Surat At-Takwīr

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. 81

    Merits of the Surah

    بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ إِذَا الشَّمْسُ كُوِّرَتْ (1)

    81|1| When the sun shall be turned dark,1

    1. It may be noted that beginning with this statement: “When the sun will be darkened,” Allah has spoken of twelve events that will take place before “shall a soul see what it has brought forward” (Razi).
    Ubayy b. Ka`b however holds a different opinion which may be seen in note 3 below (Au.).
    The opinion of Ibn `Abbas is that the allusion by kuwwirat is the darkening and ultimate disappearance of the sun. Mujahid, Dahhak and Qatadah are very near this opinion (Ibn Kathir).
    Although it is difficult, and even dangerous, to co-relate scientific knowledge with that of the events of the Hereafter, modern science does confirm the possibility of some of the events taking place as stated in the Qur’an. See for instance, ch. 101, note 6, for some information about the future of the sun as science foresees it.
    Ibn Jarir (and Zamakhshari) say that since the primary meaning of takwir is to fold or wind up a thing, as one winds the `imamah around the head, it appears that the sun will be folded up in the sense of some of its parts overlapping others, which will cause it to lose its shine, before it is finally discarded.
    A hadith however says that the sun will be ushered into Hell, which is alluded to by the word kuwwirat (Ibn Kathir).
    It is said that when this verse was recited in the presence of Abu al-Wafa ibn `Uqayl, someone remarked: “That mankind, jinn and others should be resurrected for reckoning is understandable. But what about the sun, moon, stars and mountains? Why should they be destroyed?” He replied: “These have been created for the benefit of the people. They make their lives comfortable. They are also for the humankind to ponder over the wisdom of their creation, and, through them, reach their Lord, the sole Creator. Now, at the end of their term, when they will be transported to a new world, into a new life, these things will be destroyed in order to impress on them that these were but creations of their Lord who had them in His full control. It will also be for the worshipers of the sun, moon and various other celestial objects to see their objects of worship destroyed before their eyes, so that they will know that they were in great error” (Ibn al-Qayyim, abridged).
    Sayyid Qutb phrases it differently: “The surah aims to give this idea of the inevitable upheaval well established in men’s hearts and minds so that they learn to attach little or no importance to the values and riches of this world, though these may seem to be of lasting consequence. The hearts and minds of people should establish a firm bond with the everlasting truth, i.e.. the truth of Allah the Eternal.”

    وَإِذَا النُّجُومُ انْكَدَرَتْ (2)

    81|2| And when the stars shall be dispersed,


    وَإِذَا الْجِبَالُ سُيِّرَتْ (3)

    81|3| And when the mountains shall be set moving,


    وَإِذَا الْعِشَارُ عُطِّلَتْ (4)

    81|4| And when the full-pregnant camels shall go unattended,


    وَإِذَا الْوُحُوشُ حُشِرَتْ (5)

    81|5| And when the wild beasts shall be brought together,2


    2. One statement ascribed to Ibn `Abbas as well as Rabi`, Suddi, and Qatadah, is that all that Allah has created, to the last fly, will be mustered and judged by Allah in the light of principles He knows best. This, says Qurtubi, is the correct and accepted opinion.
    Ibn Kathir adds: Their physical mustering (on the Day of Judgment) seems to be more plausible in view of the statement in the Qur’an about the birds: wa al-tayr mahshurah, i.e., the birds will be mustered (38: 19).
    Alternatively, the allusion could be to an earlier phase, when they will escape from the forests and invade towns and cities because of the terror preceding the doomsday (Shabbir). Ubayy b. Ka`b’s opinion, as noted in Ibn Kathir, seems to be very near to this.
    For Ubayy’s opinion, see note 3 below (Au.).

    وَإِذَا الْبِحَارُ سُجِّرَتْ (6)

