Surah Ar-Rum Ayat 1-29

Surah Ar-Rum

(The Romans)

Chapter 30

Which was revealed in Makkah

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

 

{1. Alif Lam Mim.

2. The Romans have been defeated.

3. In the nearest land, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious.

4. In Bid’i years. The decision of the matter, before and after is only with Allah. And on that day, the believers will rejoice

5. With the help of Allah. He helps whom He wills, and He is the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.

6. A promise from Allah, and Allah fails not in His promise, but most men know not.

7. They know only the outer appearance of the life of the world, and they are heedless of the Hereafter.}

Foretelling the Victory of the Romans

These Ayat were revealed about the victory of Sabur, the King of Persia, over Ash-Sham (Greater Syria), the adjoining partisan states of the Arabian Peninsula, and the outlying regions of the land of the Romans. Heraclius, the emperor of the Romans, was forced to flee to Constantinople where he was besieged for a lengthy period. Then Heraclius regained the upper hand. Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, commented on this Ayah: “Alif Lam Mim. The Romans have been defeated. In the nearest land,” He said, “They were defeated and then they were victorious.” He said, “The idolators wanted the Persians to prevail over the Romans, because they were idol worshippers, and the Muslims wanted the Romans to prevail over the Persians, because they were People of the Book. This was mentioned to Abu Bakr, who mentioned it to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The Messenger of Allah said:

“They will certainly prevail.”

Abu Bakr mentioned this to the idolators, and they said, “Set a time limit for that, and if we prevail, we will get such and such; and if you prevail, you will get such and such.” So he set a limit of five years, and they (the Romans) did not prevail. Abu Bakr mentioned that to the Messenger of Allah and he said:

“Why do you not make it less than…”

[I (the narrator) think he meant less than ten]. Said bin Jubayr said: “Bid’ means less than ten.” Then the Romans were victorious, and he said, “That is what Allah said:

“Alif Lam Mim. The Romans have been defeated. In the nearest land, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious. In Bid`i years. The decision of the matter, before and after is only with Allah. And on that day, the believers will rejoice – with the help of Allah. He helps whom He wills, and He is the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.” (Ahmad 1:276)

This was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i. At-Tirmidhi said: “Hasan Gharib.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 9:51, An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 6:426)

Another Hadith

Abu Isa At-Tirmidhi recorded that Niyar bin Mukram Al-Aslami said: “When the following Ayat were revealed: “Alif Lam Mim. The Romans have been defeated. In the nearest land, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious. In Bid` years.” on the day they were revealed, the Persians were prevailing over the Romans. The Muslims wanted the Romans to prevail over them (the Persians), because they were both people who followed a Book. Concerning this Allah said: “And on that day, the believers will rejoice — with the help of Allah. He helps whom He wills, and He is the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.” The Quraysh, on the other hand, wanted the Persians to prevail, because neither of them were people who followed a Book and neither of them believed in the Resurrection. When Allah revealed these Ayat, Abu Bakr went out proclaiming throughout Makkah: “Alif Lam Mim. The Romans have been defeated. In the nearest land, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious. In Bid` years.” Some of the Quraysh said to Abu Bakr: ‘This is (a bet) between us and you. Your companion claims that the Romans will defeat the Persians within three to nine years, so why not have a bet on that between us and you’. Abu Bakr said, ‘Yes.’ This was before betting had been forbidden. So, Abu Bakr and the idolators made a bet, and they said to Abu Bakr: ‘What do you think, Bid means something between three and nine years, so let us agree on the middle.’ So they agreed on six years. Then six years passed without the Romans being victorious, so the idolators took what they had bet with Abu Bakr. When the seventh year came and the Romans were finally victorious over the Persians, the Muslims rebuked Abu Bakr for agreeing on six years. He said: ‘Because Allah said: “In Bid years.”’ At that time, many people became Muslim.” This is how it was narrated by At-Tirmidhi, then he said, “This is a Hasan Hadith.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 9:52)

Who were the Romans? 
“Alif Lam Mim. The Romans have been defeated.” We have already discussed the separate letters which appear at the beginning of some Surahs in the beginning of our Tafsir of Surat Al-Baqarah. With regard to the Romans (Ar-Rum), they are the descendents of Al-Iys bin Ishaq bin Ibrahim. They are the cousins of the Children of Isra’il, and are also known as Bani Al-Asfar. They used to followed the religion of the Greeks, who were descendents of Yafith bin Nuh, the cousins of the Turks. They used to worship the seven planets, and they prayed facing the direction of the North Pole. It is they who founded Damascus and built its temple in which there is a prayer niche facing north. The Romans followed this religion until approximately three hundred years after the time of the Messiah. The king who ruled Greater Syria along with the Fertile Crescent (semicircle of fertile land from Syrian Desert to Persian Gulf) was called Caesar. The first of them to enter the Christian religion was Constantine the son of Costas, whose mother was Maryam Al-Hilaniyyah Ash-Shadqaniyyah, from the land of Harran. She had become Christian before him, and she invited him to her religion. Before that he had been a philosopher, then he followed her. It was said that this was merely an outward show of belief. Then the Christians met with him. During his time they debated with Abdullah bin Ariyus (Arius) and great differences arose which could not be reconciled. Then a gathering of three hundred and eighteen bishops reached an agreement, and presented their creed to Constantine. This is what they call the Great Trust, but in fact it is the Worst Betrayal. They presented to him their laws, i.e., books of rulings on what was lawful and prohibited, and other things that they needed. They changed the religion of the Messiah (peace be upon him), adding some things and taking some things away. They began praying towards the East, and changed the Sabbath (Saturday) rites to Sunday. They worshipped the cross, permitted eating of pigs, adopted innovated observances such as the festival of the cross, Mass, baptism, etc., Palm Sunday and other occasions. They appointed a pope, as their leader, and patriarchs, metropolitans, bishops, priests and deacons, and they invented monasticism. The king built churches and places of worship for them, and he founded the city which is named after him, Constantinople. It was said that during his time twelve thousand churches were built, three places of prayer in Bethlehem, and that his mother built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. These are the ones who followed the religion of the kings.
Then after them came the Jacobites, followers of Yaqub Al-Askaf, then the Nestorians, the followers of Nestorius. There are many groups and sects among them, as the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “They split into seventy two sects.” The point here is that they continued to follow Christianity. Every time one Caesar died, another succeeded him, until the last of them, Heraclius, came to power. He was a wise man, one of the most astute and intelligent of kings, who had deep insight and well-formed opinions. His was a great and glorious reign. He was opposed by Chosroes, the King of Persia and of regions such as Iraq, Khurasan, Ar-Riy and all the lands of the Persians. His name was Sabur Dhul-Aktaf, and his kingdom was greater than the kingdom of Caesar. He was the leader of the Persians and was as stubborn as the Persians who were Zoroastrian fire worshippers.
How Caesar defeated Chosroes (Kisra)

It was previously reported that Ikrimah said: “Chosroes sent his deputy and his army against Caesar, and they fought.” It is well-known that Chosroes himself fought in the army that invaded his land, and he defeated Caesar and overwhelmed him until he had nothing left except the city of Constantinople, where Chosroes besieged him for a long time, until things became very difficult for him. He was highly venerated among the Christians, and Chosroes was not able to conquer the city because it was well fortified, and half of it faced the land while the other half faced the sea, from where supplies were able to reach them. After this had gone on for a long time, Caesar thought of a clever trick. He asked Chosroes to let him leave his city in return for money given as a peace-offering, on whatever terms he (Chosroes) wanted. Chosroes agreed to that and asked for a huge amount of wealth – gold, jewels, fabric, servant-women, servants, and much more – such that no king on earth could ever pay. Caesar went along with that and gave him the impression that he had all that he had asked for, although he thought he was crazy for asking for such a thing, because even if the two of them were to combine all of their wealth, it would not amount to even one-tenth of that. He asked Chosroes to let him go out of the city to Ash-Sham and the other regions of his kingdom, so that he could gather that from his storehouses and places where his wealth was buried. Chosroes let him go, and when Caesar was about to leave Constantinople, he gathered his people together and told them: “I am going out on a mission I have decided to do so with some soldiers I have selected from my army; if I come back to you before one year passes, I will still be your king but if I do not come back after that, you will have the choice. Then, if you wish, you may remain loyal to me, or if you wish you may appoint someone instead of me.They replied, “You are our king for as long as you live, even if you are gone in ten years.”

When he left Constantinople, a cavalry detachment left with him, and Chosroes camped outside Constantinople to await his return. Caesar went straight away to the land of the Persians, where he started to kill all the men of fighting age, one by one, and he did not stop killing until he reached Al-Madain, which was the seat of power of the kingdom of Chosroes. He killed everyone in the city, and took all its treasures and wealth. He captured the women of Chosroes, shaved his son’s head and made him ride on his donkey, sending him with the leaders of his people in a state of utmost humiliation. He wrote to Choseroes saying, ‘This is what you asked for, so take it.’ When this reached Chosroes, he was extremely distressed, to an extent known only by Allah. His anger was directed against the city of Constantinople and he renewed his siege with increased vehemence, but he was not able to besiege it for long, nor was he able to go to the ford of the river Jayhun, which was the only route through which Caesar could reach Constantinople. When Caesar heard of this, he came up with an unprecedented strategy, whereby he left his troops and good by the ford, and went off with some of his army. He commanded them to pick up some straw and animal droppings, and to travel approximately one day upstream. The he told them to throw these things into the water. When they passed by Chosroes, he and his soldiers thought that the Romans had gone that way, so they rode off in pursuit of them, and the ford was no longer occupied by the Persians. The Caesar commanded his men to get up and jump into the river which they did, thus escaping Chosroes and his troops, then they entered Constantinople.

