jubayr has said that oppressive rulers and high inflation are some of the forms that ba'sa' and darra' can take (Shawkani).

    فَلَوْلَا إِذْ جَاءَهُمْ بَأْسُنَا تَضَرَّعُوا وَلَٰكِنْ قَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (43)

    6|43| If only they would soften when Our chastisement descended upon them! But, their hearts hardened. And Satan decked out fair to them the things they were doing.


    فَلَمَّا نَسُوا مَا ذُكِّرُوا بِهِ فَتَحْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ أَبْوَابَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا فَرِحُوا بِمَا أُوتُوا أَخَذْنَاهُمْ بَغْتَةً فَإِذَا هُمْ مُبْلِسُونَ (44)

    6|44| However, when they had clean forgotten what they were reminded of, We opened unto them the gates of every thing70 until, when they were mighty pleased with what they were given, We seized them suddenly and they slipped into a quiet despair.


    70. The sending of ease and comfort after hardships were of the same nature as that of a kind father who both punishes his son as well as softens up at other times, hoping that the son will amend himself (Razi). As Allah said at another place (7: 94, 95):


    وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِي قَرْيَةٍ مِنْ نَبِيٍّ إِلَّا أَخَذْنَا أَهْلَهَا بِالْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَضَّرَّعُونَ (94) ثُمَّ بَدَّلْنَا مَكَانَ السَّيِّئَةِ الْحَسَنَةَ حَتَّى عَفَوْا وَقَالُوا قَدْ مَسَّ آبَاءَنَا الضَّرَّاءُ وَالسَّرَّاءُ فَأَخَذْنَاهُمْ بَغْتَةً وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ [الأعراف : 94 ، 95]


    "We did not send a Prophet to a town but We seized them with afflictions and adversity in the hope that they will soften up. Then We altered the evil with good, until they multiplied (in wealth and progeny) and said, ‘Surely, our forefathers had also experienced (both) misery and ease (and so there is nothing extraordinary about it).' Then We seized them suddenly while they were unaware" (Ibn Jarir).
    This grant of ease and comfort to an unbelieving or corrupt people, by way of test, is known as istidraj (Au.).
    The Prophet has said in a hadith of Ahmad:


    إِذَا رَأَيْتَ اللَّهَ يُعْطِي الْعَبْدَ مَا يُحِبُّ وَهُوَ مُقِيمٌ عَلَى مَعَاصِيهِ، فَإِنَّمَا ذَلِكَ لَهُ مِنْهُ اسْتِدْرَاجٌ


    "When you see one of Allah’s slave being given what he loves, while he continues with his sins, then be sure it is istidraj.” Then he recited this verse,


    فَلَمَّا نَسُوا مَا ذُكِّرُوا بِهِ فَتَحْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ أَبْوَابَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَتَّى إِذَا فَرِحُوا بِمَا أُوتُوا أَخَذْنَاهُمْ بَغْتَةً فَإِذَا هُمْ مُبْلِسُونَ


    ‘When they had clean forgotten what they were reminded of, We opened up for them the doors of every (good) thing until, when they were rejoicing in what they were given, We suddenly seized them and they were left in a quiet despair.'"
    In another hadith of Ahmad and Ibn abi Hatim he said:


    إن الله [تبارك وتعالى] إذا أراد الله بقوم بقاء - أو: نماء - رزقهم القصد والعفاف، وإذا أراد الله بقوم اقتطاعًا فتح لهم - أو فتح عليهم - باب خيانة


    "When Allah wishes to prolong the term of a people, or grant them progress and prosperity, He bestows upon them (the gifts of) thrift and self satisfaction. But when He intends to uproot a people He opens up for them the door of dishonesty" (Ibn Kathir).
    The status of the hadith could not be traced (Au.).


    وقال الحسن البصري: من وسع الله عليه فلم ير أنه يمكر به، فلا رأي له


    And Hasan al-Busri has said. “He unto whom Allah opens up affluence but did not see that he is being duped, is not a man of opinion” (Ibn Kathir).
    Thanwi adds: The rule enacted by the above verse is equally applicable to sinning Muslims.

    فَقُطِعَ دَابِرُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا ۚ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ (45)

    6|45| Uprooted thus were the last remnants of those who transgressed. And (it was said), ‘All praise to Allah, the Lord of the worlds'.71


    71. All praise to Allah for having cleansed the earth (Alusi).

    قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ سَمْعَكُمْ وَأَبْصَارَكُمْ وَخَتَمَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِكُمْ مَنْ إِلَٰهٌ غَيْرُ اللَّهِ يَأْتِيكُمْ بِهِ ۗ انْظُرْ كَيْفَ نُصَرِّفُ الْآيَاتِ ثُمَّ هُمْ يَصْدِفُونَ (46)

    6|46| Say, ‘Have you considered, were Allah to seize your hearing and sight and set a seal upon your hearts, what god there is other than Allah who can restore them to you?'72 See then, how We turn about Our signs, yet they keep turning away.


    72. Shah `Abdul Qadir has said: A sinner should not delay his repentance. The sight and the hearing he possesses could be lost and, eventually, he might lose the ability to repent (Shabbir).

    قُلْ أَرَأَيْتَكُمْ إِنْ أَتَاكُمْ عَذَابُ اللَّهِ بَغْتَةً أَوْ جَهْرَةً هَلْ يُهْلَكُ إِلَّا الْقَوْمُ الظَّالِمُونَ (47)

    6|47| Say, ‘Have you considered, were Allah's chastisement to descend on you, unawares or openly, will anyone perish but the transgressing folk?'


    وَمَا نُرْسِلُ الْمُرْسَلِينَ إِلَّا مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنْذِرِينَ ۖ فَمَنْ آمَنَ وَأَصْلَحَ فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ (48)

    6|48| And We send not the Messengers except as bearers of glad tidings and as warners. Therefore, whosoever believed and reformed himself - they shall have nothing to fear nor shall they grieve.


    وَالَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا يَمَسُّهُمُ الْعَذَابُ بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْسُقُونَ (49)

    6|49| As for those who cried lies to Our signs, they shall be touched by the chastisement for the evils they were committing.


    قُلْ لَا أَقُولُ لَكُمْ عِنْدِي خَزَائِنُ اللَّهِ وَلَا أَعْلَمُ الْغَيْبَ وَلَا أَقُولُ لَكُمْ إِنِّي مَلَكٌ ۖ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ ۚ قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الْأَعْمَىٰ وَالْبَصِيرُ ۚ أَفَلَا تَتَفَكَّرُونَ (50)

    6|50| Tell (them), ‘I do not say, "I possess the treasures of Allah;" nor do I know the Unseen; nor do I say to you, "I am an angel."73 I only follow what is revealed to me.'74 Say, ‘Are equal the blind and the seeing?75 Will you not reflect?'76


    73. Broadly speaking, the pagans made three demands on the Prophet: (i) He ease their lives by bringing them treasures of the world, (ii) He foretell them all that was to happen, in order that they could avoid evil and seek the good, and, (iii) He explain to them how he could, as a mortal (in need of food and drink), be chosen for messengership instead of an angel? Allah responded with this verse. Further, the verse also makes clear that although the Prophet was given "some" knowledge pertaining to the realm of the Unseen, he did not have the knowledge of "all the Unseen" (`ilm al ghayb). It is only Allah who is All knowledgeable (Shafi`).
    In the words of Asad: "The denial on the part of the Prophet of any claim to supernatural powers refers, primarily, to the demand of the unbelievers (mentioned in verse 37) that he should prove his prophetic mission by causing a "miraculous sign" to be bestowed on him. Beyond this specific reference, however, the above passage is meant to prevent any deification of the Prophet and to make it clear that he like all other prophets before him was but a mortal human being, a servant whom God had chosen to convey His message to mankind."
    74. It does not mean that Prophets depend on revelation alone for every little detail of the Law. Rather, they exercise their own Judgment as well as employ analogy to work out details (Qurtubi).
    75. Asad writes: "Can those who remain blind and deaf to God's messages find their way through life equally well as those who have achieved a spiritual vision and guidance through God's revelation?"
    76. Mawdudi writes: "Feeble minded people have always entertained the foolish misconception that the more godly a man is, the more liberated he should be from the limitations of human nature."
    77. According to Zajjaj, all those who believe in the Hereafter have been addressed in this verse. So that, adds Qurtubi, when warned by the Qur'an, a Muslim might reform himself and a non Muslim embrace the truth.

    وَلَا تَطْرُدِ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ ۖ مَا عَلَيْكَ مِنْ حِسَابِهِمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ وَمَا مِنْ حِسَابِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ فَتَطْرُدَهُمْ فَتَكُونَ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ (52)

    6|52| And spurn not away those who call upon their Lord morning and evening78 seeking His Countenance. Nothing of their account falls upon you,79 nor any of your account falls upon them80 that you should spurn them and become of the transgressors.81


    78. Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id ibn Musayyib, Mujahid, Hasan and Qatadah have said that it is the obligatory Prayers that have been alluded to by the words ‘call upon their Lord morning and evening' (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    79. That is, you have to take them, O Muhammad, on their face value, and need not seek to know the motives of their faith, of which, all the outward signs speak of good intentions. And, conversely, that should be the outlook of your followers vis a vis yourself (Thanwi).
    80. Was it not enough to say ‘nothing of their account falls upon you,' instead of adding ‘nor any of your account falls upon them?' The answer is, two sentences have been combined to give the sense of one and that one sentence is: "No soul shall bear the burden of another" (Zamakhshari).
    81. In primary terms zulm is defined as "placement of a thing in an inappropriate place," or, "in a place not belonging to it." The extended meanings of zalim, therefore, are: wrong doer, transgressor, unjust, tyrannous etc. which are adopted as first meaning because of want of equivalent of the original meaning. Accordingly, and since, (as pointed out by Thanwi), none of these epithets can be true of the Prophet in any given situation, the primary meaning has to be kept in mind while passing over the translation (Au.).
    Ibn Jarir reports Khabbab b. al Art as saying: Aqra` b. Habis al Tamimi and `Uyaynah b. Hisn al Fizari came to the Prophet (saws) while he was in the company of Bilal, Suhayb, `Ammar, Khabbab and other Muslims of the weaker section of the society. The Qurayshi leaders belittled them and remarked that they did not mind sitting in his company but he was all the time surrounded by these lowly ones. They did not want the visiting Arab dignitaries to spot them in such company. So, was the Prophet ready to dismiss them when they came to him? After they had left he had freedom to choose his company. The Prophet agreed. They wanted that in writing. He agreed to that also and sent for `Ali to write down the agreement while the humble ones sat apart. But Allah revealed this verse in disapproval. The Prophet threw away the parchment and beckoned them to himself. He brought them so close that his knees were touching theirs. After the revelation of this verse, the Companions report that ‘We sat with him until he left us. But, subsequently, when Allah revealed the verse 28 of Surah al Kahf:


    وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ [الكهف : 28]


    "And restrain yourself with those who call upon their Lord morning and evening," he would not leave us the humble and poor ones, until we knew it was time for him to go and so we left his company. It was then that he rose up and went.' (This report is in Ibn Majah also: Qurtubi). Similar reports of the Quraysh's disapproval of the humble Muslims have come from various other narrators, such as Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, Kalbi, Mujahid and others, naming others in place of Aqra` and `Uyaynah. `Ikrimah's report says that it was `Umar who had advised the Prophet to allot some of his time to the pagan chieftains in order to asses what was up in their sleeves (Au.).
    Ibn Kathir expresses reservation about the report of Khabbab. (So does Rashid Rida who says that Aqra` and `Uyaynah were both unimportant men: Au). But similar reports, or bits and pieces of it, are in Ahmad, Ibn Abi Hatim, Abu al Sheikh, Ibn Marduwayh and others that strengthen it. In fact Muslim, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah have Sa`d b. Abi Waqqas as saying that the verse came down concerning six of the humble Companions of the Prophet (Shawkani).
    Ibn Jarir also records, as does Ibn Kathir and others, that the Quraysh had sent a delegation to Abu Talib to convey their message to the Prophet to meet them separately, without Bilal, `Ammar and others of their kind around. In fact, it was on that occasion that `Umar (who had full confidence in the humble Muslims in question: Shafi`) had suggested that their request be met in order to know what was up. Moreover, it might be recalled at this point that it was a common practice of the Companions that when a certain verse fitted exactly a certain incident, that might have actually taken place earlier or later, they still cited it as the context of revelation since they knew better than anyone else what the verse was talking about. This particular verse, as well as verse 65 below could belong to the same category. As for the doubt that the whole of surah al An`am was revealed at once, firstly, there are opinions that a few verses were revealed at Madinah; secondly, the possibility of a repeat revelation of the verses in question cannot be ruled out (Au.).
    Qurtubi adds that the Companions in question were of such status, that once when Suhayb, Salman, Bilal and other were sitting together in Madinah, Abu Sufyan happened to pass by them in the company of Abu Bakr. As a leader of the Quraysh, Abu Sufyan was trying to broker peace. As the two passed by Suhayb and others, one of them remarked, ‘Hasn't a sword of Allah taken its share of this man's head?' meaning Abu Sufyan. Abu Bakr was upset. ‘Do you say that about a leader of the Quraysh?' he asked furiously. He reported the incident to the Prophet. But the Prophet remarked, ‘Maybe, Abu Bakr, you have angered them. If you have, then you have angered Allah.' When he heard that, Abu Bakr went back to them and pleaded, ‘Brothers, have I angered you?' They replied, ‘No brother. May Allah show you mercy.'
    Qurtubi also writes: The report is in Muslim and tells us something about the kind of behavior required of a Muslim toward the godfearing, and avoidance of that which might hurt their feelings.

    وَكَذَٰلِكَ فَتَنَّا بَعْضَهُمْ بِبَعْضٍ لِيَقُولُوا أَهَٰؤُلَاءِ مَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ بَيْنِنَا ۗ أَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِأَعْلَمَ بِالشَّاكِرِينَ (53)

    6|53| In this manner We have tested some by the others, that they should say, ‘Are these the ones amongst us whom Allah has favored?'82 Is not Allah well aware of the thankful?83


    82. That is, Allah (swt) made some people rich and some poor. When the poor ones among them embraced the faith, the richer ones asked derisively, ‘Are these the one's favored by God?' (Ibn `Abbas: Ibn Jarir).
    Asad notes: "As mentioned by Zamakhshari, the expression min baynina is here equivalent to min dunina, which, in this context, may suitably be rendered as "in preference of us". This would seem to be an allusion to the sarcastic incredulity with which, as a rule, non Muslims receive the claim of the Muslims that the Qur'an is the final formulation of God's message to man. The "trial" referred to above consists in the unwillingness of people of other faiths to accept this claim as valid, and so to renounce the prejudice against Islam to which their cultural and historical environment has made them, consciously or subconsciously, predisposed."
    83. Is not Allah cognizant of the thanksgiving: of their good deeds and pure intentions, and, consequently, deserving to be guided to the right path? Allah said at another place (29: 69):


    وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا [العنكبوت : 69]

     

    "Those who strive in Us, We shall guide them unto Our ways." Accordingly, we have a hadith (in Muslim) which says:


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَنْظُرُ إِلَى صُوَرِكُمْ وَأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَلَكِنْ يَنْظُرُ إِلَى قُلُوبِكُمْ وَأَعْمَالِكُمْ


    "Allah does not look at your faces and wealth. He looks at your hearts and deeds" (Ibn Kathir).

    وَإِذَا جَاءَكَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِآيَاتِنَا فَقُلْ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ كَتَبَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ الرَّحْمَةَ ۖ أَنَّهُ مَنْ عَمِلَ مِنْكُمْ سُوءًا بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ تَابَ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَنَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (54)

    6|54| Therefore, when those who believe in Our signs come to you, say (to them), ‘Peace be upon you.84 Your Lord has prescribed mercy for Himself,85 that whosoever committed an evil in ignorance,86 but thereafter repented and made amends, then, He is All-forgiving, All-kind.'87


    84. Asad writes: "The peace referred to in the above expression which occurs many times in the Qur'an and has become the standard form of Muslim greeting has a spiritual connotation comprising the concepts of ethical soundness, security from all that is evil and, therefore, freedom from all moral conflict and disquiet."
    85. Ibn `Abbas has reported the Prophet:


    إذا فرغ الله من القضاء بين الخلق، أخرج كتاباً من تحت العرش، أن رحمتي سبقت غضبي، وأنا أرحم الراحمين، فيقبض قبضة أو قبضتين، فيخرج من النار خلقاً لم يعملوا خيراً، مكتوب بين أعينهم عتقاء الله


    "When Allah would have finished judging mankind, He would bring out a writing from under the `Arsh saying, ‘My mercy overtakes My anger, and I am the Most Merciful of the merciful.' Then He will scoop out with His Hands once or twice to remove from the Fire a (great many) people who had never done a good deed (in their lives). They will have written on their foreheads: ‘Allah's own freed (people)'" (Ibn Kathir).
    Abu Khalda has reported: Whenever we entered upon Abu al `Aliyyah, he recited this verse: "And when those who believe in Our signs come to you, say (to them), ‘Peace be upon you. Your Lord has prescribed mercy for Himself' (Ibn Jarir).
    86. With reference to the word "jahalah" of the text, `Ikrimah has said that (it is not lack of knowledge that is meant, rather), the sin itself, since committing a sin is a (kind or state of) "jahalah" until the man will give up. Thus, he further explained, every sinner is a "jahil" (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Qurtubi adds: It is said that everyone who prefers the life of this world over the next is a "jahil."
    Thus, Shafi` adds, a learned man may also commit a sin, and that will be an act of jahalah on his part. Nevertheless, he can always get that forgiven if he will meet with two conditions: (1) Repent sincerely, which includes a firm resolve not to repeat, and (2) make amends, which includes restoring people's rights if they are involved, or offer qada' Prayers of fasts etc., if they are Allah's rights.
    87. Some reports suggest that some people had committed certain sins in the days of ignorance, and, after accepting Islam, enquired the Prophet about those past deeds. In response these verses were revealed (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Qurtubi and others).

    وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ وَلِتَسْتَبِينَ سَبِيلُ الْمُجْرِمِينَ (55)

    6|55| Thus we explain the verses, that the way of the sinners becomes manifest.88


    88. Sayyid comments: "Thus, it is not simply the making manifest of the ways of the believers that is the objective of the Qur'an. It exposes the ways of the unbelievers too ... as also of the criminals. This was to present the contrast and to draw a dividing line between the two. A firm belief in truth and goodness demands that one has also the knowledge of the untruth and the evil. This unveiling of the two the good and the evil and of the believers and the criminals had to be part and parcel of Allah's scheme and His revelation. Any doubt in this regard .. any uncertainty about them .. any qualms, would affect the purity of concepts and the stand that the believers should take. They are two pages facing each other, two paths that part from each other and do not meet again at any point.
    "Eventually, any Islamic movement has to define and describe the ways of the unbelievers as it has to define and describe the ways of the believers: right in the world of action and not simply in the world of ideologies. This, in order that the believers can recognize other believers around them while they can mark out the criminals too. The two cannot be fraternized .. cannot be ruled by the same rod.
    "At the time of the Prophet the division was well marked: none other than the life style of the Prophet had drawn the line between truth and its ways, and falsehood and its ways. Yet we see that Allah took it upon Himself to demarcate the two. That should lead us to think of the importance.
    "Nonetheless, the problem that the Islamic movements face today is that of the distinction and separation of the two. There live right among the true believers those who are from the loins of their believing fore fathers, living in those places that have remained the Dar al Islam through and through the history of Islam, that have always surrendered to Islam as the way of life, who have followed its Law. But, today, there are people who have abandoned Islam for all practical purposes, although verbally they claim to be Muslims and think they are Muslims. But Islam is to believe in Allah as the sole Creator and Nourisher, and, consequently, for the believers to deal with life the whole of their life as dictated by Him. Whoever did not believe in Allah in this comprehensive sense, did not believe in Him at all: whatever his name or identity. Consequently, in whichever land Allah's Shari`ah is not established and His Laws not imposed, it is not the land of Islam.
    "This then is the great reality, the great hardship that the Islamic movements face: the lack of distinction of this from that. The anti Islamic forces within the Muslim body politic know this and understand the consequences of it: to their advantage. They prefer the doubt to prevail, the grey area to expand, so that, anyone who speaks a word about the distinction is held by his throat. Their crime? Their crime is that they called Muslims apostates by their act of confirming this as black or that as white and not everything as grey when, according to the rulers it should have been left to the masses, those very people of loose concepts, to judge by their own criteria.
    "Yet, there is no choice for the movement workers but to demarcate the lines, distinguish between this and that, whatever the price, not fearing anyone in this but Allah, unmindful of the consequences. It has to be made clear as to who is on the path, and who it is that is blocking it."

    قُلْ إِنِّي نُهِيتُ أَنْ أَعْبُدَ الَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ ۚ قُلْ لَا أَتَّبِعُ أَهْوَاءَكُمْ ۙ قَدْ ضَلَلْتُ إِذًا وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُهْتَدِينَ (56)

    6|56| Say, ‘I am forbidden that I worship those you invoke apart from Allah.' Say, ‘I follow not your base desires; in that event I would lose the way and would not be of the rightly guided.'


    قُلْ إِنِّي عَلَىٰ بَيِّنَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّي وَكَذَّبْتُمْ بِهِ ۚ مَا عِنْدِي مَا تَسْتَعْجِلُونَ بِهِ ۚ إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلَّا لِلَّهِ ۖ يَقُصُّ الْحَقَّ ۖ وَهُوَ خَيْرُ الْفَاصِلِينَ (57)

    6|57| Say, ‘I am on clear evidence from my Lord, while you have denied it. I do not have that which you wish to be hastened.89 The decision is only for Allah. He declares the truth, and He is the best of deciders.'


    89. "This alludes to God's punishment. The adversaries questioned why it was that they had openly rejected a Prophet sent by God, but had not been struck down by God's wrath. They said that the fact of his appointment by God meant that anyone who either disbelieved or insulted him would, at once, be either plunged into the earth or struck by lightning. And yet, they pointed out, the Messenger of God and his followers faced new sufferings and humiliations whereas those who abused and persecuted him enjoyed prosperity" (Mawdudi).

    قُلْ لَوْ أَنَّ عِنْدِي مَا تَسْتَعْجِلُونَ بِهِ لَقُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِالظَّالِمِينَ (58)

    6|58| Say, ‘Had I (in my power) what you ask to be hastened,90 the affair between me and you would have been settled;91 and Allah has better knowledge of the transgressors.'


    90. The pagans were so sure of the Prophet not being a Messenger that they challenged the god who had sent him to destroy them, as the Qur'an quoted them elsewhere (8: 32):


    وَإِذْ قَالُوا اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كَانَ هَذَا هُوَ الْحَقَّ مِنْ عِنْدِكَ فَأَمْطِرْ عَلَيْنَا حِجَارَةً مِنَ السَّمَاءِ أَوِ ائْتِنَا بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ [الأنفال : 32]


    "When they (the pagans) said, ‘O Lord. If this be the truth from You then rain down upon us stones from above or bring us a painful chastisement" (Au.).
    91. That is because, it was intolerable to the Prophet that people should reject his beloved true Lord, Allah (Razi).
    Ibn Kathir writes: This verse does not contradict the report which says that after the visit to Tayif and rejection by its inhabitants when Jibril asked the Prophet whether he would prefer that he crush them between two large mountains, the Prophet replied that he did not want any such thing, hoping that their offspring would embrace Islam, if not they. This particular verse says that the Prophet would have punished them, if he had power, whereas, when the chance arose he did not utilize it. But, there is no contradiction. This verse is speaking of those who were demanding that a punishment be brought down, whereas the Taiyfians did not make any such demand.
    Further, at Tayif the Prophet was in a conciliatory mood, whereas, when the Makkans made several demands for punishment, at various times during the course of a decade, he could have been in different moods, and could as well have punished them, if it was in his power (Au.).

    وَعِنْدَهُ مَفَاتِحُ الْغَيْبِ لَا يَعْلَمُهَا إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ ۚ وَمَا تَسْقُطُ مِنْ وَرَقَةٍ إِلَّا يَعْلَمُهَا وَلَا حَبَّةٍ فِي ظُلُمَاتِ الْأَرْضِ وَلَا رَطْبٍ وَلَا يَابِسٍ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُبِينٍ (59)

    6|59| With Him are the keys92 to the Unseen.93 No one knows them except He. He knows what is in the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but He knows it, not a grain (is there) in the dark (crevices) of the earth,94 nor a fresh thing or withered, but it is (recorded) in a Clear Book.95


    92. Some grammarians have said (Shafi`) that if mafaatih is treated as the plural of miftah then it means "keys," whereas, but if it is understood as plural of maftah, then it means "treasures." Some scholars have, however, read the text as “mafaateeh” (as the plural of miftaah), then it is definitely “keys” (Zamakhshari). However read, the great majority have understood the word here as "keys," a meaning that has its support in a hadith of Bukhari that follows presently (Au.).
    93. A report of Bukhari says that,


    مَفَاتِيحُ الْغَيْبِ خَمْسٌ لَا يَعْلَمُهَا إِلَّا اللَّهُ لَا يَعْلَمُ مَا تَغِيضُ الْأَرْحَامُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَلَا يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي غَدٍ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَلَا يَعْلَمُ مَتَى يَأْتِي الْمَطَرُ أَحَدٌ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَلَا تَدْرِي نَفْسٌ بِأَيِّ أَرْضٍ تَمُوتُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَلَا يَعْلَمُ مَتَى تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ


    “The keys to the Unseen are five that nobody knows but Allah: No one knows what the wombs throw out but Allah. No one knows what is going to happen tomorrow but Allah. No one knows when it will rain except Allah. A man does not know in what land he will die but Allah, and, no one knows when the Hour will strike, except Allah."
    `A'isha has said: "Whoever thought that Muhammad knew what was to happen the next day, slandered against Allah."
    And, Ibn Majah and Abu Hatim in his Sahih have a report coming from the Prophet saying:


    إِنَّ مِنْ النَّاسِ مَفَاتِيحَ لِلْخَيْرِ مَغَالِيقَ لِلشَّرِّ وَإِنَّ مِنْ النَّاسِ مَفَاتِيحَ لِلشَّرِّ مَغَالِيقَ لِلْخَيْرِ فَطُوبَى لِمَنْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ مَفَاتِيحَ الْخَيْرِ عَلَى يَدَيْهِ وَوَيْلٌ لِمَنْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ مَفَاتِيحَ الشَّرِّ عَلَى يَدَيْهِ


    "Among the people there are some who are a key to good and a lock to evil. In contrast, there are some who are a key to evil and a lock to good. So, good news to him in whose hands Allah placed the keys to good, and woe unto him in whose hands He placed the keys to evil" (Qurtubi).
    Qurtubi also writes: So far as predicting rain from physical, natural signs is concerned, that is permissible. A doctor commits no sin when he predicts that if a pregnant woman's right breast is a little heavier and somewhat dark, it will be a male fetus, and, conversely, if the left breast is a little heavier and somewhat dark then it will be a female fetus, or if a woman finds the right side of her womb a bit heavier, then the child is female. So also, if a person can determine the date of the sun or moon eclipses and make predictions to that effect, then that is also allowed, since, Allah has said (36: 39): "And the moon: We have appointed its stations." Yet, those who predict eclipses ought to be reigned in because by doing so they expose the people to dangers of faith (since, ignorant of science, they think of those who can predict eclipses as men with special powers: Au). They ought to keep the knowledge to themselves and not make them public. (Thus, predictions of scientific nature are not prohibited, but preferably they should be addressed to those learned in sciences: Au).
    It is a prophecy that has been totally disapproved by Islam. The Prophet has said in a hadith of Muslim:


    مَنْ أَتَى عَرَّافًا فَسَأَلَهُ عَنْ شَىْءٍ لَمْ تُقْبَلْ لَهُ صَلاَةٌ أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةً


    "Whoever went to a fortune teller will have his forty days of prayers rejected." As for some of their predictions coming true, a hadith of Bukhari explains:


    إِنَّ الْمَلَائِكَةَ تَنْزِلُ فِي الْعَنَانِ وَهُوَ السَّحَابُ فَتَذْكُرُ الْأَمْرَ قُضِيَ فِي السَّمَاءِ فَتَسْتَرِقُ الشَّيَاطِينُ السَّمْعَ فَتَسْمَعُهُ فَتُوحِيهِ إِلَى الْكُهَّانِ فَيَكْذِبُونَ مَعَهَا مِائَةَ كَذْبَةٍ مِنْ عِنْدِ أَنْفُسِهِمْ


    "The angels descend down to the clouds. They talk to themselves of the decisions made in the heavens. Satans pick up a few words from them, then, in turn, pass them on to the fortune tellers on earth who mix a hundred lies to one piece of truth (and forecast events)."
    Further, Alusi writes, the knowledge of the Unseen is not limited to the five items mentioned in the hadith. Rather, there is no end to them. But, perhaps (Rashid Rida), they were specially mentioned because people kept enquiring about them.
    Nevertheless, as Rashid Rida has pointed out, the five keys to the Unseen as spoken of in the hadith of Bukhari, which is in support of a Qur'anic verse (31: 34) could have symbolic connotations. For example, the first, the knowledge of what will happen tomorrow, is symbolic of the events of the future, the knowledge of what the wombs throw out is that of the beginning of life, the knowledge of the rains is that of the physical laws (of the world of vegetation: Rashid Rida), the knowledge of the hour of death is that of the end of life on this planet and, finally, the knowledge of the Hour is symbolic of the Hereafter. Thus, all that can be designated as "the Unseen" is covered by the hadith (Au.).
    94. It is said that the eagle's eye is so powerful that it can sight a squirrel from a thousand meters above in the sky. How can anyone then doubt the Power of Sight of one Who gives sight? (Au.)
    95. That is, there is not a thing in existence, or yet to come into existence but it is recorded in the Lawh al Mahfuz, exactly qualified and quantified including the time at which it will come into existence and the time at which it will be destroyed (Ibn Jarir).
    The commitment to writing has not been because of the fear that Allah will forget. Rather, it is for the angels (who do the execution). Besides, the statement has been brought in here to impress on the people that if every minor detail that is otherwise considered inconsequential has been written down, then what should mankind think of the deeds being recorded upon which depend reward or punishment (Razi, Qurtubi).
    The state of a thing falling down, adds Alusi, (is an unnoticed state). But Allah pays attention to it even in that situation of its existence. How much more not caring He is of it in the state of its rest?

    وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَتَوَفَّاكُمْ بِاللَّيْلِ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا جَرَحْتُمْ بِالنَّهَارِ ثُمَّ يَبْعَثُكُمْ فِيهِ لِيُقْضَىٰ أَجَلٌ مُسَمًّى ۖ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ (60)

    6|60| It is He who takes away your souls by the night and knows what you do by the day. Then He raises you up therein96 so that a pre determined term may be completed. Then, it is to Him that you shall be returned. And then shall He let you know (the truth of) what you were doing.


    96. That is, Allah draws the souls of the people during the night and then raises them up the following day (Au.).
    As for the earlier statement in the ayah, viz., “It is He who takes away your souls by the night,” Ibn Kathir explains: The word in the original is "yetawaffakum" which is normally employed for taking away a thing, and, in reference to man, taking away of the soul causing it to die. In the present context it has been employed in the sense of sending one to sleep as said Allah (with that as one of the several possible meanings: Au.), in the following verse (3: 55):


    إِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَى إِنِّي مُتَوَفِّيكَ وَرَافِعُكَ إِلَيَّ [آل عمران : 55]


    "When Allah said, ‘O `Isa I shall send down sleep upon you and raise you to Myself."
    Or, as He said (39: 42):


    اللَّهُ يَتَوَفَّى الْأَنْفُسَ حِينَ مَوْتِهَا وَالَّتِي لَمْ تَمُتْ فِي مَنَامِهَا فَيُمْسِكُ الَّتِي قَضَى عَلَيْهَا الْمَوْتَ وَيُرْسِلُ الْأُخْرَى إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى [الزمر : 42]


    "Allah withdraws the soul at the time of its death, and of that which does not die in its sleep. Then He holds back that whose death has been decreed and sends back the others to an appointed term."