    81|6| And when the seas shall be set boiling3


    3. Another opinion, coming from Rabi`, Kalbi, Maqatil, Hasan and Dahhak is that the seas will be filled up as all of them now separated will be joined up including the rivers and lakes (Qurtubi).
    The Boiling Seas
    Yet another possible meaning has been pointed out by Sayyid Qutb. He says, “The Arabic expression may also mean that the seas will experience explosions which set them ablaze, as mentioned elsewhere in the Qur’an: "When the oceans are made to explode (82: 3)."
    `Ali, Ibn `Abbas and others however believe that the seas will be boiled and turned into Hell (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). Qurtubi states the possibility that there could be fire under the seas which would be further intensified at that time to boil the waters of the seas, and that there is possibility that this may happen before the destruction of the world, as one of the many signs preceding the Judgment day. He also reports Mu`awiyyah b. Sa`id as saying that the Mediterranean Sea has fire beneath it. Accordingly, the opinion of `Abdullah b. `Amr b. al-`As was that the water of the seas may not be used for ablution purposes since it is the water of Hell.
    It should be of interest to note that Qurtubi’s guess that there could be fire under the seas or Mu`awiyyah b. Sa`id’s statement that there is fire under the Mediterranean sea, is not at variance with the facts of modern science. Latest scientific information is that there is, in fact, fire under the seas in the sense that the crust being thinner at the sea-bed, the temperature is higher and, therefore, it is as if the seas are being heated up from below. As for there being fire beneath the Mediterranean Sea, it is confirmed by modern science that there are a number of volcanoes in the seas that erupt from time to time throwing out lots of very hot lava. As for the Red sea, it has been pointed out by a Muslim scientist (Zeghlul al-Naggar: Qafilah Al-Zayt), that at excavation of samples from certain points, (geologically known as the “hot spots”) the drilling and scooping tools become so hot that they have to be left suspended for several hours in the air before they can be touched.
    Mufti Shafi` quotes Maz-hari: There is no contradiction between the apparently different interpretations. It might happen that first the sweet and bitter waters of the ponds, lakes, rivers and seas will be joined up together as a result of upheavals on earth and then the sun, moon and stars (or planets?) dipped into it, and, finally, the whole thing set ablaze, to be ultimately ushered into Hell.
    Alusi precedes him with a similar opinion.
    Ubayy b. Ka`b has said that six signs will precede the destruction of this world (and six more enumerated later in the chapter in verses 7-13, will take place after the resurrection): As the people would be engaged in their normal activities, the sun would lose its shine and darken up. With that the stars would become visible in the heavens. That would amaze everyone and as they’d be looking upwards the stars would begin to fall off in all direction. As they’d be watching this scene (with horror), the mountains would break up and fall to pieces. This would drive mankind to jinn and jinn to mankind. Wild beasts, domestic animals, birds and insects will also come close to each other. The jinn will say, 'Wait. We’ll get you the news from the seas.’ But when they go there they’d find them boiling. Then, as they will be in that state, the earth and the heavens will split. This will be followed by winds that will destroy all life (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Alusi).
    Imam Razi however observes that there is nothing in these verses to suggest that the first six signs (as mentioned in verses 1-6) would take place before or after the destruction of life on earth, although, the latter six seem to be of the kind that would take place after the Resurrection.

    وَإِذَا النُّفُوسُ زُوِّجَتْ (7)

    81|7| And when the souls shall be coupled,4


    4. The predominant opinion (of the Salaf) about “Wa idhan-nufusu zuwwijat” is that it refers to the grouping together of the people: the good ones with the good ones, the evil ones with the evil ones, Jews with Jews, Christians with Christians, etc. (Abdul Razzaq, Firyabi, Sa`id b. Mansur, Ibn Abi Shaybah, `Abd b. Humayd, Ibn Jarir, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Marduwayh, Abu Nu`aym, and Hakim - who declares the report trustworthy - have reported that this is how `Umar ibn al-Khattab understood it: Shawkani). This interpretation is based on the following (56: 7-9):


    {وَكُنْتُمْ أَزْوَاجًا ثَلَاثَةً (7) فَأَصْحَابُ الْمَيْمَنَةِ مَا أَصْحَابُ الْمَيْمَنَةِ (8) وَأَصْحَابُ الْمَشْأَمَةِ مَا أَصْحَابُ الْمَشْأَمَةِ} [الواقعة: 7 - 9]


    “And you shall be sorted out into three groups. So that (there will be) Companions of the right hand. And who (do you know) will be the Companions of the right hand?! And the Companions of the left hand; and who (do you know) will be the Companions of the left hand?!”
    Although an equally strong opinion, also coming from the Salaf, is that the verse is alluding to the bringing together of the body and the soul of all living beings (Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari, Razi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, Alusi).
    Thanwi adds: The former interpretation is also strengthened by the hadith which says that a man will be raised up among those he loved.

    وَإِذَا الْمَوْءُودَةُ سُئِلَتْ (8)

    81|8| And when the buried alive infant-girl shall be asked


    بِأَيِّ ذَنْبٍ قُتِلَتْ (9)