That was great day for the Christians. Chosroes and his army remained in a state of confusion, not knowing what they were doing. They had not been able to conquer the land of Caesar, and their own land was devastated by the Romans, who seized their wealth, and captured their women and children. This was how the Romans defeated the Persians, and this happened nine years after the Persians defeated the Romans. This conflict between the Persians and the Romans prevailed between Adhurat (Ash-Sham) and Busra, according to what was stated by Ibn Abbas, Ikrimah and others. This is a place on the edge of Ash-Sham, along the border with Al-Hijaz. Mujahid said, “That was place in the Arabian Peninsula, which is closer to the land of the Romans that Persia.” Allah knows best.

“The decision of the matter, before and after is only with Allah.” before that and after that. “And on that day, the believers will rejoice – with the help of Allah.” They will rejoice because the Romans, the companions of Caesar, the king of Ash-Sham, defeated the Persians, the companions of Choseroes, who were Zoroastrians. According to many of the scholars, such as Ibn Abbas, Ath-Thawri, As-Suddi and others, the victory of the Romans over the Persians happened on the same day as the battle of Badr. It was reported in the hadith recorded by At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim and Al-Bazzar that Abu Said said: “On the day of Badr, the Romans defeated the Persians, and the believers were happy and rejoiced about that. And Allah revealed the words: “And on that day, the believers will rejoice – with the help of Allah. He helps whom he wills, and He is the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 9:50, At-Tabari 20:73)

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Az-Zubayr Al-Kilabi said, “I saw the victory of the Persians over the Romans, then I saw the victory of the Muslims over both the Persian and the Romans, and all of that happened within fifteen years.”

Allah’s saying: “and He is the All-Mighty,” means, in His defeat of vengeance upon His enemies. His saying: “the Most Merciful.” means, towards His believing servants. “(It is) a promise of Allah, and Allah fails not in His promise.” means, ‘this that We have told you, O Muhammad, that the Romans will defeat the Persians, is a true promise of Allah, truth which cannot be changed and which will surely come to pass, because Allah has decreed that the one of the two parties that is closer to the truth will prevail and that victory will be theirs.’ “but most men know not.” means, they do not know the decree of Allah concerning His creation, but what He does is wise and is based on justice. His saying: “They know only the outer appearance of the life of the world, and they are heedless of the Hereafter.” means most people know only about this world and how to make a living and so on. They are clever when it comes to getting what they need and earning a living, but they are heedless of that which will benefit them in the Hereafter; they are unaware of it and have no idea about it.

Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “It has reached the state that in this world one of them could put a Dirham on his finger and tell how much it weighs, but he does not know how to pray properly.” “they know only the outer appearance of the life of the world, and they are heedless of the Hereafter.” Ibn Abbas said, “This means that the disbelievers know how to prosper in this world, but they are ignorant of matters of religion. (At-Tabari 20:76)

{8. Do they not reflect on themselves? Allah has created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, except with truth and for an appointed term. And indeed many of mankind deny meeting with their Lord.

9. Do they not travel in the land, and see what was the end of those before them? They were superior to them in strength, and they tilled the earth and populated it in greater numbers than these have done, and there came to them their Messengers with clear proofs. Surely, Allah wronged them not, but they used to wrong themselves.

10. Then evil was the end of those who did evil, because they denied the Ayat of Allah and made a mockery of them.}

Signs of Tawhid

Allah tells us that pondering His creation will show that He exists and that He is Unique in creating it, and that there is no god nor lord besides Him. So He says: “Do they not reflect upon themselves?”  Thinking and pondering how Allah created various things in the upper and lower realms and in the space between, realizing that this was not created in jest or in vain, but in truth, and that it will continue until an appointed time, the Day of Resurrection, as Allah says: “And indeed many of mankind deny meeting with their Lord.” Then Allah tells us of the truth of the Message brought by the Messengers and how He supported them with miracles and clear signs, such as when He destroyed those who disbelieved in them and saved those who believed in them. “Do they not travel in the land?” means, ‘do they not understand and think and see and hear about the people of the past?’ Allah says: “and see what was the end of those before them They were superior to them in strength,” meaning, ‘the nations of the past who came before you were stronger than you to whom Muhammad has been sent; they had more wealth and more sons. You have not been given one-tenth of what they were given. They stayed longer in this world than you will stay. They were more civilized than you and were more prosperous in the land than you.’

Yet despite all that, when their Messengers came to them with clear signs, while they were enjoying their life of luxury, Allah punished them for their sins and they had no one who could protect them from Allah. Their wealth and sons could not protect them from the wrath of Allah in the slightest, and Allah was not at all unjust towards them when He sent His punishment upon them. “but they used to wrong themselves.” They brought destruction upon themselves, when they rejected and mocked the signs of Allah. All of this only happened because of their previous sins and their rejection (of the Messengers). Allah says:

{10. Then evil was the end of those who did evil, because they denied the Ayat of Allah and made a mockery of them.}

This is like the Ayat: “And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away, as they refused to believe therein for the first time, and We shall leave them in their trespass to wander blindly.” (6:110), “So when they turned away, Allah turned their hearts away.” (61:5), “And if they turn away, then know that Allah’s will is to punish them for some sins of theirs” (5:49). It was said that the meaning of the phrase “Then evil was the end of those who did evil,” is that evil was their inevitable end, because they rejected the signs of Allah and made fun of them. This is the view of Ibn Jarir, which he recorded from Ibn Abbas and Qatadah. (At-Tabari 20:79)

Ibn Abi Hatim also recorded it from them and from Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim. This is the apparent meaning – and Allah knows best – of the phrase: “and made a mockery of them.”

{11. Allah originates the creation, then He will repeat it, then to Him you will be returned.

12. And on the Day when the Hour will be established, the criminals will be plunged into destruction with despair.

13. No intercessors will they have from those whom they made equal with Allah, and they will reject and deny their partners.

14. And on the Day when the Hour will be established – that Day shall they be separated.

15. Then as for those who believed and did righteous good deeds, such shall be honored and made to enjoy a luxurious life in a Garden of Delight.

16. And as for those who disbelieved and denied Our Ayat, and the meeting of the Hereafter, such shall be brought forth to the torment.}

Allah said: “Allah originates the creation, then He will repeat it,” Just as He was able to create it in the first place, so He is also able to repeat it. “then to Him you will be returned.” on the Day of Resurrection, when each will be requited according to his deeds. Then Allah says: “And on the Day when the Hour will be established, the criminals will be plunged into destruction with despair.” Ibn Abbas said, “The sinners will be filled with despair.” Mujahid said, “The sinners will be exposed;” according to another report he said, “The sinners will grieve.” (At-Tabari 20:80) “No intercessors will they have from those whom they made equal with Allah,” means, the gods whom they used to worship instead of Allah will not intercede for them; they will reject them and betray them despite their desperate need of them. Then Allah says: “And on the Day when the Hour will be established — that Day shall (all men) be separated.” Qatadah said: “By Allah, this refers to the separation after which there will be no reunion.” (At-Tabari 20:81) In other words, if one person is taken up to the highest heights and another is sent down to the lowest depths of Hell, that is the last they will ever see of one another. Allah says: “Then as for those who believed and did righteous good deeds, such shall be honored and made to enjoy a luxurious life in a Garden of Delight.” Mujahid and Qatadah said, “This means, they will enjoy a life of luxury.” (At-Tabari 20:82)

 

{17. So glorify Allah, when you enter the evening, and when you enter the morning.

18. And His is all the praise in the heavens and the earth; and in Ashiyya and when Tuzhirun.

19. He brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living. And He revives the earth after its death. And thus shall you be brought out.}

The Command to Pray Five Times Daily

Here Allah glorifies Himself and commands His servants to glorify and praise Him at these times which come one after the other and are indicative of His might and power in the heavens. This is when the night comes with its darkness, then in the morning the day comes with its light. This glorification is followed by befitting praise, as Allah says: “and in Ashiyya and when Tuzhirun.” – the Ashiyy is the time when the darkness is most intense, and Izhar is the brightest point of the day. Glory be to the One Who created both of them, the Cleaver of the daybreak and the One Who makes night a time of rest. Allah says: “By the day as it shows up its brightness. By the night as it conceals it.” (91:3-4) “By the night as it envelops. By the day as it appears in brightness.” (92:1-2) “By the forenoon (after sunrise). By the night when it darkens.” (93:1-2) And there are many similar Ayat. “He brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living. This is what we see of His power to create things and their opposites. These Ayat which come one after the other are all of the same; in each of them Allah mentions the creation of things and their opposites, to indicate to His creation the perfection of His power. Thus He creates the plant from the seed and the seed from the plant; He creates the egg from the chicken and the chicken from the egg; He creates man from sperm and sperm from man; He creates the believer from the disbelievers and the disbeliever from the believers. “And He revives the earth after its death.” This is like the Ayat: “And a sign for them is the dead land. We give it life, and We bring forth from it grains, so that they eat thereof.” until: “and We have caused springs of water to gush forth therein.” (36:33-34) “And you see the earth barren, but when We send down water on it, it is stirred, and it swells and puts forth every lovely kind.” until: “and certainly, Allah will resurrect those who are in the graves.” (22:5-7) “And it is He Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His mercy. Till when they have carried a heavy-laden cloud” until: “so that you may remember or take heed.” (7:57) Allah says here: “And thus shall you be brought out.”

{20. And among His signs is this that He created you from dust, and then – behold you are human beings scattered!