    وَهُوَ الْقَاهِرُ فَوْقَ عِبَادِهِ ۖ وَيُرْسِلُ عَلَيْكُمْ حَفَظَةً حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَاءَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ تَوَفَّتْهُ رُسُلُنَا وَهُمْ لَا يُفَرِّطُونَ (61)

    6|61| He is the Irresistible,97 Supreme over His slaves98 and appoints over you (angels as) guardians,99 till, when death comes upon one of you, Our messengers100 take away his soul and they fail not.101


    97. Majid quotes: "Qahir as an epithet applied to God means, ‘The Subduer of His creations by His sovereign authority and power, and the Dispenser of them as He pleaseth, with and against their will.' Or the ‘Overcomer, or Subduer of all created beings' (LL)."
    One of the clearest manifestations of Allah's Irresistible power is man himself. He is composed of a body which is earthly in origin: base, dark and stinking, and a soul which is: noble, subtle, radiant and pure. It is Allah's irresistibility which forces them to combine and dwell together (Razi).
    98. The "fawqa" of the text has to be understood in the sense of one above in honor and esteem. It should not be taken in the directional sense (Razi, Qurtubi).
    99. Suddi, Qatadah and others have said that "hafazah" of the text are the guardian angels who guard man from various natural calamities as well as record all that he does (Ibn Jarir).
    A single hadith is available on the subject. It is in the Sahihayn and other collections. It says:


    الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَتَعَاقَبُونَ مَلَائِكَةٌ بِاللَّيْلِ وَمَلَائِكَةٌ بِالنَّهَارِ وَيَجْتَمِعُونَ فِي صَلَاةِ الْفَجْرِ وَصَلَاةِ الْعَصْرِ ثُمَّ يَعْرُجُ إِلَيْهِ الَّذِينَ بَاتُوا فِيكُمْ فَيَسْأَلُهُمْ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ فَيَقُولُ كَيْفَ تَرَكْتُمْ عِبَادِي فَيَقُولُونَ تَرَكْنَاهُمْ يُصَلُّونَ وَأَتَيْنَاهُمْ يُصَلُّونَ


    "Angels of the night follow on the heels of the angels of day and meet each other at the Fajr and `Asr Prayer times. Then those who spent the night with you ascend to the heavens. Their Lord inquires, although He knows better than them, ‘In what condition did you leave My slaves?' They answer, ‘When we went to them they were Praying, and when we left them they were Praying'" (Manar).
    Without substantiating his statement, Qurtubi says that the angels are four in number: two for the day, two for the night. One of them writes down the evil deeds and the other virtuous ones. When a man walks, one of them places himself at the front, another at the rear. When seated, they place themselves on the left and right, as Allah said (50: 17): "Sitting on the right and left." Some have said that they are five. Four as described above, and a fifth one, who never parts company.
    Alusi discusses the nature of what the angels write: whether only what is outwardly visible to them of the acts, or, also the state of the heart? He speculates that, perhaps, they jot down everything but have no knowledge of intentions. Reports tell us that on the Day of Judgment Allah will accept some deeds and order the angels to drop the rest. The angels would assert that they wrote nothing but what the man did (and therefore, some of the deeds could not be dropped). Thereat Allah will say that He is aware of what deeds were carried out to please Him and what hypocritically. As for that hadith which says, ‘When a man intends a good deed, a good deed is written down (in his records, even if the person does not commit it),' probably, by "kutibat" (i.e., written down), what is meant is "decreed."
    Alusi also states that when a believer commits an evil deed, the angel who records good deeds, restrains the one who records evil deeds saying, "Give him some time (before you record it). Maybe he will repent."
    100. According to Ibn `Abbas, Ibrahim, Qatadah and many others, the allusion by the "rusuluna" of the text is to the angel of death and his aides (Ibn Jarir).
    Qurtubi writes: It is said that the angel of death is accompanied by seven angels of mercy and seven angels of chastisement. If the person happens to be a virtuous one, the angel of death withdraws the soul and hands it over to the angels of mercy. But, if he happens to be an evil person, then he hands the soul over to the angels of punishment. The two groups dispose the soul suitably: into `Illiyyun or Sijjin.
    101. The "la yufarritun" of the original has been interpreted as "they do not lose" by Ibn `Abbas and Suddi (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir and others). Zamakhshari has said that a literal meaning would imply neither delaying of the proceedings nor committing excesses.
    The rendering in the translation sums up the variant meanings and has been adopted by us for the sake of flow (Au.).
    Ibn Kathir adds: Angels take good care of the soul, detaining it, after its withdrawal from a person, at a place deserving of it: either in the `Illiyyun, if it happens to be a purified one, or in the Sijjin, if it happens to be a wicked one.
    See ch. 83, notes 7, 8 and 11 of this work for further explanation.

    ثُمَّ رُدُّوا إِلَى اللَّهِ مَوْلَاهُمُ الْحَقِّ ۚ أَلَا لَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَهُوَ أَسْرَعُ الْحَاسِبِينَ (62)

    6|62| Then they are restored to Allah, their true Protector. Lo! The Judgment is His102 and He is the swiftest of reckoners.


    102. Majid writes: "This is specially to combat the Christian doctrine representing Christ as Judge. ‘The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father and with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Mt. 16: 37). ‘When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; And before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; And he shall set the sheep on his right hand but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father.' (25: 31 34) ‘That there will be a General Judgment is an article of faith. The Judge will be Christ.' (CD p. 523) ‘In the Gospels, while the Father is spoken of as Judge, Christ's influence at the Judgment is also spoken of and more generally He Himself is Judge, and exercises this function on all men.' (ERE. V. p. 35)

    قُلْ مَنْ يُنَجِّيكُمْ مِنْ ظُلُمَاتِ الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ تَدْعُونَهُ تَضَرُّعًا وَخُفْيَةً لَئِنْ أَنْجَانَا مِنْ هَٰذِهِ لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الشَّاكِرِينَ (63)

    6|63| Say, ‘Who delivers you from the darknesses of the land and sea?103 (when) you invoke Him humbly and secretly, ‘Truly, if You deliver us from this, we shall be of the thankful.'


    103. There can be several kinds of darknesses: the real, such as the darkness of the night, the figurative, such as that of ignorance of the way, or of hardships and dangers (Razi, Manar).

    قُلِ اللَّهُ يُنَجِّيكُمْ مِنْهَا وَمِنْ كُلِّ كَرْبٍ ثُمَّ أَنْتُمْ تُشْرِكُونَ (64)

    6|64| Say, ‘Allah delivers you from it and from every distress, yet you assign Him associates.'


    قُلْ هُوَ الْقَادِرُ عَلَىٰ أَنْ يَبْعَثَ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابًا مِنْ فَوْقِكُمْ أَوْ مِنْ تَحْتِ أَرْجُلِكُمْ أَوْ يَلْبِسَكُمْ شِيَعًا وَيُذِيقَ بَعْضَكُمْ بَأْسَ بَعْضٍ ۗ انْظُرْ كَيْفَ نُصَرِّفُ الْآيَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَفْقَهُونَ (65)

    6|65| Say, ‘He has the power to send upon you a calamity from above you, or from below your feet,104 or confound105 you into (hostile) groups and make you taste the violence of one another.'106 Behold, how We set forth the Signs in diverse forms, haply they will understand.


    104. Besides the commonly understood meaning, Ibn `Abbas has said that the punishment from ‘above' is that of tyrannous rulers and from ‘below' (dishonest) employees of a person (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani and others). And Rashid Rida wonders why bombs from above and land mines from below should not be included?!
    105. "Labisa" of the original is for confusion, or a mix up. But Suddi has interpreted it in Tabari as causing division (Au.).
    106. Although the verse is Makkan, and the first application is to the Makkan pagans who denied the truth, the last part of the verse is also applicable to the Muslim Ummah. Consequently, the commentators have quoted those reports here of the Madinan period with Bukhari's hadith as the forerunner.


    عن جَابِر بْن عَبْدِ اللَّهِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا يَقُولُ لَمَّا نَزَلَ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ {قُلْ هُوَ الْقَادِرُ عَلَى أَنْ يَبْعَثَ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابًا مِنْ فَوْقِكُمْ} قَالَ أَعُوذُ بِوَجْهِكَ {أَوْ مِنْ تَحْتِ أَرْجُلِكُمْ} قَالَ أَعُوذُ بِوَجْهِكَ فَلَمَّا نَزَلَتْ {أَوْ يَلْبِسَكُمْ شِيَعًا وَيُذِيقَ بَعْضَكُمْ بَأْسَ بَعْضٍ} قَالَ هَاتَانِ أَهْوَنُ أَوْ أَيْسَرُ


    Jabir b. `Abdullah said: "When the verse: Say, ‘He has power to send upon you a calamity from above you,' was revealed, the Prophet remarked, ‘I seek protection by Your Face (O Allah).' Then when it said, ‘Or from below your feet,' he remarked ‘I seek protection by Your Face.' Eventually, when the following passage came down, ‘Or divide you up into (hostile) groups and make you taste the violence of one another,' the Prophet (saws) said, ‘This is milder or easier'" (Ibn Jarir, Shawkani).
    Ibn Kathir adds: Bukhari has placed this hadith under various chapters. On the same subject, Muslim has the following hadith narrated by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas who reports his father:


    أَقْبَلْنَا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ حَتَّى مَرَرْنَا عَلَى مَسْجِدِ بَنِي مُعَاوِيَةَ فَدَخَلَ فَصَلَّى رَكْعَتَيْنِ وَصَلَّيْنَا مَعَهُ وَنَاجَى رَبَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ طَوِيلًا قَالَ سَأَلْتُ رَبِّي عَزَّ وَجَلَّ ثَلَاثًا سَأَلْتُهُ أَنْ لَا يُهْلِكَ أُمَّتِي بِالْغَرَقِ فَأَعْطَانِيهَا وَسَأَلْتُهُ أَنْ لَا يُهْلِكَ أُمَّتِي بِالسَّنَةِ فَأَعْطَانِيهَا وَسَأَلْتُهُ أَنْ لَا يَجْعَلَ بَأْسَهُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ فَمَنَعَنِيهَا


    "Once, we went out with the Prophet. When we passed by the mosque of Banu Mu`awiyyah, he went in and offered two rak`ah of Prayers, with us behind him. After that he supplicated to his Lord for a long hour and then said, ‘I asked my Lord for three things. Two of them He granted, but the third He would not. I asked that my Ummah be not destroyed by floods. I was granted. Then I asked that my Ummah be not destroyed by famine. That was granted. Then I asked that my Ummah be not divided into (hostile) groups (cutting each other down), but that was not granted.'"
    Musnad Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Nasa'i, Tirmidhi, and many other compilers have ahadith to this effect. In fact one of them, in Ahmad, and of a good chain of narrators, adds that once the swords are unsheathed between groups of this Ummah, it will not be withdrawn until the Day of Judgment. In some narrations the Prophet added: "I fear none for my Ummah as much as misguided leaders."
    Yet another report of Ahmad runs as follows:


    عَنْ أَبِي بَصْرَةَ الْغِفَارِيِّ ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، قَالَ : " سَأَلْتُ رَبِّي أَرْبَعًا ، فَأَعْطَانِي ثَلاثًا ، وَمَنَعَنِي وَاحِدَةً ، سَأَلْتُهُ أَنْ لا يُجْمِعَ أُمَّتِي عَلَى ضَلالَةٍ فَأَعْطَانِيهَا ، وَسَأَلْتُهُ أَنْ لا يُهْلِكَهُمْ بِالسِّنِينَ كَمَا أَهْلَكَ الأُمَمَ قَبْلَهُمْ فَأَعْطَانِيهَا ، وَسَأَلْتُهُ أَنْ لا يُظْهِرَ عَلَيْهِمْ عَدُوًّا مِنْ غَيْرِهِمْ فَأَعْطَانِيهَا ، وَسَأَلْتُهُ أَنْ لا يَلْبِسَهُمْ شِيَعًا وَلا يُذِيقَ بَعْضَهُمْ بَأْسَ بَعْضٍ فَمَنَعَنِيهَا ". (مسند أحمد بن حنبل-ن (6/ 396) - تعليق شعيب الأرنؤوط : صحيح لغيره وهذا إسناد ضعيف لإبهام الراوي عن أبي بصرة)


    Abu Basrah al-Ghifari reported the Prophet as having said, “I asked my Lord for four. He granted me three and refused me one. I asked Him that my Ummah should not agree upon an error. He granted it to me. I asked Him that my Ummah should not be destroyed by starvation as He destroyed the nations before them. He granted it to me. I asked Him that an enemy apart from them should not overcome them. He granted it to me. And I asked Him that some of them should not taste the attacks of others, but He refused it to me” (Ibn Kathir).

    وَكَذَّبَ بِهِ قَوْمُكَ وَهُوَ الْحَقُّ ۚ قُلْ لَسْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ بِوَكِيلٍ (66)

    6|66| Yet your people have cried lies to this while it is the Truth. Tell (them), ‘I am not a guard over you.


    لِكُلِّ نَبَإٍ مُسْتَقَرٌّ ۚ وَسَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ (67)

    6|67| Every prophecy has an appointed hour,107 and you shall soon know.'


    107. Suddi has said that the "appointed hour" was in reference to the chastisement of the Quraysh which manifested at Badr. But, of course, the term is open and so the appointed hour can appear in this world or, it might appear in the Hereafter (Ibn Jarir).

    وَإِذَا رَأَيْتَ الَّذِينَ يَخُوضُونَ فِي آيَاتِنَا فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَخُوضُوا فِي حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِ ۚ وَإِمَّا يُنْسِيَنَّكَ الشَّيْطَانُ فَلَا تَقْعُدْ بَعْدَ الذِّكْرَىٰ مَعَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ (68)

    6|68| And, when you come across those who indulge in Our revelations,108 shun them until they are engaged in other talk109 Yet, should Satan make you forget,110 sit not after the recollection with the transgressing people.111


    108. The phrase yakhuduna fi ayatina means, ‘those who enter into false, or vain discourse or speech, respecting Our sign(s)' - Majid.
    109. It is reported of `Umar ibn `Abdul `Aziz that he whipped a fasting man found in the assembly of a people drinking wine. He cited this verse: "Do not sit with them until they are engaged in other talks" (Shawkani).
    110. Although, apparently, the verse addresses the believers through the Prophet, the commentators discuss all the same whether forgetfulness was possible on the part of the Prophet. Alusi states the opinion of some that the Prophet could forget, but only in worldly matters, or such of those things as had no Shari`ah implication. Nawawi is among them. The majority, however, believes that he could forget such affairs as involving the message he was required to communicate, but Allah would remind him sooner or later, so that the possibility of him declaring a valid rule as invalid and vice versa was ruled out. In fact, there is consensus of opinion that in Shar`i affairs, it was impossible for the Prophet to commit an error out of forgetfulness, or out of error of judgment. That indeed, applied to all Messengers and Prophets, who were specially protected by Allah.
    The above discussion is, however, entirely hypothetical. It is common experience that a doctor, who, after all, is just anybody who has completed a course of study, does not prescribe, either due to forgetfulness, or out of error, cough syrup for pain in joints, or an aspirin for skin infection. How then is it expected that a Prophet, even if not protected from on High, would prescribe wrong Shari`ah rules for whatever fanciful reason that sounds good for an academic discussion? (Au.)
    111. Abu Bakr Ibn al `Arabi (not Muhiyyuddin ibn al-Arabi) has said that this verse makes the company of the major sinners (ahl al kaba'ir) impermissible. Khuwayzmandad has said that the implication is that the company of those who dispute with the Qur'an, whether believers or non believers, should be avoided. Others have included the innovators (ahl al bid`ah) in the list of those whose company should be shunned. Indeed, it is said that once an innovator sought the attention of Abu `Imran al Nakha`i saying, ‘Listen just one word.' Abu `Imran replied, ‘Not even half a word.' Fudayl b. `Iyad has said: ‘Whoever approved of an innovator will have his other good deeds declared null and void. The light of Islam will depart from his heart. Whoever married off his daughter to an innovator, severed his ties with her. Whoever sat in the company of an innovator in religion will be denied wisdom' (Qurtubi).

    وَمَا عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ مِنْ حِسَابِهِمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ وَلَٰكِنْ ذِكْرَىٰ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ (69)

    6|69| Upon those who are godfearing, there is no accountability of others;112 but a reminder (is essential). Haply they will fear.


    112. That is, if the pagans continue to indulge in Allah's signs or make fun of His revelation, then, the godfearing have no sin upon them on their account (Suddi: Ibn Jarir).

    وَذَرِ الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا دِينَهُمْ لَعِبًا وَلَهْوًا وَغَرَّتْهُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا ۚ وَذَكِّرْ بِهِ أَنْ تُبْسَلَ نَفْسٌ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ لَيْسَ لَهَا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلِيٌّ وَلَا شَفِيعٌ وَإِنْ تَعْدِلْ كُلَّ عَدْلٍ لَا يُؤْخَذْ مِنْهَا ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ أُبْسِلُوا بِمَا كَسَبُوا ۖ لَهُمْ شَرَابٌ مِنْ حَمِيمٍ وَعَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْفُرُونَ (70)

    6|70| Leave alone113 those who treat their religion as a sport and pastime,114 and whom the life of this world has deluded.115 Yet, admonish (them) with this (message) lest a soul be held up116 on account of what it has earned, with no one besides Allah as its protector or intercessor. Were it (then) to ransom all that can be ransomed, it would not be accepted of it. Those are the ones to be held up for what they earned. For them is a draught of boiling water117 and a painful chastisement, because they were consistently denying.


    113. Qatadah has said that this order was abrogated by the verses of jihad (Ibn Jarir).
    114. The phrase "ittakhadhu ... lahwan" can be understood in either of two ways: (1) "they have made their religion [an object of] play and fun", or (2) "they have made play and fun [or "passing delights"] their religion" i.e., the main goal of their lives. To my mind, the latter reading is definitely preferable inasmuch as it brings out the fact that many of those who are "beguiled by the life of this world" devote themselves to the pursuit of what the Qur'an describes as "passing delights" including the pleasures which money and power can provide with something akin to religious fervor: an attitude of mind which causes them to lose sight of all spiritual and moral values" (Asad).
    115. Yusuf Ali comments: "(In ch.) vi, (verse) 32, ... we are told that the life of this world is mere play and amusement, and Religion and the Hereafter are the serious things that require our attention. Worldly people reverse this, because they are deceived by the allurements of this life."
    116. The word "ubsilu" has different connotations, such as, to be held up, arrested, humiliated, rewarded, be forbidden, or consigned to perdition (Au.).
    117. Asad writes: "Among the various meanings attributed to the word hamim are the concepts of intense heat as well as of painful cold (Qamus, Taj al `Arus)."

    قُلْ أَنَدْعُو مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَنْفَعُنَا وَلَا يَضُرُّنَا وَنُرَدُّ عَلَىٰ أَعْقَابِنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَانَا اللَّهُ كَالَّذِي اسْتَهْوَتْهُ الشَّيَاطِينُ فِي الْأَرْضِ حَيْرَانَ لَهُ أَصْحَابٌ يَدْعُونَهُ إِلَى الْهُدَى ائْتِنَا ۗ قُلْ إِنَّ هُدَى اللَّهِ هُوَ الْهُدَىٰ ۖ وَأُمِرْنَا لِنُسْلِمَ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ (71)

    6|71| Say, ‘Shall we call on others besides Allah that which can neither benefit us nor harm us, and be turned back on our heels after Allah has guided us aright?118 like him whom the Satans lured to wandering in the earth in bewilderment? (Though) He has companions calling him to guidance: "Come to us."' Say, ‘Verily. Allah's guidance is the guidance. We have been ordered to submit ourselves to the Lord of the worlds.'


    118. Rashid Rida points out that the phrase in the text nuraddu `ala a`qabina, is always used by the Arabs for a situation in which one has to take a step backwards in retreat, indicating a failure of undertaking. In view of that connotation it would imply here retreating from a better position to a lower one: from monotheism to idol worship.

    وَأَنْ أَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَاتَّقُوهُ ۚ وَهُوَ الَّذِي إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ (72)

    6|72| And that, ‘Establish the Prayer, and fear Him (alone).' It is to Him that you shall be mustered.


    وَهُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ بِالْحَقِّ ۖ وَيَوْمَ يَقُولُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ ۚ قَوْلُهُ الْحَقُّ ۚ وَلَهُ الْمُلْكُ يَوْمَ يُنْفَخُ فِي الصُّورِ ۚ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ ۚ وَهُوَ الْحَكِيمُ الْخَبِيرُ (73)

    6|73| It is He who created the heavens and the earth in truth.119 The Day He says (to the Hour), ‘Be,' lo, it will be. His Word is the True (word).120 His (alone) shall be the dominion121 the day the Trumpet is blown:122 Knower of the invisible and the visible.123 And He is the Wise, the Well acquainted.


    119. Mawdudi comments: "It has been asserted again and again in the Qur'an that God created the heaven and earth ‘in truth.' This covers a wide range of meanings:
    “First, that the heaven and the earth have not been created just for the fun of it. This existence is not a theatrical play. This world is not a child's toy with which to amuse oneself as long as one wishes before crushing it to bits and throwing it away. Creation is rather an act of great seriousness. A great objectivity motivates it, and a wise purpose underlies it...
    "Second, it means that God has created this entire system of the universe on solid foundations of truth. The whole of the universe is based on justice, wisdom and truth. Hence, there is no scope in the system for falsehood to take root and prosper. The phenomenon of the prosperity of falsehood which we observe, is to be ascribed to the will of God, Who grants the followers of falsehood the opportunity, if they so wish, to expend their efforts in promoting unrighteousness, injustice and untruth. In the end, however, the earth will throw up all the seeds of untruth that have been sown, and in the final reckoning every follower of falsehood will see that the efforts he devoted to cultivating and watering this pernicious tree have all gone to waste (Abridged).
    120. Majid has a beautiful point: "i.e., whatever He utters must and shall be accomplished in fact. Al Huqq here is not ‘the truth.' It expresses the idea of the overpowering efficacy of His word."
    121. This does not mean that the present dominion is not His. The purpose of this statement is rather to stress that when the veil which conceals certain truths in this phase of existence will be removed and Truth becomes fully manifest, it will be then quite clear that all those who seemed or were considered to possess power and authority were utterly powerless, and that the true dominion belongs to the One True God who brought the universe into existence (Au.).
    122. The allusion here is to the second of the two mighty blows of the Sur (Razi). The first will destroy all life and the present world order. The second will herald a new phase, a new order, and when every being that ever lived will come to life again. Mankind will be assembled on earth which will be rendered flat, reckoning will be conducted and judgment pronounced (Au.).
    The Prophet said:


    إن إسرافيل قد التقم الصور، وحنى جبهته ينتظر متى يؤمر فينفخ


    "Israfil has the Sur to his mouth and with his head bent forward awaits the order to blow" (Ibn Jarir).
    The Prophet has given us some other details. In a hadith (preserved by Bukhari) he said:


    مَا بَيْنَ النَّفْخَتَيْنِ أَرْبَعُونَ قَالَ أَرْبَعُونَ يَوْمًا قَالَ أَبَيْتُ قَالَ أَرْبَعُونَ شَهْرًا قَالَ أَبَيْتُ قَالَ أَرْبَعُونَ سَنَةً قَالَ أَبَيْتُ قَالَ ثُمَّ يُنْزِلُ اللَّهُ مِنْ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَيَنْبُتُونَ كَمَا يَنْبُتُ الْبَقْلُ لَيْسَ مِنْ الْإِنْسَانِ شَيْءٌ إِلَّا يَبْلَى إِلَّا عَظْمًا وَاحِدًا وَهُوَ عَجْبُ الذَّنَبِ وَمِنْهُ يُرَكَّبُ الْخَلْقُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ


    "Between the two blows (of the Sur) there will be a gap of forty." They (the narrator Abu Hurayrah), "Will it be forty days?" He replied, "I do not say that." They asked, "Forty months?" He said, "I do not say that.” They asked, “Forty years?” He replied, “I do not say that either." Then he said, "Allah will then send down water from the heavens and they will start sprouting out like plants. There is nothing from the body of a man that remains (uneaten by the earth) but a single bone. It is the tail bone. It is from this that mankind will be resurrected."
    At this point Ibn Kathir presents a long hadith which, as he points out, is made up of several ahadith by a not so well trusted narrator. However, and although not every part of it could be checked for authenticity, we present its somewhat abridged translation because of the importance of the subject. “When Allah had finished creating the heavens and the earth,
    At this point Ibn Kathir brings in a long hadith with reference to the blowing of the Sur. He writes: Hafiz Abul Qasim Tabarani has recorded the following hadith in his collection called "Al-tiwalaat."
    Said the Prophet while amongst a few of his Companions, as reported by Abu Hurayrah: "When Allah was finished with the creation of the heavens and the earth, He created the Sur and handed it over to Israfil. He placed it on his mouth, and is looking up at the `Arsh, waiting for the command." I (the narrator) asked, "Messenger of Allah, what is this Sur?" He replied, "A trumpet." I asked, "What is it like?" He answered, "Huge. By Him who sent me with the Truth, its circumference is like the width of the heavens and the earth. He will blow into it three times. The first blast will be the Blast of Dread, the second that of Swoon and the third the Blast which will be the Standing Forth before the Lord of the worlds.
    (At some time) Allah will order Israfil to make the first blast. The blast will drive dread into every one of the heavens and earth, except him who Allah wills. He will order him to keep blowing for a long while, without break. This is referred to in the Qur'an (38: 15),


    {وَمَا يَنْظُرُ هَؤُلَاءِ إِلَّا صَيْحَةً وَاحِدَةً مَا لَهَا مِنْ فَوَاقٍ } [ص: 15]


    "These are not waiting but for a single cry, which will brook no delay."
    With that Allah will make the mountains move. They will move like clouds, as if a mirage. Then the earth will shake with all its inhabitants to resemble a boat tossed into the sea, hit by waves. It will swing with its inhabitants like a lamp hung by the roof; the winds rocking it. It is about this that it was said (79: 6-8),


    {يَوْمَ تَرْجُفُ الرَّاجِفَةُ (6) تَتْبَعُهَا الرَّادِفَةُ (7) قُلُوبٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ وَاجِفَةٌ } [النازعات: 6 - 8]


    "The day a rattling with rattle (the world) violently, followed by a second thunderous blast, the day when the hearts will throb (with fear)."
    The people will be swinging on its back, the breast-feeders will forget their young ones, the pregnant will abort pregnancy, children will go gray, the devils will fly from fear to the shores until angels appear who will strike on their faces and push them back (to the seas), the people will turn on their heels, none to save them from Allah's command, some of them calling others – that is the Day about which Allah said (40: 32),


    { يَوْمَ التَّنَادِ } [غافر: 32]


    "The Day of calling."
    They would be in that state when the earth will split up from end to end. They would be witnessing an affair never witnessed before. That will drive the people into a state of fear the extent of which only Allah knows. As they look up at the heaven, it would be like boiled oil. Then it will split, the stars will fall and its moon and sun will lose their shine. The Prophet added, 'The dead will not know about these happenings.'"
    Abu Hurayrah asked, "Who exactly are meant by the exception in the verse (27: 87),


    { فَفَزِعَ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا مَنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ} [النمل: 87]


    "In dread will be whoever is in the heavens and in the earth, except whom He wills." He answered, "The martyrs are the exceptions. It is the living who will be in dread, while the martyrs are alive with Allah, being fed, Allah will save them from the dread of that Day, and accorded them peace in its wake. That will be the torment that Allah will send upon the worst of His creatures. He has said (22: 1, 2),


    {يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّ زَلْزَلَةَ السَّاعَةِ شَيْءٌ عَظِيمٌ (1) يَوْمَ تَرَوْنَهَا تَذْهَلُ كُلُّ مُرْضِعَةٍ عَمَّا أَرْضَعَتْ وَتَضَعُ كُلُّ ذَاتِ حَمْلٍ حَمْلَهَا وَتَرَى النَّاسَ سُكَارَى وَمَا هُمْ بِسُكَارَى وَلَكِنَّ عَذَابَ اللَّهِ شَدِيدٌ } [الحج: 1، 2]


    'People, fear your Lord. Surely, the shaking of the Hour will be a great thing. The Day you witness it, every breast-feeding female will forget about its young, and every pregnant will abort what it carries. And you will see the people drunk; but they will not be drunk, rather Allah's torment will be great.'
    They will remain in the torment as long as Allah wills, except that it will be long.
    Then Allah will order Israfil to blow the Swoon-blow. When he dose that, everyone will pass out except he whom Allah wills. When all and everyone lies unconscious, and they will go cold, the angel of death will go to Allah the Overcomer, and plead, 'My Lord. Everyone in the heaven and earth is dead, except he whom You willed.' He will ask, although He knows, 'So who is left?' He will answer, 'Those who are left are: Yourself, the Living who will never die, the carriers of `Arsh, Jibril, Mika'il and myself.' He will say, 'Let Jibril and Mika'il die.' At that the `Arsh will speak out to say, 'Our Lord! Should Jibril and Mika'il die?' He will answer, 'Quiet. I have written it upon everyone below my `Arsh.' So the two will die. Then the angel of death will go to Allah, the Overommer and say, 'My Lord! Jibril and Mika'il are dead.' He will ask, 'Who is left?' He will answer, Those left are Yourself, the Living who will never die, and left are the carriers of `Arsh, and myself.' He will say, 'Let the carriers of My `Arsh die.' So they will die. Then Allah will order the `Arsh to take the Trumpet away from Israfil. Then the angel of death will come to Him and say, 'My Lord, the carriers of Your `Arsh are dead.' Allah will ask, although He knows, "So, who is left?" He will answer, 'Left are Yourself - the Living who will never die; and I am left.' He will say, 'You are a creation from among My creations. I created you for the function that you have witnessed. So, 'Die off.' He will die off. Then none will be left except Allah, the One, the Unique, the Overcomer, who did not give birth to and was not born, He will be the Last, like He was the First, He will fold the heavens and the earth in the manner of folding the scrolls, hold them in his palms, then He will turn them around three times and say, 'I am the King, I am the Overcomer, I am the Overcomer, I am the Overcomer – three times. Then He will speak out in a high note, 'Whose is the Kingdom today?' – three times. No one will answer Him. Then He will say to Himself (40: 16),


    {لِلَّهِ الْوَاحِدِ الْقَهَّارِ} [غافر: 16]


    "It is for Allah, the Overcomer."
    Allah had said (14: 48),


    {يَوْمَ تُبَدَّلُ الْأَرْضُ غَيْرَ الْأَرْضِ وَالسَّمَوَاتُ} [إبراهيم: 48]


    "The Day the earth will be changed for another earth, the heavens as well."
    Then He will spread them, flatten them, and stretch them like the stretching of an `Ukazi skin, so that (20: 107),


    {لَا تَرَى فِيهَا عِوَجًا وَلَا أَمْتًا} [طه: 107]


    "You will not see therein any depression or elevation."
    Then Allah will shake the creation, a good shaking and there they would be, on the altered earth like they were there before – he who was on the face of the earth will be on the face of the earth while he who was below the surface will be below the surface. After that He will send down water on them from the bottom of the `Arsh. Thereafter He will order the heavens to rain down water. It will rain for 40 days, until the water will be 12 yards high over them. Then Allah will order the bodies to grow. They will grow like vegetable plants, until when their bodies have completed to become what they were, Allah will say, 'Let the carriers of the `Arsh come alive.' They will come alive. Thereafter He will order Israfil to take on the Trumpet and put it against his mouth. Then He will order Jibril and Mika'il to come alive. They will come alive. Then Allah will order the spirits to be brought forth. They will be brought out. The spirits of the believers would be shining bright, while the spirits of the unbelievers would be dark. He will take hold of all of them and cast them into the Trumpet. Then He will order Israfil to blow the blow of Resurrection. The spirits will burst forth like they were bees filling the heavens and the earth. Allah will say, 'By my power and glory, let every soul return to its body.' With that the spirits in the earth will enter into the bodies. It will enter through their nostrils flowing through their bodies like poison runs through a bitten man. Then, the Prophet added, the earth will be split for you; and I'll be the first for whom the earth will split. You will come out hastening to your Lord (54: 8),


    {مُهْطِعِينَ إِلَى الدَّاعِ يَقُولُ الْكَافِرُونَ هَذَا يَوْمٌ عَسِرٌ} [القمر: 8]