    81|9| For what crime was she killed.5


    5. It is said that in pre-Islamic times some Arab women would make a pit in the ground and give birth there. If it was a female child they would fill it up with sand, bringing back the infant only if it was a male. Nonetheless, there were some good people who prevented the practice. Farazdaq’s grand-father Sa`sa`ah, for instance, is reported to have saved the lives of seventy new-born girls by purchasing them off (Zamakhshari, Razi, Qurtubi, Alusi).
    Some others brought up the female child until she was six years old. At that age the father would ask the mother to dress her up, perfume her and get her ready. Then he would take her to a previously dug pit, push her in and cover her up with sand. This they did either out of shame of having to give their daughters away to someone in marriage when they grew up, or from fear of poverty (Zamakhshari). Others did so because they feared kidnap (Alusi).
    Female Infanticide
    (If female infanticide was not an uncommon practice in the pre-Islamic Arabs, it was not unfashionable too in the lands of their cousins-in-faith of India, down to our times: Au.). Majid quotes: “`Among all the races of India, there is none more noble than the Rajput; and among the Rajputs, the first rank belongs to the Chuhans ... These people are numerous in the United Province. In the district of Manipuri there are more than 30,000 of them, and not fifty years ago it was discovered that among them was not a single girl. Every daughter that was born was killed. The higher the rank of the family the more constant and systematic was the crime ... This not relative but the statement of a fact. In 1856 special inquiries were instituted. It was found that this practice of infanticide although equally prevalent among the Rajputs, was by no means confined to them, and it was common not only in the North-Western Provinces but also in Oudh, the Punjab, and in parts of the Bombay Presidency. Numbers of villages were visited where there was not a single girl and where there had never been one within the memory of man. In 1869 another investigation showed that there was little change for the better (Strachy, India, pp. 396, 397).’ And: `Infanticide of female infants has been practiced in India from unknown times amongst the ancient Gukhar race in the Punjab, and it has been a constant custom, and continued in several parts of India down to the later third of the 19th century (EIn. II, p. 397).’ As a matter of fact, wherever polyandry is in existence baby-girls are killed in large numbers.”
    The custom, however, has not entirely died down. Even today, thousands of abortions of female fetus are being carried out in India (Au.).
    There are several reports narrated by `Umar ibn al-Khattab that Qays b. `Asim came to the Prophet (saws) and confessed having buried alive eight (or thirteen) female children. The Prophet (saws) told him to sacrifice a camel for each in expiation, which he did (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Mawdudi remarks: It is reported in Sunan Darimi that once a man came to the Prophet (saws) and narrated how he pushed into a pit one of his daughters who loved him much. The last of her that he heard from was: “My father, My father.” It is said that the Prophet (saws) asked him to repeat the story and cried so much that his beard became wet. Picking up from there, what tremendous change Islam brought among the Arabs should be apparent (to every student of history). This was achieved through such moral exhortations of the Prophet (saws) as:
    a)


    مَنِ ابْتُلِىَ مِنَ الْبَنَاتِ بِشَىْءٍ فَأَحْسَنَ إِلَيْهِنَّ كُنَّ لَهُ سِتْرًا مِنَ النَّارِ


    “He who is tested in any way by these girls, will have them shielding him from the Fire” (Bukhari, Muslim).
    b)


    مَنْ عَالَ جَارِيَتَيْنِ حَتَّى تَبْلُغَا جَاءَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَنَا وَهُوَ ». وَضَمَّ أَصَابِعَهُ.


    “He who brought up two girls until they reached adulthood will arrive for reckoning with me by his side (as close to me)” – he closed his fingers” (Muslim).
    c)


    ما من مسلم تدركه ابنتان فيحسن صحبتهما إلا أدخلتاه الجنة


    “No Muslim will have two daughters whom he treats well but they will usher him into Paradise” (Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad).
    d)


    ألا أدلكم على أفضل الصدقة ؟ ابنتك مردودة إليك ليس لها كاسب غيرك - تعليق الذهبي قي التلخيص : على شرط مسلم


    The Prophet (saws) told Suraqa b. Ju`tham: “May I not tell you about the greatest charity?” He said: “Sure, O Apostle of Allah.” He said: “Supporting your daughter after she is rejected (by her husband, especially), when she has no one to support her except you” (Ibn Majah, abridged).
    Mawdudi’s quotation ends here.
    Shanqiti states that it is reported of `Umar (ra) that he used to say: “Two incidents of the days of Jahiliyyah: one of them makes me cry and the other makes me laugh. What I cry about is the incident of a daughter of mine removing sand from my beard while I dug a hole in the ground to bury her. And what I laugh at is that I would make an idol of dates which I would place on guard near my head at night but which I would eat off when starving.”
    Muslim, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi, Abu Da’ud and Nasa’i have preserved the following report: `Ukasha’s sister Judhamah says :


    حضرت رسول الله {صلى الله عليه وسلم} في أناس وهو يقول لقد هممت أن أنهى عن الغيلة فنظرت في الروم وفارس فإذا هم يغيلون أولادهم فلا يضر أولادهم ذلك شيئاً ثم سألوه عن العزل فقال رسول الله {صلى الله عليه وسلم} ذلك الوأد الخفي وهي ( وإذا الموءودة سئلت )