21. And among His signs is this that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.}

Among the Signs of Allah

Allah says: “And among His signs” – which speak of His might and power, is the fact that He created your father Adam out of dust. “and then – behold you are human beings scattered!” So man’s origins lie in dust, then in a despised liquid, then he is formed and becomes a clot, then a lump of flesh, then bones in the form of a human being. Then Allah clothes the bones with flesh. Then the soul is breathed into him and he can hear and see. Then he comes forth from his mother’s womb, small and weak, but the longer he lives, the stronger he becomes, until he reaches the age where he can build cities and strongholds, and he travels to different lands and across the seas, earning a living and amassing wealth, and he is smart and intelligent and crafty, with ideas and opinions of his own, and each one is able to achieve great things in this world and in the Hereafter according to his individual means. Glory be to the One Who has enabled them and made it easy for them to learn all kinds of skills for earning a living, and has caused them to vary in their levels of knowledge and intellectual ability, and in how handsome or ugly, rich or poor they are, and in whether they are blessed and doomed. Allah says: “And among His signs is this that He created you from dust, and then – behold you are human beings scattered!” Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Musa said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Allah created Adam from a handful taken from throughout the earth. Hence the sons of Adam vary as the earth varies, so they are white and red and black and [colors] in between, evil and good, easy-going or difficult – or something in between.” (Ahmad 4:406)

This was also recorded by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi, who said, “This Hadith is Hasan Sahih.” (Abu Dawud 5:67, Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:290) Allah said: “And among His signs is this that He created for you wives from among yourselves,” meaning, ‘He created females of your own kind, to be wives for you.’ “that you may find repose in them,” This is like the Ayah, “It is He Who has created you from a single person, and He has created from him his wife, in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her” (7:189). This refers to Hawwa’. Allah created her from Adam, from the short rib on his left. If Allah had made all of Adam’s progeny male, and created the females from another kind, such as from Jinn or animals, there would never have been harmony between them and their spouses. There would have been revulsion if the spouses had been from a different kind. Out of Allah’s perfect mercy He made their wives from their own kind, and created love and kindness between them. For a man stays with a woman because he loves her, or because he feels compassion towards her if they have a child together, or because she needs him to take care of her, etc. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.”

{22. And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colors. Verily, in that are indeed signs for men of sound knowledge.

23. And among His signs is your sleep by night and by day, and your seeking His bounty. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who listen.}

Allah said: “And among His signs” indicating His magnificent power. “is the creation of the heavens and the earth,” The heavens with their vast height and brightness and beauty of the stars and planets, and the earth with its density and its mountains, valleys, seas, plains, animals and trees. “and the difference of your languages” So, we see that some speak Arabic, and the Tatars have their own language, as do the Georgians, Romans, Franks, Berbers, Tou Couleurs (of Sudan), Ethiopians, Indians, Persians, Slavs, Khazars, Armenians, Kurds and others. Only Allah knows the variety of languages spoken among the sons of Adam. And the difference of their colors mentioned here refers to their appearance, for all the people of this world, from the time that Allah created Adam, and until the Hour begins, each of them has two eyes, two eyebrows, a nose, a forehead, a mouth and two cheeks, but none of them looks like another; there is bound to be some difference in posture, appearance and speech, whether it is apparent or is hidden and can only be noticed with careful observation. Each face has its own characteristics and does not look like another; even if there was a group of people who looked alike, having a beautiful or ugly characteristic in common, there would still be a difference between one person and the next. “Verily, in that are indeed signs for men of sound knowledge.” “And among His signs is your sleep by night and by day, and your seeking of His bounty.” Among His signs is the cycle of sleep that He has created during the night and the day, when people are able to cease moving and rest, so that their tiredness and exhaustion will go away. And He has enabled you to seek to earn a living and to travel about during the day, this is the opposite of sleep. “Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who listen.” meaning, understand.

{24. And among His signs is that He shows you the lightning, for fear and for hope, and He sends down water from the sky, and therewith revives the earth after its death. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who understand.

25. And among His signs is that the heaven and the earth stand by His command. Then afterwards when He will call you by a single call, behold, you will come out from the earth.}

Allah says, “And among His signs” which speak of His greatness, “He shows you the lightning, for fear and for hope,” Sometimes you fear the heavy rain and destructive thunderbolts that follow it, and sometimes you feel hope, when you see a flash of lightning, that much-needed rain will come. Allah says: “and He sends down water from the sky, and therewith revives the earth after its death.” After it was barren, with nothing growing there, then the water comes to it and “it is stirred, and it swells and puts forth every lovely kind (of growth).” (22:5). In this is a clear sign and proof of the resurrection and the coming of the Hour. Allah says: “Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who understand.” Then Allah says: “And among His signs is that the heaven and the earth stand by His command.” This is like the Ayat: “He withholds the heaven from falling on the earth except by His leave” (22: 65). “Verily, Allah grasps the heavens and the earth lest they should move away from their places” (35:41). Whenever Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, swore an emphatic oath, he would say, “No, by the One by Whose command the heaven and the earth stand,” i.e., they stand firm by His command to them and His subjugation of them. Then, when the Day of Resurrection comes, the Day when the earth will be exchanged with another earth and the dead will come forth from their graves, brought back to life by His command and His call to them, “Then afterwards when He will call you by a single call, behold, you will come out from the earth.” This is like the Ayat: “On the Day when He will call you, and you will answer with His praise and obedience, and you will think that you have stayed but a little while!” (17:52) “But it will be only a single Zajrah. When behold, they find themselves on the surface of the earth alive after their death.” (79:13-14) and “It will be but a single Sayhah, so behold they will all be brought up before Us!” (36:53).

{26. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth. All are obedient to Him.

27. And He it is Who originates the creation, then He will repeat it; and this is easier for Him. His is the highest description in the heavens and in the earth. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.}

Allah says: “To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth.” means, He owns it and it is enslaved to Him. (All are obedient to Him.) they are humble before Him and submit to Him, whether willingly or unwillingly.

Repeating the Creation is easier for Allah

Allah’s saying: “And He it is Who originates the creation, then He will repeat it; and this is easier for Him.” Ibn Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said, “This means it is easier for Him.” (At-Tabari 20:92) Mujahid said: “Repeating it is easier for Him than originating it, and originating it is easy for Him.” (At-Tabari 20:92) This was also the view of Ikrimah and others. (At-Tabari 20:92)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Allah says; “The son of Adam denied Me, and he had no right to do so. And he reviled Me, and he had no right to do so. As for his denying Me, it is his saying: ‘He will not remake me as He originated me’ — while originating the creation is not easier for Me than re-creating him. As for his reviling Me, it is his saying: ‘Allah has taken to Himself a son,’ while I am the One, the Self-Sufficient Master; I beget not, nor was I begotten, and there is none comparable to Me.”

This was recorded only by Al-Bukhari. (Fath Al-Bari 8:611, 612) “His is the highest description in the heavens and in the earth.” Ali bin Abi Talhah reported Ibn Abbas said, “This is like the Ayah “There is nothing like Him” (42:11).’ Qatadah said: “His description is La ilaha illallah, and there is no Lord but He.”

{28. He sets forth for you a parable from yourselves: Do you have partners among those whom your right hands possess to share as equals in the wealth We have bestowed on you, whom you fear as you fear each other? Thus do We explain the signs in detail to a people who have sense.

29. Nay, but those who do wrong follow their own lusts without knowledge. Then who will guide him whom Allah has sent astray And for such there will be no helpers.}

A Parable of Tawhid

This is the parable Allah makes of the idolators, those who worship others besides Him and attribute partners to Him, while at the same time admitting that these so-called partners – idols and false gods – are enslaved to and belong to Him. In their Talbiyah [during Hajj and Umrah] they used to say, “At Your service, You have no partner except the partner that You have, You own Him and whatever he owns.’ “He sets forth for you a parable from yourselves” ‘something which you yourselves can see witness, and understand.’ “Do you have partners among those whom your right hands possess to share as equals in the wealth We have bestowed on you…?” ‘None of you would like to have his servant as a partner in his wealth, each of them having an equal share.’ “whom you fear as you fear each other.” ‘You fear that they will have a share in your wealth with you.’ Abu Mijlaz said, “You do not fear that your servant will have a share in your wealth, because he has no such right; similarly, Allah has no partner.” (At-Tabari 20:96) The point is, that since any one of you would abhor such a thing, how can you attribute rivals to Allah from among His creation?

“Thus do We explain the signs in detail to a people who have sense.” Then Allah points out that when the idolators worship others instead of Him, doing so out of their own folly and ignorance: “Nay, but those who do wrong follow…”, meaning, the idolators, “…their own lusts” means, in their worship of false gods without knowledge.  “Then who will guide him whom Allah has sent astray?” means, no one can guide them if Allah has decreed that they will be misguided. “And for such there will be no helpers.” means, there is no one who can save them from the power of Allah or grant them a way out, for what He wills, happens and what He does not will, does not happen.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir Vol 7 (Abridged) Pages 517-543

 

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Surah Al-Ankabut Ayat 50-66 (end)

{50. And they say: “Why are not signs sent down to him from his Lord?” Say: “The signs are only with Allah, and I am only a plain warner.”

51. Is it not sufficient for them that We have sent down to you the Book which is recited to them? Verily, herein is mercy and a reminder for a people who believe.