    "Necks outstretched toward the Caller, the unbeliever saying, 'This is a hard day.' They will be barefoot, naked, uncircumcised and made to stand, a standing that will last 70 years; neither looked at you nor any judgment made between you. You'll cry until the tears exhaust, then you will shed tears of blood and sweat until you are in sweat up to your nostrils or your earlobes, you saying, 'Who will intercede with our Lord for us to start the judgment between us?' You will say, 'Who can be more deserving than your father Adam? Allah created him with His own Hand, blew spirit into Him, and spoke to him directly?'
    They will go to Adam and request him that. But he will refuse and say, 'I am not your man.' So they will go the prophets one after another. Every time they go to a prophet, he refuses. The Prophet added, 'Until they come to me.'
    I will go up to the front of the `Arsh and fall into prostration. I will remain in prostration until an angel will come to me and holding me by my shoulder will lift me up. Allah will say, 'O Muhammad!' I will say, 'Yes my Lord.' He will ask, although He knows, 'What's with you?' I will answer, 'My Lord! You promised to allow me to intercede with You on behalf of Your creation; so, do start judging between Your creation.' He will reply, 'I accept your intercession. I shall come to judge between you.'
    The Prophet said, "So, I will return to my place and while standing among the people, we will hear a huge consternation putting us into great fear; and lo, the inhabitants of the heaven closest to the earth will come down, twice in numbers than the men and Jinn assembled there. When they come closer to the earth, it will be filled with their Light. As they take their position, it will be asked, 'Is your Lord within you?' They will reply, 'Not yet. He is coming.'
    Then will come down from the next heaven angels twice the numbers that came down from the first heaven and twice the earth's men and Jinn. When they come closer to the earth, it will be filled with their Light. As they take their position, it will be asked, 'Is your Lord within you?' They will reply, 'Not yet. He is coming.'
    Then will come down, twice as before (from the rest of the heavens, one after another) followed by Allah the great Subduer, the Mighty, the Honored in the shades of the clouds; angels bearing His `Arsh; they will be eight angels - at the moment its bearers are four. Their feet will be at the bottom of the last of the earths. The heaven and earth on their sides, the `Arsh on their shoulders, and there being heavy (echoing) sound in their hymning, as they say,


    سبحان ذي العرش والجبروت، سبحان ذي الملك والملكوت، سبحان الحي الذي لا يموت، سبحان الذي يميت الخلائق ولا يموت، سُبُّوح قدوس قدوس قدوس، سبحان ربنا الأعلى، رب الملائكة والروح، سبحان ربنا الأعلى، الذي يميت الخلائق ولا يموت،

     

    'Glory to the Owner of the `Arsh, and of the Predominant, Glory to the Sovereign, the Monarch, Glory to the Living who will never die, Glorious, the All-Pure, the All-pure, the All-pure. Glorious is our Lord the All-high, Lord of the angels and the Spirit, Glorious is our Lord the All-high, He who deals death to the creations, and does not die.
    Thereafter Allah will place His Kursiyy on His earth where He will, and speak out saying, 'O Men and Jinn, I've remained silent from the day I created you until this day; listening to your words, and watching your deeds. Now you pay attention to me. It is your deeds and your scriptures that will be read upon you. So, whoever finds good, let him thank Allah, but whosoever finds other than that may blame none but himself.'
    Following that Allah will order Hell to be brought forth. (When it arrives) a shining neck will emerge from it. It will say (36; 60-64),


    {أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ يَا بَنِي آَدَمَ أَنْ لَا تَعْبُدُوا الشَّيْطَانَ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ (60) وَأَنِ اعْبُدُونِي هَذَا صِرَاطٌ مُسْتَقِيمٌ (61) وَلَقَدْ أَضَلَّ مِنْكُمْ جِبِلًّا كَثِيرًا أَفَلَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْقِلُونَ (62) هَذِهِ جَهَنَّمُ الَّتِي كُنْتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ (63) اصْلَوْهَا الْيَوْمَ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَكْفُرُونَ (64) } [يس: 60 - 65]


    Had I not enjoined upon you, O children of Adam, that you should not worship Shaytan, (that) surely he is your open enemy? And that you worship Me (alone)? This is the straight path. He did lead astray a great multitude of you (in the past). Were you not able to think? This is the Jahannum (then), that you were promised. Roast therein today, for that you were rejecting.’
    Allah will divide and separate the people, and the nations will go down on their knees (45: 28):


    {وَتَرَى كُلَّ أُمَّةٍ جَاثِيَةً كُلُّ أُمَّةٍ تُدْعَى إِلَى كِتَابِهَا الْيَوْمَ تُجْزَوْنَ مَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ} [الجاثية: 28]


    You will see every nation on its knees. Every nation will be called forth for its account. Today you shall be rewarded for what you were doing.
    Allah will begin to judge ignoring men and Jinn and starting with the animals – until He would have rendered justice between a horned and un-horned goat (as to why the earlier horned the latter) – until none will remain with any grudge for another. When that's achieved, He will say, 'Be dust.' It is then that unbeliever will say (78: 40):


    {يَا لَيْتَنِي كُنْتُ تُرَابًا} [النبأ: 40]


    'Oh my, only if I was dust.'
    Then it is that Allah will begin to judge between the men and jinn, first calling for justice for he who was killed for no just cause, followed by other kinds of wrongs done by one against another." (Shortened)
    Ibn Kathir ends the texts by saying that although as a single report it is not of good strength, but as pieces put together, each piece seems to have support in Sahih narrations.
    123. Asad remarks: "The term al shahadah (lit., "that which is [or "can be"] witnessed") is used in this and similar contexts as the exact antithesis of al ghayb ("that which is beyond the reach of a created being's perception"). Thus, it circumscribes those aspects of reality which can be sensuously or conceptually grasped by a created being."

    وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ لِأَبِيهِ آزَرَ أَتَتَّخِذُ أَصْنَامًا آلِهَةً ۖ إِنِّي أَرَاكَ وَقَوْمَكَ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُبِينٍ (74)

    6|74| (Recall) when Ibrahim124 said to his father Azar,125 ‘Do you take idols for gods?126 I see you and your folks in a manifest error.'127


    124. Ibrahim (asws) is often mentioned in this Holy Book because he was equally acceptable to the Jews, Christians, and pagans. All the three communities prided in him (Razi).
    Majid writes under p.I, n. 559: "(In the sense of a leader of mankind, Ibrahim) continues to be till this day, being the accepted head of the three great peoples of the world the Muslims, the Christians and the Jews. ‘He is not, in the first instance, the progenitor of the people, but the founder and leader of a religious movement. Like Mohammad, some 2,000 years later, he stood at the head of a great movement among the Semitic peoples and tribes' (EBr. I, p.60)."
    125. Majid comments: "`Terah' of the Bible; variously spelt as Zarah and Therach in the Talmud and Athar by Eeusebius, ‘The chief officer of King Nimrod and a great favorite with his royal master; (Polano, op. cit., p.30). ‘The apocryphal books of the Old Testament such as the Book of Jashir, represent Terah to have been a great soldier and commander of the armies of the King of Babylon.' (Marston, The Bible is True, p. 180)
    Asad adds: "In the Bible, the name of Abraham's father is given not as Azar but as Terah (the Tarah or Tarakh of the early Muslim genealogists). However, he seems to have been known by other names (or designations) as well, all of them obscure as to origin and meaning. Thus, in various Talmudic stories he is called Zarah, while Eusebius Pamphili (the ecclesiastical historian who lived towards the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth century of the Christian era) gives his name as Athar. Although neither the Talmud nor Eusebius can be regarded as authorities for the purposes of Qur'an commentary, it is not impossible that the designation Azar (which occurs in the Qur'an only once) is the pre Islamic, Arabicized form of Athar or Zarah."
    126. Majid quotes: ‘Idolatry and image worship form a very striking feature of the Babylonian religious system, and already meet us in its advanced stage of development in the earliest cultural period of which material remains have been preserved.' (ERE, VII, p.117) ‘Even Therech, who still remained chief officer to the king, became a worshipper of idols. In his house he had twelve large images of wood and stone, a separate god for each month of the year, and to these he prayed and made obeisance (Polano)."
    Among the Arabs, writes Alusi somewhere else, idol worship was introduced by `Amr b. Luhayy.
    127. Majid comments: "The Babylonian religion was an admixture of animism, image cult, and nature worship. ‘The religion of Babylonia in the earliest form known to us may be defined as a combination of local cults with animistic conceptions of the power of nature, with which man was either brought into immediate contact, or which affected his aims and his welfare. Each centre had its special patron deity in most cases conceived as masculine who was brought into association with some natural phenomenon. The two powers most commonly chosen were the sun and the moon, and by the side of these we find streams and stones personified as god' (DB. V. p.536)."

    وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُرِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ مَلَكُوتَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَلِيَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُوقِنِينَ (75)

    6|75| That is how We showed Ibrahim the kingdom128 of the heavens and the earth so that he might be of those who believe firmly.129


    128. The textual word is "malakut." Imam Razi says that the spirits of the humans do not miss to see the Light of Allah but because of barriers. What are these barriers? They are everything that one engages himself with apart from Allah. Obviously, the greatest of such barriers are the idols. When Ibrahim removed this barrier by devoting himself entirely to Allah and denying the significance of anything else besides Him, he was able to achieve theophany (Tajalli). Such Divine manifestation, however, adds Razi, was not with the physical eyes, rather, with the inner vision. It was, in fact, this inner vision, that helped Ibrahim to construct the argument that he presented to his people, as recounted in the following verses.
    Commenting on the use of the word ‘nuriy,' Razi quotes Imam al Haramayn as commenting: Allah's knowledge is limitless. Indeed, His knowledge of every branch of knowledge has no end. For every substance of His creations can take endless forms. Therefore, the knowledge of His kingdom has no end. Its acquisition, therefore, by any of His creation in one go is out of the question. It has to be obtained in a gradual manner. Accordingly, Allah did not say ‘araynahu,' which would mean ‘We showed him,' (in the past, and implying an instantaneous showing), rather, He said, ‘nuriy,' (comprising present and future tenses) which has the sense of the act in continuance and, hence, gradualism accompanying it.
    129. Yaqin is the word in the text. It is that state of certitude of the heart which is obtained when all doubts have been removed with the help of evidences (Razi).
    `Abdul Rahman b. `Ayyash reports:


    صلى بنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ذات غداةٍ، فقال له قائل: ما رأيتك أسفرَ وجهًا منك الغداة! قال: ومالي، وقد تبدّى لي ربّي في أحسن صورة، فقال: فيم يختصم الملأ الأعلى، يا محمد؟ قلت: أنت أعلم [يا رب] ! فوضع يده بين كتفي فوجدت بردَها بين ثدييّ، فعلمت ما في السماوات والأرض. ثم تلا هذه الآية:"وكذلك نري إبراهيم ملكوت السماوات والأرض وليكون من الموقنين"


    "One day the Prophet did his morning Prayer with us. Someone remarked, ‘I have never seen your face as bright as this morning.’ He replied, ‘Why not! My Lord came to me in the best of forms. He said, “Muhammad! What do you think the angels are arguing among themselves about?' I said, ‘You know better.' So He placed His Hands over my shoulders, and I knew all that is in the heavens and the earth.' Then the Prophet recited this verse: "That is how We showed Ibrahim the kingdom of the heavens and the earth so that he might be of those who firmly believe" (Ibn Jarir).
    Ibn Kathir reports another version of this report known as Hadith al Manam as found in Ahmad and Tirmidhi (who rates it sahih). It is narrated by Mu`adh ibn Jabal. This version has the words ‘and I felt the coldness of His hands descending down to my breast' added after ‘So He placed His Hands over my shoulders.'

    فَلَمَّا جَنَّ عَلَيْهِ اللَّيْلُ رَأَىٰ كَوْكَبًا ۖ قَالَ هَٰذَا رَبِّي ۖ فَلَمَّا أَفَلَ قَالَ لَا أُحِبُّ الْآفِلِينَ (76)

    6|76| When night covered him (with darkness) he beheld a star.130 He said, ‘This is my Lord.' (But) when it set he remarked, ‘I do not like those that set?'


    130. The Qur'an has used the word kawkab, which is applicable both to planets as well as stars. We have translated the word as star following the generally understood meaning of the ancients who did not differentiate between stars and planets, calling the former as fixed stars and the latter as moving stars. But the allusion seems to be to a planet, either, as Majid has written, "... Jupiter (Marduk), the chief god," or, "Venus (Ishtar) the chief goddess, of Babylonia." Modern archaeological researches, Majid adds in his Urdu commentary, confirms the opinion of our earliest scholars that of the celestial objects it were Jupiter and Venus that were worshipped in the ancient times (Au.).

    فَلَمَّا رَأَى الْقَمَرَ بَازِغًا قَالَ هَٰذَا رَبِّي ۖ فَلَمَّا أَفَلَ قَالَ لَئِنْ لَمْ يَهْدِنِي رَبِّي لَأَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الضَّالِّينَ (77)

    6|77| Then, when he saw the moon coming up,131 he said, ‘This is my Lord.'132 (But) when it disappeared he said, ‘Unless my Lord guides me, I shall surely be of a people unguided.'


    131. Majid quotes: ‘Temples to the moon god are found in all the large cities of Babylonia and Assyria. (EBr. XX, p. 703). Ur, the Chaldean capital, ‘was an ancient seat of lunar worship.' (JE. XII, p. 380). ‘The great temple of the Third Dynasty at Ur was dedicated to the Moon Goddess. The temple was the abode of the patron city, and the deity was its appendage: the chief priest as the representative of the deity was the ruler of the city and state' (Gregory, op. cit., p. 13).
    132. It is not necessary that the sighting of the star and the moon should have happened on the same night, with the sun sighted on the following morning. Rather, as Alusi has pointed out, the episode could have well run through several nights (Thanwi).

    فَلَمَّا رَأَى الشَّمْسَ بَازِغَةً قَالَ هَٰذَا رَبِّي هَٰذَا أَكْبَرُ ۖ فَلَمَّا أَفَلَتْ قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ إِنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِمَّا تُشْرِكُونَ (78)

    6|78| Then, as he saw the sun rising he said, ‘This is my Lord. This is the largest.'133 (But) when it went down, he cried out, ‘My people! I am quit of what you associate (with Allah).134


    133. "In ancient Babylonia the sun was worshipped from innumerical antiquity. The ideogram of the sun, like that of the moon, in the Babylonian language is always preceded by a determinative which implies divinity ... There was no deity of the pantheon whose worship enjoyed an equally continued popularity from the earliest to the latest time both in Babylonia and Assyria" (FWN. I, pp. 529 530) Majid.
    134. Note the words: "I am quit of what ‘you' associate, implying that Ibrahim himself never committed that sin (Majidi).
    Mawdudi presents the summary of conclusions which Sir Leonard Wooley arrived at as a result of the researches embodied in his work, Abraham (London, 1935).
    "It is estimated that around 2100 B.C., which is now generally accepted by scholars as the time of the advent of Abraham, the population of the city of Ur was ... maybe five hundred thousand. The city was a large industrial and commercial metropolis. Merchandise was brought to Ur from places as far away as Palmer and Nilgiri in one direction, and in the other it had developed trade relations with Anatolia. The state, of which this city was the capital, extended a little beyond the boundaries of modern Iraq in the north, and exceeded its present borders further to the west. The great majority of the population were traders and craftsmen.... Interest was rampant among them and their devotion to money making seemed all absorbing...
    "In the inscription of Ur there are references to about five thousand deities. Each city had its own deity. Each city had a chief deity which it considered its chief protector and, therefore, that deity was considered worthy of greater reverence than all the others. The chief deity of Ur was Nannar (the moon god)... , and it is for this reason that the city later became known as Kamarina (Qamar is the Arabic word for moon: Z.I.Ansari). The other major city was Larsa, which replaced Ur as the capital of the kingdom. Its chief deity was Shamash (the sun god). Under these deities there were a myriad of minor deities which had generally been chosen from among the heavenly bodies stars and planets. People considered them responsible for granting their innumerable minor prayers. Idols had been carved in the image of these celestial and terrestrial gods and goddesses and were made objects of ritual worship.
    "The idol of Nannar had been placed in a magnificent building on the top of the highest hill. Close to it was the temple of Nin Gal, the wife of Nannar. The temple of Nannar resembled a royal palace. Every night a female worshipper went to its bedroom, adorned as a bride. A great number of women had been consecrated in the name of this deity and their position was virtually that of religious prostitutes. The woman who would sacrifice her virginity for the sake of her ‘god' was held in great esteem. For a woman to give herself to some unrelated person ‘for the sake of god' was considered as a means to salvation. Needless to say, it was generally the priests who made most use of the institution.
    "Nannar was not merely a deity, but the biggest landlord, the biggest trader, the biggest industrialist and the most powerful ruler. Many orchards, buildings and huge estates had been consecrated to his temple. In addition to this, cereals, milk, gold, cloth, etc., were brought as offerings to the temple by peasants, landlords and merchants, and there was a large staff in the temple to receive the offerings. Many a factory had been established on behalf of the temple. Large scale trading was also carried out on its behalf. All these activities were conducted by the priests in the name of the deity. Moreover, the country's main court was also located in the temple. The priests functioned as judges and their Judgments were equated with those of God. The authority of the royal family was derived from Nannar. The concept was that Nannar was the true sovereign and that the ruler of the country governed merely on his behalf. Because of this relationship, the king himself was raised to the rank of a deity and was worshipped..."
    To the above account, although a bit ingenious, Mawdudi adds his own comments:
    "If the conclusions of these archaeological researches are correct, it becomes quite evident that polytheism did not consist merely of a set of religious beliefs and polytheistic rites, it rather provided the foundation on which the entire order of economic, cultural, political and social life rested. Likewise, the monotheistic mission which was undertaken by Abraham was not merely directed against the practice of idol worship. It had far wider implications, so much so that it affected the position of the royal family both as rulers and deities. It also affected the social, economic and political status and interests of the priestly class, the aristocracy in general, and in fact the entire fabric of the social life of the kingdom. To accept the teachings of Abraham meant that the entire edifice of the existing society be pulled down and raised anew on the basis of belief in One God. Hence, as soon as Abraham launched his mission, ordinary people, as well as the privileged classes, ordinary devotees, as well as Nimrod, rose at once to oppose and suppress it."

    إِنِّي وَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِيَ لِلَّذِي فَطَرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ حَنِيفًا ۖ وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ (79)

    6|79| I set my face, in pure faith, toward Him who originated the heavens and the earth. And I am not of the associators.'135


    135. The episode tells us that there is no contradiction between a man entirely devoted to the Hereafter and yet engaging himself in debates and polemics, so long as he does not commit excesses devoting himself entirely to this affair (Thanwi).
    Differences in opinion seem to have surfaced early over the nature of the episode enunciated here, whether, it was some loud thinking on the part of Ibrahim trying to figure out who his Lord was, or, was it an inductive method devised to convince the pagans of their folly. Ibn Jarir, following the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, believes that it was some loud thinking. (Rashid Rida is surprised at Ibn Jarir's preference here). But the great majority of commentators have believed, in the words of Yusuf Ali, that "his statements maybe seen as premises of his arguments against Polytheism rather than as stages in his enlightenment." Ibn Kathir also thinks that it was a novel method in polemics and not an inductive mental exercise to arrive at a logical conclusion. (Abu Hayyan was of the same opinion: Sabuni; and so was Zajjaj: Shawkani). Imam Razi presents some twelve arguments to demonstrate that Ibrahim (asws) adopted this method for the sake of argument alone. Of the several possible interpretations, one stated by Razi is that the words, "this is my Lord" were derisive. Another possibility is that when he spoke those words he meant to say, "(So) this (according to your opinion) is my Lord (let us see whether it proves to be so)." (It is in the same vein as Allah's words on the Day of Judgment (16: 27): "Where are My partners [today]?": Majid from Bahar). Ibrahim had to take this indirect route because his people were in no mood to listen to any direct criticism. Alusi and Qurtubi are also of the same opinion and agree with the notion generally prevalent among the scholars that the Prophets have never been devotees to false gods at anytime in their lives. What strengthens the opinion that it was only a method contrived to send home the point that natural objects could not be gods, is that when his people began to dispute with him, after he had demonstrated their fallacy, Ibrahim asked them, ‘Do you dispute with me concerning Allah, while He has guided me?' This means arguments about the nature of the Deity had already taken place earlier to the episode. Further, the section ends with, "That is Our Argument that We bestowed upon Ibrahim against his people. We raise in ranks whom We will. Verily, your Lord is All wise, All knowing." The conclusion is, Ibrahim was already a Messenger when he presented the argument in a most telling manner. He was not probing into the dark and reflecting over a few celestial objects to figure out if they could be gods (Au.).

    وَحَاجَّهُ قَوْمُهُ ۚ قَالَ أَتُحَاجُّونِّي فِي اللَّهِ وَقَدْ هَدَانِ ۚ وَلَا أَخَافُ مَا تُشْرِكُونَ بِهِ إِلَّا أَنْ يَشَاءَ رَبِّي شَيْئًا ۗ وَسِعَ رَبِّي كُلَّ شَيْءٍ عِلْمًا ۗ أَفَلَا تَتَذَكَّرُونَ (80)

    6|80| His people disputed with him. He said, ‘Do you dispute with me concerning Allah, while He has guided me? I fear not those you associate with Him, unless Allah wills something (evil for me).136 My Lord has encompassed everything with His knowledge. Will you not then be admonished?


    136. This was Ibrahim's response to their threats that if he did not stop disparaging their deities, he would be chastised by those very deities (Ibn Jarir).

    وَكَيْفَ أَخَافُ مَا أَشْرَكْتُمْ وَلَا تَخَافُونَ أَنَّكُمْ أَشْرَكْتُمْ بِاللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ عَلَيْكُمْ سُلْطَانًا ۚ فَأَيُّ الْفَرِيقَيْنِ أَحَقُّ بِالْأَمْنِ ۖ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ (81)

    6|81| How shall I fear those you associate (with Allah) seeing that you fear not to associate with Allah that for which no evidence has been sent down to you? Therefore, which of the two parties is more deserving of peace? (Answer me that) if you have knowledge?'


    الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يَلْبِسُوا إِيمَانَهُمْ بِظُلْمٍ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمُ الْأَمْنُ وَهُمْ مُهْتَدُونَ (82)

    6|82| Those who believed and then did not adulterate their belief with transgression,137 such, for them is peace. They are the (rightly) guided.'138


    137. The word in the text is zulm. It was natural that it should alarm the Companions who were always very concerned about the state of their hearts. They went to the Prophet and asked (as in Bukhari’s following report):


    عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ لَمَّا نَزَلَتْ هَذِهِ الْآيَةُ {الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يَلْبِسُوا إِيمَانَهُمْ بِظُلْمٍ} شَقَّ ذَلِكَ عَلَى أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَقَالُوا أَيُّنَا لَمْ يَظْلِمْ نَفْسَهُ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَيْسَ كَمَا تَظُنُّونَ إِنَّمَا هُوَ كَمَا قَالَ لُقْمَانُ لِابْنِهِ {يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ{


    "Which of us does not transgress?" He replied: "It is the sin of association (shirk) that is alluded to. Have you not read Allah's words as spoken by Luqman to his son, ‘Surely, association (shirk) is a great transgression?'" (Ibn Jarir). Slightly differently worded, the hadith is in Bukhari also (Ibn Kathir).
    138. Jarir b. `Abdullah reports in a hadith preserved by Ahmad:


    خَرَجْنَا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَلَمَّا بَرَزْنَا مِنْ الْمَدِينَةِ إِذَا رَاكِبٌ يُوضِعُ نَحْوَنَا فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَأَنَّ هَذَا الرَّاكِبَ إِيَّاكُمْ يُرِيدُ قَالَ فَانْتَهَى الرَّجُلُ إِلَيْنَا فَسَلَّمَ فَرَدَدْنَا عَلَيْهِ فَقَالَ لَهُ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مِنْ أَيْنَ أَقْبَلْتَ قَالَ مِنْ أَهْلِي وَوَلَدِي وَعَشِيرَتِي قَالَ فَأَيْنَ تُرِيدُ قَالَ أُرِيدُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ فَقَدْ أَصَبْتَهُ قَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ عَلِّمْنِي مَا الْإِيمَانُ قَالَ تَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَتُقِيمُ الصَّلَاةَ وَتُؤْتِي الزَّكَاةَ وَتَصُومُ رَمَضَانَ وَتَحُجُّ الْبَيْتَ قَالَ قَدْ أَقْرَرْتُ قَالَ ثُمَّ إِنَّ بَعِيرَهُ دَخَلَتْ يَدُهُ فِي شَبَكَةِ جُرْذَانٍ فَهَوَى بَعِيرُهُ وَهَوَى الرَّجُلُ فَوَقَعَ عَلَى هَامَتِهِ فَمَاتَ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَلَيَّ بِالرَّجُلِ قَالَ فَوَثَبَ إِلَيْهِ عَمَّارُ بْنُ يَاسِرٍ وَحُذَيْفَةُ فَأَقْعَدَاهُ فَقَالَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قُبِضَ الرَّجُلُ قَالَ فَأَعْرَضَ عَنْهُمَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُمَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَمَا رَأَيْتُمَا إِعْرَاضِي عَنْ الرَّجُلَيْنِ فَإِنِّي رَأَيْتُ مَلَكَيْنِ يَدُسَّانِ فِي فِيهِ مِنْ ثِمَارِ الْجَنَّةِ فَعَلِمْتُ أَنَّهُ مَاتَ جَائِعًا ثُمَّ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ هَذَا وَاللَّهِ مِنْ الَّذِينَ قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ {الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يَلْبِسُوا إِيمَانَهُمْ بِظُلْمٍ أُولَئِكَ لَهُمْ الْأَمْنُ{


    "We left Madinah with the Prophet heading for a campaign. We were not far out of town when we observed someone approaching us. The Prophet said: ‘The rider seems to be intending us.' When the man came nearer he greeted us. The Prophet asked him: ‘Where are you coming from?' He replied, ‘I am coming from my family, children and the tribe.' The Prophet asked him, ‘Where are you going?' He replied, ‘I am looking for the Prophet.' The Prophet said, ‘You have found him.' He asked, ‘Messenger of Allah. What is faith?' The Prophet replied, ‘It is to believe that there is no deity save Allah, that Muhammad is His Messenger, to establish the Prayer, pay the zakah, fast during Ramadan and make pilgrimage to the House.' He said, ‘I accept that.' After that it should happen that his camel stepped into a desert rodent hole. In its struggle the beast threw him down and then itself fell upon him. The Prophet ordered, ‘Get the man out.' `Ammar b. Yasir and Hudhayfah b. al Yaman pulled the man out (from under the camel). They cried out, ‘He is dead, Messenger of Allah.' The Prophet turned away. After a pause he said, ‘Did you notice that I turned away? That was because I saw angels feeding him with fruits of Paradise. I guessed he died hungry. He is one of those about whom Allah said, "Those who believed and then did not adulterate their faith with transgression, such, for them is peace" Ibn Kathir.

    وَتِلْكَ حُجَّتُنَا آتَيْنَاهَا إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَلَىٰ قَوْمِهِ ۚ نَرْفَعُ دَرَجَاتٍ مَنْ نَشَاءُ ۗ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ حَكِيمٌ عَلِيمٌ (83)

    6|83| That was Our Argument that We bestowed upon Ibrahim against his people. We raise in ranks whom We will.139 Verily, your Lord is All wise, All knowing.


    139. The implication is that the raising of ranks was the result of the arguments, or evidences, that Ibrahim was given (Razi).
    Asad adds: "The description of Abraham's reasoning as God's own argument implies that it was divinely inspired, and is therefore valid for the followers of the Qur'an as well."

    وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ إِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ ۚ كُلًّا هَدَيْنَا ۚ وَنُوحًا هَدَيْنَا مِنْ قَبْلُ ۖ وَمِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِهِ دَاوُودَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ وَأَيُّوبَ وَيُوسُفَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَهَارُونَ ۚ وَكَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ (84)

    6|84| (Consequently) We bestowed on him Ishaq and Ya`qub: each (of them) We guided; as We had earlier guided Nuh; and, out of his seed,140Da'ud, Sulayman, Ayyub, Yusuf, Musa and Harun. That is how We reward those who excel.

    140. Since Lut was not of the seed of Ibrahim, the pronoun in verse 84 can only refer to Nuh (asws). That is, Lut was a seed of Nuh Ibn Jarir.
    Nonetheless, some scholars believe the allusion by "his seed" is to Ibrahim. Ibn Abi Hatim has reported that once Hajjaj b. Yusuf sent for Yahya b. Ya`mar. He told him: "I have heard your claim that Hasan and Husayn are the Prophet's seed. It seems you say that the proof is in the Book of Allah. Now, I have read it from end to end but could not find anything to confirm that." Yahya b. Ya`mar read out this verse and said: "The verse says `Isa is the seed of Ibrahim. But `Isa had no father. So, he was Ibrahim's seed from the mother's side" (Ibn Kathir). A similar report is in Bayhaqi (Shawkani).
    Further, the Prophet himself once held Hasan by the hand and said: "This my son is a Sayyid (a true leader)" Ibn Kathir, Qurtubi.

    وَزَكَرِيَّا وَيَحْيَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَإِلْيَاسَ ۖ كُلٌّ مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ (85)

    6|85| And Zakariyyah, Yahya, `Isa and Ilyas:141 all (of them) of the righteous.


    141. Ibn Mas`ud held that Ilyas is another name of Idris. But, we know that Nuh himself was a seed of Idris. Therefore, the opinion of the genealogists sounds weightier who say that Ilyas was the son of Yasi, the son of Finhas, in the line of Musa Ibn Jarir.

    وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَالْيَسَعَ وَيُونُسَ وَلُوطًا ۚ وَكُلًّا فَضَّلْنَا عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ (86)

    6|86| And Isma`il, Al Yasa`, Yunus and Lut: all (of them) We favored above the rest of the world.142


    142. Although one hundred and twenty-four thousand Prophets and three hundred and thirteen Messengers have been raised on this earth, the Qur'an named a total of eighteen here at this point. Six more have been named elsewhere. Starting with Adam we list them here in order of their probable advent on the earth. Their probable Biblical names with approximate dates are given in brackets.
    (1) Adam, the first man and Prophet on earth.
    (2) Idris, an ancient Prophet. It is not certain if he was raised before or after Nuh.
    (3) Nuh [Noah, an ancient prophet, ancestor of Ibrahim, period unknown].
    (4) Ibrahim [Abraham, about 2100 B.C.].
    (5) Lut [Lot, a nephew of Ibrahim, about 2100 B.C.]
    (6) Isma`il [Ishmael, a son of Ibrahim].
    (7) Is haq, [Isaac, son of Ibrahim, 2060 1880 B.C.: Majid].
    (8) Ya`qub, also known as Israel, [Jacob, son of Ishaq, 2000 1850 B.C.: Majid].
    (9) Hud [about 2000 B.C.: Syed Sulayman, Hifzur Rahman].
    (10) Yusuf, [Joseph, son of Ya`qub, 1910 1800 B.C.: Majid].
    (11) Salih [about 1600 B.C.: Syed Sulayman].
    (12) Shu`ayb [period not established, but he is not the Shu`ayb of Musa].
    (13) Musa [Moses, 1520 1400 B.C.: Majid].
    (14) Harun [Aaron, Musa's brother].
    (15) Ayyub [Job, about 1300/1500 B.C.: Hifzur Rahman. But Syed Sulayman Nadwi has placed him between 700 and 1000 B.C].
    (16) Da'ud [David, d. 962 B.C.: Majid].
    (17) Sulayman, [Solomon, son of Da'ud, d. 932 B.C.: Majid].
    (18) Ilyas, same as Ilyasin of the Qur'an, [Elijah, 9th century B.C.: The New American Desk Encyclopedia].
    (19) Al Yasa` [Elisha, a successor of Elijah: Hifzur Rahman].
    (20) Yunus [Jonah, about 600 B.C.: Hifzur Rahman].
    (21) Zakariyyah [Zacharias, the caretaker of Maryam, around 30 years B.C.: Hifzur Rahman]. He is different from Zechariah of the OT who appeared in the sixth century B.C.
    (22) Yahya [John the Baptist, a contemporary of `Isa, but d. 30 C.E.].
    (23) `Isa [Jesus, son of Mary, 4 B.C.: an error occurred in dating him], and
    (24) Muhammad, [born about 569 years After Christ].
    The Qur'an also speaks of a Prophet in verse 246 of surah al Baqarah. But it does not name him. It is widely believed that his name was Shamwil. Da`ud succeeded him as a Prophet.
    The hadith literature adds another name: that of Shith who appeared immediately after Adam. A report of Abu Dhar in Ibn Hibban says he was given 50 scriptural Books.
    The above would make the list of Prophets and Messengers named either in the Qur'an or in the hadith as 26.
    In addition to the above, two other names occur in the Qur'an, with strong probability that they were Prophets: (1) Dhu al Kifl and (2) `Uzayr [Ezra of the Bible, 5th century before Christ, a contemporary of Nebuchadnezzar].
    Finally, some others have been hinted at as Prophets by the Qur'an, such as (1) Yusha` b. al Nun [Joshua, the successor of Musa. He is probably the young companion of Musa mentioned in surah al Kahaf: Hifzur Rahman]. Some historians think he too was a Prophet. (2) Hizqil, [Ezekiel, probably the one involved in the episode stated in verse 243 of surah al Baqarah. See note no. 514, and (3) Maryam, the mother of Jesus, who is considered a Prophetess by some scholars (Au.).