    “Once I went to the Prophet. He was among the people and saying: 'I thought I would prohibit men from going into their women during their suckling period. But I noticed that the Romans and the Persians do that and yet children born of pregnancy during that period do not seem to suffer from any deficiency.’ Then, (continues Judhamah), he was asked about coitus interruptus and he said: 'This is the secret burying alive of the infant (wa’d ‘l-khafiyy) that the Qur’an has spoken of’” (Ibn Kathir, Shanqiti)ز
    Hadith literature does not disallow coitus interruptus. Yet, there are several ahadith that recommend Muslims to procure numerous children and warns them against birth prevention. And the reconciliation consists in allowing the former on pressing need and disallowing birth control methods as a matter of policy and an enduring practice (Alusi, Shanqiti, Shafi`).
    Legal Points
    1. Abortion is a major sin (kabirah) after the completion of four months of pregnancy (Shafi`).
    2. If a person causes death of the fetus after completion of four months, by a stroke on the womb for instance, he has to pay blood wit equal in amount to that of a slave (Shafi`); i.e., half the amount payable for a free man.
    3. If the child emerges alive, after such a stroke, (but dies later) then the blood wit is equal to that of a free adult man (Shafi`). See surah Al-Baqarah, note 365 for details of the value: Au.
    4. All such medicines or operations are prohibited (haram) that may cause permanent disability to bear child (Shafi`).
    5. Some scholars say that masturbation follows the same rule, that is, if someone fears falling into sin he may resort to it, otherwise it is forbidden (Alusi).

    Alusi observes: A complication has risen because of a hadith which states that both the one who buried an infant alive as well as the infant that was buried will be in Fire. This is understandable in case of a polytheist who buried his offspring, since polytheists will anyway be in Fire. But what is the sin of the one buried? Will pagan children be straightaway ushered into Fire? In answer he quotes Nawawi as saying, in his commentary on Sahih Muslim, that there are three opinions. The majority opinion is that they will be in Hell-fire in view of ahadith to this effect. One of the report says,


    عَنْ عَائِشَةَ قَالَتْ قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ذَرَارِىُّ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فَقَالَ « هُمْ مِنْ آبَائِهِمْ ». فَقُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ بِلاَ عَمَلٍ قَالَ « اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا كَانُوا عَامِلِينَ ». قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ فَذَرَارِىُّ الْمُشْرِكِينَ قَالَ « مِنْ آبَائِهِمْ ». قُلْتُ بِلاَ عَمَلٍ قَالَ « اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا كَانُوا عَامِلِينَ ».


    `A’isha asked the Prophet about the children of the faithful. He said, “They will be with their parents.” She asked, “Messenger of Allah, without any deed?” He answered, “Allah knows best what their deeds would have been.” She asked about the pagan children. He answered, “With their parents.” She asked, “Messenger of Allah, without any deed?” He answered, “Allah knows best what their deeds would have been had they grown up.”
    The second opinion is: “No opinion;” i.e., we have no definite knowledge. The third and right opinion is that they will be in Paradise in view of the hadith in Bukhari. It says that our Prophet saw Ibrahim (during mi`raj) surrounded by children of all faiths who died before adulthood. This opinion is backed by a verse of surah al-Tawbah which states the general principle about pagans of the past in words:


    {وَمَا كُنَّا مُعَذِّبِينَ حَتَّى نَبْعَثَ رَسُولًا } [الإسراء: 15]


    “And We were not going to destroy them before sending a warner to them.”
    These were the opinions stated by Nawawi. Alusi adds a few other opinions. One for instance is that some scholars, including Ibn Taymiyyah and Jalaluddin Suyuti, believe that they will be subjected to a test of tawhid and obedience, and will be rewarded or punished in accordance with the results.

    وَإِذَا الصُّحُفُ نُشِرَتْ (10)

    81|10| And when the scrolls (of people’s deed) shall be unrolled,6


    6. Umm Salamah reports the Prophet having said that the people will be resurrected naked and barefooted. She asked about women. He said the people will be too busy for that. She asked him what will they be busy with. He replied:


    نشر الصحف فيها مثاقيل الذر ومثاقيل الخردل


    “With the scrolls that will be laid open; with weights like dust particles and weights like mustard seeds” (Zamakhshari, Qurtubi).
    The above hadith is from Majm`u al-Fawa’id, treated trustworthy, but varies slightly from that quoted in Zamakhshari and Qurtubi.
    Sayyid Qutb adds: “This is a reference to the records of people’s deeds. They are laid open in order that they may be known to everybody. This, in itself, is hard to bear. Many a breast has closely hidden a secret, the remembrance of which brings a feeling of shame and a shudder to its owner. Yet all secrets are made public on that eventual day. This publicity, representative of the great upheaval which envelops the whole universe, is part of the fearful events which fill men’s hearts with horror on the day.”