52. Say: “Sufficient is Allah for a witness between me and you. He knows what is in the heavens and on the earth.” And those who believe in falsehood, and disbelieve in Allah, it is they who are the losers.}

The Idolators’ demand for Signs, and the Response

Allah tells us how the idolators stubbornly demanded signs, meaning that they wanted signs to show them that Muhammad was indeed the Messenger of Allah, just as Salih was given the sign of the she-camel. Allah says: “(Say) – ‘O Muhammad’ – “The signs are only with Allah” meaning, ‘the matter rests with Allah, and if He knew that you would be guided, He would respond to your request, because it is very easy for Him to do that. Yet He knows that you are merely being stubborn and putting me to the test, so He will not respond to you.’ This is like the Ayah, “And nothing stops Us from sending the Ayat but that the people of old denied them. And We sent the she-camel to Thamud as a clear sign, but they did her wrong” (17:59). “and I am only a plain warner” means, ‘I have been sent to you only as a warner to bring a clear warning; all I have to do is convey the Message of Allah to you.’ “He whom Allah guides, he is the rightly-guided; but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no guide to lead him.” (18:17) “Not upon you is their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills” (2:272). Then Allah shows us how ignorant and foolish they were when they demanded a sign to prove to them that what Muhammad had brought to them was true. He brought them a great Book which falsehood cannot reach, neither from before it or behind it, it was greater than all other miracles, for the most eloquent of men could not match it or produce ten Surahs, or even one Surah like it. “Is it not sufficient for them that We have sent down to you the Book which is recited to them?” means, ‘is it not sufficient as a sign for them that We have sent down to you this great Book which tells them about what happened before their time, what will happen after they are gone, and passes judgement between them. Even though you are an unlettered man who can neither read nor write, and you have not mixed with any of the People of the Book. Yet you brought them news of what was said in the first Scriptures showing what is right in the matters that they dispute over, and bringing clear and obvious truth. ‘ As Allah says: “Is it not a sign to them that the learned scholars of the Children of Israel knew it (to be true)?” (26:197) “They say: “Why does he not bring us a sign from his Lord” Has there not come to them the proof of that which is in the former Scriptures” (20:133) Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said:

“There is no Prophet who was not given some miracles that would make the people believe in him. What I have been given is revelation which Allah reveals to me, and I hope that I will have the greatest number of followers on the Day of Resurrection.” (Ahmad 2:341)

It was also recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. (Fath Al-Bari 8:619, Muslim 1:134)

Indeed Allah has said: “Verily, herein is mercy and a reminder for a people who believe.” In this Qur’an there is mercy, that is, explanation of the truth and removal of falsehood, and a reminder to the believers of the punishment that is to come to the disbelievers and sinners. Then Allah says: “Say: “Sufficient is Allah for a witness between me and you…” ‘He knows best the words of denial that you utter, and he knows what I am telling you about Him and that He has sent me. If I were telling lies about Him, He would have executed His vengeance upon me,’ as Allah says elsewhere: “And if he had forged a false saying concerning Us, We surely would have seized him by his right hand, and then We certainly would have cut off his aorta, and none of you could have withheld Us from (punishing) him.” (69:44-47). ‘But I am telling the truth in what I say to you about Him, so He has supported me with clear miracles and definitive evidence.’ “He knows what is in the heavens and the earth.” means, nothing is hidden from Him at all. “And those who believe in falsehood, and disbelieve in Allah, it is they who are the losers.” means, on the Day of Resurrection, they will be punished for what they did, and will get what they justly deserve for rejecting the truth and following falsehood, for disbelieving in the Messengers of Allah even when there was proof that they were telling the truth, and for worshipping false gods with no evidence. Allah will punish them for all that, for He is All-Wise and All-Knowing.

{53. And they ask you to hasten on the torment, and had it not been for a term appointed, the torment would certainly have come to them. And surely, it will come upon them suddenly while they perceive not!

54. They ask you to hasten on the torment. And verily, Hell, of a surety, will encompass the disbelievers.

55. On the Day when the torment shall cover them from above them and from beneath their feet, and it will be said: “Taste what you used to do.”}

 

How the Idolators asked for the Torment to be hastened on

Allah tells us of the ignorance of the idolators and how they asked for the punishment of Allah to be hastened so that it would befall them quickly. This is like the Ayah, “And when they said: “O Allah! If this is indeed the truth from You, then rain down stones on us from the sky or bring on us a painful torment.” (8:32). And Allah says here: “And they ask you to hasten on the torment, and had it not been for a term appointed, the torment would certainly have come to them.” Were it not for the fact that Allah has decreed that the punishment should be delayed until the Day of Resurrection, the torment would have come upon them quickly as they demanded. Then Allah says: “And surely, it will come upon them suddenly while they perceive not! They ask you to hasten on the torment. And verily, Hell, of a surety, will encompass the disbelievers.” means, ‘they ask you to hasten on the punishment, but it will undoubtedly befall them.’ “On the Day when the torment (Hellfire) shall cover them from above them and from beneath their feet,” This is like the Ayah, “Theirs will be a bed of Hell, and over them coverings (of Hell-fire)” (7:41). “They shall have coverings of Fire, above them and coverings (of Fire) beneath them” (39:16). “If only those who disbelieved knew (the time) when they will not be able to ward off the Fire from their faces, nor from their backs” (21:39). The Fire will cover them from all sides, which is more effective as a physical punishment. “and it will be said: “Taste what you used to do.” This is a threat and a rebuke, which is a form of psychological punishment, as in the Ayah, “The Day they will be dragged on their faces into the Fire (it will be said to them): “Taste you the touch of Hell!” Verily, We have created all things with a measurement.” (54:48-49) “The Day when they will be pushed down by force to the fire of Hell, with a horrible, forceful pushing. This is the Fire which you used to deny. Is this magic or do you not see Enter you therein (taste you therein its heat) and whether you are patient of it or impatient of it, it is all the same. You are only being requited for what you used to do.” (52:13-16)

{56. O My servants who believe! Certainly, spacious is My earth. Therefore worship Me.

57. Everyone shall taste death. Then unto Us you shall be returned.

58. And those who believe and do righteous good deeds, to them We shall surely give lofty dwellings in Paradise, beneath which rivers flow, to live therein forever. Excellent is the reward for the workers.

59. Those who are patient, and put their trust in their Lord.

60. And so many a moving creature carries not its own provision! Allah provides for it and for you. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.}

 

Advice to migrate and the Promise of Provision and a Goodly Reward

Allah commands His believing servants to migrate from a land in which they are not able to establish Islam, to the spacious earth of Allah where they can do so, by declaring Allah to be One and worshipping Him as He has commanded. Allah says: “O My servants who believe! Certainly, spacious is My earth. Therefore worship Me.” When things became too difficult for the believers in Makkah who were in a weak position and were oppressed, they left and migrated to Ethiopia, where they were able to practice their religion. The Muslims found Ethiopia the best place for guest; where Ashamah, the Negus or king, may Allah have mercy on him, gave them refuge, helped them, supported them, and honored them in his land. Later, the Messenger of Allah and his remaining Companions migrated to Al-Madinah, formerly known as Yathrib, may Allah protect it. Then Allah says: “Everyone shall taste death. Then unto Us you shall be returned.” meaning, ‘wherever you are, death with catch up with you, so always obey Allah and be where Allah commands you to be, for this is better for you. Death is inevitable and there is no escape from it, and then you will return to Allah, and whoever was obedient to Him will have the best reward.’ Allah says: “And those who believe and do righteous good deeds, to them We shall surely give lofty dwellings in Paradise, underneath which rivers flow,” meaning, ‘We shall cause them to dwell in lofty homes in Paradise under which various kinds of rivers flow – water, wine, honey and milk – which they can direct and cause to flow wherever they wish.’ “to live therein forever.” means, they will remain there forever, never wanting to leave. “Excellent is the reward for the workers.” these rooms will be a blessed reward for the good deeds of the believers, “Those who are patient,” in adhering to their religion, who migrated for the sake of Allah and fought the enemy, leaving behind their families and relatives to seek Allah’s Face, and hoping for that which is with Him, believing His promise. Ibn Abi Hatim, may Allah have mercy on him, recorded from Abu Muaniq Al-Ashari that Abu Malik Al-Ashari told him that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, told him:

“In Paradise there are rooms whose outside can be seen from the inside, and their inside can be seen from the outside; Allah has prepared them for those who feed others, who speak well, who pray and fast continually, and who stand in prayer at night while people are asleep.”

“and put their trust in their Lord.” (At-Tabarani 17:372) in all their affairs, spiritual and worldly alike. Then Allah tells us that provision is not limited only to one place, but it is given to all His creatures no matter where they are. Indeed, when the Muhajirin migrated, their provision was greater and better than before, because after a short time they became rulers in the land, in all regions. Allah says: “And so many a moving creature carries not its own provision!” meaning, it does not have the ability to gather its provision and save it for tomorrow. “Allah provides for it and for you.” means, Allah allots its provision to it even though it is weak, and makes it easy for it. He sends provision to every creature in the appropriate manner, even the ants in the depths of the earth, the birds in the air and the fish in the sea. Allah says: “And no moving creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah. And He knows its dwelling place and its deposit. All is in a Clear Book.” (11:6) “And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” means, He hears all that His servants say and He knows their every movements.

{61. And if you were to ask them: “Who has created the heavens and the earth and subjected the sun and the moon” They will surely reply: “Allah.” How then are they deviating?

62. Allah expands the provision for whom He wills of His servants, and straitens it for whom (He wills). Verily, Allah is the All-Knower of everything.

63. And if you were to ask them: “Who sends down water from the sky, and gives life therewith to the earth after its death” They will surely reply: “Allah.” Say: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah!” Nay, most of them have no sense.}

Evidences of Tawhid

Allah states that there is no God but He. The idolators who worshipped others besides Him recognized that He was the sole creator of the heavens and earth, the sun and the moon, alternating the night and day. They acknowledged that He was the Creator Who provided for His servants and decreed how long they should live. He made them and their provision different, so that some were rich and some were poor, and He knew best what was suitable for each of them, who deserved to be rich and who deserved to be poor. So, Allah stated that He has alone created everything, and that He alone is controlling them – if this is how it is, then why worship anyone else Why put one’s trust in anyone else Since dominion is His Alone, then let worship be for Him Alone. Allah often establishes His divinity by referring to their acknowledgement of His Unique Lordship, because the idolators used to acknowledge His Lordship, as they said in their Talbiyah (during Hajj and Umrah) “At Your service, You have no partner, except the partner that You have, and You possess him and whatever he has.”

{64. And this life of the world is only an amusement and a play! Verily, the home of the Hereafter – that is the life indeed, if they but knew.