    وَمِنْ آبَائِهِمْ وَذُرِّيَّاتِهِمْ وَإِخْوَانِهِمْ ۖ وَاجْتَبَيْنَاهُمْ وَهَدَيْنَاهُمْ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ (87)

    6|87| And, of their fathers, offspring, and brothers: We chose them (also) and guided them to a straight path.


    ذَٰلِكَ هُدَى اللَّهِ يَهْدِي بِهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ ۚ وَلَوْ أَشْرَكُوا لَحَبِطَ عَنْهُمْ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (88)

    6|88| That is Allah's guidance. He guides therewith whom He will of His slaves. But, had they declared associates (to Allah), all they did would have come to naught.143


    143. Coming as it does from a Sufi commentator, these words acquire special significance: In this verse is the refutation of those ignorant people who believe that some men are dearer to Allah than others simply because they are what they are, such as, for instance, Muhammad, and a few Awliya' Allah whom they name. An implication drawn from this belief is that those men were, so to say, beyond the Law. Whereas, the verse makes it clear that none, not even Prophets and Messengers, were dear to Allah for their own sake. If they were dear to Him, it was because of their qualities, such as, to name one, a firm commitment to Tawhid: "Had they associated (others with Allah), all (the good things) they did would have come to naught" (Thanwi).

    أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحُكْمَ وَالنُّبُوَّةَ ۚ فَإِنْ يَكْفُرْ بِهَا هَٰؤُلَاءِ فَقَدْ وَكَّلْنَا بِهَا قَوْمًا لَيْسُوا بِهَا بِكَافِرِينَ (89)

    6|89| Those were men whom We vouchsafed the Book, (sound) Judgment144 and Prophethood. Yet, if these (people) reject them,145 then, already We have entrusted it to a people who reject them not.146


    144. Taking cue from Mujahid, Ibn Jarir interprets the hukm of the text as the power of intellect that is acquired through a study of revelation.
    145. Qatadah has said that by the word "them" the allusion is to the eighteen prophets named earlier; in other words, belief in them and in their message (Ibn Jarir).
    146. Ibn Jarir reports that Ibn `Abbas, Dahhak, Qatadah and others were of the opinion that those who were entrusted the message after the Quraysh rejected it, were the Ansar. (And the Muhajirun: Ibn Kathir). Nonetheless, Ibn Jarir himself believes it is the prophets and messengers who were entrusted with the message.
    After stating his own opinion that it is the Muhajirun and Ansar who have been alluded to, Rashid Rida writes an account of a dream he experienced: "I found myself in my hometown Tarabulus in Syria in the company of a few people of the town, well dressed in their caps and `imamah (head gear). A person well known there for his courage and nobility happened to step in. He was introduced to us. We greeted him and the others who were accompanying him. These new comers surprised us with a news item. They said that the time had come for the fulfillment of the prophecy contained in the verse: ‘Yet, if these (people) reject these, then, already We have entrusted it to a people who reject them not.' They asked us: ‘Do you know the latest news?' We said: ‘No.' They said: ‘Well! This is very important. Europe is talking about it. Their papers carry the news.' I can vaguely remember that they were carrying some newspapers with them. Then they named one of the Ministers of the Ottoman government, who was taking personal interest in the affair and had travelled (somewhere) in that connection. I began to wonder about the affair. Why was the minister travelling? Was he going to Europe? Had Allah subdued the hearts of those other than its present patrons? These and other questions arose in my mind and I wanted to ask some of those in whose company I had found myself. But then I woke up. It was fajr time."
    Rashid Rida does not write the year he saw the dream. But a fair guess is that it was somewhere around 1910. Nothing much happened during his own life time by way of an interpretation of the dream. However, since the beginning of the last quarter of this century, and more markedly since late 80's, a change in the atmosphere can easily be discerned. On the one hand, contradictory currents seem to be sweeping through the Islamic body politic: both of the rejection of Islam, as well as of a return to it. If there is re awakening in a part of the Islamic world, there is every sign of its rejection in another part. In fact, this trend can be noticed in every cross section of the Muslim society however small, and whichever the country or region examined. On the other hand, despite a massive drive, since over three hundred years, by the Orientalists, Western scholars, and now the media, to present a distorted figure of Islam, Islam seems to be more and more acceptable to the people of their countries now than it was ever before. Tens of thousands of people are entering Islam every year in Europe and North America. Starting from a zero representation of the local population a few decades earlier, by now about one to two percent of the population has embraced Islam in those countries. It looks as though for every person rejecting Islam in the Islamic world, there is someone in the West accepting it: Islam is neither Eastern nor Western, yet, it is a sorry affair indeed in the East, the seat of Islam. Is it possible that some decisions have been made in the Heavens (Au.)?

    أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللَّهُ ۖ فَبِهُدَاهُمُ اقْتَدِهْ ۗ قُلْ لَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا ۖ إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرَىٰ لِلْعَالَمِينَ (90)

    6|90| Those were a people whom Allah guided; therefore, follow their guidance.147 (As for these) Say, ‘I do not ask you wages for it. It is nothing but a reminder to the worlds.'


    147. That is, the Prophet was to follow them in the principles of religion and moral precepts which have remained unchanged throughout the ages (Zamakhshari).
    Ibn `Abbas has said that following the instruction to follow the previous prophets, our Prophet used to prostrate himself at verse 24 of surah Sad, which reports Da'ud as having prostrated himself. The report is in Bukhari (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    Qurtubi writes: The verse is a proof that, as the great majority of legists have declared, the Law of the previous prophets so long as not annulled by Islam is the Law for this Ummah. Apart from this verse, another verse also substantiates this principle. It is verse 45 of surah Al Ma'idah:


    وَكَتَبْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ فِيهَا أَنَّ النَّفْسَ بِالنَّفْسِ وَالْعَيْنَ بِالْعَيْنِ وَالْأَنْفَ بِالْأَنْفِ وَالْأُذُنَ بِالْأُذُنِ وَالسِّنَّ بِالسِّنِّ وَالْجُرُوحَ قِصَاصٌ [المائدة : 45]


    "And We decreed therein (i.e., in the Tawrah) for them: a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth and for wounds a (suitable) retaliation."
    Apart from this, there is no other verse in the Qur'an that speaks of Qisas (the law of Just Retribution). Since the Prophet's own institution of retaliation was following this verse (which was originally a Tawrah prescription), it can be deduced that the Shar` of the past prophets is the Shar` of this Ummah, so long as nothing new has been revealed and so long as there is no contradiction whatsoever.

    وَمَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ إِذْ قَالُوا مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ بَشَرٍ مِنْ شَيْءٍ ۗ قُلْ مَنْ أَنْزَلَ الْكِتَابَ الَّذِي جَاءَ بِهِ مُوسَىٰ نُورًا وَهُدًى لِلنَّاسِ ۖ تَجْعَلُونَهُ قَرَاطِيسَ تُبْدُونَهَا وَتُخْفُونَ كَثِيرًا ۖ وَعُلِّمْتُمْ مَا لَمْ تَعْلَمُوا أَنْتُمْ وَلَا آبَاؤُكُمْ ۖ قُلِ اللَّهُ ۖ ثُمَّ ذَرْهُمْ فِي خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُونَ (91)

    6|91| They estimated not Allah in a manner He deserves to be estimated148 when they said, ‘Allah never revealed anything to a mortal.'149 Ask them, ‘Who revealed the Book that Musa brought: a Light and a guidance for mankind that you make parchments of which you reveal, but, concealing a great part?150 You were taught (therewith) that which neither you nor your forefathers knew (before the revelation).' Say, ‘(It was) Allah (who revealed).' Then let them alone plunged in their playful discourses.151


    148. That is, they did not assign to Allah the Greatness that is due to Him when they said that He did not reveal to any mortal (Ibn Jarir).
    149. They were either some Jews (Malik b. Sayf, Finhas and others), or the Quraysh who denied that Allah revealed anything to anyone (Ibn Jarir).
    It is reported that once Malik b. Sayf and some other Jews went up to see the Prophet. He chided Malik: "I adjure you by the One who revealed the Tawrah if it is not stated therein that God hates every fat Rabbi. Now, you are a fat Rabbi who fattened himself on the money the Jews donated you." Malik's companions laughed at this. He turned to `Umar and said in his anger: "Allah never revealed anything to any mortal." (According to some reports, one of the Jews (turned to him in surprise and) questioned him if God had not revealed even to Moses. He replied, "To no one whatsoever"). Once amongst themselves, the Jews reproached him (for denying revelation to Moses). He tried to explain that he had only said that in anger. But, displeased with his reply, the Jews relieved him of his leadership role and conferred it on Ka`b b. al Ashraf (Kashshaf and others).
    150. Qurtubi remarks: Basing their opinion on this verse, the scholars disapprove of bringing out in a book form, selected parts of the Qur'anic text.
    The reproach is directed either against the collection of the holy writ in "parchments" or against "collection" itself. If the allusion is to the former, then, as Qurtubi has pointed out, it was criticized because collection in "parchments" (i.e., several parchments, rather than a single volume) helped the Jews to present to the public whatever they though fit, concealing the rest.
    Nevertheless, if, by the words, "you put them in parchments" the criticism is directed against the "act" of committing the scriptures to writing, then, two explanations are possible. First, the Jews were required to commit the revelation to memory and not "simply" put them into parchments. With several people in possession of master copies, viz., the memorized word, interpolation would have been difficult. Second, the Jews put them in several parchments, rather than making one whole book of it. Had they done that, once again interpolations, (and not only concealment, as Qurtubi has pointed out) although remaining a possibility would have certainly become more difficult (Au.).
    Asad adds: "This passage is obviously addressed to those followers of the Bible who pay lip service to its sacred character as a revealed scripture but, in reality, treat it as "mere leaves of paper" that is, as something that is of little consequence to their own conduct: for, although they pretend to admire the moral truth which it confirms, they conceal from themselves the fact that their own lives have remained empty of those truths."
    Yusuf Ali comments: "The message to Moses had unity: it was one Book. The present Old Testament is a collection of odd books ("sheets") of various kinds... In this way you can make a show, but there is no unity, and much of the spirit of the original is lost or concealed or overlaid. The same applies to the New Testament."
    151. The seriousness with which the learned Orientalists, the Arabists and Islamists, Jews and Christians, rabbis, priests and other holy men as well as the unblest, apply themselves to Islamic disciplines with colored visions, a penetrating eye but on the ludicrous, a search in depth, but for the odd opinion, connecting the unrelated with specious logic, unearthing what the Muslims have long discarded as non sensical, to produce works bathed in erudition, displaying a depth of unmatched perception, but steeped in such dishonesty, that any decent man would place them aside in revulsion after three paragraphs of reading, has perhaps never been described as succinctly as in words, "plunged in playful discourses" (Au.).

    وَهَٰذَا كِتَابٌ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ مُبَارَكٌ مُصَدِّقُ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَلِتُنْذِرَ أُمَّ الْقُرَىٰ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهَا ۚ وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِهِ ۖ وَهُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَاتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ (92)

    6|92| This is a Book We have sent: blessed,152 confirming that which was before it, so that you might (O Muhammad) warn the inhabitants of the Mother of the Cities and those who are around it.153 Those who have faith in the Hereafter,154 believe in this (Qur'an), and perform their Prayers (regularly and spiritedly).155


    152. "I, Muhammad b. `Umar al Razi the writer of these lines, say: I have done a lot of work on various disciplines of knowledge. But, I must admit that I did not receive blessings in consequence of them, in any measure as I received for working on this project (i.e., the commentary of the Qur'an)" Al Kabir.
    Alusi adds: By Allah's grace we have received multiple rewards in this world itself for being in the service of the Qur'an, and hope not to be denied them in the Hereafter too.
    153. Ibn `Abbas has said that by Umm al Qura, the allusion is to Makkah and by the words, "those around it," it is to the rest of the world. Qatadah has added that Makkah has been called Umm al Qura because the earth was stretched out from this point (Ibn Jarir).
    Early reports tell us that the earth was originally covered with water. When the waters began to recede, it was Makkah which appeared first (Shabbir).
    An additional reason could be that it is, in the words of Lane (Majid), the greatest of towns in dignity.
    Rashid Rida adds: Contending with this verse some of the ancient Jews and others argued that the Prophet was sent only for the Arabs. But there are several verses of the Qur'an that refute this notion. In this chapter itself Allah said in verse 19:


    وَأُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنُ لِأُنْذِرَكُمْ بِهِ وَمَنْ بَلَغَ [الأنعام : 19]


    "And this Qur'an has been revealed unto me in

    order that I might warn you and whosever it reaches."
    And He said (25: 1):


    تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ لِيَكُونَ لِلْعَالَمِينَ نَذِيرًا [الفرقان : 1]


    "Blessed is He Who sent down the Criterion unto His slave so that he might be a Warner unto the worlds (of men and Jinn)."
    And (34: 28):


    وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا كَافَّةً لِلنَّاسِ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا [سبأ : 28]


    "And We have not sent you (O Muhammad) but unto whole of the mankind: an evangelist and a warner."
    The Orientalists have also tried to argue that the Prophet was sent to the Arabs alone. But, firstly, one wonders why these knowledgeable people should not first announce their conviction that he was truly a Prophet, even if only for the Arabs? Secondly, why should they be so generous to the Arabs of the Middle East when, if they are to adhere to this text alone, the Prophet could not have been a Prophet for anyone beyond Makkah and a few villages around it, excluding even Tayif to which the Prophet seems to have vainly travelled (Au.)?
    Sayyid Qutb adds: "The Orientalists severe this verse of the Qur'an from the rest of it to argue that the Prophet aimed only at Makkah and its surroundings at the beginning of his mission. Subsequently, as his influence spread, he aspired to add the whole of the Arab Peninsula to his dominion. Finally, after his migration, his successes at establishing an Islamic state in Madinah led him to further expand upon the previous modest area of control. “But," adds Sayyid, "they have lied. For a Makkan revelation said in the earlier phase of his mission (21: 107) about the Prophet: "We have not sent you but a mercy unto the worlds." And, at another place the Qur'an said He said (34: 28): "We have not sent you but to the entire mankind, an evangelist and a warner." These verses were revealed when the Prophet's mission was still in the valleys of Makkah."
    154. Faith in the Hereafter is the central point of religion. Someone who does not fear standing before his Lord for the Reckoning, can never be religious (based on Zamakhshari).
    Sayyid Qutb writes: "Those who feel that there has to be a Hereafter where man should be punished or rewarded for his deeds, also believe in Allah and in the fact that there have to be Messengers from Him warning the people of that event. Accordingly, (when he appears) they have no difficulty in believing in him. Thereafter, they attend to their Prayers regularly because that is one thing that connects them with their Creator. Further, this act is symbolic of their acceptance of all that the revelation of Allah directs them to do."
    155. That is, belief in this Book as a revelation of Allah is not simply an opinion or an abstract idea on the part of those who believe in it. They are so serious about it that they follow its commands, so that, e.g., they perform the Prayers regularly (Au.).

    وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَىٰ عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا أَوْ قَالَ أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ وَلَمْ يُوحَ إِلَيْهِ شَيْءٌ وَمَنْ قَالَ سَأُنْزِلُ مِثْلَ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ ۗ وَلَوْ تَرَىٰ إِذِ الظَّالِمُونَ فِي غَمَرَاتِ الْمَوْتِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ بَاسِطُو أَيْدِيهِمْ أَخْرِجُوا أَنْفُسَكُمُ ۖ الْيَوْمَ تُجْزَوْنَ عَذَابَ الْهُونِ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ غَيْرَ الْحَقِّ وَكُنْتُمْ عَنْ آيَاتِهِ تَسْتَكْبِرُونَ (93)

    6|93| And who can do greater wrong than he who fastened a lie upon Allah, or said, ‘It has been revealed to me,' while nothing has been revealed to him?156 Or who said, ‘I can reveal the like of what Allah has revealed?'157 If you could but see the wrong doers in the agonies of death, angels stretching their hands (saying), ‘Yield up your souls. Today you shall be delivered a chastisement of humiliation because of the untruth you were fastening upon Allah and waxing proud against His signs.'


    156. Although several persons, e.g., Ibn Abi Sa`d b. Sarh, Musaylimah the liar, and Ansi, have been named to refute whom these verses were revealed, it is apparent that they are open in application to whoever uttered these kind of blasphemies (Ibn Jarir). Especially, in view of the fact, adds Rashid Rida, that this chapter is Makkan whereas the above false prophets did not make their claim but after they had learnt of the Prophet's sickness just before his death.
    Alusi and Thanwi have pointed out that included in the reproach are those of the quacks who, camouflaged as godly men, claim that they are inspired, or experience visions, or see true dreams, and so forth, although, nothing of that sort happens to them.
    157. It is widely reported that `Abdullah ibn Abi Sa`d b. Sarh was one of those who was entrusted to write the Qur'anic revelations. Now, when the Prophet dictated, "the All hearing, the All Knowing" he would write down "the All knowing, the All wise." Once, when the verses concerning the creation of man (23: 24) were revealed and the Prophet (saws) recited them out, `Abdullah added, "Blessed is Allah, the best of Creators." The Prophet said: "Write that down, since those were the words revealed to me." At this, `Abdullah told himself that if Muhammad was truthful in his claim to prophethood, then he could also reveal what had been revealed to him. So he turned a renegade and joined the pagans at Makkah; although, subsequently he again became a Muslim. However, it is believed that he was the cause of revelation of these verses (Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari, and others).
    Qurtubi adds: Other reports tell us that `Abdullah b. Sa`d did not become a Muslim by himself. In fact, he was one of those four whom the Prophet had ordered killed at the fall of Makkah, even if found holding the drapes of Ka`ba. But `Abdullah hid himself with `Uthman ibn `Affan to whom he was related. `Uthman brought him out only after things had cooled off a bit after the fall of Makkah. When he presented him to the Prophet and sought his acquittal, the Prophet stayed quiet for a while. Finally, he said he was pardoning him. Later, (after `Uthman had left: Ibn Sa`d) he remarked to his Companions: "If I was slow in saying yes, it was in the hope that one of you would kill him." They asked: "Why did you not signal with your eye?" He replied: "A Prophet does not signal with his eye." None the less, subsequently `Abdullah became a good Muslim. Nothing reproachable was ever noticed of him afterward. Subsequently, at the time of his own caliphate, `Uthman appointed him a governor of Egypt. (Earlier, `Umar had also appointed him a governor: Ibn Hisham). `Abdullah waged jihad and subdued Ifriqiyyah in 27 A.H. He also brought Nubiya under Muslim control by 31 A.H. Later, he fought against the Romans in the famous battle of the Suwariyy in 34 A.H. But, when he returned to Egypt, political upheavals had begun, culminating in the murder of `Uthman. One report says he chose to stay put in Ramallah (Palestine), refusing to side with either `Ali or Mu`awiyyah. He prayed to Allah that he might die while doing his Prayers. Accordingly, one day he began his fajr Prayer. He turned right and said his taslim. Then he turned left to say his taslim, but could not. He fell dead.
    Rashid Rida however disagrees that `Abdullah ibn Abi Sarh was the cause of the revelation of this verse. He says the words "the All hearing, the All Knowing" do not occur in the Makkan chapters nor do the words "the All knowing, the All wise" or the words "the All mighty, the All wise," except in surah Luqman which was revealed after this surah, i.e., surah al An`am. So far as the narration goes about `Abdullah ibn Abi Sarh rejoining with words: "Blessed is Allah, the best of creators," Rashid Rida adds, that he did not find this report narrated in any of the Ma`thur tafsir books (i.e., those works that rely only on report). However, we know that sometimes `Umar correctly anticipated certain revelations. So did Mu`adh (ibn Jabal). It is possible that Sa`d b. Abi Sarh was led to doubt by their utterances, made a statement of similar nature (i.e., I can reveal what Allah has revealed) and turned renegade. But, during the time he was writing the revelation, none of those words that have been attributed to him were revealed. Rashid Rida also states that `Abdullah ibn Abi Sarh had re-embraced Islam before the fall of Makkah. (See narration about him in surah al-Anfal, under verse 72: Au).

    وَلَقَدْ جِئْتُمُونَا فُرَادَىٰ كَمَا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَتَرَكْتُمْ مَا خَوَّلْنَاكُمْ وَرَاءَ ظُهُورِكُمْ ۖ وَمَا نَرَىٰ مَعَكُمْ شُفَعَاءَكُمُ الَّذِينَ زَعَمْتُمْ أَنَّهُمْ فِيكُمْ شُرَكَاءُ ۚ لَقَدْ تَقَطَّعَ بَيْنَكُمْ وَضَلَّ عَنْكُمْ مَا كُنْتُمْ تَزْعُمُونَ (94)

    6|94| Today, you have all come to Us alone, as We created you at first.158 You left behind your backs the bounties that We bestowed on you.159 We do not see with you the intercessors that you assumed were your associates (in Me). The ties have severed between you, and lost are all those (ideas) that you fancied.160


    158. It is said that Nadr b. al Harth used to say that Al Lat and Al `Uzza (pre Islamic deities) would intercede for him. Allah revealed this in refutation (Ibn Jarir, Alusi and others). The report is in Ibn Abi Hatim and others (Shawkani).
    159. A sahih report (in Muslim: H. Ibrahim) says:


    يَقُولُ ابْنُ آدَمَ مَالِى مَالِى وَهَلْ لَكَ مِنْ مَالِكَ إِلاَّ مَا أَكَلْتَ فَأَفْنَيْتَ أَوْ لَبِسْتَ فَأَبْلَيْتَ أَوْ تَصَدَّقْتَ فَأَمْضَيْتَ وَمَا سِوَى ذَلِكَ فَهُوَ ذَاهِبٌ وَتَارِكُهُ لِلنَّاسِ


    "Son of Adam says, ‘My wealth. My wealth.' But, do you own anything of your wealth except that which you ate and finished off, or dressed yourself and wore it out, or gave in charity and saved it? As for the rest, you will be going away and leaving it to the people" (Ibn Kathir).
    160. All pagan religions are built on two cardinal principles: sacrifice and intercession (Rashid Rida).

    إِنَّ اللَّهَ فَالِقُ الْحَبِّ وَالنَّوَىٰ ۖ يُخْرِجُ الْحَيَّ مِنَ الْمَيِّتِ وَمُخْرِجُ الْمَيِّتِ مِنَ الْحَيِّ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ تُؤْفَكُونَ (95)

    6|95| Verily, Allah is the Splitter of the grains and the date stone;161 He brings forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living.162 That is your God. Where then, are you being driven?


    161. Although Suddi, Qatadah and Ibn Zayd have said that the splitting refers to opening up of the grain and the date palm stone to throw out the root and the stalk, Mujahid, Dahhak and Abu Malik have said that it refers to the division of the grain and the date stone into two halves by a line running through them. Ibn `Abbas however has said that faliq is equivalent of khaliq. But the later part of the verse, which speaks of the bringing forth of the living from the dead and the dead from the living leads us to believe that falaq refers to the act of splitting the seed for its sprouting (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Animal life depends entirely on plants. Human life on the other hand depends both on plant as well as animal life. Thus both, the animal as well as the human lives, depend on plant life. In turn, plant life depends on the splitting of two kinds of seeds: grains and seeds. The words therefore, "Allah is the Splitter of the grain and the date stone," embody a great amount of meaning. Apart from that there are several signs of Allah in the splitting of the seed. Firstly, the shoot that emerges is extremely tender. A child can pluck it off. Yet, it splits the ground although placed at a foot's depth in hard soil. Were a man to try piercing the ground with his finger a foot deep, he would fail to do that in as many days as the shoot does it. Secondly, the seed has two ends. From one end grows what will become its root. Its biological function is different from the shoot that sprouts from the other end which becomes the stem of the plant on the surface of the earth. Now, not only the two ends know their respective functions: the lower sucking up water and minerals, the upper engaging itself in photosynthesis, but also both seem to "know" their places in the system: one below, into the ground and the other above into the air. If the seed is placed upside down, the lower end that throws out the shoot takes a 180 degree turn to arrive at the surface. The other one too takes a U turn to go into the earth instead of ending up on the surface. Deep there inside the earth, what tells the seed that it has been placed upside down in the ground and that its two ends must proceed in the opposite directions? Experiments show that in many instances a root begins to re orient within 10 to 30 minutes of being turned upside down. In some instances a seed placed sideways knows within 12 seconds that it has been re oriented.
    "The scientists have discovered that there is a tiny instrument at the tip of the seed to determine the gravitational pull of the earth. But the "brain" seems to be somewhere else. For, a decapped root, although initially unable to re orient itself, re produces the tip within 14 to 22 hours, to help it regain its power of re orientation. In fact, in some laboratory experiments involving mutant plants, even the absence of the instrument that responds to gravity the amyloplasts did not make a difference. The plant still oriented itself in the right direction: as if there was, in addition to the amyloplasts, an alternative gravity sensing mechanism.
    "Starting with Darwin who perhaps first wrote on the subject, the scientists have progressively "discovered" the instrument and the mechanism that guides the root to the deeper earth, and how the plants respond to presence or absence (as in space experiments) of gravitational pull, but cannot explain how the mechanism came to be there in the first place. (See Scientific American, Dec. '86, "How Roots Respond to Gravity" by Michael L. Evans, Randy Moore and Karl Heinz Hasentein) Au.
    162. Ibn `Abbas has said that it refers to the creation of the dead sperm in man, and to a living body emerging from that dead sperm (Ibn Jarir). There have been several interpretations of similar nature coming from the Salaf (Ibn Kathir).
    A good example is a virus. It is no more than a speck of dust with nucleic acid (RNA) at the core with a protein core. They are in billions all around, but dead. However, let them into a living cell, and they come alive. But more amazingly, there are dust particles everywhere around us that are bits and pieces of RNA without even a protein coat. Known as viroids, they too come alive in biological cells. And, viroids are not amazing enough, we have below them what are known as prions. If somebody thought that RNA is the life-source, prions put him into puzzle. They are a bit of protein and no nucleic acid, and nothing else. And, as if for humans to learn Allah’s Will and Power, these prions can lie in certain human cells, dead, inactive for up to a decade, and then suddenly on a deadly day come alive; causing what is known as ‘the Mad Cow disease (CJD),’ death is the fate of its host (Au.).

    فَالِقُ الْإِصْبَاحِ وَجَعَلَ اللَّيْلَ سَكَنًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ حُسْبَانًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ (96)

    6|96| The Splitter of the dawn;163 He has appointed the night for rest164 and the sun and the moon for reckoning.165 That is the ordaining of the All powerful, the All knowing.166


    163. The words "Splitter of the dawn," carry several connotations. Allah Most High is the Splitter and Separator of the morning of the existent from the (darknesses of the) non existent. He is the Splitter of the morning of life; intelligence and discernment from the darknesses of the state of (lifeless) solid materials; Splitter of the morning of intellect from the darknesses of ignorance; Splitter of the morning of cosmic spiritual awareness, from the darknesses of the human earthly existence; Splitter of the morning of radiance of thought and induction from the darknesses of the necessities of the world of possibilities (Razi).
    164. Ibn Abi Hatim has narrated that when Suhayb Rumi's wife chided him for spending most of his night in prayers, Rumi replied: "Allah has made the night a means of rest except for Suhayb. When Suhayb thinks of Paradise his desires stretch, and when he thinks of the Fire his sleep flies away" (Ibn Kathir).
    165. The textual word husbana has several connotations. An alterative meaning could be: "He made them run to their appointed courses" (Au.). Another interpretation is that Allah (swt) made the Sun and the Moon run on a timed schedule. A third interpretation is that the allusion by the word "husbana" is to fire, as in verse (18: 40):


    وَيُرْسِلَ عَلَيْهَا حُسْبَانًا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ [الكهف : 40]


    "And He will send upon it (the town) a fire from the sky."
    A hadith in Muwatta', Nasa'i and Tirmidhi says the Prophet (saws) sometimes supplicated in these words:


    اللَّهُمَّ فَالِقَ الْإِصْبَاحِ وَجَاعِلَ اللَّيْلِ سَكَنًا وَالشَّمْسِ وَالْقَمَرِ حُسْبَانًا اقْضِ عَنِّي الدَّيْنَ وَأَغْنِنِي مِنْ الْفَقْرِ وَأَمْتِعْنِي بِسَمْعِي وَبَصَرِي وَقُوَّتِي فِي سَبِيلِكَ


    "O Allah, the Splitter of the dawn, the Maker of the night a means of rest, of the Sun and the Moon as the means of reckoning: relieve me from my debt, relieve me from poverty, let me enjoy (until the end of life) my hearing and sight, and my (other) powers" (Qurtubi).
    The above hadith from Muwatta’ is slightly different from that quoted by Qurtubi (Au.).
    166. It might be noted that in verse 95 Allah spoke of three earthly signs while in verse 96 of three heavenly signs (Manar).

    وَهُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ النُّجُومَ لِتَهْتَدُوا بِهَا فِي ظُلُمَاتِ الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ ۗ قَدْ فَصَّلْنَا الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ (97)

    6|97| He it is who has set up the stars for you so that you might be guided by them in the darknesses of the land and sea. (That is how) We have expounded the signs for a people who know.


    وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنْشَأَكُمْ مِنْ نَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ فَمُسْتَقَرٌّ وَمُسْتَوْدَعٌ ۗ قَدْ فَصَّلْنَا الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَفْقَهُونَ (98)

    6|98| | He it is who produced you from a single soul: then there is a permanent abode (for you) and a temporary one.167 We have expounded the signs for a people who understsand.168


    167. Linguistically the term mustaqarr refers to a permanent place of storage and mustawda` to a temporary one. There have been several interpretations. Ibn Mas`ud has said that they allude respectively to the womb and the grave. Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id b. Jubayr, `Ata', Mujahid and Ibrahim have said that the allusion is to the mother's womb after conception, and the father's repository of sperm. In fact, once Ibn `Abbas asked Sa`id ibn Jubayr if he had married and when he said no, he remarked: "Allah will surely bring out whatever is stored in the mustawda` of your back" (the repository of sperm). Another opinion of Ibn `Abbas is that the allusion is to the life on this earth and the father's repository of sperm respectively. Nevertheless, Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas and Sa`id ibn Jubayr themselves have also said that the former refers to the everlasting abode with the Lord and the latter to the short life in this world (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    168. Referring to the textual word is yafqahun Imam Raghib has said that, linguistically, the term fiqh stands for the process of arriving at the knowledge of the unknown with the help of the known. It can also be defined as delving into the depth of things. Accordingly, the word fiqh in Islam applied to a fuller understanding of Islamic principles. It is one level above what is generally known as `ilm (Manar).
    It might be pointed out here that what is known as the "scientific method," consists of the following steps: (i) identification of a problem, (ii) gathering of the related data, which includes generation of the data, (iii) formation of a hypothesis, (iv) conducting tests and experiments, and, finally, (v) arriving at a theory that might or might not prove to be true, much later (Au.).

    وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجْنَا بِهِ نَبَاتَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ فَأَخْرَجْنَا مِنْهُ خَضِرًا نُخْرِجُ مِنْهُ حَبًّا مُتَرَاكِبًا وَمِنَ النَّخْلِ مِنْ طَلْعِهَا قِنْوَانٌ دَانِيَةٌ وَجَنَّاتٍ مِنْ أَعْنَابٍ وَالزَّيْتُونَ وَالرُّمَّانَ مُشْتَبِهًا وَغَيْرَ مُتَشَابِهٍ ۗ انْظُرُوا إِلَىٰ ثَمَرِهِ إِذَا أَثْمَرَ وَيَنْعِهِ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكُمْ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ (99)

    6|99| He it is who sent down from the heaven water. Then We brought forth therewith the shoot of everything. Then We sprout forth out of it green blade, from which grow closely compounded grains. And of the palms (come forth), from their sheath, clusters (hanging) low. And orchards of vines, olive, pomegranate: similar (in appearance) but dissimilar (in taste).169 Behold (then) its fruit when it fructifies and (look at) its ripening.170 Surely in that are signs for a people who would believe.171


    169. Asad remarks: "I.e., all are so alike in the basic principles of their life and growth, and yet so different in physiology, appearance and taste."
    170. From the first appearance of the fruit bud (a little after pollination) until its ripening, the fruit acquires different traits and characteristics: from the bitter thing in the beginning to the sweet in the end; the usually green in color, to the beautiful red, crimson, violet etc., in the final stages; from the one hot for the body to the one cool for it, or vice versa; from the once poisonous to human consumption to the delicious food for them in all these are signs that manifest themselves in stages (based on Razi).
    171. Yusuf Ali comments: "Another beautiful nature passage, referring to Allah's wonderful artistry in His Creation. In how few and how simple words, the whole pageant of Creation is placed before us. Beginning from our humble animal needs and dependence on the vegetable world, we are asked to contemplate the interaction of the living and the dead. Here is a teaching, referring not only to physical life but to the higher life above the physical plane, not only to individual life but to the collective life of nations. Then we take a peep into the daily miracle of morning, noon, and night, and pass on to the stars that guide the distant mariner. We rise still higher to the mystery of the countless individuals from the one human soul their sojourn and their destiny. So we get back to the heavens: the description of the luscious fruits which the "gentle rain from heaven" produces, leaves us to contemplate the spiritual fruits which faith will provide for us, with the aid of the showers of Allah's mercy."

    وَجَعَلُوا لِلَّهِ شُرَكَاءَ الْجِنَّ وَخَلَقَهُمْ ۖ وَخَرَقُوا لَهُ بَنِينَ وَبَنَاتٍ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ (100)

    6|100| Yet they ascribe to Allah as associates the Jinn,172 though He created them; and they impute to Him sons and daughters without knowledge.173 Glorified He is and Exalted far above that which they ascribe.174


    172. ‘According to Arab philologists, the term jinn signifies, primarily, "beings that are concealed from [man's] senses' (Qamus, Lisan al `Arab, Raghib)' Asad.
    Majid explains: "Jinns are a definite order of conscious beings, intelligent, corporeal and usually invisible, made of smokeless flame, as men are of clay, created before Adam. They eat and drink, and propagate their species, and are subject to death, much in the same way as human beings are. Though as a rule they are invisible to the human eye, they manifest themselves to men at will, mostly under animal form."
    If it is asked how it could be said that the people worshipped the Jinn when we know that they worshipped idols and not the Jinn directly? The answer is, they worshipped them but obeying them the way Allah is to be obeyed, as Allah said elsewhere (4: 117 120):


    إِنْ يَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِهِ إِلَّا إِنَاثًا وَإِنْ يَدْعُونَ إِلَّا شَيْطَانًا مَرِيدًا (117) لَعَنَهُ اللَّهُ وَقَالَ لَأَتَّخِذَنَّ مِنْ عِبَادِكَ نَصِيبًا مَفْرُوضًا (118) وَلَأُضِلَّنَّهُمْ وَلَأُمَنِّيَنَّهُمْ وَلَآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُبَتِّكُنَّ آذَانَ الْأَنْعَامِ وَلَآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُغَيِّرُنَّ خَلْقَ اللَّهِ وَمَنْ يَتَّخِذِ الشَّيْطَانَ وَلِيًّا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ فَقَدْ خَسِرَ خُسْرَانًا مُبِينًا (119) يَعِدُهُمْ وَيُمَنِّيهِمْ وَمَا يَعِدُهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ إِلَّا غُرُورًا [النساء : 117 - 120]


    "Indeed, they invoke not besides Him, but female (deities). (But) in truth, they invoke none other than a rebellious Shaytan, (whom) Allah has cursed, and who vowed that, ‘Assuredly I will take (unto myself) of Your slaves an appointed portion.' (He also vowed) ‘Verily, I shall lead them astray, and surely, I will arouse in them false hopes, and assuredly, I shall command them so that they shall slit the ears of the cattle and indeed, I shall order them so that they shall deface the creation of Allah.' But whoever took Shaytan for a patron, instead of Allah, surely suffered a manifest loss. He will promise them and lend them hopes. But Shaytan does not promise them save delusions" (Ibn Kathir).
    Shabbir points out that Ibrahim (asws) had also said to his father reproaching him on for idol worship: (19: 44):
    يَا أَبَتِ لَا تَعْبُدِ الشَّيْطَانَ [مريم : 44]
    "O my father. Worship not the Devil."
    Hence Allah will say to whom on the Day of Judgment (36: 60):


    أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ يَا بَنِي آدَمَ أَنْ لَا تَعْبُدُوا الشَّيْطَانَ [يس : 60]


    "Did I not take a compact from you, O Children of Adam, that you will not worship the Devil?"
    Qatadah and Suddi have said however that the allusion is to the declaration by the Arab pagans of the angels as Allah's daughters. It could also be to the Zanadiqah whose belief was that God and Shaytan are brothers: the former created men and animals, while the latter created the snakes, wild animals, scorpions, etc. This faith is very close to the belief of the Zoroastrians who thought that God (Yezdan: R. Rida) is the creator of Good, and Devil (Ahraman: R. Rida) the creator of evil (Qurtubi).
    Fi Dilal has the following foot note: "Kalbi has said in his "Kitab al Asnam" that among the Arabs the Banu Mudlaj of the Khuza`ah tribe used to worship the Jinn."
    173. That is, if the one you attribute to Him as his son (because he did not have a father: Au), be truly His son, then, the rest of the created world the cosmos should be His sons too. But you yourself do not accept this corollary (Manar).
    174. Asad's rendering of subhanahu wa ta`ala `amma yasifun is: ‘Limitless is He in His glory, and sublimely exalted above anything that men may devise by way of definition.' To this he adds the following: "I.e., utterly remote from all the imperfections and from the incompleteness which is implied in the concept of having progeny. The very concept of "definition" implies the possibility of a comparison or correlation of an object with other objects; God, however, is unique, there being "nothing like unto Him" (42: 11) and, therefore, "nothing that could be compared with Him" (112: 4) with the result that any attempt at defining Him or His "attributes" is a logical impossibility and, from the ethical point of view, a sin. The fact that He is indefinable makes it clear that the "attributes" (sifat) of God mentioned in the Qur'an do not circumscribe His reality but, rather, the perceptible effect of His activity on and within the universe created by Him."

    بَدِيعُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لَهُ وَلَدٌ وَلَمْ تَكُنْ لَهُ صَاحِبَةٌ ۖ وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ ۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ (101)

    6|101| Originator175 of the heavens and the earth: how should He have a child when He has not a female companion,176 when He created all things and is Aware of all things?177


    175. The textual word "Badi`" is to produce something without an earlier example; hence the word "bid`ah" which is to introduce a new practice in religion (Ibn Kathir).
    176. Majid writes: "This refutes the polytheism of several peoples like the Hindus, the Babylonians, and the Egyptians, which maintained that each god had a female companion or consort. Indian polytheism went further. ‘Even God', according to the Upanishads ‘had a desire for progeny and wished a wife for propagation' (Indira, Status of Women in Ancient India, pp.129 130)."
    177. That is, since Allah is the Creator, He has knowledge of all things. Now, if He had children He would have known them better than the creations who attribute sons and daughters to Him (Manar).

    ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ ۖ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ فَاعْبُدُوهُ ۚ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَكِيلٌ (102)

    6|102| That is your God, your Lord. There is no god save He; Creator of all things,178 therefore, worship Him. He is the Care taker of all things.


    178. Sayyid Qutb quotes Frank Allen as saying in one of his works: Quite often it is said that this material world does not need a creator. But if we admit that this world is in existence then we run into the difficulty of explaining it. There can be four possible explanations. Either (i) this world is only a dream and a vision, (but that seems to contradict many evidences we have of it being real, although Sir James Jeans also held the view that this is a world of illusions which has no reality beyond our minds), or, (ii) it came to existence by itself by its own force (which no man in his right mind would accept), or, (iii) it has been there since eternity (but, that leaves greater room for the acceptance of a "living" eternal power as its creator rather than a "lifeless" matter in existence since eternity), or, (vi) it should have a creator, which seems to be the most plausible alternative.
    In an earlier passage he quotes John Cleveland C. as saying in his work "God Appears in the Age of Knowledge": Chemistry tells us that the elements are in a state of decay: some slow some fast. This means that matter will not last for ever, which also means that it has not been there since eternity. We also have evidence that the creation of matter was not a gradual affair. Rather it sprang up suddenly. Science can even tell us when that happened. It also tells us that from the beginning of the affair the physical world has been following a set of laws. These are strong proofs that it has a creator.
    Further, if the material world could not be its own creator, then the non material world, (the living) is all the more impossible of self creation. There is sufficient evidence to prove that the force that brought this world into existence is endowed with the powers of intellect and wisdom. He also seems to have a will. Obviously, these facts point to a creator.”
    That this world has to have a creator is a matter of common sense. But the scientists who take up this discussion, in their effort to demonstrate that it need not, are running into huge difficulties. To take just one aspect, they are discovering that fine-tuning of the universe, the laws governing it, the origin of life and its continuance, all point to a designing agent. Dr. Michael Behe writes: “A planet in the right region of the solar system, in the right region of a galaxy, in a universe with the right kinds of laws to produce chemicals with the right kinds of properties – this is all necessary for life, but still very far from sufficient. The planet itself has to be not too big and not too small, with enough but not too much water, the right kind of minerals in the right places, a core active enough to power plate tectonics but not so active as to blow everything apart, and much, much more. Some of these factors considered in isolation may be less improbable, others more improbable, but all are critical. If one of them were missing, intelligent life would be precluded.” (The Edge of Evolution, p. 212, The Free Press, 2007). And, “The laws and constants of the universe are finely tuned to allow life. So, too, are the physical and chemical properties of elements such as carbon and simple compounds such as water. So, too, is earth’s location in the galaxy and solar system. So, too, are details of the earth’s size, composition, and history .. The physical and chemical properties of DNA, proteins, lipids, and other substances are superbly fit for the roles they play in the cell. No other kinds of molecules are known that could plausibly fill those roles.. one would be hard pressed to find a category of biomolecule or basic feature of life that isn’t finely tuned.” (Ibid, p. 214).

    لَا تُدْرِكُهُ الْأَبْصَارُ وَهُوَ يُدْرِكُ الْأَبْصَارَ ۖ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ (103)

    6|103| Visions cannot grasp Him,179 while He grasps the visions. He is the All subtle, the All aware.180


    179. The word in the original is yudrikuhu. Most commentators have understood it in the way we have translated it here. Alternatively, it could be rendered as "encompass Him." That is, a vision of Allah (swt) is not denied, but a vision that can fully encompass Him, comprehend Him, or grasp Him in full, has been denied. This is how `A'isha (ra) understood it. When Masruq asked her (in a report in Ibn Abi Hatim: Ibn Kathir), whether Muhammad saw his Lord, she replied: "Glory to Allah. My hair stands on ends for what you say." Then she recited this verse: "Visions cannot grasp Him. But He can grasp visions. He is the All subtle, the All aware."
    The Beatific Vision, however, will not be denied to the dwellers in Paradise. It will be denied to those who deny His vision anywhere: in this world or the next. This is proven by several ahadith. One of them says:


    إِنَّكُمْ سَتَرَوْنَ رَبَّكُمْ كَمَا تَرَوْنَ هَذَا الْقَمَرَ لَا تُضَامُّونَ فِي رُؤْيَتِهِ


    "You shall see your Lord in the Hereafter just as you can see the full moon now, without doubting your sight."
    (A report in Muslim narrated by Suhayb says:


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


    “When the people of Paradise would have entered Paradise, and the people of Fire, the Fire, a caller will call: "O people of Paradise. Allah has made a promise to you which He wishes to fulfill." They will enquire: ‘What is it? Did He not effect increase in the weight of our balance, brightened our faces, admitted us into Paradise and released us from the Fire?' At that the veil will be removed and they will see Him. And, He would not have given them anything dearer than to be seeing Him.”
    Therefore, the interpretation of the present verse is: Visions cannot sight Him in this world. In the Hereafter, the true believers will see Him, but they will not be able to encompass Him fully. Some scholars have stressed that humans with these five senses can never see Him. Therefore they will be granted a new sense by which they will be able to see Him (Ibn Jarir). `Amr b. al Kufiyy was also of this opinion (Razi). Further, Razi adds a few lines later, the posterity might note the point that two major Companions of the Prophet held different opinions about the Prophet having seen or not seen his Lord in his nocturnal journey (`A'isha being of the opinion that he did not see his Lord, but Ibn `Abbas maintaining that he did). But that did not lead them to calling each other misguided, or innovators (bida`i).
    Razi also writes: Allah has spoken of His vision being granted to the believers in several other parts of the Qur'an. In one place (10: 26) He said:


    لِلَّذِينَ أَحْسَنُوا الْحُسْنَى وَزِيَادَةٌ [يونس : 26]


    "For those who do good, there will be good, and more," where "more" has been explained as the Beatific Vision; and (18: 110),


    فَمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاءَ رَبِّهِ [الكهف : 110]


    "Therefore, whoever desires meeting His Lord," which promises the Vision; and (83: 15),


    كَلَّا إِنَّهُمْ عَنْ رَبِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَمَحْجُوبُونَ [المطففين : 15]


    "Nay. That Day they shall be veiled from their Lord."
    And, Qurtubi adds another example (75: 23):


    وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ نَاضِرَةٌ (22) إِلَى رَبِّهَا نَاظِرَةٌ [القيامة : 22 ، 23]


    "Faces that Day will be bright. Looking at their Lord."
    Ibn Kathir writes: Thus it turns out that it is in the sense of comprehending a reality that the word idrak has been used in this verse. That is, something the believers would never attain even when they are granted the Beatific Vision, just as one sees the moon, without comprehending its reality in full. When `Ikrimah was asked about this verse (in a report in Ibn Abi Hatim) he responded in the following manner: ‘Do you see the sky?' The questioner replied: ‘Of course.' `Ikrimah asked: ‘Do you see the whole of it?!' Hence, Qatadah has said: ‘Allah is greater than that anyone should ever comprehend Him.'
    As for the question, can anyone see Allah with these physical eyes, it is well known that Ibn `Abbas held an opinion different from `A'isha. Treating a report as of the same standard as those of the Sahihayn, although they did not narrate it, Hakim has recorded `Ikrimah as saying: "I heard Ibn `Abbas say that Muhammad saw His Lord. I asked him, ‘Has not Allah said, "Visions cannot grasp Him"?' He replied, ‘May you lose your mother. The allusion there is to the Nur (Light). If He appears in His Nur, none can grasp Him.'" According to another version he said, "Nothing can withstand Him." Of course, Ibn Kathir adds, there is a tradition of the Prophet too which conforms the latter part of what Ibn `Abbas said. One in the Sahihayn narrates Abu Musa al Ash`ariyy as saying that the Prophet said:


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَنَامُ وَلاَ يَنْبَغِى لَهُ أَنْ يَنَامَ يَرْفَعُ الْقِسْطَ وَيَخْفِضُهُ وَيُرْفَعُ إِلَيْهِ عَمَلُ النَّهَارِ بِاللَّيْلِ وَعَمَلُ اللَّيْلِ بِالنَّهَارِ حِجَابُهُ النُّورُ لَوْ كَشَفَهُ لَأَحْرَقَتْ سُبُحَاتُ وَجْهِهِ مَا انْتَهَى إِلَيْهِ بَصَرُهُ مِنْ خَلْقِهِ


    "Allah does not sleep and it behooves Him not to sleep. He raises and lowers the Scale. The deeds of the day are raised up to Him by the night, and the deeds of the night by the day. His veil is Nur. If He were to remove the veil, the Glory of His Face will burn down His creations to the extent of His vision."
    Quote from Ibn Kathir ends here.
    180. Allah is too subtle for visions to grasp Him. Yet He is All aware, so He can grasp all visions, no matter how subtle they be (Razi, Alusi, Manar).
    Asad comments: "The term latif denotes something that is extremely subtle in quality, and therefore intangible and unfathomable. Whenever this term occurs in the Qur'an with reference to God in conjunction with the adjective khabir ("All Aware"), it is invariably used to express the idea of His inaccessibility to human perception, imagination or comprehension, as contrasted with His Own all awareness (see apart from the above verse, also 22: 63, 31: 16, 33: 34). In the two instances where the combination of latif and khabir carries the definite article al (6: 103 and 67: 14), the expression huwa 'l latif has the meaning of "He alone is unfathomable" implying that this quality of His is unique and absolute."

    قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ بَصَائِرُ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ ۖ فَمَنْ أَبْصَرَ فَلِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَنْ عَمِيَ فَعَلَيْهَا ۚ وَمَا أَنَا عَلَيْكُمْ بِحَفِيظٍ (104)

    6|104| Surely, clear proofs181 have come to you from your Lord. Whoso sees, does it for himself. Whoso remains blind, does it to his own loss.182 (Tell them), ‘I am not a keeper over you.'183


    181. Razi writes: Just as idrak is to comprehend fully with one's physical eye, basirah (pl. basa'ir) is to comprehend a thing fully with one's internal eye. Allah said (75: 14):


    بَلِ الْإِنْسَانُ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ بَصِيرَةٌ [القيامة : 14]


    "Rather, man is well aware of himself"
    The textual word herewith is basa'ir, plural of basirah, which means light of the heart (Shawkani).
    182. Qadi has pointed out that this refutes any misgiving about the concept of fatalism in Islam. Further, the verse demonstrates by implication that someone who refuses to think, rationalize things, or follow the course of reason, does it to his own loss. He closes the doors of bestowal both from his self as well as his Lord (based on Razi).
    183. That is, ‘I am not a keeper of the record of your deeds so that I may punish or reward you. I am only a warner' (Razi).

    وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُصَرِّفُ الْآيَاتِ وَلِيَقُولُوا دَرَسْتَ وَلِنُبَيِّنَهُ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ (105)

    6|105| Thus We propound the revelation variously184 so that they may say, ‘You have taken lessons;'185 and so that We may make it plain to a people who know.


    184. Another possible rendering could be, in the words of Asad: "And thus do We give many facets to Our messages."
    185. The word darasta of the text has been variously read, allowing for other meanings such as: "you have studied (the older Scriptures)," "you have learnt (from others)," "you have read (books)," "you have been taught," etc. And the purport of the verse ("Thus We make distinct the signs so that they may say, ‘You have taken lessons;' and so that We may make it plain to a people who know") is: That is how We present the Qur'anic text in a variety of styles so that you might not conclude (O unbelievers) that Muhammad learnt it from others; and We do that because We have taken it upon Ourselves to make the message clear to those who have knowledge (Ibn Jarir). A report in Hakim however, declared sahih of narrators although Bukhari and Muslim did not include in their compilation, has Ubayy b. Ka`b saying: "The Prophet taught me to read it as "darasta" (Ibn Kathir).

    اتَّبِعْ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَبِّكَ ۖ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْمُشْرِكِينَ (106)

    6|106| Follow that which has been revealed unto you by your Lord; there is no god save He; and turn aside from the associators.


    وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا أَشْرَكُوا ۗ وَمَا جَعَلْنَاكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَفِيظًا ۖ وَمَا أَنْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ بِوَكِيلٍ (107)

    6|107| Had Allah willed, they would not have associated.186 We have not appointed you a guardian187 over them nor are you a keeper188 over them.


    186. Asad explains: "I.e., no mortal has it in his power to cause another person to believe unless God graces that person with His guidance."
    187. Hafiz: i.e., someone who makes note of their words and deeds (Ibn Kathir).
    188. Wakil: i.e., someone who is made in charge of their sustenance and their behavior (Ibn Kathir). Penrice defines the word as: "One who takes care of anything for another, guardian of one's interests, a patron, administrator, disposer of affairs, witness over a bargain."

    وَلَا تَسُبُّوا الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ فَيَسُبُّوا اللَّهَ عَدْوًا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ زَيَّنَّا لِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ عَمَلَهُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ مَرْجِعُهُمْ فَيُنَبِّئُهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (108)

    6|108| And revile not (O Muslims) those whom they invoke besides Allah or they will, in their ignorance, spitefully revile Allah.189 That is how We have decked out fair to every people their deeds.190 Then, unto their Lord is their return and He shall declare unto them what they were doing.


    189. According to a report in Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Marduwayh, when the Prophet belittled pagan deities, the Makkans threatened that if he would not desist they would in retaliation condemn his Lord. This verse was revealed in response (Shawkani). It has also been reported that some Muslims used to revile pagan gods for which Allah expressed His disapproval through this verse. Further, the rule is general. That is, when there is fear that a good deed will become the cause of an evil, it better be avoided. For example, it is good to forbid the vice. But, when it is strongly felt that preventing it will lead to greater evil, then forbidding it is a sin and not a virtue (Zamakhshari, Razi).
    It is reported of Abu Mansur that he asked: "How come Allah forbid us to revile something that deserves to be reviled, (although so displeasing to Him) that He asked us to wage a war against them?!" Then he answered himself that reviling false gods is not an obligation while fighting in the cause of Islam is an obligation. That is, if reactions of a severe nature result from a non obligatory action, then that action becomes unlawful (Alusi, Manar).
    The Prophet once said:

     

    عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قَالَ :مِنَ الْكَبَائِرِ شَتْمُ الرَّجُلِ وَالِدَيْهِ. فَقَالُوا : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ هَلْ يَشْتِمُ الرَّجُلُ وَالِدَيْهِ؟ فَقَالَ :« نَعَمْ يَسُبُّ أَبَا الرَّجُلِ فَيَسُبُّ أَبَاهُ وَيَسُبُّ أُمَّهُ فَيَسُبُّ أُمَّهُ

     

    The Prophet said, "It is major sin for a man to revile his parents." They asked: "Messenger of Allah. Can someone revile his parents?" He replied: "Yes. He reviles another’s father, and he revile his parents" (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). The hadith is in Muslim and Tirmidhi (S. Ibrahim).
    Zamakhshari adds: It is said that both Hasan al-Busri and Ibn Sirin came to attend a funeral. They found some women also attending the event. When Ibn Sirin saw them he turned back and left. But Hasan did not, saying, "If we give up an obligation because of an accompanying evil, then we will have to do without many obligations."
    Hence, Shafi` adds, if it is known that admonishing a man will invoke him out of spite to greater evils, then he should not be admonished.
    Asad adds: "This prohibition of reviling anything that other people hold sacred even in contravention of the principle of God's oneness is expressed in the plural and is, therefore, addressed to all believers. Thus, while Muslims are expected to argue against the false beliefs of others, they are not allowed to abuse the objects of those beliefs and to hurt thereby the feelings of their erring fellow men."
    Rashid Rida writes that by implication the word Kafir ought not be used for the unbelievers in general. That is because originally the word Kafir stood for concealing or hiding something, in which sense the Qur'an used the word for a farmer (48: 29). In earlier times it was used for those unbelievers who concealed the truth in their hearts of Allah's Oneness. But, with the passage of time, the word has acquired the connotations of insult and humiliation. Now, since insulting or humiliating the people is not allowed in Islam, the unbelievers may not be called Kafirs now. The Hanafiyyah, for instance, state (in Mu`in al Hukkam) that if a Muslim insults a Dhimmi, he deserves retribution. They have also ruled that if a Muslim said to a Dhimmi "O Kafir" and he felt humiliated, (he has to be compensated).
    Sayyid Qutb adds: "The previous verse instructed the Prophet to "turn aside from the associators." This one instructs the believers how they should do it. It should be done with grace and not in the cheap manner of calling their deities names or disparaging them in some manner. This is the kind of attitude that is becoming of the believers: those who have confidence in their faith, whose hearts and minds rest assured in the correctness of the opinions held by them."
    190. Asad writes: "(This implies) that it is in the nature of man to regard the beliefs which have been implanted in him from childhood, and which he now shares with his social environment, as the only true and possible ones with the result that a polemic against those beliefs often tends to provoke a hostile psychological reaction."
    As for Allah decking out fair their evil deeds to the unbelievers, Mawdudi offers the following explanation: "Here we should understand .. that God declares those things which take place as a result of the operation of the laws of nature to be His own act, for it is He Who has made those laws. Whatever results from the operation of those laws, therefore, results from His command. Whenever God states that a certain act was His, the same might be described by humans as occurring in the natural course of things."
    Rashid Rida puts it in another way: The "becoming fair" of the evil deeds is because of the actions which preceded those deeds and which were themselves a matter of choice. The unbelievers chose to disbelieve in the message, and clung to their old ways. When they re confirmed their attitudes to the old ways, they began to approve of them and love them. That love (of what is in one's practice), is the law of nature, a making of Allah. Yet they are fully responsible for it since they are in the situation of approving the reprehensible by their choice. Allah only created a liking for one's own practices. He did not impose the likings and those practices. Belief and disbelief are not planted in the hearts. They are a matter of choice.

    وَأَقْسَمُوا بِاللَّهِ جَهْدَ أَيْمَانِهِمْ لَئِنْ جَاءَتْهُمْ آيَةٌ لَيُؤْمِنُنَّ بِهَا ۚ قُلْ إِنَّمَا الْآيَاتُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ ۖ وَمَا يُشْعِرُكُمْ أَنَّهَا إِذَا جَاءَتْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ (109)

    6|109| They swore by God the most earnest oath that if a sign came to them they will believe in it. Say, ‘Signs are only with Allah.'191 And what will make you realize (O Muslims) that when it comes they will not believe.192


    191. "Here is one of the most important teachings of Islam: Miracles, signs, wonders, portents, or whatever they might be called, in no case occur by any action of the messenger of God, but by the power of God Himself. No miracle, however clear its evidentiary value, is ever an act of a mortal. The prophet or apostle has no hand in its causation: he only uses it by the command of God, as an evidence of the veracity of his claims. A miracle is nothing but an invasion of the order of nature, as known to us in common experience, by the command of the Creator of nature, to exhibit the veracity of the claims of His messenger" (Majid).
    192. It is reported that once the Prophet invited the Quraysh to Islam. They said: Muhammad, you tell us that Musa had a rod with which he struck a rock and it sprouted 12 springs. You say `Isa quickened the dead. You say Thamud were given a (miraculous) camel. Bring us a sign too. The Prophet asked them what sort of a sign would satisfy them. They said, “Let Mount Safa be converted to gold.” He asked them if they would believe if that was done. They assured him that they would. The Prophet got up to supplicate. Jibril appeared and told him that if they would not believe after the sign they would be destroyed, but, if left alone, some of them would surely turn to their Lord in repentance. The Prophet agreed to the proposal and this verse was revealed (Ibn Jarir, Razi, Qurtubi).
    Further, in the words of Rashid Rida, if they denied the Qur'an, which throws out so many challenges and is an irrefutable Sign by itself, then denying anything else would be much easier. They could easily say to a physical sign that it was magic, a sleight of hand, a deception of the eye, and so forth.

    وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَارَهُمْ كَمَا لَمْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِهِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَنَذَرُهُمْ فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ (110)

    6|110| We shall turn away their hearts and eyes because they did not believe in it in the first instance,193 and leave them in their insolence stumbling blindly.


    193. That is, even if Allah were to send a fresh sign, He would turn away the hearts of the unbelievers from believing in it because they refused to believe at the first instance the message became clear to them as something from their Lord (Au.).
    Asad writes: "... so long as they remain blind to the truth in consequence of their unwillingness to acknowledge it and this in accordance with the law of cause and effect which God has imposed on His creation."
    That is the Sunnah of Allah, writes Rashid Rida. The "causes" belong to the creations and are their making. But Allah attributes the "effects" of those "causes" to Himself, since, after all, nothing comes to being but by His leave. Yet many are misguided by this kind of statements because they refuse to think.
    Sayyid adds: "It is not the lack of evidences or proofs that leads the hearts to disbelief. It is the sickness of the heart, the despoiling of its true nature, the abstruseness of the self. On the other hand, guidance is something that does not come to those who do not go for it, who do not strive for it."

    وَلَوْ أَنَّنَا نَزَّلْنَا إِلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةَ وَكَلَّمَهُمُ الْمَوْتَىٰ وَحَشَرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ قُبُلًا مَا كَانُوا لِيُؤْمِنُوا إِلَّا أَنْ يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ يَجْهَلُونَ (111)

    6|111| Even if We were to send down angels to them, the dead were to speak to them, and were We to gather together for them every (dead) thing (alive): face to face,194 they would not believe,195unless Allah willed.196 But most of them are ignorant.197


    194. The word qubulan as appearing in the text can be understood variously. One possible meaning is "species after species." That is, "Were We to gather together every (dead) thing: species after species, or groups after groups," they would still not believe. This is the opinion of Qatadah. Another possibility is "tribe after tribe" which is the opinion of `Abdullah b. Yezid and Mujahid (Ibn Jarir). The translation follows the interpretation of Ibn `Abbas as in Ibn Jarir too (Au.).
    195. This is in response to their claim in the earlier verse that, "if a sign came to them they would believe" (Ibn Jarir).
    196. "The people under discussion are so perverse that they do not prefer to embrace the Truth in preference to falsehood by rightly exercising their choice and volition. The only way that is left for them to become lovers of the Truth is, therefore, that by His overpowering will God should render them truth loving not by their choice and volition, but by metamorphasizing their very nature. Such a course, however, goes against the wisdom which underlies the creation of man" (Mawdudi).
    197. Sayyid comments: "There are a few points that must find a proper perspective in the minds of the readers for a full realization of the meaning involved in this verse and others of similar nature. Firstly, faith and unfaith, guidance and misguidance are not directly related to proofs and evidences. The truth contains the proof in itself. It has its own grip over the heart, making it incline to itself and cling to it. But there are deterrents that fall in between the heart and the truth. Allah said about the attitude of the unbelievers:


    وَمَا يُشْعِرُكُمْ أَنَّهَا إِذَا جَاءَتْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ (109) وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَارَهُمْ كَمَا لَمْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِهِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَنَذَرُهُمْ فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ [الأنعام : 109 ، 110]


    "And what will make you (O Muslims) realize that when it (the sign) comes they will not believe. We turn away their hearts and eyes because they did not believe in it in the first instance, and leave them in their insolence stumbling blindly.”
    So, whatever happened to them earlier, is most likely to happen again even after the signs are revealed to prevent them from believing. The inspiration to believe is already there within the hearts. It is external impediments that come in the way. And it is the external impediments that must be attended to.
    Secondly, it is Allah's will to which ultimately all affairs return and depend upon, whether it be the affairs concerned with guidance or error. Nevertheless, Allah's will has determined that man be initially given the freedom to choose. In this lies his test. Whoever is inclined to guidance and is prepared at his heart to receive it, will have Allah's Will lead him to it notwithstanding in what situation he happens to be. In contrast, if someone shows disinclination to the divine guidance, ignoring the evidences that are apparent to him, then Allah's Will also works to lead him to error and throw him off the track, wandering blindly in darknesses. Allah's Will of course fully circumscribes men and, in the final resort, decisions concerning all affairs return to Him alone. Hence Allah's words: "We turn away their hearts and eyes because they did not believe in it in the first instance (that the truth became apparent to them), and leave them in their insolence stumbling blindly."
    Thirdly, whether they be obedient or habitual sinners, they are all equally in the power of Allah under His command and rule. None of them can bring into existence anything save by Allah's decree and determination in consonance with the Sunan of Allah that He has set concerning the affairs of His creations. But, in so far as the believers are concerned, they work to harmonize within the limited freedom of choice that they enjoy what is imposed upon them by Allah's irresistible Will, that works on their bodies, on every cell, and in every recess of the mind .. they try to harmonize this .. along with their own submission, adopted by choice, and following their acceptance of the guidance. In consequence of this, they are in peace with themselves. They realize that what is imposed on them from on High, and what they adopt by choice, both follow the same rules and are controlled by the same Power. As for others, they too have no choice over what is enforced by Allah's Will. But, in so far as those areas are concerned, where they have the freedom to choose, they opt to rebel against Allah, His Plans and His Will. They end up wretched because of the split that their personalities undergo.

    وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَا لِكُلِّ نَبِيٍّ عَدُوًّا شَيَاطِينَ الْإِنْسِ وَالْجِنِّ يُوحِي بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَىٰ بَعْضٍ زُخْرُفَ الْقَوْلِ غُرُورًا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ مَا فَعَلُوهُ ۖ فَذَرْهُمْ وَمَا يَفْتَرُونَ (112)

    6|112| Thus We have assigned for every Prophet198 enemies from among the Satans of the Jinn and mankind199 who inspire one another with ornamental deceptive words.200 Had your Lord willed, they would not have done it,201 so leave them alone, and that which they forge.


    198. Thus it is nothing exceptional with you, O Prophet, that you should be tried (Ibn Jarir). As Waraqah b. Nawfal had said to the Prophet, adds Ibn Kathir, "No one ever came with the message you have brought, but he had enemies."
    199. It is reported that once when Abu Dharr entered the mosque the Prophet asked him if he had offered (the two rak`ah of) Prayers. When he said no, he instructed him to do so. When he was through the Prophet asked him if he had sought Allah's refuge from the evil of the Shayatin of men and Jinn? Abu Dharr asked: "Are there Shayatin of men?" The Prophet replied: "Yes" (Ibn Jarir). The hadith is weak. But it comes to us through several ways gathering strength (Ibn Kathir).
    Zamakhshari quotes Malik b. Dinar as saying that to him the devils of men are more fearful than the Devil himself, for the latter can be chased away with the words of Allah but the former cannot be got rid of as easily.
    200. The translation follows the understanding of `Ikrimah, Suddi, Mujahid and Ibn `Abbas as in Ibn Jarir (Au.).
    Mawdudi writes: "The Prophet (peace be upon him) is told that he should not be unnerved even if the evil ones among both mankind and the jinn stood united against him and opposed him with all their might. For this was not the first time that such a thing had happened. Whenever a Prophet came and tried to lead people to the Truth, all the satanic forces joined hands to defeat his purposes."
    201. Mawdudi comments: "... according to the Qur'an there is a tremendous difference between ‘God's will' and ‘God's good pleasure.' The failure to differentiate between the two often gives rise to serious misconceptions. If a certain things takes place in accordance with the universal will of God, and thus by His sanction, that does not necessarily mean that God is pleased with it. Nothing at all takes place in the world unless God permits it to take place, unless He makes it a part of His scheme, and unless He makes it possible for that event to take place by creating its necessary conditions. The act of stealing on the part of a thief, the act of homicide on the part of a murderer, the wrong and corruption of the wrong doer and corrupt, the unbelief of the unbeliever and the polytheism of the polytheist none of these are possible without the will of God. Likewise, the faith of the believer and the piety of the pious are inconceivable without the will of God. In short, both these require the will of God. But whereas the things in the first category do not please Him, those in the second do.
    "Even though the will of God is oriented to ultimate good, the course of the realization of that good is paved with conflict between the forces of light and darkness, of good and evil, or what is firm and pure on the one hand and what is corrupt and defiled on the other. With larger interests in view, God has endowed man with the disposition of obedience as well as of disobedience. He has created in man Abrahamic and Mosaic as well as Nimrodic and Pharaonic potentialities. Both the pure, unadulterated human nature and satanic urges are ingrained in man's nature and have been provided with opportunity to work themselves out by coming into conflict with each other. He has granted those species of His creatures who are possessed of authority (viz. man and jinn) the freedom to choose between good and evil. Whosoever chooses to act righteously has been given the power to do so, and the same is the case with him who chooses to be evil. People of both categories are in a position to use material resources within the framework of the broader considerations underlying God's governance of His universe. God will be pleased, however, only with those who are working for good. God likes His creatures to exercise their freedom of choice properly and commit themselves to good out of their own volition."

    وَلِتَصْغَىٰ إِلَيْهِ أَفْئِدَةُ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ وَلِيَرْضَوْهُ وَلِيَقْتَرِفُوا مَا هُمْ مُقْتَرِفُونَ (113)

    6|113| So that the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter, might incline to it, so that they might delight in it, and so that they might earn what they are earning.


    أَفَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَبْتَغِي حَكَمًا وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكِتَابَ مُفَصَّلًا ۚ وَالَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ يَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ مُنَزَّلٌ مِنْ رَبِّكَ بِالْحَقِّ ۖ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُمْتَرِينَ (114)

    6|114| (Ask them), ‘Should I search for a judge other than Allah, while He it is who sent down the Book to you202 explaining in detail?' Those whom We have vouchsafed the Book know it that it has been sent down by Your Lord with truth. Therefore, be not of the doubters.203


    202: Majid writes: "anzala ilaykum" is not quite the same as "anzala `alykum." Hence the rendering of the former phrase as ‘sent down toward you.'
    203. Although the first recipient was the Prophet, it seems more likely that the Ummah has been addressed through him (Au.).

    وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقًا وَعَدْلًا ۚ لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ ۚ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ (115)

    6|115| Perfected is the Word of your Lord in truth and justice.204 There is no altering His Words. He is the All hearing, the All knowing.


    204. That is, perfect it is in truth when the Word is a statement of fact, or is a past report, and in justice when it is a commandment or a prohibition: Qatadah (Ibn Kathir).

    وَإِنْ تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنْ يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ (116)

    6|116| But if you obeyed the majority of those on the earth, they will lead you away from the path of Allah. They follow not but conjecture, and they indulge in nothing but guess work.205


    205. Asad explains: "(That is), regarding the true nature of human life and its ultimate destiny, the problem of revelation, the relationship between God and man, the meaning of good and evil, etc. Apart from leading man astray from spiritual truths, such guesswork gives rise to the arbitrary rules of conduct and self imposed inhibitions to which the Qur'an alludes, by way of example, in verses 118 and 119."

    إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ مَنْ يَضِلُّ عَنْ سَبِيلِهِ ۖ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ (117)

    6|117| Your Lord is well aware of those who swerve away from His path as He is well aware of the rightly guided.206


    206. The choice of words may be noted. Allah said, "Your Lord is well aware of those who swerve away.." Here, the last few words indicate that it is by his own choice that a person swerves away," while in the following words, "He is well aware of the rightly guided," (and not "those who chose guidance") the implication hidden is that being on the right guidance is to a great degree because of the original implantation of tawhid in the human soul (Alusi).

    فَكُلُوا مِمَّا ذُكِرَ اسْمُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ بِآيَاتِهِ مُؤْمِنِينَ (118)

    6|118| Eat then of that over which Allah's Name has been pronounced if you believe in His revelations.207


    207. That is, what has been declared unlawful in verse 3 of Al Ma'idah which says:


    حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنْزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ وَالْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَالْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَالْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَالنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَا أَكَلَ السَّبُعُ إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى النُّصُبِ وَأَنْ تَسْتَقْسِمُوا بِالْأَزْلَامِ ذَلِكُمْ فِسْقٌ الْيَوْمَ يَئِسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ دِينِكُمْ فَلَا تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِ الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ فِي مَخْمَصَةٍ غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍ لِإِثْمٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ [المائدة : 3]


    "Forbidden unto you are carrion, blood, swine's flesh, what has been consecrated to other than Allah, the (beast) strangled (to death), or (the one that died) by a violent blow, or by a fall from a height, or one gored with the horns (to death by another animal), and (the one killed and) devoured by the wild beasts unless you have sacrificed them duly and what is slaughtered on the altars ..." (up to) ... "whoever is forced in (extreme) hunger (to eat of the unlawful) without any inclination (in the heart) for a sin, surely (for such) Allah is Forgiving, Kind" (Ibn Jarir).

    وَمَا لَكُمْ أَلَّا تَأْكُلُوا مِمَّا ذُكِرَ اسْمُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَقَدْ فَصَّلَ لَكُمْ مَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِلَّا مَا اضْطُرِرْتُمْ إِلَيْهِ ۗ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا لَيُضِلُّونَ بِأَهْوَائِهِمْ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۗ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُعْتَدِينَ (119)

    6|119| And what ails you that you should not eat of that over which Allah's Name has been pronounced seeing that He has explained to you in detail what He has made unlawful to you, unless you are compelled by dire necessity?208 Surely, most people mislead following their caprices without any knowledge; surely, Allah is well aware of the transgressors.


    208. This excludes however that animal over which Allah's Name was not pronounced due to forgetfulness, the slaughterer being either a Muslim or one of the People of the Book. On the other hand, if anyone does not spell the Name intentionally, then the slaughtered animal is unlawful to Muslims (Ibn Jarir). This happens to be the opinion of the Hanafiyyah, Imam Malik, Ahmad b. Hanbal, and according to one report, that of Imam Shafe`i too, although other opinions have also been attributed to him (Ibn Kathir).

    وَذَرُوا ظَاهِرَ الْإِثْمِ وَبَاطِنَهُ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْسِبُونَ الْإِثْمَ سَيُجْزَوْنَ بِمَا كَانُوا يَقْتَرِفُونَ (120)

    6|120| Forsake sin:209 the open of it and the secret of it.210 Verily those who earn sins shall soon be requited for what they were earning.


    209. According to a report in Muslim, Nuwas b. Sam`an asked the Prophet about what constitutes sin. He replied:


    الإِثْمُ مَا حَاكَ فِى نَفْسِكَ وَكَرِهْتَ أنْ يَطَّلِعَ عَلَيْهِ النَّاسُ


    "Sin is that which pricks you in the heart and which you would not like the people to know about" (Ibn Kathir).
    210. The verse tells us that of sins there are two kinds: those committed with the body organs and those committed with the heart (Alusi, Thanwi).

    وَلَا تَأْكُلُوا مِمَّا لَمْ يُذْكَرِ اسْمُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَإِنَّهُ لَفِسْقٌ ۗ وَإِنَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ لَيُوحُونَ إِلَىٰ أَوْلِيَائِهِمْ لِيُجَادِلُوكُمْ ۖ وَإِنْ أَطَعْتُمُوهُمْ إِنَّكُمْ لَمُشْرِكُونَ (121)

    6|121| But do not eat of that over which Allah's Name has not been pronounced.211 Surely, it is impiety. Verily, the devils whisper unto their friends212 so that they may dispute with you.213 But, if you obey them, surely, you will turn associators.214


    211. "The purpose of this and the following verse is not, as might appear in the first glance, a repetition of already pronounced food laws but, rather, a reminder that the observance of such laws should not be made an end in itself and an object of ritual: and this is the reason why these two verses have been placed in the midst of a discourse on God's transcendental unity and the ways of men's faith. The "errand views" spoken of in verse 119 are such as that lay stress on artificial rituals and taboos than on spiritual values" (Asad).
    212. A man called Al Mukhtar b. Abu `Ubayd nicknamed Abu Is haq used to claim that he received revelations. Ibn Zumayyil says, "I was sitting in the assembly of Ibn `Abbas (during the pilgrimage season: Ibn Kathir) when a man came in and asked: "O Ibn `Abbas. Abu Is haq claims that he received wahiyy (revelations) last night. What's your opinion?" Ibn `Abbas replied: "The man spoke the truth." Ibn Zumayyil says I protested. Ibn `Abbas said: "There are two types of revelations: the one which Allah sends to His Messengers, and the other which the devil sends to his friends." Then he recited this verse (Ibn Jarir).
    213. `Abdullah ibn Kathir (not the famous commentator Ibn Kathir: Au.) has said that the devils used to whisper into the hearts of the pagans thoughts such as: ‘What after all is the difference between the animal that died by itself and the one that was slaughtered? Were they not both the same? So why should one be lawful and the other unlawful?' Ibn `Abbas has said that the pagans used to say, in effect: ‘The animal that dies a natural death is the slaughtered of Allah. How come then, that the revelation declares the slaughtered of men lawful but the slaughtered of Allah unlawful?' Allah revealed this verse in response. Some other reports suggest that the Jews had also circulated similar doubts (Ibn Jarir).
    Reports about Jews raising such doubts are in Tirmidhi, Abu Da'ud, Bazzar and others, with the last mentioned declaring them of hasan status. But Hakim has declared one version Sahih (Shawkani).
    214. Declaring the lawful of Allah as unlawful or the other way round, is to commit shirk as the Prophet told `Adiyy b. Hatim who denied that the Christians ever took Lords besides Allah. The Prophet asked him:


    "أَلَيْسَ يُحَرِّمُونَ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ فَتُحَرِّمُونَهُ وَيُحِلُّونَ مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ، فَتَسْتَحِلُّونَهُ؟"قُلْتُ: بَلَى، قَالَ:"فَتِلْكَ عِبَادَتُهُمْ"


    "Did it not happen that the rabbis and priests declared the lawful of Allah as unlawful or the unlawful of Allah as lawful?" When `Adiyy said yes, the Prophet said: "That was taking them Lords besides Allah" (Ibn Kathir).
    Tirmidhi has a slightly different version of the hadith, which he declared of Hasan status.

    أَوَمَنْ كَانَ مَيْتًا فَأَحْيَيْنَاهُ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُ نُورًا يَمْشِي بِهِ فِي النَّاسِ كَمَنْ مَثَلُهُ فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ لَيْسَ بِخَارِجٍ مِنْهَا ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلْكَافِرِينَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (122)

    6|122| What? Can one who was dead, then We gave him life and appointed a Light whereby he strides among the people,215 be like he who is in darknesses out of which he cannot emerge? That is how decked out fair to the unbelievers is what they do.216


    215. Thus, the rightly guided is likened to the living, and the "path" itself to light (based on Thanwi).
    216. Mawdudi comments: "The law of God with regard to those to whom light is presented but who willfully refuse to act according to it, preferring to follow their crooked path even after they have been invited to follow the Straight Way, is that in the course of time such people begin to cherish darkness, and to enjoy groping their way into dark, stumbling and falling as they proceed."

    وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَا فِي كُلِّ قَرْيَةٍ أَكَابِرَ مُجْرِمِيهَا لِيَمْكُرُوا فِيهَا ۖ وَمَا يَمْكُرُونَ إِلَّا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ (123)

    6|123| And that is how We have appointed in every town high ranking criminals so that they might scheme therein.217 Yet they scheme not but against themselves; but they realize not.


    217. The allusion is to the scheming and plotting against Islam and its message. Allah said at another place (34: 31 33):


    وَلَوْ تَرَى إِذِ الظَّالِمُونَ مَوْقُوفُونَ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ يَرْجِعُ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ الْقَوْلَ يَقُولُ الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا لِلَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا لَوْلَا أَنْتُمْ لَكُنَّا مُؤْمِنِينَ (31) قَالَ الَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا لِلَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا أَنَحْنُ صَدَدْنَاكُمْ عَنِ الْهُدَى بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءَكُمْ بَلْ كُنْتُمْ مُجْرِمِينَ (32) وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا لِلَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا بَلْ مَكْرُ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ إِذْ تَأْمُرُونَنَا أَنْ نَكْفُرَ بِاللَّهِ وَنَجْعَلَ لَهُ أَنْدَادًا [سبأ : 31 ، 33]


    "If you were to see the transgressors held before their Lord, some of them replying to others; the weaker ones saying to the arrogant ones, ‘If not for you, we would have been believers.' Those who had been arrogant replying to the weak ones, ‘Was it we who prevented you from guidance after it had come to you? Rather, you were yourself criminals.' The weaker ones would say to the arrogant ones, ‘Rather, it was your scheming day in and day out wherewith you provoked us to disbelieve in Allah and declare His equals'" (Ibn Kathir).
    Asad writes: "Because the consciousness of their importance makes them more or less impervious to criticism, the "great ones" (Asad's rendering of "akabira mujrimiha") are, as a rule, rather less inclined than other people to question the moral aspect of their own behavior; and the resulting self righteousness only too often causes them to commit grave misdeeds."

    وَإِذَا جَاءَتْهُمْ آيَةٌ قَالُوا لَنْ نُؤْمِنَ حَتَّىٰ نُؤْتَىٰ مِثْلَ مَا أُوتِيَ رُسُلُ اللَّهِ ۘ اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ حَيْثُ يَجْعَلُ رِسَالَتَهُ ۗ سَيُصِيبُ الَّذِينَ أَجْرَمُوا صَغَارٌ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَعَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ بِمَا كَانُوا يَمْكُرُونَ (124)

    6|124| When a sign came to them they said, ‘We shall not believe until we are given the like of what the Messengers of Allah were given.' Allah knows best where to place His Message.218 Abasement in the sight of Allah will be the share of those who committed crimes,219 and a terrible chastisement for what they were plotting.


    218. The Quraysh were of the opinion that the Prophet was not the right choice for Messengership. They said that one of their men should have been chosen for it, as the Qur'an said (43: 31):


    وَقَالُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ هَذَا الْقُرْآنُ عَلَى رَجُلٍ مِنَ الْقَرْيَتَيْنِ عَظِيمٍ [الزخرف : 31]


    "They say, ‘Only if this Qur'an had been sent down unto a man of one of the two great towns (i.e., Makkah and Tayif)." But Allah knew who was most suitable for the mission. The Prophet said in a hadith of Muslim:


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ اصْطَفَى مِنْ وَلَدِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِسْمَاعِيلَ وَاصْطَفَى مِنْ بَنِي إِسْمَاعِيلَ كِنَانَةَ وَاصْطَفَى مِنْ بَنِي كِنَانَةَ قُرَيْشًا وَاصْطَفَى مِنْ قُرَيْشٍ بَنِي هَاشِمٍ وَاصْطَفَانِي مِنْ بَنِي هَاشِمٍ


    "Allah chose Isma`il from the sons of Ibrahim. He chose Kinanah from the sons of Isma`il. From Banu Kinanah He chose the Quraysh. From the Quraysh He chose Banu Hashim. And from Banu Hashim He chose me." And Ibn Mas`ud has been reported as saying in Musnad Ahmad: "Allah surveyed the hearts of the people and found the heart of Muhammad the best. So He chose him for Messengership. Then He surveyed the hearts of the people and found the hearts of his Companions better than the rest of the people. So He made them supporters of His Messenger. They fight for his religion. So what the Muslims see as good is good in the sight of Allah and what the Muslims see as evil is evil in the sight of Allah." (By Muslims he meant perhaps the Companions: Au.). It is also said that someone spotted Ibn `Abbas entering the mosque. He was much impressed by his personality. He enquired: "Who is this man?" They said: "Ibn `Abbas." (A cousin of the Prophet). The man remarked: "Allah knows best where to place His Message" (Ibn Kathir).
    (Another direct implication of the choice of the words is): "Allah knows best in what place should He place His revelation" (Zamakhshari).
    219. Hence a hadith of Muslim says:


    إِنَّ الْغَادِرَ يُنْصَبُ لَهُ لِوَاءٌ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَيُقَالُ هَذِهِ غَدْرَةُ فُلاَنٍ


    "A flag post will be pitched near the buttocks of every dishonest person. It will be said, ‘This is the dishonesty of so and so'" (Ibn Kathir).

    فَمَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَهْدِيَهُ يَشْرَحْ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ ۖ وَمَنْ يُرِدْ أَنْ يُضِلَّهُ يَجْعَلْ صَدْرَهُ ضَيِّقًا حَرَجًا كَأَنَّمَا يَصَّعَّدُ فِي السَّمَاءِ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يَجْعَلُ اللَّهُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ (125)

    6|125| Whomsoever Allah intends to guide, He opens his heart for Islam.220 And whomsoever He intends to lead astray, He makes his heart, narrow, constricted,221 as if he were engaged in sheer ascent222 into the heaven.223 That is how Allah lays abomination224 on those who do not believe.


    220. It is reported by several narrators that the Prophet (saws) was once asked about how the hearts open up for Islam. He answered:


    إن النور إذا دخل الصدر انفسح فقيل : يا رسول الله هل لذلك من علم يعرف ؟ قال : نعم التجافي عن دار الغرور و الإنابة إلى دار الخلود و الاستعداد للموت قبل نزوله


    "It is a light which is placed in his heart so that the heart relaxes and opens up." He was asked if there was an external sign. He replied: "Inclination toward the everlasting abode, disinclination toward the deceptive world, and preparations for death before the appointed hour" (Ibn Jarir).
    Various versions of this hadith have been reported by `Abdul Razzaq, Firyabi, Ibn Abi Shaybah, `Abd b. Humayd, Ibn al Mundhir, Marduwayh and Bayhaqi (Shawkani). Ibn Kathir adds: some of the chain of narrations are complete while some are discontinuous.
    What Ibn Kathir means perhaps is that although, because of some weakness or the other, none of the ahadith can be declared sahih, as a whole they acquire the status of hasan because of multiple narrations (Au.).
    221. The textual word is "haraj" (pl.: harjah) which is used for a tree within a grove so thickly surrounded with other trees that no one, (neither beast nor man), can reach it. This is how a bedouin explained the word to `Umar ibn al Khattab when he asked him. In response `Umar said: "That is the example of the heart of a hypocrite. No good will ever enter into it." The word however has a general connotation of "constriction" as Allah said (22: 78):

     

    وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ [الحج : 78]


    "He did not place on you any constriction in the religion."
    Sa`id ibn Jubayr has pointed out another connotation when he said "haraj" is that state in which a man finds no way out but upward (Ibn Jarir).
    222. The Qur'an did not say "yas`adu" which would mean he climbs up; rather, it used a stronger form to says "yassa`adu" which means "he struggles to ascend." That is because the act of ascension causes constriction to the heart: a feeling of the heart being left behind as one climbs up, say in an aircraft. One could get the same feeling while climbing a mountain, but the ascent there is so gradual one would fail to notice it. Further, the Qur'an did not say, "as if he is climbing a mountain." It used the word "heaven" in conjunction with the word "yassa`adu" which put together with "harajan" express the sensation of one whose heart has to overcome the gravitational pull of the earth as his body speedily rises up. One may ask himself. If the Prophet was the author of this Book, how was he able to describe so accurately a sensation that mankind had to wait fourteen hundred years for the invention of air crafts to experience? (Au.).
    223. This feeling of constriction manifests itself when the man hears about God, His Oneness, His Attributes, etc. The man feels very uncomfortable. In contrast, when someone other than God is mentioned in his presence, his breast opens up with cheer (Au.).
    224. The opinion of Ibn `Abbas is that by the textual word "rijs" the allusion is to Shaytan who is bound to a man when he decides to disbelieve. The word is also used for dirt and filth (Ibn Jarir).

    وَهَٰذَا صِرَاطُ رَبِّكَ مُسْتَقِيمًا ۗ قَدْ فَصَّلْنَا الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَذَّكَّرُونَ (126)

    6|126| This is the path of your Lord: straight. Surely, We have expounded the verses in detail for a people who will receive admonition.


    لَهُمْ دَارُ السَّلَامِ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ ۖ وَهُوَ وَلِيُّهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (127)

    6|127| Theirs is the abode of peace with their Lord; He is their Patron for what they were doing.


    وَيَوْمَ يَحْشُرُهُمْ جَمِيعًا يَا مَعْشَرَ الْجِنِّ قَدِ اسْتَكْثَرْتُمْ مِنَ الْإِنْسِ ۖ وَقَالَ أَوْلِيَاؤُهُمْ مِنَ الْإِنْسِ رَبَّنَا اسْتَمْتَعَ بَعْضُنَا بِبَعْضٍ وَبَلَغْنَا أَجَلَنَا الَّذِي أَجَّلْتَ لَنَا ۚ قَالَ النَّارُ مَثْوَاكُمْ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ ۗ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ حَكِيمٌ عَلِيمٌ (128)

    6|128| The Day He will muster them all together, ‘O community of Jinns! Surely much (toll) did you take of men.' Their friends among mankind will say, ‘Our Lord! Surely, some of us drew advantages of others225 and have arrived at the term You had determined for us.' He will say, ‘The Fire is your abode, abiding therein forever, except as Allah will.'226 Surely your Lord is All wise, All knowing.


    225. It is reported that in pre Islamic times when an Arab camped in a valley he would say: "I seek refuge with the lord of this valley," meaning the Jinn. That is, men's acknowledgement of the power of the Jinn lies in the former placing them in an advantageous position. This is what is alluded to by one taking advantage of the other (Zamakhshari). Other scholars have said that the fact that the Jinn enjoy the obedience of mankind is the advantage that one draws of the other (Au.).
    Yusuf Ali adds: "It is common experience that the forces of evil make an alliance with each other, and seem thus to make a profit by their mutual log rolling. But this is only in this material world. When the limited term expires, their unholy alliance will be exposed, and there will be nothing but regrets."
    226. Ibn `Abbas has said that in the light of this verse, it is not right for anyone to speak on behalf of Allah, admitting some to Paradise and assigning others to Hell fire (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). This statement of Ibn `Abbas is in Ibn al Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatim and Abu al Sheikh (Shawkani).

    وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُوَلِّي بَعْضَ الظَّالِمِينَ بَعْضًا بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ (129)

    6|129| That is how We let some of the transgressors befriend others,227 for what they were earning.228


    227. Sayyid Qutb writes: "A universal rule of great consequence has been enunciated here. It concerns the nature of friendship between the Satans of men and Jinn. The evil doers, that is, those who commit the sin of association, in some form or the other, gather their forces together on one front in order to thwart the truth and guidance. They assist each other in confronting the Prophets and believers in them. These, just as they are men of the same nature, no matter how different their outward appearances, also share a common interest, viz., to force their lordship on the people, as well as follow their carnal desires unrestrained by the divine commandments.
    "We discover them as one block in every epoch, some supporting the others, despite deep differences among themselves over other issues. But, when the confrontation is with the religion of Allah and His beloved ones, they are one body. Thus, it is the sharing of the objectives that makes them friends of each other. Therefore, in keeping with what they strive for in this world, they would be kept together in the Hereafter.
    "We have been seeing these forces – for the past several centuries a huge force commanding the participation of the Satanic men of the crusaders, the zionists, the pagans and the communists, who have been, despite differences among themselves, one against Islam, and against the destruction of every Islamic movement.
    "It is of course an awesome gang. It commands centuries of experience against Islam, armed with the most dreadful tools of destruction, to be employed in the implementation of its Satanic strategies. This ganging up is an interpretation of the words of Allah: "That is how We let some of the transgressors befriend each other."
    "But the Prophet and those who would follow him in his ways, are told not to be concerned too much about them. They are consoled in words: ‘Had your Lord willed, they would not have done it. Therefore leave them alone, and that which they forge.'"
    228. The translation adopted here follows Qatadah's explanation, who said, "Allah lets some of the transgressor befriend others because of their deeds. Accordingly, a believer is the friend (waliyy) of another believer, wheresoever the two might be: close at hand or afar. And an unbeliever is the friend of an unbeliever, wheresoever the two might be. Faith is not the name of good wishes or of dreams (Ibn Jarir).
    There has been another interpretation. It also originates from Qatadah. In Mawdudi's words it is: "Just as the wrong doers had been accomplices in sin and evil during their earthly life, they would remain companions in the After life as well as share in punishment."
    The attribution to Allah of letting some befriend others, adds Rashid Rida, is following the general rule that, in the final resort, it is Allah who sanctions all deeds. It is not that things were destined that way, as the Qadariyyah said, nor was there a denial of choice, as the Jabariyyah alleged. Rather, it was similarities in outlook and purposes with full agreement over transgression that some of the men came to befriend others. ‘By Allah,' adds Rashid Rida, ‘if you were to be obedient to Allah but did not know others who are similarly in acts of obedience, it will not hurt you. So too, if you were to be sinning, but kept the company of the most righteous, it would do you no profit. Merely the company of this or that group would do you no good, if you do not come up with the right kind of deeds.'
    Rashid Rida also quotes from Abu Sheikh that Mansur b. Abi al Aswad said, "I asked A`mash about this verse as to what have you heard from your elders (senior Followers the tabe`iyyun) in explanation?" He replied, "I heard them say that when the people are corrupt they come to have the most evil of them as their leader." This is how the senior tabe`iyyun understood the verse, although the hadith that is often quoted in this connection, viz., "You will have rulers over you who are the like of you," is extremely weak.

    يَا مَعْشَرَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنْسِ أَلَمْ يَأْتِكُمْ رُسُلٌ مِنْكُمْ يَقُصُّونَ عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِي وَيُنْذِرُونَكُمْ لِقَاءَ يَوْمِكُمْ هَٰذَا ۚ قَالُوا شَهِدْنَا عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِنَا ۖ وَغَرَّتْهُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا وَشَهِدُوا عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِهِمْ أَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا كَافِرِينَ (130)

    6|130| O assembly of Jinn and mankind! Did not Messengers come to you from amongst you,229 narrating to you Our revelations and warning you of the encounter of this your Day?' They will say, ‘We testify against ourselves.'230 It was the life of this world which deluded them so that they testified against themselves that they were unbelievers.


    229. The scholars are divided over messengers to the Jinn, whether they were raised from among themselves or those of the mankind addressed them too. Dahhak has said that messengers were sent to them from among them, but Ibn Jurayj feels differently, and a statement of Ibn `Abbas implies that the messengers to them were from mankind. As for the words here "from among you", the explanation is that they are in the same vein as the verse speaking of both river and sea waters: "pearls and corals come out of them," (55: 22) although what is meant is from one of them (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Rashid Rida however rejects the argument and points out that the verse quoted to prove the point does not hold its ground because ancient Arabs did not know that even rivers can produce pearls and precious stones as remarked by Sale, the famous translator of the Qur'an, in his notes on Baydawi. All the same, the verse:


    إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا كِتَابًا أُنْزِلَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مُوسَى [الأحقاف : 30]


    "We have heard a Book sent down after Musa" (46: 30) tell us that at least Musa (asws) was sent unto them too.
    Nonetheless, Kalbi has stated that the messengers unto the Jinn were from among themselves until the commissioning of our Prophet who was the messenger unto both men and Jinn (Zamakhshari).
    Imam Razi feels that in the absence of clear evidence, one might accept the face value of the words of the verse in question: "O assembly of Jinn and mankind! Did not Messengers come to you from among you?"
    Qadi Thana'ullah Panipati has also stated in his Tafsir Maz hari that since the Jinn were there before men on earth, messengers from among themselves should have been sent to them (Ma`arif).
    230. Here it is stated that the unbelievers will admit that they were on the wrong. But elsewhere in the Qur'an, it is stated that they will refuse to admit that they were associators. E.g.,


    وَاللَّهِ رَبِّنَا مَا كُنَّا مُشْرِكِينَ [الأنعام : 23]


    "By God, O our Lord, we were not of the associators (6: 23)". How do we reconcile the two? The answer is, the Day of Judgment will be a long affair, with people passing through various stages. At one stage they might deny, but at another, they would admit (Razi).

    ذَٰلِكَ أَنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ رَبُّكَ مُهْلِكَ الْقُرَىٰ بِظُلْمٍ وَأَهْلُهَا غَافِلُونَ (131)

    6|131| That is because your Lord was not such as to destroy the cities unjustly,231 while its inhabitants were unaware.


    231. Another interpretation has been to understand "zulm" here as "the sin of association." The meaning then would be, "That is because your Lord was not such as to destroy the towns for their sin of association, while its people were unaware (of the message and the messengers)." Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari. Or, in the words of Majid: "This is because thy Lord is not one to destroy a town for its wrong doing while its people are unaware."

    وَلِكُلٍّ دَرَجَاتٌ مِمَّا عَمِلُوا ۚ وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا يَعْمَلُونَ (132)

    6|132| And, for all are ranks according to what they practiced.232 Your Lord is not unaware233 of what they did.


    232. The verse implies, says Qurtubi, that the righteous of the Jinn will be with mankind in Paradise, while the sinners will share the Fire with them.
    233. The word ghafil of the original is used when someone is unable to pay attention to something because of his pre occupation with another affair (Qurtubi).