    وَإِذَا السَّمَاءُ كُشِطَتْ (11)

    81|11| And when the heavens shall be stripped,


    وَإِذَا الْجَحِيمُ سُعِّرَتْ (12)

    81|12| And when Hell shall be set ablaze,


    وَإِذَا الْجَنَّةُ أُزْلِفَتْ (13)

    81|13| And when Paradise shall be brought nigh,


    عَلِمَتْ نَفْسٌ مَا أَحْضَرَتْ (14)

    81|14| Then shall a soul see what it has brought forward.7


    7. The Prophet has said:


    مَا مِنْكُمْ مِنْ أَحَدٍ إِلاَّ سَيُكَلِّمُهُ اللَّهُ لَيْسَ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهُ تُرْجُمَانٌ فَيَنْظُرُ أَيْمَنَ مِنْهُ فَلاَ يَرَى إِلاَّ مَا قَدَّمَ وَيَنْظُرُ أَشْأَمَ مِنْهُ فَلاَ يَرَى إِلاَّ مَا قَدَّمَ وَيَنْظُرُ بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ فَلاَ يَرَى إِلاَّ النَّارَ تِلْقَاءَ وَجْهِهِ فَاتَّقُوا النَّارَ وَلَوْ بِشِقِّ تَمْرَةٍ


    “There is none among you but who will speak to his Lord directly, without a mediator. At that time a man will look to his right and find nothing but his deeds. He will look to his left and see nothing but his deeds. He will look in front of him and will find himself facing the Fire. So let him who wishes to save himself from the Fire, do it now, even if it is with a single date” (Bukhari and Muslim: Qurtubi).
    8. The “la” here is zaidah (Qurtubi); and is not a negative la. The “no” in the translation is for emphasis (Au.).

    فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِالْخُنَّسِ (15)

    81|15| No!8 I swear by the revolving (planets),


    الْجَوَارِ الْكُنَّسِ (16)

    81|16| And by the stars that disappear,9


    9. In explanation of “al-khunnas, al-jawar al-kunnas” (verses 15-16), there are two opinions. One, “it is the planets that disappear.” Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari, Alusi, Ashraf `Ali, Shafi`, say these are five: Bahram (Mars), Zuhal (Saturn), `Utarid (Mercury), Zuhra (Venus) and Mushtari (Jupiter).
    Qurtubi replaces Bahram with Mirrikh and adds that a similar opinion has come from Farra’. This is the opinion that originated from `Ali (ra) and gained currency among Hasan, Qatadah, and Ibn Zayd (although it is not clear whether `Ali meant stars or had planets in mind: Au.).
    Alusi adds the rejoinder that by his time (d. 1270 A.H.) they had discovered five more planets, which he names and says he could give the diameter, distance, rotational periods and other details of each, if not for the fear of space. He also adds that the new-generation astronomers pioneered by Herschel (Sir Frederick Williams Herschel 1738-1822, British, of German origin: Au.) exclude the moon from the list of planets and include the earth, being of opinion that the earth also revolves around the sun.
    Another opinion about the words “al-khunnas, al-jawar al-kunnas” is that the allusion is to “the wild cow that takes shelter in its den in the forest.” This is the opinion of Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Dahhak and Sa`id ibn Jubayr. Mujahid says: “We always used to hear that it is the wild cow that has been alluded to, but now a days people say something else.”
    `Abdul Razzaq, Firyabi, Ibn Sa`d, Sa`id b. Mansur, `Abd b. Humayd, Ibn Jarir, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Tabarani and Hakim (who declares the report trustworthy), have all reported that the above is the opinion of Ibn Mas`ud (Shawkani).
    A third opinion is that the reference is to “the gazelle” (Qurtubi, Alusi).
    Ibn Jarir mentions all the three opinions but does not state his own preference (Ibn Kathir).

    وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا عَسْعَسَ (17)

    81|17| And by the night when it recedes.


    وَالصُّبْحِ إِذَا تَنَفَّسَ (18)

    81|18| And by the dawn when it breathes.10


    10. With reference to verses 15-18 some have said that in the appearance, movement, brief stop, continuation of the journey and final disappearance of the stars and planets is a simile drawn to illustrate the sending down of the (light) of revelation to the Messengers of Allah, the effects of such revelations lasting over a period, its dimming off and then finally disappearing over a period. The appearance of the night and the spread of its darkness (in verse 17) refers to the period of lull between our own and the previous prophet, when the light of revelation had completely disappeared. The breath of the dawn refers to the appearance of prophet Muhammad, and the coming of a new revelation to him filling the cosmos with the light of guidance (Shabbir).