65. And when they embark on a ship, they invoke Allah, making their faith pure for Him only, but when He brings them safely to land, behold, they give a share of their worship to others.

66. So that they become ingrate for that which We have given them, and that they take their enjoyment, but they will come to know.}

Allah tells us how insignificant and transient this world is, and how it will soon end. All that it “Verily, the home of the Hereafter — that is the life indeed,” means, the true everlasting life that will never end, but will continue forever and ever. “if they but knew.” means, they would prefer that which will last over that which will pass away. Then Allah says that at times of calamity, the idolators call upon Him alone, with no partner or associate, so why do they not do that all the time “And when they embark on a ship, they invoke Allah, making their faith pure for Him only,” This is like the Ayah, “And when harm touches you upon the sea, those that you call upon vanish from you except Him (Allah Alone). But when He brings you safely to land, you turn away” (17:67). Allah says here: “but when He brings them safely to land, behold, they give a share of their worship to others.” Muhammad bin Ishaq reported from Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl that when the Messenger of Allah conquered Makkah, he (Ikrimah) ran away, fleeing from him. When he was on the sea, headed for Ethiopia, the ship started to rock and the crew said: “O people, pray sincerely to your Lord alone, for no one can save us from this except Him.” Ikrimah said: “By Allah, if there is none who can save us on the sea except Him, then there is none who can save us on land except Him either, O Allah, I vow to You that if I come out of this, I will go and put my hand in the hand of Muhammad and I will find him kind and merciful.” And this is what indeed did happen. (At-Tabarani 3:301) “So that they become ingrate for that which We have given them, and that they take their enjoyment.” 

{67. Have they not seen that We have made a secure sanctuary, while men are being snatched away from all around them? Then do they believe in falsehood, and deny the graces of Allah

68. And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against Allah or denies the truth, when it comes to him? Is there not a dwelling in Hell for the disbelievers?

69. As for those who strive hard for Us, We will surely guide them to Our paths. And verily, Allah is with the doers of good.}

The Blessing of the Sanctuary Here

Allah reminds Quraysh how He blessed them by granting them access to His sanctuary which He has made (open) to (all) men, the dweller in it and the visitor from the country are equal there, and whoever enters it is safe, because he is in a place of great security, although the Arabs of the desert round about used to ambush and raid one another and kill one another. As Allah says: “For the protection of the Quraysh. The caravans to set forth safe in winter and in summer. So let them worship the Lord of this House. Who has fed them against hunger, and has made them safe from fear.” (106:1-4) “Then do they believe in falsehood, and deny the graces of Allah” means, is the thanks that they give for this immense blessing to associate others with Him and worship others besides Him, idols and rivals “Have you not seen those who have changed the blessings of Allah into disbelief, and caused their people to dwell in the house of destruction?” (14:28) They disbelieved in the Prophet, servant and Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, when what they should have done was to worship Allah Alone and not associate anything with Him, and to believe in, honor and respect the Messenger, but they rejected him and fought him, and expelled him from their midst. So, Allah took His blessing away from them, and killed those of them whom He killed at Badr, then His Messenger and the believers gained the upper hand, and Allah enabled His Messenger to conquer Makkah, and He disgraced them and humiliated them (the disbelievers). Then Allah says: “And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against Allah or denies the truth, when it comes to him?” There is no one who will be more severely punished than one who tells lies about Allah and says that Allah revealed something to him at the time when Allah did not reveal anything to him, or says, ‘I shall reveal something like that which Allah revealed.’ And there is no one who will be more severely punished than one who denies the truth when it comes to him, for the former is a fabricator and the latter is a disbeliever. Allah says: “Is there not a dwelling in Hell for the disbelievers?” Then Allah says: “As for those who strive hard for Us,” meaning the Messenger and his Companions and those who follow him, until the Day of Resurrection, “We will surely guide them to Our paths” means, ‘We will help them to follow Our path in this world and the Hereafter.’ Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Abbas Al-Hamdani Abu Ahmad – one of the people of Akka (Palestine) — said, concerning the Ayah: “As for those who strive hard for Us (in Our cause), We will surely guide them to Our paths. And verily, Allah is with the doers of good.” “Those who act upon what they know, Allah will guide them to that which they do not know.” Ahmad bin Abu Al-Hawari said, “I told this to Abu Sulayman Ad-Darani, and he liked it and said: ‘No one who is inspired to do something good should do it until he hears a report concerning that; if he hears a report then he should go ahead and do it, and praise Allah because it was in accordance with what he himself felt.”’ “And verily, Allah is with the doers of good.” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ash-Shabi said; “Isa bin Maryam, peace be upon him, said: ‘Righteousness means doing good to those who ill-treat you, it does not mean doing good to those who do good to you.”’ And Allah knows best.

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Ankabut.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 501-516

 

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Surah Al-Ankabut Ayat 24-49

{28. And (remember) Lut, when he said to his people: “You commit immoral sins which none has preceded you in (committing) it in all creatures.”

29. “Verily, you practice sodomy with men, and rob the wayfarer! And practice Al-Munkar in your meetings.” But his people gave no answer except that they said: “Bring Allah’s torment upon us if you are one of the truthful.”

30. He said: “My Lord! Give me victory over the people who are corrupt.”}

The preaching of Lut and what happened between Him and His People

Allah tells us that His Prophet Lut, peace be upon him, denounced his people for their evil deed and their immoral actions in having intercourse with males, a deed which none of the sons of Adam had ever committed before them. As well as doing this, they also disbelieved in Allah and rejected and opposed His Messenger, they robbed wayfarers, they would lie in wait on the road, kill people and loot their possessions. “And practice Al-Munkar in your meetings.” This means, ‘in your gatherings you do and say things that are not befitting, and you do not denounce one another for doing such things.’ Some said that they used to have intercourse with one another in public; this was the view of Mujahid. (At-Tabari 20:29)

Some said that they used to compete in passing gas and laughing. This was the view of A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, and Al-Qasim. (At-Tabari 20:30) Some of them said that they used to make rams fight one another, or organize cockfights. They used to do all of these things, and they were even eviler than that. “But his people gave no answer except that they said: “Bring Allah’s torment upon us if you are one of the truthful.” This is indicative of their disbelief, scornful attitude and stubbornness. So Allah’s Prophet asked for help against them, and said: “My Lord! Give me victory over the people who are corrupt.”

{31. And when Our messengers came to Ibrahim with the glad tidings they said: “Verily, we are going to destroy the people of this town; truly, its people have been wrongdoers.”

32. Ibrahim said: “But there is Lut in it.” They said: “We know better who is there. We will verily, save him and his family – except his wife, she will be of those who remain behind.”

33. And when Our messengers came to Lut, he was grieved because of them, and felt straitened on their account. They said: “Have no fear, and do not grieve! Truly, we shall save you and your family except your wife: she will be of those who remain behind.”

34. “Verily, we are about to bring down on the people of this town a great torment from the sky, because they have been rebellious.”

35. And indeed We have left thereof an evident Ayah for a folk who understand.}

 

The Angels went to Ibrahim and then to Lut, may peace be upon them both

When Lut, peace be upon him, asked Allah to help him against them, Allah sent angels to help him. They first came to Ibrahim in the form of guests, so he offered them hospitality in the appropriate manner. When he saw that they had no interest in the food, he felt some mistrust of them and was fearful of them. They started to calm him down and gave him the news of a righteous son born by his wife Sarah, who was present, and she was astonished by this, as we have already explained in our Tafsir of Surat Hud and Surat Al-Hijr. When they brought this news to Ibrahim and told him that they were sent to destroy the people of Lut, he began to speak up for them, hoping to win more time for them so that they might be guided by Allah. When they said, “We have come to destroy the people of this township,” “(Ibrahim) said: “But there is Lut in it.” They said: “We know better who is there. We will verily, save him and his family except his wife, she will be of those who remain behind.” meaning, one of those who will be destroyed, because she used to support them in their disbelief and wrongdoing. Then the angels left him and visited Lut in the form of handsome young men. When he saw them like that, “he was grieved because of them, and felt straitened on their account.” means, he was worried since if he had them as guests then he was afraid for them and what his people might do to them, but if he did not host them, he was still afraid of what might happen to them. At that point he did not know who they were. “They said: “Have no fear, and do not grieve! Truly, we shall save you and your family except your wife: she will be of those who remain behind. Verily, we are about to bring down on the people of this town a great torment from the sky, because they have been rebellious.” Jibril, peace be upon him, uprooted their town from the depths of the earth, lifted it up to the sky, then threw it upside down upon them. Allah rained upon them: “stones of Sijjil, in a well-arranged manner one after another. Marked from your Lord; and they are not ever far from the evil doers.” (11:82-83) Allah turned the place where they had lived into a putrid, stinking lake, which will remain as a lesson to mankind until the Day of Resurrection, and they will be among those who are most severely punished on the Day of Resurrection. Allah says: “And indeed We have left thereof an evident Ayah” i. e., a clear sign, n “for a folk who understand.” This is like the Ayah, “Verily, you pass by them in the morning And at night; will you not then reflect” (37:137-138)

{36. And to Madyan, We sent their brother Shuayb. He said: “O my people! Worship Allah and hope for the last Day, and commit no mischief on the earth as mischief-makers.”