    وَرَبُّكَ الْغَنِيُّ ذُو الرَّحْمَةِ ۚ إِنْ يَشَأْ يُذْهِبْكُمْ وَيَسْتَخْلِفْ مِنْ بَعْدِكُمْ مَا يَشَاءُ كَمَا أَنْشَأَكُمْ مِنْ ذُرِّيَّةِ قَوْمٍ آخَرِينَ (133)

    6|133| Your Lord is Self sufficient, full of mercy.234 If He will, He could put you away and bring in as your successors after you, whom He will, just as He brought you out of the seeds of another people.235


    234. The addition of "full of mercy" to the earlier Attribute, "the Self sufficient", is to emphasize that although Allah is in no need of anyone's service, and that the attitudes of His slaves do not matter to Him at all, yet, despite being "Self sufficient" in the absolute sense, He is not blind to the needs of His slaves, as some people, although Islamically educated, seem to believe (Thanwi).
    In contrast, adds Shafi`, Allah has not made any of His creation self sufficient in any sense. For, instead of co operating with others of his kind, when a man sees himself self sufficient, he begins to act tyrannically towards others. The Qur'an has said:


    كَلَّا إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَيَطْغَى (6) أَنْ رَآهُ اسْتَغْنَى [العلق : 6 ، 7]


    "Man rebels if he perceives himself self sufficient." (96: 6, 7)
    235. Yusuf Ali comments: "Allah is not dependent on our prayer or service. It is out of His Mercy that He desires our own good. Any race or people to whom He gives chances should understand that and that its failure does not affect Allah. H could create others in their place, as He did in times past, and is doing in our own day, if only we had the wit to see it."
    Mawdudi elaborates: "The Qur'anic statement: ‘Your Lord is Self sufficient' signifies that God is in need of nothing from anyone, that none of His interests will be jeopardized by disobedience to Him, and that no benefit will accrue to Him from obedience. Even if all human beings became disobedient, God's dominion will not shrink, nor will His dominion expand, if everybody were to become obedient and serve and worship Him as they ought to. God is dependent neither upon their show of veneration nor upon their offerings. He lavishes His limitless treasure on human beings and seeks nothing in return.
    "The other statement, namely that ‘Your Lord is full of compassion', has been made here to emphasize two things. First, that when God urges human beings to follow the Right Way, and asks them not to do anything in conflict with the Ultimate Reality, He does not do so because their good behavior benefits Him or their misconduct harms Him. He does so because good conduct is beneficial to man himself, as evil conduct is harmful to him. Hence it is out of sheer benevolence that God urges man to develop righteous conduct, for it will raise him to great heights, and He urges him to avoid evil conduct because it will lead to his own degradation. Second, that God is not unduly stern in judging man. He gets no pleasure from punishing people. He is not on the look out for slight lapses for which to convict and punish and persecute people. God is highly compassionate towards all His creatures and governs with utmost mercy and benevolence, and the same characterizes His dealings with human beings as well. Hence, He constantly forgives the sins of the people. Many disobey, indulge in sins, commit crimes, disregard God's commands, even though they are nourished by the sustenance He provides. God, nevertheless, continuously treats them with forbearance and forgives them. Again and again, He grants them respite in order that they may take heed, understand things properly and reform themselves. Had He been excessively stern, He could have obliterated them instantly and raised up another people. He could have put an end to humanity and brought into being an altogether different species of creation."

    إِنَّ مَا تُوعَدُونَ لَآتٍ ۖ وَمَا أَنْتُمْ بِمُعْجِزِينَ (134)

    6|134| Surely, that which you are being promised will come to pass. You shall not be able to frustrate (Allah).


    قُلْ يَا قَوْمِ اعْمَلُوا عَلَىٰ مَكَانَتِكُمْ إِنِّي عَامِلٌ ۖ فَسَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ مَنْ تَكُونُ لَهُ عَاقِبَةُ الدَّارِ ۗ إِنَّهُ لَا يُفْلِحُ الظَّالِمُونَ (135)

    6|135| Say, ‘O my people! Do (as you wish) in your sphere (of activity),236 I am doing (my part). Soon you shall know for whom will be the end of the Abode. Surely, the transgressors will not prosper.'


    236. Some have understood "makanatikum" as "tamakkunikum", i.e., "within your range of possibility" (Ibn Jarir and others). The whole sentence then would be: "O my people! Do whatever is in your range of possibility," or, as Asad has worded it, "Do all that may be within your power."

    وَجَعَلُوا لِلَّهِ مِمَّا ذَرَأَ مِنَ الْحَرْثِ وَالْأَنْعَامِ نَصِيبًا فَقَالُوا هَٰذَا لِلَّهِ بِزَعْمِهِمْ وَهَٰذَا لِشُرَكَائِنَا ۖ فَمَا كَانَ لِشُرَكَائِهِمْ فَلَا يَصِلُ إِلَى اللَّهِ ۖ وَمَا كَانَ لِلَّهِ فَهُوَ يَصِلُ إِلَىٰ شُرَكَائِهِمْ ۗ سَاءَ مَا يَحْكُمُونَ (136)

    6|136| They assign a share to Allah out of what He brought forth of the crops and cattle, saying entirely out of their fancy, ‘This is for Allah and this is for our associate( gods).'237 Then, what is for their associate( gods), does not reach Allah. Whereas, what is assigned to Allah, reaches their associate( gods).238 Evil is the way they judge.239


    237. In this is the censure of the innovations of our times some approved by the Shuyukh – that in fact are a lot similar to what is depicted here as the innovations of the pre Islamic times.
    238. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah and Suddi have said that the allusion is to a practice of the pagan Arabs. At the time of the harvest of grain or fruits, they assigned a share to Allah and a share to their idols and deities. Now, if the wind blew a part of the share of the deities into that assigned to Allah, they would bring it back. (According to one report, saying, "This, [i.e., the deity], is after all poor"). But if the share assigned to Allah got mixed up with that of the idols, they would not bother about it, and hence the verse (Ibn Jarir).
    239. "Evil is the way they judge:" Evil for more than one reason. First, transgression upon the laws of Allah. Second, commitment of the sin of association in the worship of Allah since, no one should be given any share in an act with which Allah's nearness is sought. Third, preferential treatment of those associated with Allah. And fourth, doing something that has no basis in reason and logic (Manar).
    Mawdudi writes: "In order to grasp what lay at the root of these superstitions, it is essential to know that the portion which these ignorant people earmarked for God was devoted to helping the indigent, the poor, travellers and so on. On the other hand, the portion earmarked for offerings to the ‘partners' actually went directly to the coffers of the priestly class or was offered at the shrines and thus ultimately reached the priests and caretakers of those shrines. Over the course of centuries these selfish religious leaders had impressed upon those simple minded people that there was no harm in God's share being reduced, but that of God's dear ones, far from being diminished, should be increased."
    Mufti Shafi` has a perceptive point: Much the same is the attitude of most practicing Muslims today. Out of their total time of the day, they assign a share to Allah (for the purposes of worship, acts of devotion, etc.), and a share to worldly activities. But, if their worldly activities demand excess time, they take it out of what is assigned to Allah. In contrast, they never let the time allotted for this worldly activities to be encroached by the time assigned for next worldly activities. Evil is the way they judge.

    وَكَذَٰلِكَ زَيَّنَ لِكَثِيرٍ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ قَتْلَ أَوْلَادِهِمْ شُرَكَاؤُهُمْ لِيُرْدُوهُمْ وَلِيَلْبِسُوا عَلَيْهِمْ دِينَهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا فَعَلُوهُ ۖ فَذَرْهُمْ وَمَا يَفْتَرُونَ (137)

    6|137| That is how their associate( gods) have decked out fair to many associators the killing of their offspring240 in order to destroy them and to confound them in their religion.241 Had Allah willed, they would not have done it.242 So leave them alone and that which they forge.


    240. Majid comments: "This may possibly refer to the ancient Semitic practice of child sacrifice, which had been very general, (vide ERE. I, pp. 390 91). Infanticide with a religious motive has also been wide spread. In India, for example, ‘children were thrown into the sacred river Ganges, and adoration paid to the alligators who fed on them.' (EBr. XIV, p. 516, 11th ed.). The allusion may also be to the modern craze for ‘contraception' a subtle form of infanticide."
    241. In the like manner, to some Muslims various acts amounting to shirk, such as, visiting the graves, making offerings there, seeking the intercession of the buried, slaughtering animals in their name, etc., are decked out fair. Although, such of those as do these things, do not term them as acts of worship, but, for all purposes they are no less than that (Manar).
    242. "Had Allah willed, they would not have done it": The verse obviously does not mean that the deeds of the sinners are imposed upon them by way of pre destination: something over which they have no control as the Jabariyyah have alleged. Rather, it was Allah's will that He equip the humans with reason and intellect, make them susceptible to influences, good and bad, and give them the power to choose between good and evil. He could have, of course, if He willed, forced everyone to right conduct, but He did not do that for the purposes of trial. Hence the latter verse adds that they did that out of ignorance and foolishness. Were they to exchange their ignorance with knowledge, they would not commit such vile things (Manar).

    وَقَالُوا هَٰذِهِ أَنْعَامٌ وَحَرْثٌ حِجْرٌ لَا يَطْعَمُهَا إِلَّا مَنْ نَشَاءُ بِزَعْمِهِمْ وَأَنْعَامٌ حُرِّمَتْ ظُهُورُهَا وَأَنْعَامٌ لَا يَذْكُرُونَ اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهَا افْتِرَاءً عَلَيْهِ ۚ سَيَجْزِيهِمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْتَرُونَ (138)

    6|138| They also say, ‘Such and such cattle243 and crops are sacrosanct that none should eat of them' so they assert ‘except those whom we wish.'244 Further, there are cattle whose backs are forbidden245 and cattle over which they do not pronounce Allah's Name,246 forging a lie upon Him.247 He shall surely requite them for what they were forging.


    243. Such cattle were named as Sa'ibah, Wasilah and Bahirah (Ibn Jarir).
    244. Yusuf Ali writes: "A taboo of certain foods is sometimes a device of the priesthood to get special things for itself. It has to be imposed by pretending that the prohibitions for others is by the will of Allah."
    245. There were cattle that they forbid their backs unto themselves, that is, they neither rode them (not even for Hajj: Abu Wa'il) nor used them for yoke (Ibn Jarir).
    246. Mujahid has said that they marked out certain camels over which they would not spell Allah's Name under any circumstance, neither when they rode on them, or loaded on them, nor when they milked them (Ibn Jarir).
    247. They related these practices to Allah's commands, forging lies against Him (Ibn Jarir).
    Asad writes: "The pre Islamic Arabs falsely claimed that the taboos were ordained by God, as is made clear in the last part of this verse. One of these supposed, arbitrary "ordinances" laid down that only the priests of the particular idol and some men belonging to the tribe could eat the flesh of such dedicated animals, while women were not allowed to do so (Zamakhshari)."

    وَقَالُوا مَا فِي بُطُونِ هَٰذِهِ الْأَنْعَامِ خَالِصَةٌ لِذُكُورِنَا وَمُحَرَّمٌ عَلَىٰ أَزْوَاجِنَا ۖ وَإِنْ يَكُنْ مَيْتَةً فَهُمْ فِيهِ شُرَكَاءُ ۚ سَيَجْزِيهِمْ وَصْفَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ حَكِيمٌ عَلِيمٌ (139)

    6|139| They also say, ‘What is in the wombs of such and such cattle is exclusively for our males and forbidden unto our spouses.'248 But, if it happens to be a still born, then they all share it.249 He shall surely requite them for their attribution (to Allah). Surely, He is the All wise, the All knowing.


    248. Ibn `Abbas and Qatadah have said that the allusion by the words "ma fi butuniha," is to their milk which their men drank but not their women. But Mujahid has said that the reference is to what the wombs carried. Both could be correct (Ibn Jarir).
    249. This piece would apply to those cattle whose womb contents the pagans forbid unto their women (Au.).

    قَدْ خَسِرَ الَّذِينَ قَتَلُوا أَوْلَادَهُمْ سَفَهًا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَحَرَّمُوا مَا رَزَقَهُمُ اللَّهُ افْتِرَاءً عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ قَدْ ضَلُّوا وَمَا كَانُوا مُهْتَدِينَ (140)

    6|140| | Surely, losers were those who slaughtered their infants in folly and without knowledge,250 and (those who) forbid what Allah provided them, forging a lie against Allah. They fell into folly and were never rightly guided.


    250. The reference is to the pagan practices (more prevalent in the tribes of Rabi`ah and Mudar) of burying alive female infants either out of fear of poverty (`Ikrimah), or out of shame in giving her away to a male when she grew up (Au). Some of them killed them and fed them to the dogs (Ibn Jarir and others). The allusion could also be to the vows that some of the pagans made that if they received so many males, they would sacrifice one of them, such as the vow of `Abdul Muttalib (Zamakhshari, Razi).
    Qurtubi writes: It is reported that one of the Companions used to appear in a grievous mood. Once, the Prophet asked him the reason. He replied, "Messenger of Allah. I've committed a sin that I wonder if Allah will forgive despite my Islam." The Prophet asked him to explain what it was. The man said: "I was one of those who used to bury their female infants. Once my wife gave birth to a girl and pleaded that I let her live. I agreed. She grew into a most beautiful girl. Proposals began coming in. But a shallow sense of honor took over me. I did not want her to be married off, and I did not want to keep her unmarried. One day I told my wife that I was proposing to visit such and such a tribe and wished to take the daughter along. She was pleased, got her ready with some bright clothes, jewelry, and all that stuff, and then took promise from me that I would safeguard her. On the way we stopped at a well. I peeped in. The daughter's sixth sense told her that I wished to push her in. She clung to me with tears in her eyes and pleaded, ‘Father! What do you want to do this with me?' I felt kind at her. But then I looked at the well and my false sense of honor got better of me. She again clung to me and pleaded for mercy. I felt kind towards her. But, as I looked at the well, and at her in turns, my false sense of honor took charge of me and I pushed her down, head first. She cried from the well, ‘Father! You killed me.' I hung along until she ceased calling. Then I left the place." The Prophet and his Companions wept and he said: "If I were to punish someone for a deed of the pre Islamic times, I would punish this man."

    وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنْشَأَ جَنَّاتٍ مَعْرُوشَاتٍ وَغَيْرَ مَعْرُوشَاتٍ وَالنَّخْلَ وَالزَّرْعَ مُخْتَلِفًا أُكُلُهُ وَالزَّيْتُونَ وَالرُّمَّانَ مُتَشَابِهًا وَغَيْرَ مُتَشَابِهٍ ۚ كُلُوا مِنْ ثَمَرِهِ إِذَا أَثْمَرَ وَآتُوا حَقَّهُ يَوْمَ حَصَادِهِ ۖ وَلَا تُسْرِفُوا ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ (141)

    6|141| It is He who brings forth the orchards, the trellised and the untrellised ones, the date palm, and produce of diverse taste, olives and pomegranates, similar and dissimilar. Eat of its fruit when it fructifies251 and give out the due thereof252 on the day of its harvest.253 Yet, do not over indulge.254 Indeed, He does not approve of the over indulgent.


    251. The verse tells us by implication that all that is in the earth is lawful to man, unless there is a commandment to the contrary (Razi).
    252. The opinions are divided over whether the "due" is zakah or sadaqah? Ibn Jarir believes that until the institution of zakah, it was sadaqah that was meant. But, later, with the laying down of zakah rules, it is the obligatory zakah that is meant.
    253. This verse is the basis of Imam Abu Hanifa's opinion that so far as farm products go, there is no minimum limit, rather, one should give out as zakah one tenth of whatever is harvested, whether that be little or more (Razi). Such is also the opinion of Imam Hanbal (Ma`arif).
    Fiqh Points
    The following are from Mufti Shafi`
    The minimum of wealth, trade goods, or cattle that is liable for zakah has been delineated by the Prophet himself. But ahadith that speak of zakah on farm products do not say anything about the minimum. Hence, zakah must be offered on whatever is produced, less or more. The minimum for various items is as follows:

    (i) On any treasure found accidentally, or, gold, silver and such precious metals, one in 5.
    (ii) On any farm product that is irrigated with natural water, one in 10.
    (iii) On any farm product that is artificially irrigated (by means of canals, wells, etc.), one in 20.
    (iv) Savings, (whether in cash or gold), trade goods, etc., one in 40.

    It should be apparent from above that the zakah imposed seems to depend on ease or difficulty of procurement of wealth. If it is easily obtained, such as a treasure, then it is one fifth that has to be given away as zakah. Over farm produce, that are irrigated by natural means, such as rain water, one is required to pay off one half of what one would pay over easily found wealth. But if the farm is irrigated by artificial means, that is, requiring greater human effort, then it is reduced to one half of what one would pay over a farm irrigated by natural means. Finally, over the wealth one earns by trade and merchandize, which involves lots of efforts, the amount is one half of the farms irrigated by artificial means.
    Quote from Shafi` ends here.
    According to the Hanafiyyah, zakah must be paid for every land produce except timber, grass, canes, plants grown for seeds, and plants of medicinal value. Some fruits and vegetables (not all) are also exempt (Alamgiriyyah). But the rules and exemptions are different with other fuqaha' (Au.).
    254. The "over indulgence" (israf) is applicable both to giving less as well as to giving out more than necessary, as reported of Thabit b. Qays b. Shimas who, when he went up to pluck his dates, vowed, "no one shall come to me but I shall give him some dates." By the evening he was left with nothing (Ibn Jarir). Mujahid however has said that if you were to spend gold amounting to what Ibn Qubays had, seeking Allah's pleasure, you would not be committing israf. But if you spent a little while displeasing Him, then, that would be israf (Shawkani).
    Accordingly, following the harvest, some Companions of the Prophet hung bunches of dates in the mosque. The hungry used a stick to bring down what they needed (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). In fact, according to a report in Abu Da'ud and Ahmad of good strength the Prophet had ordered that whoever harvested more than 11 wasaqs of dates, should hang a bunch in the mosque for the poor (Shawkani).

    وَمِنَ الْأَنْعَامِ حَمُولَةً وَفَرْشًا ۚ كُلُوا مِمَّا رَزَقَكُمُ اللَّهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ (142)

    6|142| And (of Our sings are) cattle for burden, as well as (those) not for burden.255 Eat of what Allah has provided you and follow not the footsteps of Satan. Surely, he is your avowed enemy.


    255. Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Hasan have said that "hamulah" of the original alludes to those camels that are used for burden while "farsh" to those of them that are not used for burden because of their youth. But some others, such as Hasan, Qatadah, Suddi, Dahhak, and, according to one report Ibn `Abbas too, have said that "farsh" (so named because of its closeness to the earth), is applicable to any animal that is not used for carrying loads such as the little ones of the camel as well as bovines viz., goats, sheep, etc. (Ibn Jarir). The interpretation of Zayd b. Aslam is that "farsh" alludes to the use of the hide and wool for sleeping on or for covering against cold in winter (Ibn Kathir).

    ثَمَانِيَةَ أَزْوَاجٍ ۖ مِنَ الضَّأْنِ اثْنَيْنِ وَمِنَ الْمَعْزِ اثْنَيْنِ ۗ قُلْ آلذَّكَرَيْنِ حَرَّمَ أَمِ الْأُنْثَيَيْنِ أَمَّا اشْتَمَلَتْ عَلَيْهِ أَرْحَامُ الْأُنْثَيَيْنِ ۖ نَبِّئُونِي بِعِلْمٍ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ (143)

    6|143| (There are) eight (among the cattle that make) couples256: of the sheep257 a pair, of the goats a pair. Say, ‘Has He forbidden the two males or the two females? Or what the wombs of the two females carry? Tell me by knowledge, if you are true.'


    256. Eight that make pairs: that is, sheep, goat, camel, and cow: two of each make a pair. Although there were other domesticated animals, the pagans played their nefarious game of declaring this lawful or that unlawful on these eight (Au.).
    "The term zawj denotes a pair of things as well as each of the two constituents of the pair" (Asad).
    257. Whatever of the bovine cattle yields wool is Da'n in Arabic (Razi).

    وَمِنَ الْإِبِلِ اثْنَيْنِ وَمِنَ الْبَقَرِ اثْنَيْنِ ۗ قُلْ آلذَّكَرَيْنِ حَرَّمَ أَمِ الْأُنْثَيَيْنِ أَمَّا اشْتَمَلَتْ عَلَيْهِ أَرْحَامُ الْأُنْثَيَيْنِ ۖ أَمْ كُنْتُمْ شُهَدَاءَ إِذْ وَصَّاكُمُ اللَّهُ بِهَٰذَا ۚ فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَىٰ عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا لِيُضِلَّ النَّاسَ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ (144)

    6|144| Similarly, of the camels is a pair, and of the oxen a pair. Say, ‘Has He forbidden the two males or the two females? Or what the wombs of the two females carry?258 Or, were you witnesses when Allah charged you with this? Who then can do greater wrong than he who fastens a lie upon Allah, to lead the people astray without knowledge?259 Verily, Allah does not guide a wrong doing people.'


    258. "Question as to whether the male offspring is lawful and the female is unlawful are presented in some detail to show how unreasonable their superstitions are" (Mawdudi).
    259. Suddi, Ibn Zayd and others have said that the pagan Arabs whimsically prohibited this or that of the cattle, or a part of its body, to themselves or to their women. When asked why, they would refer its illegality to God. Allah refuted them in this verse declaring once again that these cattle are lawful unto everyone (Au.). And the first of those who introduced these practices was `Amr b. Luhayy (Zamakhshari).

    قُلْ لَا أَجِدُ فِي مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ مُحَرَّمًا عَلَىٰ طَاعِمٍ يَطْعَمُهُ إِلَّا أَنْ يَكُونَ مَيْتَةً أَوْ دَمًا مَسْفُوحًا أَوْ لَحْمَ خِنْزِيرٍ فَإِنَّهُ رِجْسٌ أَوْ فِسْقًا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ ۚ فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ غَيْرَ بَاغٍ وَلَا عَادٍ فَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (145)

    6|145| Say, ‘I do not find in what has been revealed to me260 anything forbidden261 to be eaten by one who wishes to eat thereof, save that it be carrion,262 or blood poured forth,263 or swine's flesh which is unclean or what is profane having been consecrated to other than Allah. Yet if one is forced by necessity, without disobeying, or transgressing the due limits, then, surely, your Lord is Very Forgiving, Very Kind.'264


    260. As context of revelation, Ta'us has reported his father as saying that the pagan Arabs declared things lawful and unlawful whimsically (such as the beast lawful for their men but unlawful for their women: Au). Allah revealed this verse to outline what exactly was lawful and what unlawful (Ibn Jarir).
    Imam Shafe`i's explanation is that the Prophet was enquired about the unlawfulness of certain items. He was instructed by this verse to tell them that at that moment (in Makkah) he did not find anything in what was revealed to him unlawful save a few things as described in the verse. Hence the choice of words: "Say, I do not find in that revealed to me anything prohibited .." (Qurtubi). This of course left the door open for further prohibitions in Madinah. Alusi expresses more or less the same opinion.
    261. A question arises. Is the list of the unlawful stated herewith all inclusive or have there been additions, such as, for instance, Jallalah (a domestic animal that eats refuse of other animals)? One would assume that `A'isha believed that the list herewith is comprehensive. It is reported (Ibn Jarir) that she did not consider flesh of the forest beasts as prohibited. So was the opinion of Ibn `Abbas. (Ibn Kathir classifies `A'isha's statement as sahih gharib). Ibn Kathir also reports from Bukhari, Abu Da'ud and Hakim that someone asked Jabir b. `Abdullah if it was true that the Prophet had declared meat of the domestic donkey as unlawful at the time of the Khayber campaign? He replied that the Habr (i.e., Ibn `Abbas) did not accept the report. (When asked) he would recite this verse: "Say, ‘I do not find in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, save that .." to the end. Nonetheless, a report in Abu Da'ud and Musnad of Ahmad says that when someone asked Ibn `Umar about hedgehog and he recited this verse in reply. When someone else interjected that the Prophet had said about hedgehog that it was one of the abominations. Ibn `Umar said: "If the Prophet has said that, then, let it be as he said" (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    Notwithstanding the above reports, Ibn Kathir is inclined to feel that this verse overrules all that has been added on to the list of the prohibited by the founders of the madhahib such as, meat of the domestic donkey, of beasts of forest, and of every bird that picks up things with its talons. He also states that according to some scholars this verse has been abrogated by the verses in Surah al Ma'idah on this topic as well as statements in the hadith literature that talk of a few other things apart from what has been stated in the verse in question.
    Shawkani thinks that since reports coming from the Prophet about the unlawfulness of other things apart from those mentioned in this verse are trustworthy, there is no escape from them.
    Accordingly, to Imam Malik, Shafe`i and Abu Hanifah, every beast of the forest that tears its prey apart is prohibited (Qurtubi).
    262. The prohibition however applies only to its consumption. The skin for instance could be made use of. According to a hadith in Bukhari, Nasa'i and Ahmad narrated by Ibn `Abbas, Sawda b. Zam`ah enquired the Prophet about a goat that had died. He allowed her to get it skinned and use it after tanning it (Ibn Kathir). But the prohibition stays for fat, since skin is not eaten but fat is.
    263. For explanation see Surah al Ma'idah, note 24.
    Shanqiti disagrees with Ibn Kathir's opinion and believes that the list of the unlawful was enlarged by the Sunnah after the revelation of this verse. He devotes scores of pages towards the discussion concerning the lawful and the unlawful of the animals. Hereunder is a summary. If the name of an Imam does not appear in the parenthesis, it means either that animal is lawful according to him or merely undesirable (makruh) but lawful.
    The Lawful:
    Rabbit, the big desert lizard, locusts. (By consensus).
    The Unlawful:
    Wild beasts in general: those that tear apart their prey (the four Imams). This is based on the hadith of Abu Hurayrah in Sahih Muslim: "Every wild animal with claws is forbidden." There is a hadith by Abu Tha`labah too, to this effect, both in Bukhari and Muslim.
    Wild birds: those that hold their prey with their talons (Abu Hanifah, Shafe`i, Ibn Hanbal). Ibn `Abbas has reported in Sahih Muslim that: "The Prophet prohibited every wild animal with claws and every bird with talons."
    Domestic donkey: (the four Imams). There are innumerable ahadith to this effect in Bukhari, Muslim and others.
    Horse: (considered an abomination by Malik and Abu Hanifah).
    Dog, monkey, elephant, cat: (the four Imams).
    Fox: (Ibn Hanbal, Abu Hanifah and Shafe`i).
    All creepers, crawlers, such as rats, snakes, scorpions, frogs, bats, chameleons, cockroaches, spiders, worms, etc.: (the four Imams). Allah has said (7: 157): "And it (the Qur'an) forbids the unclean."
    Insects: (the four Imams).
    Jallalah: opinions vary. (It is that animal which has fed itself on other animals' faeces). Most scholars restrict the consumption of its flesh, milk or egg, to only after it has been fed on natural feed for a certain number of days or weeks.
    Cannibalism: Prohibited by consensus.
    264. Since what remains within the flesh and bones is not running blood, it is not considered unlawful Qatadah (Ibn Jarir).

    وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ هَادُوا حَرَّمْنَا كُلَّ ذِي ظُفُرٍ ۖ وَمِنَ الْبَقَرِ وَالْغَنَمِ حَرَّمْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ شُحُومَهُمَا إِلَّا مَا حَمَلَتْ ظُهُورُهُمَا أَوِ الْحَوَايَا أَوْ مَا اخْتَلَطَ بِعَظْمٍ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ جَزَيْنَاهُمْ بِبَغْيِهِمْ ۖ وَإِنَّا لَصَادِقُونَ (146)

    6|146| As for those who Judaized themselves, We forbade every cloven hoofed (animal).265 And, of the cows and sheep, We forbade them their fat except for what clings to the backs or the entrails or that which adheres to the bones.266 That is how We recompensed them for their rebellion.267 Surely, We are True.


    265. Ibn `Abbas has said that the allusion is to camels and ostriches. But Sa`id b. Jubayr has said that by implication chicken, ducks and birds resembling them are also included. Although, Mujahid has added that the Jews eat chicken, ducks, and birds (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    266. Jabir b. `Abdullah has reported: "I heard the Prophet say at the time Makkah fell,


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ حَرَّمَ بَيْعَ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْتَةِ وَالْخِنْزِيرِ وَالأَصْنَامِ ». فَقِيلَ : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَرَأَيْتَ شُحُومَ الْمَيْتَةِ فَإِنَّهَا تُطْلَى بِهَا السُّفُنُ وَيُدْهَنُ بِهَا الْجُلُودُ وَيَسْتَصْبِحُ بِهَا النَّاسُ فَقَالَ :« لاَ هُوَ حَرَامٌ ». ثُمَّ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- :« قَاتَلَ اللَّهُ الْيَهُودَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَّا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْهِمْ شُحُومَهَا جَمَلُوهَا ثُمَّ بَاعُوهُ وَأَكَلُوا ثَمَنَهُ »


    ‘Allah and His Messenger have prohibited the sale of wine, carrion, swine and idols.' It was said, ‘Messenger of Allah. What would you say about fat? We use it for oiling the hide, to fill up gaps and crevices in boats, and the people use it as fuel for their lamps.' He said, ‘No it is unlawful,’ and then added, ‘May Allah destroy the Jews. They were prohibited fat, but they liquefied it, sold it, and devoured its price (Ibn Kathir).
    The hadith is in the six canonical collections (Hussain b. Ibrahim).
    According to other versions, the Prophet (saws) added:


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ إِذَا حَرَّمَ عَلَى قَوْمٍ أَكْلَ شَيْءٍ حَرَّمَ عَلَيْهِمْ ثَمَنَهُ


    "When Allah prohibits the consumption of a thing He also prohibited its value" (Ibn Kathir).
    267. This shows that Allah's disobedience leads to the loss of worldly blessings also (Thanwi).

    فَإِنْ كَذَّبُوكَ فَقُلْ رَبُّكُمْ ذُو رَحْمَةٍ وَاسِعَةٍ وَلَا يُرَدُّ بَأْسُهُ عَنِ الْقَوْمِ الْمُجْرِمِينَ (147)

    6|147| Yet, if they cry lies to you, say, ‘Your Lord possesses all embracing mercy but His wrath cannot be turned back from a transgressing people.'


    سَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا لَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا أَشْرَكْنَا وَلَا آبَاؤُنَا وَلَا حَرَّمْنَا مِنْ شَيْءٍ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ كَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ ذَاقُوا بَأْسَنَا ۗ قُلْ هَلْ عِنْدَكُمْ مِنْ عِلْمٍ فَتُخْرِجُوهُ لَنَا ۖ إِنْ تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ أَنْتُمْ إِلَّا تَخْرُصُونَ (148)

    6|148| Anon will those who associated (with Allah) say, ‘Had Allah willed neither we nor our forefathers would have declared partners (unto Him), nor would we have treated anything as unlawful.'268 Thus is how those who were before them cried lies until they tasted Our wrath.269 Say, ‘Have you any knowledge that you can put forth before us? You follow not but conjectures and are attempting nothing but guess work.'


    268. The pagans presumed to say that the very fact that for centuries they had remained worshipping idols and treating certain kinds of animals (and practices) as forbidden, was proof in itself that at one point or the other Allah had ordered those things, or, was not displeased with them. Had He been displeased, He could have forced them to abandon their ways. This explains the last part of the verse which asks them to produce a Scripture confirming their claim: ‘Have you any knowledge that you can put forth before us? You follow not but conjectures and are attempting nothing but guess work.' And since they could not bring up any written proof, it demonstrated that they were arguing falsely. Accordingly, the Prophet was asked to say to them, ‘Allah's is the argument that reaches home.' That is, your arguments do not. As for their statement that had Allah willed He could have forcibly led them aright, the answer is, yes, ‘Had Allah willed, He would have guided you all,' but that is not the way in which He deals with the people: forcing His guidance upon them (based partly on Ibn Jarir: Au).
    Majid writes: "The pagans used the word ‘willed' in the sense of ‘pleased' or ‘approved' they confused the former with the latter and therein lay the fallacy.. Thus they confused the power and ability by God on everyone to do whatever He chose with His approval of every course of action."
    Zamakhshari has another point: If the pagans are true in their claim that they have been forced by the Divine Decree to adopt the ways they have adopted, then they should not have enmity with the Muslims who, by their own logic, are bound by the same Divine Decree in believing in Allah as One and Muhammad as His Messenger.
    269. The purport of the verse is, it were wrong ideas of this sort (viz., Allah's will and man's helplessness: Au.) that led many people astray in the past. Had that been the case, Allah would not have sent them Messengers punishing those who rejected them (Ibn Kathir).