    إِنَّهُ لَقَوْلُ رَسُولٍ كَرِيمٍ (19)

    81|19| This is truly the word of an honored messenger (Jibril)


    ذِي قُوَّةٍ عِنْدَ ذِي الْعَرْشِ مَكِينٍ (20)

    81|20| (Who is) powerful, held in high regard by the Lord of the `Arsh.11


    11. Ibn `Abbas has said: Jibril’s power can be inferred from the way he scooped the people of Lut up from the ground with two of his wings and then smashed them against the ground (Qurtubi). Alusi adds that “the power” could also be an allusion to memory power.
    12. “Accordingly,” Ibn `Abbas has said, “we notice that when our Prophet went to the heavens in the nocturnal journey Jibril ordered Ridwan, the keeper of Paradise, to open the door for them and he was obeyed. Similarly, he ordered Malik, the keeper of Hell, to open the door for them and he did it” (Qurtubi).

    مُطَاعٍ ثَمَّ أَمِينٍ (21)

    81|21| Of authority,12 (in the angelic kingdom) and moreover trusted.13


    13. That is, he is not an ordinary angel, rather an outstanding one.

    وَمَا صَاحِبُكُمْ بِمَجْنُونٍ (22)

    81|22| And neither is your own Companion (Muhammad) possessed,14


    14. The use of the word “your companion” has a hint for the Quraysh that this Prophet is your own well-known colleague whom you have known over a long period as an entirely dependable, sagacious and intelligent person. Does the coming down of revelation qualify him for madness?

    وَلَقَدْ رَآهُ بِالْأُفُقِ الْمُبِينِ (23)

    81|23| He truly saw him (the arch-angel) on the clear horizon,15


    15. That is, Muhammad (saws) saw Jibril in his true form and shape which, with its six hundred wings, was so enormous as to cover the whole of the horizon (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    Since this verse was revealed before night journey (al-isra’ wa ‘l-mi`raj) took place, it can possibly be only Jibril who could have been meant here as one whom the Prophet (saws) saw. He saw him twice in his original shape and size. The second sighting is mentioned in another set of verses which say (53: 4-10):


    إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَى (4) عَلَّمَهُ شَدِيدُ الْقُوَى (5) ذُو مِرَّةٍ فَاسْتَوَى (6) وَهُوَ بِالْأُفُقِ الْأَعْلَى (7) ثُمَّ دَنَا فَتَدَلَّى (8) فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَى (9) فَأَوْحَى إِلَى عَبْدِهِ مَا أَوْحَى


    “This is naught but a revelation being revealed; taught by one (i.e., Jibril) terrible in power, very strong. He stood poised, being on the higher horizon, then drew near and suspended hung, two bow’s lengths away, or nearer, then he revealed to His servant what he revealed” (Ibn Kathir).

    وَمَا هُوَ عَلَى الْغَيْبِ بِضَنِينٍ (24)

    81|24| Neither is he (the Prophet) as such to grudgingly withhold (knowledge of) the unseen,16


    16. That is, the Prophet is not such as to withhold anything of what is revealed to him out of miserliness: Mujahid, Qatadah, Hasan, Sufyan, Ibn Zayd and others. Alternatively, he is not one who can be accused of withholding any part of the Message: Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id b. Jubayr, Ibrahim, Zirr and Dahhak (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    What is meant is that, misled by his prophecies you think that the Prophet is a soothsayer. But he is not. For, soothsayers give out their information grudgingly, incomplete, in return of monetary rewards, and, consequently, in proportion to how much they are paid (Shabbir).

    وَمَا هُوَ بِقَوْلِ شَيْطَانٍ رَجِيمٍ (25)

    81|25| Nor is this (Qur’an) the utterance of Satan the accursed,17


    17. That is, it is beyond Shaytan to be able to receive it or teach it to others. Allah (swt) said in another place (26: 210-212):


    {وَمَا تَنَزَّلَتْ بِهِ الشَّيَاطِينُ (210) وَمَا يَنْبَغِي لَهُمْ وَمَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ (211) إِنَّهُمْ عَنِ السَّمْعِ لَمَعْزُولُونَ} [الشعراء: 210 - 212]


    “Satans never brought it down. It behooves them not, neither are they able. In fact, they are barred from listening” (Ibn Kathir).
    Sayyid Qutb remarks: “They (the Makkans) knew the Prophet perfectly well. They knew that he was a man of steady character, great sagacity and complete honesty. But in spite of all this they claimed that he was mad, and that he received his revelations from the devil. Some of them adopted this attitude as a basis for their sustained attack on the Prophet and his Islamic message. Others did so out of amazement and wonder at his revelation, which is unlike anything said or written by man. Their claim confirmed their traditional belief that each poet had a devil who wrote his poems, and each monk had a devil who uncovered for him the secrets of the unknown world. They also believed that the devil may come in contact with some people causing them to say some very strange things.”
    They also believed that the Prophet (saws) was concealing part of what was shown to him by the devils, was not revealing the whole truth, and hence Allah said in refutation, “Neither is he (i.e., the Prophet) as one to grudgingly withhold (knowledge of) the unseen” (Au.).