37. And they denied him; so the earthquake seized them, and they lay, prostrate in their dwellings.}

Shuayb and His People

Allah tells us that His servant and Messenger Shuayb, peace be upon him, warned his people, the people of Madyan, and commanded them to worship Allah Alone with no partner or associate, and to fear the wrath and punishment of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. He said: “O my people! Worship Allah and hope for the last Day,” Ibn Jarir said: “Some of them said that this meant: Fear the Last Day.” (At-Tabari 20:34) This is like the Ayah, “for those who look forward to (meeting with) Allah and the Last Day” (60:6). “and commit no mischief on the earth as mischief-makers.” This is forbidding them to make mischief on earth by spreading corruption, which means going around doing evil to people. They used to cheat in weights and measures, and ambush people on the road; this is in addition to their disbelief in Allah and His Messenger. So Allah destroyed them with a mighty earthquake that convulsed their land, and the Sayhah (shout) which tore their hearts from their bodies, and the torment of the Day of Shade, when their souls were taken. This was the torment of a great day. We have already examined their story in detail in Surat Al-Araf, Surat Hud and Surat Ash-Shuara’. “and they lay, prostrate in their dwellings.” Qatadah said, “They were dead.” (At-Tabari 20:34) Others said that they were thrown on top of one another. (At-Tabari 20:34)

{38. And Ad and Thamud! And indeed (their destruction) is clearly apparent to you from their (ruined) dwellings. Shaytan made their deeds fair seeming to them, and turned them away from the path, though they were intelligent.

39. And Qarun, Firawn, and Haman. And indeed Musa came to them with clear Ayat, but they were arrogant in the land, yet they could not outstrip Us.

40. So, We punished each for his sins, of them were some on whom We sent a Hasib, and of them were some who were overtaken by As-Sayhah, and of them were some whom We caused the earth to swallow, and of them were some whom We drowned. It was not Allah Who wronged them, but they wronged themselves.}

 

The Destruction of Nations Who rejected Their Messengers

Allah tells us about these nations who disbelieved in their Messengers, and how He destroyed them and sent various kinds of punishments and vengeance upon them. Ad, the people of Hud, peace be upon him, used to live in the Ahqaf (curved sand-hills), near Hadramawt, in the Yemen. Thamud, the people of Salih, lived in Al-Hijr, near Wadi Al-Qura. The Arabs used to know their dwelling place very well, and they often used to pass by it. Qarun was the owner of great wealth and had the keys to immense treasures. Firawn, the king of Egypt at the time of Musa, and his minister Haman were two Coptics who disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger, peace be upon him. “So, We punished each for his sins,” their punishments fit their crimes. “of them were some on whom We sent a Hasib,” This was the case with Ad, and this happened because they said: “Who is stronger than us?” So, there came upon them a violent, intensely cold wind, which was very strong and carried pebbles which it threw upon them. It carried them through the air, lifting a man up to the sky and then hurling him headlong to the ground, so that his head split and he was left as a body without a head, like uprooted stems of date palms. “and of them were some who were overtaken by As-Sayhah,” This is what happened to Thamud, against whom evidence was established because of the she-camel who came forth when the rock was split, exactly as they had asked for. Yet despite that they did not believe, rather they persisted in their evil behavior and disbelief, and threatening to expel Allah’s Prophet Salih and the believers with him, or to stone them. So the Sayhah struck them, taking away their powers of speech and movement. “and of them were some whom We caused the earth to swallow,” This refers to Qarun who transgressed, he was evil and arrogant. He disobeyed his Lord, the Most High, and paraded through the land in a boastful manner, filled with self-admiration, thinking that he was better than others. He showed off as he walked, so Allah caused the earth to swallow him and his house, and he will continue sinking into it until the Day of Resurrection. “and of them were some whom We drowned.” This refers to Firawn, his minister Haman and their troops, all of whom were drowned in a single morning, not one of them escaped. “It was not Allah Who wronged them,” in what He did to them, “but they wronged themselves.” that happened to them as a punishment for what they did with their own hands.

{41. The parable of those who seek protectors from other than Allah is that of a spider who builds a house; but indeed, the weakest of houses is the spider’s house – if they but knew.

42. Verily, Allah knows what things they invoke instead of Him. He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.

43. And these are the examples We give for mankind; but none will understand them except those who have knowledge (of Allah).}

Likening the gods of the Idolators to the House of a Spider

This is how Allah described the idolators in their reverence of gods besides Him, hoping that they would help them and provide for them, and turning to them in times of difficulties. In this regard, they were like the house of a spider, which is so weak and frail, because by clinging to these gods they were like a person who holds on to a spider’s web, who does not gain any benefit from that. If they knew this, they would not take any protectors besides Allah. This is unlike the Muslim believer, whose heart is devoted to Allah, yet he still does righteous deeds and follows the Laws of Allah, for he has grasped the most trustworthy handle that will never break because it is so strong and firm. Then Allah warns those who worship others besides Him and associate others with Him that He knows what they do and the rivals they associate with Him. He will punish them for their attribution, for He is All-Wise and All-Knowing. Then He says: “And these are the examples We give for mankind; but none will understand them except those who have knowledge.” meaning, no one understands them or ponders them except those who are possessed of deep knowledge. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Amr bin Murrah said, “I never came across an Ayah of the Book of Allah that I did not know, but it grieved me, because I heard that Allah says: “And these are the examples We give for mankind; but none will understand them except those who have knowledge.” (Ibn Abi Hatim no.17344)

{44. Allah created the heavens and the earth with truth. Verily, therein is surely a sign for those who believe.

45. Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book, and perform the Salah. Verily, the Salah prevents from Al-Fahsha’ (immoral sins) and Al-Munkar (evil deeds) and the remembering (praising) of Allah is greater indeed. And Allah knows what you do.) Allah tells us of His immense power, that He created the heavens and the earth with truth, meaning for a higher purpose than mere play,}

Allah tells us of His immense power, that He created the heavens and the earth with truth, meaning for a higher purpose than mere play, “that every person may be rewarded for that which he strives” (20:15). “that He may requite those who do evil with that which they have done, and reward those who do good, with what is best” (53:31). “Verily, therein is surely a sign for those who believe.” meaning, there is clear evidence that Allah is alone in creating, controlling, and in His divinity.

The Command to convey the Message, to recite the Qur’an and to pray

Then Allah commands His Messenger and the believers to recite the Qur’an, which means both reciting it and conveying it to people. “and perform the Salah. Verily, the Salah prevents from Al-Fahsha’ and Al-Munkar and the remembrance of Allah is greater indeed.” Prayer includes two things: the first of which is giving up immoral behavior and evil deeds, i.e., praying regularly enables a person to give up these things.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said: “A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘So-and-so prays at night, but when morning comes, he steals.’ The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“What you are saying (i.e., the Salah) will stop him from doing that.” (Ahmad 2:447)

Prayer also includes the remembering of Allah, which is the higher objective, Allah says: “and the remembrance of Allah is greater indeed.” more important than the former. “And Allah knows what you do.” means, He knows all that you do and say. Abu Al-`Aliyah commented on the Ayah: “Verily, the Salah prevents from immoral sins and evil wicked deeds” “Prayer has three attributes, and any prayer that contains none of these attributes is not truly prayer: Being done purely and sincerely for Allah alone (Ikhlas), fear of Allah, and remembrance of Allah. Ikhlas makes a person do good deeds, fear prevents him from doing evil deeds, and the remembrance of Allah is the Qur’an which contains commands and prohibitions.” (Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this narration under this Ayah) Ibn Awn Al-Ansari said: “When you are praying, you are doing good, it is keeping you away from immoral sins and evil wicked deeds and what you are doing is part of the remembrance of Allah which is greater.”

{46. And argue not with the People of the Scripture, except with that which is better – except with such of them as do wrong; and say (to them): “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you; our God and your God is One, and to Him we have submitted.”}

Arguing with the People of the Book

What is meant here is that anyone who wants to find out about religion from them should argue with them in a manner that is better, as this will be more effective. Allah says: “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching…” (16:125) And Allah said to Musa and Harun when he sent them to Firawn: “And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear.” (20:44) Allah says here: “except with such of them as do wrong” meaning, those who turn away from the truth, turning a blind eye to clear evidence, being stubborn and arrogant. In this case you should progress from debate to combat, fighting them in such a way as to deter them from committing aggression against you. Allah says: “Indeed We have sent Our Messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance that mankind may keep up justice. And We brought forth iron wherein is mighty power” until: “Verily, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty” (57:25). Jabir said: “We were commanded to strike with the sword whoever opposes the Book of Allah.” And His saying: “and say (to them): “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you” means, ‘if they tell you something which you do not know to be true or false, say to them: We do not hasten to say it is a lie, because it may be true, and we do not hasten to say it is true because it may be false. We believe in it in general, under the condition that it has been revealed and has not been altered or deliberately misinterpreted.’ Imam Al-Bukhari, may Allah have mercy on him, recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The People of the Book used to read the Tawrah in Hebrew and explain it in Arabic to the Muslims. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Do not believe the People of the Book and do not deny them. Say: “We believe in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to you. Our God and your God is One, and to Him we have submitted.”

This Hadith was narrated only by Al-Bukhari. (Fath Al-Bari 8:20)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Abbas said: “How can you ask the People of the Book about anything, when your Book that was revealed to the Messenger of Allah is more recent, you read it pure and uncontaminated, it tells you that the People of the Book altered and changed the Book, that they write the Book with their own hands and then say, ‘This is from Allah,’ to purchace with it a small price? Should not the knowledge that you have, prevent you from asking them? No, by Allah, we have never seen any of them asking you about what was sent down to you.” (Al-Bukhari no.7363)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Humayd bin Abdur-Rahman heard Muawiyah talking to a group of Quraysh in Al-Madinah. He mentioned Kab Al-Ahbar, and said: “He was one of the most truthful of those who narrated from the People of the Book, even though we found that some of what he said might be lies.”

I say, this means that some of what he said could be classified linguistically as lies, but he did not intend to lie, because he was narrating from manuscripts which he thought were good, but they contained fabricated material, because they did not have people who were so conscientious in memorizing the Scriptures by heart as the people of this great Ummah.

{47. And thus We have sent down the Book to you, and those whom We gave the Scripture believe therein as also do some of these and none but the disbelievers reject Our Ayat.