    قُلْ فَلِلَّهِ الْحُجَّةُ الْبَالِغَةُ ۖ فَلَوْ شَاءَ لَهَدَاكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ (149)

    6|149| Say, ‘Allah's is the argument that reaches home. Had Allah willed, He would have guided you all aright.'270


    270. Asad comments: "In other words, the real relationship between God's knowledge of the future (and, therefore, the ineluctability of what is to happen in the future) on the one hand, and man's free will, on the other two propositions which, on the face of it, seem to contradict one another is beyond man's comprehension; but since both are postulated by God, both must be true. The very concept of "God" presupposes His omniscience; and the very concept of morality and moral responsibility presupposes free will on man's part. Had God so willed, every human being would have been forced to live righteously; but this would have amounted to depriving man of his free will, and morality of all its meaning."

    قُلْ هَلُمَّ شُهَدَاءَكُمُ الَّذِينَ يَشْهَدُونَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ حَرَّمَ هَٰذَا ۖ فَإِنْ شَهِدُوا فَلَا تَشْهَدْ مَعَهُمْ ۚ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا وَالَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ وَهُمْ بِرَبِّهِمْ يَعْدِلُونَ (150)

    6|150| Say, ‘Bring forward your witnesses who will testify that Allah forbid such and such things.'271 However, if they testify, do not testify with them. And follow not the whimsical fancies of a people who give the lie to Our signs: those who do not believe in the Hereafter, and those who suggest equals to their Lord.


    271. A statement of Suddi in Tabari could imply that the Arabs were asked to produce witnesses from the non Arabs, since they themselves were a party to the dispute.

    قُلْ تَعَالَوْا أَتْلُ مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ أَلَّا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ۖ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ مِنْ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَحْنُ نَرْزُقُكُمْ وَإِيَّاهُمْ ۖ وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ ۖ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُمْ بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ (151)

    6|151| Say, ‘Come. Let me recite to you what your Lord has forbidden unto you:272 that you should associate aught not with Him;273 (that you should) be good to your parents;274 kill not your children from fear of poverty275 We feed you and them;276 go not near the indecent277 the open of it or the hidden;278 and take not the life that Allah has declared sacred, except by right.279 This He has charged you with, haply you will ponder.


    272. The words in the parenthesis are from Ibn Jarir.
    273. The Sahihayn have Abu Dharr reporting that the Prophet said:


    ذَاكَ جِبْرِيلُ عَرَضَ لِى فِى جَانِبِ الْحَرَّةِ فَقَالَ بَشِّرْ أُمَّتَكَ أَنَّهُ مَنْ مَاتَ لاَ يُشْرِكُ بِاللَّهِ شَيْئًا دَخَلَ الْجَنَّةَ. فَقُلْتُ يَا جِبْرِيلُ وَإِنْ سَرَقَ وَإِنْ زَنَى قَالَ نَعَمْ. قَالَ قُلْتُ وَإِنْ سَرَقَ وَإِنْ زَنَى قَالَ نَعَمْ. قَالَ قُلْتُ وَإِنْ سَرَقَ وَإِنْ زَنَى قَالَ نَعَمْ وَإِنْ شَرِبَ الْخَمْرَ


    "That was Jibril who presented himself at the Harra (mountainous region of Madinah) saying, ‘Give glad tidings to your Ummah that whoever died having not associated anyone with Allah, will enter Paradise.’ I asked him: "O Jibril, even if he committed adultery and theft?" He said: “Yes.” I said, “"Even if he committed adultery and theft?" He said, ‘Yes.’ I asked: "Even if he committed adultery and theft?" He replied: "Even if he committed adultery and theft, and even if he drank wine" (Ibn Kathir).
    274. Parents' rights are so great that whenever Allah spoke of His own rights, He followed up with the rights of parents (Ibn Kathir). That is because, Alusi writes, after Allah it is parents who are the cause of a child's birth as it is they whose tireless efforts make it possible for him to reach manhood.
    In fact, the rights hold, even if the parents are idol worshippers. We have a hadith in the Sahihayn which reports someone asking the Prophet about:


    عَنْ ابْنِ مَسْعُودٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ أَنَّ رَجُلًا سَأَلَ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَيُّ الْأَعْمَالِ أَفْضَلُ قَالَ الصَّلَاةُ لِوَقْتِهَا وَبِرُّ الْوَالِدَيْنِ ثُمَّ الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ


    “What deed was the most virtuous in Islam. He replied that it was to offer Prayers on time, to be dutiful toward the parents and Jihad in the cause of Allah (Ibn Kathir).
    The above version is from Bukhari (Au).
    Then there is the famous story of Asma’s mother visiting her daughter Asma’ at Madinah during the armistice between the Prophet and Makkans. Asma’ enquired the Prophet whether she could receive her pagan mother and treat her well. He answered, “Yes. Treat her well” (Au.).
    275. Mufti Shafi` says that not to (Islamically) educate and train one's children is tantamount to slaughtering them, since that leads them to an un Islamic life. He substantiates his opinion with a verse (6: 122) which says about the believer:


    أَوَمَنْ كَانَ مَيْتًا فَأَحْيَيْنَاهُ [الأنعام : 122]


    "Is he then, who was dead, then We gave him life." In this verse Allah spoke of the unbeliever as dead.
    Majid adds: "The prohibition may well be extended to the modern craze for ‘birth control' or the use of contraceptives to limit the number of offspring or to prevent pregnancy altogether. Now the whole neo Malthusianism as is called this application of the theory of restricting the population is based on the assumption that the reproduction power of man exceeds his power of increasing his food supply. But experience has demonstrated absolute untenability of this assumption, and means of subsistence, not only in one country but in the world at large, have, since the time of Malthus, the first modern promulgator of the doctrine, more than kept pace with the growth of population."
    276. Majid comments: "It is in consonance with this Divine guarantee that, contrary to what Malthus and his disciples calculated, population has not outrun the means of subsistence, and the truth of the old economic adage has been completely vindicated that ‘while every addition to the population means another mouth to feed, it also implies another pair of hands.'"
    Asad too agrees. He remarks: "This may possibly refer to abortions dictated by economic reasons."
    The Sahihayn also have the report that someone asked about the greatest sin. The Prophet replied,


    قَالَ رَجُلٌ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَيُّ الذَّنْبِ أَكْبَرُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ قَالَ أَنْ تَدْعُوَ لِلَّهِ نِدًّا وَهُوَ خَلَقَكَ قَالَ ثُمَّ أَيٌّ قَالَ ثُمَّ أَنْ تَقْتُلَ وَلَدَكَ خَشْيَةَ أَنْ يَطْعَمَ مَعَكَ قَالَ ثُمَّ أَيٌّ قَالَ ثُمَّ أَنْ تُزَانِيَ بِحَلِيلَةِ جَارِكَ


    "That you should declare someone equal to Allah while He created you." He asked, "And then which one?" The Prophet replied, "That you should kill your child out of fear that he would share your food." He enquired, "And then which one?" The Prophet replied, "That you should commit adultery with your neighbor's wife" (Ibn Kathir).
    277. The words "do not go near" imply that one ought to avoid even those acts that provoke the desire and lead to the indecent deeds (Shabbir).
    278. According to Ibn `Abbas and Dahhak, the allusion could be to the pagan idea that adultery in secret was not a sin, only the one committed in open was (Ibn Jarir).
    The Sahihayn have the following report of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud. The Prophet said:


    عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ لَا أَحَدَ أَغْيَرُ مِنْ اللَّهِ وَلِذَلِكَ حَرَّمَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ


    "There is none with greater sense of honor than Allah. Hence He has forbidden all kinds of indecencies, be they open or secret."
    The two also have a report which says that once Sa`d b. `Ubadah said:


    قَالَ سَعْدُ بْنُ عُبَادَةَ لَوْ رَأَيْتُ رَجُلًا مَعَ امْرَأَتِي لَضَرَبْتُهُ بِالسَّيْفِ غَيْرَ مُصْفَحٍ فَبَلَغَ ذَلِكَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ أَتَعْجَبُونَ مِنْ غَيْرَةِ سَعْدٍ وَاللَّهِ لَأَنَا أَغْيَرُ مِنْهُ وَاللَّهُ أَغْيَرُ مِنِّي وَمِنْ أَجْلِ غَيْرَةِ اللَّهِ حَرَّمَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ


    "Were I to see my wife with another man, I would kill him spontaneously." When the Prophet heard about it he remarked: "Does Sa`d's sense of honor surprise you? By Allah, I have a greater sense of honor than Sa`d and Allah has a greater sense of honor than me. Accordingly, He prohibited all that is indecent, be they open or secret" (Ibn Kathir).
    279. The Sahihayn have preserved a report coming through Ibn Mas`ud which reports the Prophet (saws) as having said:


    لَا يَحِلُّ دَمُ امْرِئٍ مُسْلِمٍ يَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَّا بِإِحْدَى ثَلَاثٍ النَّفْسُ بِالنَّفْسِ وَالثَّيِّبُ الزَّانِي وَالْمَارِقُ مِنْ الدِّينِ التَّارِكُ لِلْجَمَاعَةِ

    وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا مَالَ الْيَتِيمِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ حَتَّىٰ يَبْلُغَ أَشُدَّهُ ۖ وَأَوْفُوا الْكَيْلَ وَالْمِيزَانَ بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ لَا نُكَلِّفُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۖ وَإِذَا قُلْتُمْ فَاعْدِلُوا وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبَىٰ ۖ وَبِعَهْدِ اللَّهِ أَوْفُوا ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُمْ بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ (152)

    6|152| And go not near the orphan's wealth save in a goodly manner280 until he attains his (full) strength;281 and give full measure and weight with equity. We do not impose upon a soul save what it can bear.282 And when you speak out, be just, even if they be your kin. And fulfill Allah's covenant.283 That He has charged you with,284 haply you will remember.


    "A Muslim's blood who asserts that there is no deity worthy of worship save Allah, and that I am His Messenger, is not lawful save in case of the following three: life for life, a married adulterer, an apostate who abandons the community" (Ibn Kathir).
    280. According to Ibn Zayd, the words "save in a goodly manner" are explained by verse 6 of Al Nisa' which says:


    وَمَنْ كَانَ غَنِيًّا فَلْيَسْتَعْفِفْ وَمَنْ كَانَ فَقِيرًا فَلْيَأْكُلْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ [النساء : 6]


    "He who is well-off might desist. However, he who is poor may take in a goodly manner" (Ibn Jarir).
    281. Opinions have varied about when a person attains full strength of body and mind: from when puberty is achieved - to the age of 30 (Ibn Jarir). See note 24 of Surah al Nisa' for a detailed discussion.
    282. "The meaning is that God does not expect man to behave with ‘mathematical’ equity which, in view of the many intangible factors involved, is rarely attainable in human dealings but expects him to do his best towards achieving this goal" (Asad).
    283. It is part of Allah's covenant that He should be obeyed and His Messenger be acknowledged (Ibn Jarir).
    284. That is, these are the commandments that Allah sent you through His Messengers, (such as Ibrahim and his progeny), and not worship of the idols, killing of the infant or burying alive of the female children which you do (based partly on Ibn Jarir).

    وَأَنَّ هَٰذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَنْ سَبِيلِهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُمْ بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ (153)

    6|153| And that this is My path, the straight one. Therefore, follow it, and follow not the (other) paths,285 lest they scatter you from His path.286 This He has charged you with, haply you will be godfearing.287


    285. That is, the path of innovations, whims and fancies, base desires, and so forth (Au.).
    Majid writes: "This entirely reproves and repudiates the specious and complacent doctrine held by the Romans, and in fact by many polytheistic nations, that ‘different paths adopted to different notions and grades of knowledge converge to the same Divinity, and that the most erroneous religion is good if it forms good dispositions and inspires virtuous actions' (Lecky)."
    `Abdullah (ibn Mas`ud) has reported:


    عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ قَالَ خَطَّ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ خَطًّا بِيَدِهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ هَذَا سَبِيلُ اللَّهِ مُسْتَقِيمًا قَالَ ثُمَّ خَطَّ عَنْ يَمِينِهِ وَشِمَالِهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ هَذِهِ السُّبُلُ وَلَيْسَ مِنْهَا سَبِيلٌ إِلَّا عَلَيْهِ شَيْطَانٌ يَدْعُو إِلَيْهِ ثُمَّ قَرَأَ { وَإِنَّ هَذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا السُّبُلَ}


    "Once the Prophet drew a line on the ground and said, ‘This is the path of Allah.' Then he drew other lines (diverging from it) on the left and the right side, and said, ‘These are the paths at the head of every one of them sits a Shaytan inviting thereto.' Then he recited this verse: "And that this is My path, the straight one. Therefore, follow it, and follow not the (other) paths'" (Ibn Jarir).
    The report is in Nasa'i, Ibn Marduwayh and Hakim with the latter declaring it as sahih of status (Shawkani).
    286. Qurtubi has the following. Irbad b. Sariyyah narrated the following in Ibn Majah:


    وَعَظَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَوْعِظَةً ذَرَفَتْ مِنْهُ الأَعْيُنُ، وَوَجِلَتْ مِنْهُ الْقُلُوبُ، قُلْنَا: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، هَذِهِ مَوْعِظَةُ مُوَدِّعٍ، فَمَا تَعْهَدْ إِلَيْنَا؟ قَالَ:"لَقَدْ تَرَكْتُكُمْ عَلَى الْبَيْضَاءِ لَيْلُهَا كَنَهَارِهَا، لا يَزِيغُ عَنْهَا بَعْدِي إِلا هَالِكٌ، وَمَنْ يَعِشْ مِنْكُمْ فَسَيَرَى اخْتِلافًا كَثِيرًا، فَعَلَيْكُمْ بِمَا عَرَفْتُمْ مِنْ سُنَّتِي، وَسُنَّةِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ، وَعَلَيْكُمْ بِالطَّاعَةِ، وَإِنْ عَبْدًا حَبَشِيًّا، عَضُّوا عَلَيْهَا بِالنَّوَاجِذِ، فَإِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُ كَالْجَمَلِ الأَنِفِ حَيْثُمَا قِيدَ انْقَادَ"


    "Once the Prophet admonished us so powerfully that our eyes were filled with tears, and our hearts softened. We said, ‘Messenger of Allah! This is an eye filling admonition. Would you like to enjoin us something?' He said, ‘I have left you on a white (patch) whose night is like its day (in brightness). So, none will slip but he who will destroy himself. Whoever lives after me will witness many differences. Upon you then would be those of my Sunnah you have known, and the Sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs. And upon you is obedience, even if it were to be a flat nosed Abyssinian (your ruler). Hold on to this them by your teeth. A believer is like a tamed camel. He goes wheresoever he is led." This sahih hadith is also in Tirmidhi in near about the same words.
    Sahal b. Tustari has said: "May you follow the Sunnah and the ways of the pious predecessors. I fear that a time will come when a man would hate to hear that he should follow the Prophet in every detail. The people would shun the company of anyone who will preach that, and humiliate him."
    It is reported that once Abu Musa al Ash`ari saw a new practice in the mosque (perhaps in Kufa). He spoke to `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud about it telling him that he was between its acceptance and rejection, and wanted Ibn Mas`ud to see it himself. When they went to the next Prayer, they found people sitting in groups of tens and twenties. Every group had a leader. He would say, "Say Allahu Akbar a hundred times" and they would say Allahu Akbar a hundred times. Then he would say, "Say Subhana Allah a hundred times," and they would say it a hundred times. It went on until the congregational Prayers began. `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud was very upset about it. They said they were not doing it but to obtain rewards. He remarked: "How many people do not intend to obtain rewards but miss it!"
    Hussain Saleem Asad remarked that the chain of narration of this report is sound. And `Amr b. Salamah reported that he saw most of those that were present in that dhikr halqah among the Khawarij taunting us on the day of Nahrawan (the place `Ali fought the Khawarij). And the lesson is, one ought to stay close to the Sunnah, and introduce not any innovation [Au.].
    And Sufyan Thawri has said: "An innovation is dearer to Shaytan than a sin because a man committing the latter seeks forgiveness but the former does not."
    Quotations from Qurtubi end here.
    287. It is widely reported of Ibn `Abbas that he considered verses 151 153 as those "Muhkamat" about which Allah spoke in verse 7 of Surah Al `Imran.
    Mawdudi comments: "It is an essential corollary of the natural covenant mentioned above that man should follow the way prescribed by his Lord; and deflection from the orders of God, or serving anyone other than Him, constitutes a primary breach of that covenant. Once this breach has been committed, every single article of the covenant is likely to be violated one after the other. Moreover, it should also be remembered that man cannot acquit himself of the highly delicate, extensive and complex set of responsibilities entailed by this covenant unless he accepts the guidance of God and tries to follow the way prescribed by Him."

    ثُمَّ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَابَ تَمَامًا عَلَى الَّذِي أَحْسَنَ وَتَفْصِيلًا لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لَعَلَّهُمْ بِلِقَاءِ رَبِّهِمْ يُؤْمِنُونَ (154)

    6|154| Further,288 We gave Musa the Book, completing (Our favors) unto one who excelled:289 (a Book) explaining everything, a guidance and mercy, in the hope that they would believe in the meeting with their Lord.


    288. The words in parenthesis are from Ibn Jarir.

    وَهَٰذَا كِتَابٌ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ مُبَارَكٌ فَاتَّبِعُوهُ وَاتَّقُوا لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ (155)

    6|155| And, this is a Book that We have (now) sent down, a blessing. Therefore, follow it, and be godfearing, haply you will be shown mercy.


    أَنْ تَقُولُوا إِنَّمَا أُنْزِلَ الْكِتَابُ عَلَىٰ طَائِفَتَيْنِ مِنْ قَبْلِنَا وَإِنْ كُنَّا عَنْ دِرَاسَتِهِمْ لَغَافِلِينَ (156)

    6|156| Lest you should say, ‘Verily, the Book was sent down upon the two groups before us,289a and we were unaware of their studies.'


    289. Ihsan is to do something in the most spirited fashion while remaining within the rules of the Shari`ah. The allusion by the words "unto one who excelled" could both be to Musa who excelled (in his mission) as well as the true believers of his time who excelled (in all they were asked to do) Ibn Jarir.
    289a. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Qatadah and others have said that the allusion by the words, “two groups before us” is to Jews and Christians (Ibn Kathir).

    َوْ تَقُولُوا لَوْ أَنَّا أُنْزِلَ عَلَيْنَا الْكِتَابُ لَكُنَّا أَهْدَىٰ مِنْهُمْ ۚ فَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ بَيِّنَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ ۚ فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ كَذَّبَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَصَدَفَ عَنْهَا ۗ سَنَجْزِي الَّذِينَ يَصْدِفُونَ عَنْ آيَاتِنَا سُوءَ الْعَذَابِ بِمَا كَانُوا يَصْدِفُونَ (157)

    6|157| Or you should say, ‘Had the Book been sent down unto us, we would have been better guided than they.' Now, a clear sign has come to you from your Lord, a guidance and a mercy. Who then can do greater wrong than he who cried lies to the signs of Allah and turned away from them. Soon We shall recompense those who turned away from Our signs with a dreadful chastisement for their turning away.


    هَلْ يَنْظُرُونَ إِلَّا أَنْ تَأْتِيَهُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَوْ يَأْتِيَ رَبُّكَ أَوْ يَأْتِيَ بَعْضُ آيَاتِ رَبِّكَ ۗ يَوْمَ يَأْتِي بَعْضُ آيَاتِ رَبِّكَ لَا يَنْفَعُ نَفْسًا إِيمَانُهَا لَمْ تَكُنْ آمَنَتْ مِنْ قَبْلُ أَوْ كَسَبَتْ فِي إِيمَانِهَا خَيْرًا ۗ قُلِ انْتَظِرُوا إِنَّا مُنْتَظِرُونَ (158)

    6|158| Are they waiting that the angels should come to them290 or should their Lord Himself come, or should some of Your Lord's signs appear?291 The day some of the signs of your Lord should appear, of no profit will then be the belief of him who did not believe earlier,292 or did not earn good through his belief.293 Say, ‘You may wait. We are also waiting.'


    290. Imam Razi does not spare the occasion to deny the movement of Allah. Qurtubi says that Allah's "coming and going" does not involve movement. Yet He does come and go but we do not know the "how" of it.
    291. It is widely reported that it is the Sun rising from the West that is alluded to by the sign. A hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah says that


    لَا تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا فَإِذَا رَآهَا النَّاسُ آمَنَ مَنْ عَلَيْهَا فَذَاكَ حِينَ {لَا يَنْفَعُ نَفْسًا إِيمَانُهَا لَمْ تَكُنْ آمَنَتْ مِنْ قَبْلُ}


    the Hour will not strike until the Sun rises from the West. With that happening, everyone would believe in Allah, but that would be the time about which Allah said: "The day some of His signs appear, of no profit will then be the belief of him who did not believe earlier, or did not earn good (deeds) through his faith." (The hadith is in Bukhari and almost all other Masanid: Ibn Kathir). Another hadith narrated by Safwan b. `Assal says the Prophet (saws) said:


    إِنَّ بِالْمَغْرِبِ بَابًا مَفْتُوحًا لِلتَّوْبَةِ مَسِيرَتُهُ سَبْعُونَ سَنَةً لاَ يُغْلَقُ حَتَّى تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ مِنْ نَحْوِ


    "In the West there is a repentance door, of width seventy years. It will remain open until the Sun appears from that side."
    A report coming from Abu Dharr is as follows:


    عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِأَبِي ذَرٍّ حِينَ غَرَبَتْ الشَّمْسُ أَتَدْرِي أَيْنَ تَذْهَبُ قُلْتُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَعْلَمُ قَالَ فَإِنَّهَا تَذْهَبُ حَتَّى تَسْجُدَ تَحْتَ الْعَرْشِ فَتَسْتَأْذِنَ فَيُؤْذَنُ لَهَا وَيُوشِكُ أَنْ تَسْجُدَ فَلَا يُقْبَلَ مِنْهَا وَتَسْتَأْذِنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَنَ لَهَا يُقَالُ لَهَا ارْجِعِي مِنْ حَيْثُ جِئْتِ فَتَطْلُعُ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا فَذَلِكَ قَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى {وَالشَّمْسُ تَجْرِي لِمُسْتَقَرٍّ لَهَا ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ}


    "The Prophet asked him at sunset time, ‘Do you know where the Sun goes when it sets?' He replied, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.' He said, ‘It keeps going until it prostrates itself below the `Arsh. Then it seeks permission (to rise) and it is allowed. But a time will come when it will prostrate itself but it will not be accepted and asks permission (to rise) but it will not be allowed. It will be to, ‘Return to where you came from and so it will rise from the West. That is the interpretation of the statement of Allah (36: 38): "And the Sun moves in its appointed course. That is the decree of the All Mighty, the All knowing"' (Ibn Jarir).
    But we have taken the hadith from Bukhari (Au.).
    One might be led to believe that the hadith about the Sun prostrating itself below the `Arsh confirms the idea that the earth is stationary and the sun revolves around it. Such an opinion is incorrect. We shall explain it in detail when we take up the verse quoted viz., 36: 38 (Au.).
    There are other reports from the Prophet which speak of three signs: the rising of the Sun from the West, (the appearance of) Dajjal, and a Beast rising from the earth (which will speak to the people). [A hadith to this effect is in Tirmidhi: Ibn Kathir]. Another hadith narrated by Hasan (al Busri) says:


    بَادِرُوا بِالأَعَمَالِ سِتًّا: الدَّجَّالَ، وَالدُّخَانَ، وَدَابَّةَ الأَرْضِ، وَطُلُوعَ الشَّمْسِ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا، وَأَمْرَ الْعَامَّةِ، وَخُوَيِّصَةَ أَحَدِكُمْ


    "Hurry up with good deeds before the six things: Dajjal, the Smoke, a Beast from the earth, rising of the Sun from the West, rule by the masses and especially, your affair (Ibn Jarir). A few other signs have been added to the above six in a report of Muslim: Yajuj and Majuj, `Isa's descent, three caving in of the lands: one in the East, another in the West and a third in the Arabian Peninsula, and a fire that will appear from the Yemen to drive people to the Field of Reckoning, resting with them when they would stop in the night or for their siesta (Ibn Kathir).
    292. The allusion is to the deeds in the light of faith, conforming with Islamic principles (Au.). According to Suddi and Dahhak, those who regularly performed good deeds prior to the Signs of the Doomsday, would have them accepted even after the Signs. But those who led a life of impiety, even if they were believers, but began acting good only after the appearance of the Signs, will not have their deeds accepted (Ibn Jarir).
    293. The verse is equally applicable to Jews and Christians as well as to the innovators in Islam (Ibn Jarir).

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُوا شِيَعًا لَسْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ ۚ إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُمْ إِلَى اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ (159)

    6|159| Verily, those who created schism in their religion294 and broke into sects, you have nothing to do with them. Their affair is with Allah. He shall inform them of what they were doing.


    294. The textual words "created schism in their religion" imply that it is a fundamental principles and it is the mainstay of the religion that is alluded to. Differences in details cannot be avoided, and cannot be termed as creating schism in religion (based on Shabbir and he from Shah `Abdul `Aziz).

    مَنْ جَاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا ۖ وَمَنْ جَاءَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَلَا يُجْزَىٰ إِلَّا مِثْلَهَا وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ (160)

    6|160| Whosoever brought (a) good (deed) shall have (rewards) ten times the like thereof; but whosoever brought an evil shall not be recompensed but with its like.295 And they shall not be wronged.


    295. The Salaf are unanimous over the opinion that by "the good" the allusion is to the words "La ilaha illa Allah" pronounced with sincerity, and by "the evil" it is to Association (Ibn Jarir).
    The verse however is applicable to deeds also. We have a hadith in Nasa`i, Ibn Majah and Ahmad which says:


    مَنْ صَامَ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ مِنْ كُلِّ شَهْرٍ فَقَدْ صَامَ الدَّهْرَ كُلَّهُ


    "Whoever fasted three days of every month is as if one who fasted the whole year round." Tirmidhi has the following words added: "And then he recited: ‘Whoever brought (a) good (deed) shall have (rewards) ten times its like. Nevertheless, whoever brought (an) evil (deed), he shall not be recompensed but with its like.'" This hadith Qudsi of Bukhari, Muslim and Nasa'i, (is in the same vein which) says:


    مَنْ هَمَّ بِحَسَنَةٍ فَلَمْ يَعْمَلْهَا كَتَبَ لَهُ عَشْرَ أَضْعَافٍ إِلَى سَبْعِ مِائَةِ ضِعْفٍ إِلَى أَضْعَافٍ كَثِيرَةٍ , وَمَنْ هَمَّ بِسَيِّئَةٍ , فَلَمْ يَعْمَلْهَا كُتِبَتْ لَهُ حَسَنَةٌ , فَإِنْ عَمِلَهَا كُتِبَتْ عَلَيْهِ سَيِّئَةٌ وَاحِدَةٌ أَوْ مَحَاهَا , وَلا يَهْلِكُ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِلا هَالِكٌ


    "Whoever intended a good deed but could not do it will have a good deed written into his account. If he does it then anything between ten to seven hundred or more is written down in his account. However, if someone intended an evil deed but did not do it, a good deed is written down in his account. But if he commits it, only one is written down - unless Allah, the Honored, the Exalted, erases it. So none will be destroyed by Allah save one who will destroy himself" (Ibn Kathir).
    After narrating the hadith Ibn Kathir explains that there are three kinds of people who intend to do an evil but do not: First, someone who abandoned it for the sake of Allah. He shall have a good deed written in his account. Second, he who forgot about it. There is nothing against him and nothing for him. Third, he who tried but failed, for some reason or the other, to perform the evil deed he had intended. He is like him who did it. This follows the principle laid down in another hadith which says:


    إِذَا الْتَقَى الْمُسْلِمَانِ بِسَيْفَيْهِمَا فَالْقَاتِلُ وَالْمَقْتُولُ فِي النَّارِ فَقُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ هَذَا الْقَاتِلُ فَمَا بَالُ الْمَقْتُولِ قَالَ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حَرِيصًا عَلَى قَتْلِ صَاحِبِهِ


    "When two Muslims cross swords then the killer and the killed are in the Fire." They asked: "The killer yes, but what about the killed one?" He replied: "He was quite ready to kill his companion."

    قُلْ إِنَّنِي هَدَانِي رَبِّي إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ دِينًا قِيَمًا مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۚ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ (161)

    6|161| Say, ‘Surely, my Lord has guided me to a Straight Path: a religion of right, the religion of Ibrahim296 who was not of the associators.'


    296. What do the words "millah of Ibrahim" imply? Ibn Kathir helps with a hadith. Ahmad has a report coming from Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet (saws) was asked:


    أَحَبُّ الدِّينِ إِلَى اللَّهِ الْحَنِيفِيَّةُ السَّمْحَةُ


    "What religion is the most approved of by Allah?" He replied: "Al Hanifiyyah al Samha (i.e., the upright, the easy)." The text is from Bukhari (Au.).
    Ibn Kathir then explains that it is the religion of the middle path, the one that avoids extremes is the most approved of by Allah. Accordingly, we have `A'isha telling us that once when some acrobatic men were putting up a show, the Prophet let her watch until she had had enough. On that occasion the Prophet said:


    لتعلم يَهودُ أن في ديننا فُسْحَةً، إني أرسلت بِحَنيفيَّة سَمْحَة


    "So that the Jews might know that there is lot of flexibility in our religion. I have been sent with Hanifiyyah Samha (i.e., the upright, the easy)." This hadith is in the Sahihayn.

    قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ (162)

    6|162| Say, ‘My Prayers, my sacrifice,297 my living and my death, are all for Allah alone, the Lord of the worlds.


    297. A great many of the Salaf have said that by the textual term "nusuk" the allusion here is to sacrifice (Ibn Jarir).

    لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ ۖ وَبِذَٰلِكَ أُمِرْتُ وَأَنَا أَوَّلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ (163)

    6|163| He has no partners. This I have been ordered, and I am the first of those who have surrendered.'


    قُلْ أَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَبْغِي رَبًّا وَهُوَ رَبُّ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ ۚ وَلَا تَكْسِبُ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ إِلَّا عَلَيْهَا ۚ وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَىٰ ۚ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ (164)

    6|164| Say, ‘Should I seek a Lord other than Allah when He is the Lord of all things? And no soul will earn anything but it shall be upon it. And no bearer of burden shall bear another's burden. Then, to Him is your return. He shall tell you the truth concerning that over which you were differing.


    وَهُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَكُمْ خَلَائِفَ الْأَرْضِ وَرَفَعَ بَعْضَكُمْ فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ دَرَجَاتٍ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ سَرِيعُ الْعِقَابِ وَإِنَّهُ لَغَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (165)

    6|165| It is He who made you successors298 of the earth and raised some of you over others in ranks,299 in order that he may try you in what He gave you. Verily, your Lord is quick of punishment; yet He is the Forgiving, the Kind.300


    298. Suddi has said that Allah made us succeed the disbelieving generations of the past times (Ibn Jarir, Alusi).
    After mentioning Suddi's interpretation, Zamakhshari adds another possible meaning as: Men as Allah's Khalifah in His earth, enjoying its contents and utilizing it the way it pleases them.
    Apart from mentioning Suddi's interpretation as well as agreeing with the possibility of Zamakhshari's opinion, Alusi adds Hasan's opinion: "Generation after generation Allah replaces one people after another. This is the meaning of being khalifah in the land."
    299. According to Suddi the ranks referred to in the verse are related to wealth and provisions (Ibn Jarir).
    300. Imam Ahmad has preserved the following narration of Abu Hurayrah. The Prophet said:


    لَوْ يَعْلَمُ الْمُؤْمِنُ مَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ الْعُقُوبَةِ مَا طَمِعَ فِي الْجَنَّةِ أَحَدٌ وَلَوْ يَعْلَمُ الْكَافِرُ مَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ الرَّحْمَةِ مَا قَنَطَ مِنْ الْجَنَّةِ أَحَدٌ خَلَقَ اللَّهُ مِائَةَ رَحْمَةٍ فَوَضَعَ رَحْمَةً وَاحِدَةً بَيْنَ خَلْقِهِ يَتَرَاحَمُونَ بِهَا وَعِنْدَ اللَّهِ تِسْعَةٌ وَتِسْعُونَ رَحْمَةً


    "If the believer knew what punishments are with Allah, no one would ever covet Paradise. And if the unbeliever knew what mercy is with Allah, no one would despair of Paradise. Allah created a hundred parts of mercy. One part He distributed among His creations by which they show mercy to each other. And with Allah are ninety nine (parts of it)" Ibn Kathir.