    فَأَيْنَ تَذْهَبُونَ (26)

    81|26| So where are you going?18


    18. What is meant is that a word’s value depends on its narrator. Now this revelation has come through two narrators, Jibril and Muhammad. And these are their qualities. So where are you going? (Shabbir).

    إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ لِلْعَالَمِينَ (27)

    81|27| Verily this is no less than a reminder unto all beings,


    لِمَنْ شَاءَ مِنْكُمْ أَنْ يَسْتَقِيمَ (28)

    81|28| For whoever of you that wills to go straight (and follow the truth),


    وَمَا تَشَاءُونَ إِلَّا أَنْ يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ (29)

    81|29| Yet, you cannot will, unless wills Allah, the Lord of the Creation.19


    19. As Allah said (6: 111):

    {وَلَوْ أَنَّنَا نَزَّلْنَا إِلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةَ وَكَلَّمَهُمُ الْمَوْتَى وَحَشَرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ قُبُلًا مَا كَانُوا لِيُؤْمِنُوا إِلَّا أَنْ يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ } [الأنعام: 111]

    “Were We to send the very angels to them, and the dead were to speak to them, and brought up everything right before them, they would still not believe unless Allah were to wish so...”
    And (10: 100):

    {وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَنْ تُؤْمِنَ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ } [يونس: 100]
    “It is not for a soul to believe but with the will of Allah...”
    And (28: 56):
    {إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ } [القصص: 56]

    “You will not be able to guide whomsoever you love, rather, Allah guides whom He will...” (Qurtubi, Alusi, Shawkani).
    It is said that when the previous verse: “(This is a reminder) for whoever of you that wishes to go straight,” was revealed, Abu Jahl said: “If that is the case then it is up to us. If we wish we’ll take the straight path (and if we do not, we will not).” Upon this Allah revealed this verse: “Yet, you cannot will unless wills Allah, the Lord of the Creation” (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    Shawkani adds: the report comes from Abu Hurayrah (ra) and is in Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Marduwayh.
    Hasan (al-Busri) has remarked: “By God. The Arabs never wished for Islam. It was Allah who decided it for them” (Qurtubi).
    Sayyid Qutb writes: “The surah concludes by stating that the operative will behind everything is the will of Allah... We notice that the Qur’an makes a statement of this type whenever the will of human beings or creatures is generally mentioned. The reason for this is that the Qur’an wants to keep the fundamental concepts of faith absolutely clear. These include the fact that everything in the universe is subject to the will of Allah. No one has a will which is independent of that of Allah. That He grants man a free will is part of His own Divine Will, like everything else.”