48. Neither did you read any book before it nor did you write any book with your right hand. In that case, indeed, the followers of falsehood might have doubted.

49. Nay, but it is clear Ayat, (preserved) in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge. And none but the wrongdoers deny Our Ayat.}

 

Evidence for the Fact that the Qur’an was revealed from Allah

Ibn Jarir said: “Allah says, ‘just as We revealed the Books to the Messengers who came before you, O Muhammad, so We have also revealed this Book to you.” (At-Tabari 20:50)  What he said is good and fits the context. Allah’s saying: “and those whom We gave the Scripture believe therein” means, those knowledgable rabbis and scholars among them who learned it and recited it properly, such as Abdullah bin Salam, Salman Al-Farisi and others like them. “as also believe therein some of these” meaning, the Quraysh Arabs and others. “and none but the disbelievers reject Our Ayat.” No one disbelieves and rejects them except those who conceal the truth with falsehood, and those who try to hide the rays and light of the sun by their covering an eye. Then Allah says: “Neither did you read any book before it (this Qur’an) nor did you write any book with your right hand.” meaning, ‘you lived among your people for a long time before you brought this Qur’an. During this time you never read any book or wrote anything. Your people, as well as others all know that you are an unlettered man who does not read or write.’ This is how he was also described in the previous Scriptures, as Allah says: “Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet, the unlettered about whom they find written with them in the Tawrah and the Injil, — he commands them with good; and forbids them from evil.” (7:157) This is how the Messenger of Allah will remain until the Day of Resurrection, unable to write even one line or one letter. He used to have scribes who would write down the revelation for him, or would write letters from him to be sent to different places. Allah’s saying: “In that case, indeed, the followers of falsehood might have doubted.” means, ‘if you had been literate, some ignorant people would have doubted you. They would have said that you learned this from Books inherited from the Prophets which came before.’ Indeed, they did say that, even though they knew that he was unlettered and could not read or write. “And they say: “Tales of the ancients, which he has written down, and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon.” (25:5) Allah says: “Say: “It has been sent down by Him Who knows the secret of the heavens and the earth” (25:6). And Allah says here: “Nay, but it is (Quran), the clear Ayat, (preserved) in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge.” meaning, this Qur’an is clear Ayat which indicate the truth, commands, prohibitions and stories. It is memorized by the scholars for whom Allah makes it easy to memorize, recite and interpret. This is like the Ayah, “And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember; then is there any one who will remember” (54:17). The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“There has never been any Prophet who was not given that which would make people believe in him. What I have been given is revelation which Allah reveals to me, and I hope that I will have the most followers among them.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:619)

According to the Hadith of Iyad bin Himar, recorded in Sahih Muslim, Allah says: “I am testing you and testing others through you, revealing to you a Book which cannot be washed away by water, which you recite while you are asleep and while you are awake.” (Muslim 4:2197) This means, if the manuscript where it is written were to be washed with water, there is no need for that manuscript. This is because it is preserved in the hearts and is easy on the tongue (i.e., is easy to recite), and is controlling people’s hearts and minds. It is miraculous in its wording and in its meanings. In the previous Scriptures this Ummah was described as carrying their holy Books in their hearts. “And none but the wrongdoers deny Our Ayat” Nobody denies it or tries to undermine its status or rejects it except the wrongdoers, i.e., the arrogant transgressors who know the truth but turn away from it, as Allah says: “Truly, those, against whom the Word (wrath) of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful torment.” (10:96-97)

Tafseer Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 478-501

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Surah Al-Ankabut Ayat 1-23

Surah Al-Ankabut

The Spider

Chapter 29

Which was revealed in Makkah

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

 

{1. Alif Lam Mim.

2. Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested?

3. And We indeed tested those who were before them so that Allah will indeed know those who are true, and He will know those who are liars.

4. Or think those who do evil deeds that they can outstrip Us? Evil is that which they judge!}

The Believers are tested so that it may be known Who is Sincere and Who is Lying

Allah says: “Alif Lam Mim.” In the beginning of the Tafsir of Surah Al-Baqarah, we discussed the letters which appear at the beginning of some Surahs. “Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested?” This is a rebuke in the form of a question, meaning that Allah will inevitably test His believing servants according to their level of faith, as it recorded in the authentic Hadith: “The people most severly tested are the Prophets, then the righteous, then the next best and the next best. A man will be tested in accordance with the degree of his religious commitment; the stonger his religious commitment, the stronger his test.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 7:78) This Ayah is like the Ayah, “Do you think that you will enter Paradise without Allah knowing those of you who fought (in His cause) and knowing those who are the patient?” (3:142) [Please note that these Ayat are usually translated with the meaning of Allah ‘tests’ instead of ‘will know’. They are to be understood with that general meaning as well as the explanation above.] There is a similar Ayah in Surat At-Tawbah. And Allah says: “Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, “When (will come) the help of Allah?” Yes! Certainly, the help of Allah is near!” (2:214) Allah says here: “And We indeed tested those who were before them so that Allah will know those who are true, and will know those who are liars.” meaning, He will make know which are sincere in their claim to be believers from those who are lying. Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, knows what has happened in the past and what is yet to come, and He knows how that which will not happen would have happened if it were to happen. All the Imams of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamah are agreed on this. This is the view of Ibn Abbas and others concerning phrases such as the Ayah, “only that We know” (2:143). Meaning, only to see – because seeing has to do with what is there, but knowledge is broader than seeing, since it includes what is not present as well as what is.

The Evildoers cannot escape from Allah

Allah said: “Or think those who do evil deeds that they can outstrip Us? Evil is that which they judge!” means, those who are not believers should not think that they will escape such trials and tests, for ahead of them lies a greater and more severe punishment. Allah says: “Or think those who do evil deeds that they can outstrip Us” meaning, “escape” from Us. “Evil is that which they judge!” what they think is evil.

{5. Whoever hopes in meeting with Allah, then Allah’s term is surely coming, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.

6. And whosoever strives, he strives only for himself. Verily, Allah stands not in need of any of the creatures.

7. Those who believe, and do righteous good deeds, surely, We shall expiate from them their evil deeds and We shall indeed reward them according to the best of that which they used to do.}

Allah will fulfill the Hopes of the Righteous

Allah’s saying; “Whoever hopes in meeting with Allah,” means, in the Hereafter, and does righteous deeds, and hopes for a great reward with Allah, then Allah will fulfill his hopes and reward him for his deeds in full. This will undoubtedly come to pass, for He is the One Who hears all supplications, He knows and understands the needs of all created beings. Allah says: “Whoever hopes in meeting with Allah, then Allah’s term is surely coming, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” “And whosoever strives, he strives only for himself.” This is like the Ayah, “Whosoever does righteous good deed, it is for himself” (41:46). Whoever does a righteous deed, the benefit of that deed will come back to him, for Allah has no need of the deeds of His servants, and even if all of them were to be as pious as the most pious man among them, that would not add to His dominion in the slightest. Allah says: “And whosoever strives, he strives only for himself. Verily, Allah stands not in need of any of the creatures.” Then Allah tells us that even though He has no need of His creatures, He is kind and generous to them. He will still give to those who believe and do righteous deeds the best of rewards, which is that He will expiate for them their bad deeds, and will reward them according to the best deeds that they did. He will accept the fewest good deeds and in return for one good deed will give anything between ten rewards and seven hundred, but for every bad deed, He will give only one evil merit, or even that He may overlook and forgive. This is like the Ayah, “Surely, Allah wrongs not even the weight of a speck of dust, but if there is any good, He doubles it, and gives from Him a great reward.” (4:40). And He says here: “Those who believe, and do righteous good deeds, surely, We shall expiate from them their evil deeds and We shall indeed reward them according to the best of that which they used to do.”

{8. And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful to his parents; but if they strive to make you associate with Me, which you have no knowledge of, then obey them not. Unto Me is your return and I shall tell you what you used to do.

9. And for those who believe and do righteous deeds, surely, We shall admit them among the righteous.}

The Command to be Good and Dutiful to Parents

Allah commands His servants to be dutiful to parents, after urging them to adhere to belief in His Tawhid, because a person’s parents are the cause of his existence. So he must treat them with the utmost kindness and respect, his father for spending on him and his mother because of her compassion for him. Allah says: “And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them, but address them in terms of honor. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Your mercy as they did bring me up when I was young.” (17:23-24) Although Allah orders us to show kindness, mercy and respect towards them in return for their previous kindness, He says: “but if they strive to make associate with Me, which you have no knowledge of, then obey them not.” meaning, if they are idolators, and they try to make you follow them in their religion, then beware of them, and do not obey them in that, for you will be brought back to Me on the Day of Resurrection, and Allah will reward you for your kindness towards them and your patience in adhering to your religion. It is Allah Who will gather you with the group of the righteous, not with the group of your parents, even though you were the closest of people to them in the world. For a person will be gathered on the Day of Resurrection with those whom he loves, meaning, religious love. Allah says: “And for those who believe and do righteous good deeds, surely, We shall make them enter with the righteous.” In his Tafsir of this Ayah, At-Tirmidhi recorded that Sad said: “Four Ayat were revealed concerning me – and he told his story. He said: “Umm Sad said: ‘Did Allah not command you to honor your parents? By Allah, I will not eat or drink anything until I die or you renounce Islam.’ When they wanted to feed her, they would force her mouth open. Then this Ayah was revealed: “And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful to his parents; but if they strive to make you associate with Me, of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahmwadi 9:48) This Hadith was also recorded by Imam Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i. (Ahmad 1:181, Muslim 4:1877, Abu Dawud 3:177, An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 6:348) At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih”.

{10. Of mankind are some who say: “We believe in Allah.” But if they are made to suffer for Allah, they consider the trial of mankind as Allah’s punishment; and if victory comes from your Lord, they will say: “Verily, we were with you.” Is not Allah Best Aware of what is in the breasts of the creatures?