    Predetermination and Free Will
    The concepts of freedom and determinism are quite complicated ones and require much space for a detailed discussion. For the moment it might help to quote what Laplace had to say on the possibility of prediction: “If an ideal observer knew the position of all the particles at a given instant and knew all the laws governing their movements, he could predict and retrodict the entire history of the universe.” (John Searle: Minds, Brains and Science, p. 87). To this we can add to say that were the observer to have the 'power' too - in addition to knowledge - then, obviously, he could, not only predict, but also determine the course of events. In that case his knowledge would circumscribe the accomplishments of his power. Further, it must be obvious that without these elements, viz., Knowledge and Power, nothing could come into existence nor an event could take place. A single will, therefore, is the elementary requirement of the system to work.
    Moreover, what has been said by Laplace, applies, of course, primarily to the physical world. Humans with 'freedom to will' and the 'power to act' can be said to be able to determine their own future. They can, after all, move their hands at will, and do and say what they wish to. But, in the ultimate analysis, these can also be shown to be of the pre-determined nature, or, in other words, Allah’s own creation, like any other creation. In fact, physicists have been unable to decide whether the laws of nature are deterministic or statistical. The former will require an external “agency” to create them, and the latter will allow them to come into existence by themselves. The century-long debate among the scientists has produced no satisfactory results. Nevertheless even if the latter were to be proved as true, the question that will then arise is, who determined their “orderly” appearance and behavior?
    Hence the standard Islamic position in this regard is, in the words of Sheikh `Abdul Qadir Jeelani, (who was perhaps echoing the idea promulgated by Abul Hasan al-Ash`ari in his “Confession of Faith”): “Our actions belong to Allah in point of creation (khalq), and to His servants in point of acquisition (kasb).” (Futuh ‘l-Ghayb: tr. Muhtar Holland).
    Imam Ghazali took a step forward in trying to resolve the issue by stating, in the words of Murad Hoffman: “God, the only cause of the action of His creatures, does not prevent them from accomplishing willful action through acquisition (maqdura); for God created will (qudra) and that which is willed (maqdur), the ability to choose as well as that which is chosen.” “How can acquired actions be completely attributed to inevitability (jabr), when everyone instinctively understands the difference between voluntary and involuntary (daruri) reflexes?” (Islam the Alternative, Garnet Publishing, 1993, pp. 59-60).
    The above is not only in theory. The world of physical science has long been facing intriguing phenomena in nature that lead the scientists to believe that they live in a world which is both determined as well as undetermined and that the matter that they encounter can both be considered living as well as dead. Consider for instance the fact that the sub-atomic particles behave both as particles as well as waves and that during experiments it has been found that the wave-particles 'remember’ their form and shape before their collision to return to their original form and shape afterwards. These particles can tunnel through an otherwise impenetrable barrier - as if they know which ways to turn in a complex structure so that they do not end up coming out on the same side that they entered. Or, consider the 'uncertainty principle,’ which in scientific terms dictates that an event will only happen if it is not observed!
    Experiments have also revealed that when a pair of photons were fired in the opposite directions, and their polarization changed selectively, the change in one automatically altered the polarization of the other. And this, the scientists predict, can happen even if the other photon were to be at the other end of the universe!
    To be sure, Allah’s Will is easily discernable in the living organisms. For instance, it has been found out by experiments that if all the soldier ants of a nest are destroyed, more number of soldier ants (than the worker ants) emerge out of the previously laid eggs, and, contrarily, if the worker ants are destroyed, more worker ants and less soldier ants hatch out of the eggs laid previous to destruction. If we rule out Allah’s Will, it would mean that the genes in the eggs lying in the nests know what’s happening outside!
    If such is the pattern of behavior of matter at the smallest level, organic or inorganic, how can humans, who are made up of these determinable as well as indeterminable elements, and who share the same environment as the organic matter, said to be acting either entirely independently, or, conversely, endowed with volition and will, declared totally exempt of any responsibility?
    In fact, the tables have almost turned full. Today it is the scientists who are inclined to a greater degree to believe that human actions are predetermined than the religious people. Physiologists of our age do not believe that the 'mind’ (very near to the concept of nafs in Islam) is a separate entity able to interfere physically with the neuronal activities that go on in the brain during the decision making process conducted entirely within it. The dominant idea is that the brain is independent in making its choices and that the decisions made by it are physically determined. It is only because of the information fed to the brain by way of current inputs, which in turn play an important role in the process of making decisions, that the scientist would admit that the humans are capable of making independent choices.
    Therefore, with such uncertainty existing both at the basic levels of the brain as well as matter - it is almost impossible to decide whether men’s actions are acquired or created. Further, to what extent do we enjoy freedom in the kasb allowed to us, within the framework of thought and action imposed upon us by their creation that precedes acquisition, and, the power that the outside world enjoys in influencing our decisions, are truly mind-boggling questions. Hence, not only the philosophers, but even the scientists admit that (in the words of John Searle again) “the problem (of free will and determinism) will stay with us.”
    It might also be interesting to quote the following. Hoffman (The Alternative, p. 62) writes: “Surprisingly this stance (of kasb and khalq: Au.) has been rehabilitated by modern physics. As has been well-known since Werner Heisenberg’s discovery of the uncertainty principle in 1952, physics has learned to describe the inner-atomic reality not using alternatives but complementary states (particle versus waves). It was discovered that particle physics can be well-grasped using the Islamic theory of predestination, i.e., its concept of simultaneously determined and undermined behavior. And, by the same token, Muslims - as Ulrich Schoen has shown - can point out that their own attempts to explain a theoretical and scientific problem (the problem of causality as a part of the problem of predestination) can no longer be belittled as medieval obscurantist nonsense.”
    Accordingly, there is wisdom in the statement of Muslim scholars that “qadr” is one of the well-guarded secrets of Allah and in the Prophet’s counsel that it be left to itself. `Ali illustrated the dubious nature very well when asked by someone about the extent to which one was bound by the Qada’ and Qadr and the extent to which free. `Ali asked him to lift one of his feet. When he did that, he asked him to lift the other one also. The man said he could not. `Ali told him that those were the limits of his freedom and choice.
    Also see surah 91 note 9, and surah 92 note 7 for relevant ahadith (Au.).