11. And indeed Allah knows those who believe, and verily, He knows the hypocrites.}

The Attitudes of the Hypocrites and the Ways in which Allah tests People

Allah mentions the descriptions of the liars who falsely claim faith with their lips, while faith is not firm in their hearts. When a test or trial comes in this world, they think that this is a punishment from Allah, so they leave Islam. Allah says: “Of mankind are some who say: “We believe in Allah.” But if they are made to suffer for Allah, they consider the trial of mankind as Allah’s punishment” Ibn Abbas said, “Meaning that their trial is leaving Islam if they are made to suffer for Allah.” (At-Tabari 20:13) This was also the view of others among the Salaf. This Ayah is like the Ayah, “And among mankind is he who worships Allah as it were upon the edge: if good befalls him, he is content therewith; but if a trial befalls him, he turns back on his face…” until: “That is a straying far away” (22:11-12). Then Allah says: “and if victory comes from your Lord, they will say: “Verily, we were with you.” meaning, “if victory comes from your Lord, O Muhammad, and there are spoils of war, these people will say to you, ‘We were with you,’ i.e., we are your brothers in faith.” This is like the Ayat: “Those who wait and watch about you; if you gain a victory from Allah, they say: “Were we not with you” But if the disbelievers gain a success, they say (to them): “Did we not gain mastery over you and did we not protect you from the believers” (4:141). “Perhaps Allah may bring a victory or a decision according to His will. Then they will become regretful for what they have been keeping as a secret in themselves” (5:52). And Allah tells us about them here: “and if victory comes from your Lord, they will say: “Verily, we were with you.” Then Allah says: “Is not Allah Best Aware of what is in the breasts of the creatures” meaning, ‘does Allah not know best what is in their hearts and what they store secretly within themselves, even though outwardly they may appear to be in agreement with you’ “And indeed Allah knows those who believe, and verily He knows the hypocrites.” Allah will test the people with calamities and with times of ease, so that He may distinguish the believers from the hypocrites, to see who will obey Allah both in times of hardship and of ease, and who will obey Him only when things are going in accordance with their desires. As Allah says: “And surely, We shall try you till We test those who strive hard and the patient, and We shall test your facts.” (47:31) After the battle of Uhud, with its trials and tribulations for the Muslims, Allah said: “Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good…” (3:179)

{12. And those who disbelieve say to those who believe: “Follow our way and let us bear your sins.” Never will they bear anything of their sins. Surely, they are liars.

13. And verily, they shall bear their own loads, and other loads besides their own; and verily, they shall be questioned on the Day of Resurrection about that which they used to fabricate.}

The Arrogant Claim of the Disbelievers that They would carry the Sins of Others if They would return to Disbelief

Allah tells us that the disbelievers of Quraysh said to those who believed and followed the truth: leave your religion, come back to our religion, and follow our way; “and let us bear your sins.” meaning, ‘if there is any sin on you, we will bear it and it will be our responsibility’. It is like a person saying: “Do this, and your sin will be on my shoulders.” Allah says, proving this to be a lie: “Never will they bear anything of their sins. Surely, they are liars.” in their claim that they will bear the sins of others, for no person will bear the sins of another. Allah says: “and if one heavily laden calls another to (bear) his load, nothing of it will be lifted even though he be near of kin” (35:18). “And no friend will ask a friend (about his condition), though they shall be made to see one another” (70:10-11). “And verily, they shall bear their own loads, and other loads besides their own.” Here Allah tells us that those who call others to disbelief and misguidance will, on the Day of Resurrection, bear their own sins and the sins of others, because of the people they misguided. Yet that will not detract from the burden of those other people in the slightest, as Allah says: “That they may bear their own burdens in full on the Day of Resurrection, and also of the burdens of those whom they misled without knowledge” (16:25). In the Sahih, it says:

“Whoever calls others to true guidance, will have a reward like that of those who follow him until the Day of Resurrection, without it detracting from their reward in the slightest. Whoever calls others to misguidance, will have a burden of sin like that of those who follow him until the Day of Resurrection, without it detracting from their burden in the slightest.” (Muslim 4:2060)

In the Sahih, it also says: “No person is killed unlawfully, but a share of the guilt will be upon the first son of Adam, because he was the first one to initiate the idea of killing another.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:419) “and verily, they shall be questioned on the Day of Resurrection about that which they used to fabricate.” means, the lies they used to tell and the falsehood they used to fabricate. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Umamah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, conveyed the Message with which he was sent, then he said:

“Beware of injustice, for Allah will swear an oath of the Day of Resurrection and will say: “By My glory and majesty, no injustice will be overlooked today.” Then a voice will call out, “Where is so-and-so the son of so-and-so” He will be brought forth, followed by his good deeds which appear like mountains while the people are gazing at them in wonder, until he is standing before the Most Merciful. Then the caller will be commanded to say: “Whoever is owed anything by so-and-so the son of so-and-so, or has been wronged by him, let him come forth.” So they will come forth and gather before the Most Merciful, then the Most Merciful will say: “Settle the matter for My servant.” They will say, “How can we settle the matter?” He will say, “Take from his good deeds and give it to them.” They will keep taking from his good deeds until there is nothing left, and there will still people with scores to be settled. Allah will say, “Settle the matter for My servant.” They will say, “He does not have even one good deed left.” Allah will say, “Take from their evil deeds and give them to him.” (Muslim 4:1997)

Then the Prophet quoted this Ayah: “And verily, they shall bear their own loads, and other loads besides their own; and verily, they shall be questioned on the Day of Resurrection about that which they used to fabricate.” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 5:272)

There is a corroborating report in the Sahih with a different chain of narration: “A man will come on the Day of Resurrection with good deeds like mountains, but he had wronged this one, taken the wealth of that one and slandered the honor of another. So each of them will take from his good deeds. And if there is nothing left of his good deeds, it will be taken from their evil and placed on him.”

{14. And indeed We sent Nuh to his people, and he stayed among them a thousand years less fifty years; so the Deluge overtook them while they were wrongdoers.

15. Then We saved him and the Companions of the Boat, and made it an Ayah for all people.}

Nuh and His People

Here Allah consoles His servant and Messenger Muhammad by telling him that Nuh, peace be upon him, stayed among his people for this long period of time, calling them night and day, in secret and openly, but in spite of all that they still persisted in their aversion to the truth, turning away from it and disbelieving in him. Only a few of them believed with him. Allah says: “and he stayed among them a thousand years less fifty years; and the Deluge overtook them while they were wrongdoers.” meaning, ‘after this long period of time, when the Message and the warning had been of no avail, so, O Muhammad, do not feel sorry because of those among your people who disbelieve in you, and do not grieve for them, for Allah guides whomsoever He wills and leaves astray whomsoever He wills. The matter rests with Him and all things will return to Him.’ “Truly, those, against whom the Word of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them” (10:96-97). Know that Allah will help you and support you and cause you to prevail, and He will defeat and humiliate your enemies, and make them the lowest of the low.

It was recorded that Ibn Abbas said: “Nuh received his mission when he was forty years old, and he stayed among his people for a thousand years less fifty; after the Flood he lived for sixty years until people had increased and spread.” (Ibn Abi Hatim no.17186, Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 5:273) “Then We saved him and the Companions of the Boat,” means, those who believed in Nuh, peace be upon him. We have already discussed this in detail in Surah Hud (See the Tafseer of Surah Hud 10:25), and there is no need to repeat it here. “and made it (the ship) an Ayah for all people.” means, ‘We caused that ship to remain,’ whether in itself, as Qatadah said, that it remained until the beginning of Islam, on Mount Judi, or whether the concept of sailing in ships was left as a reminder to mankind of how Allah had saved them from the Flood. (At-tabari 20:18) This is like the Ayat “And an Ayah for them is that We bore their offspring in the laden ship. And We have created for them of the like thereunto, on which they ride” until: “and as an enjoyment for a while” (36:41-44). “Verily, when the water rose beyond its limits, We carried you in the ship. That We might make it an admonition for you and that it might be retained by the retaining ears.” (69:11-12) And Allah says here: “Then We saved him and the Companions of the Boat, and made it an Ayah for all people.” This is a shift from referring to one specific ship to speaking about ships in general. A similar shift from specific to general is to be seen in the Ayat: “And indeed We have adorned the nearest heaven with lamps, and We have made such lamps missiles to drive away the Shayatin (devils)” (67:5). meaning, ‘We have made these lamps missiles, but the lamps which are used as missiles are not the same lamps as are used to adorn the heaven.’ And Allah says: “And indeed We created man out of an extract of clay. Thereafter We made him a Nutfah in a safe lodging.” (23:12-13). There are many other similar examples.

{16. And (remember) Ibrahim when he said to his people: “Worship Allah, and have Taqwa of Him, that is better for you if you know.”

17. You worship besides Allah only idols, and you only invent falsehood. Verily, those whom you worship besides Allah have no power to give you provision, so seek from Allah your provision, and worship Him, and be grateful to Him. To Him you will be brought back.

18. And if you deny, then nations before you have denied. And the duty of the Messenger is only to convey plainly.”}

 

Ibrahim’s preaching to His People

Allah tells us how His servant, Messenger and close friend Ibrahim, the Imam of the monotheists, called his people to worship Allah alone, with no partner or associate, to fear Him alone, to seek provision from Him alone, with no partner or associate, to give thanks to Him alone, for He is the One to Whom thanks should be given for the blessings which none can bestow but He. Ibrahim said to his people: “Worship Allah, and have Taqwa of Him,” meaning worship Him and fear Him Alone, with all sincerity. “that is better for you if you know.” if you do that you will attain good in this world and the next, and you will prevent evil from yourselves in this world and the Hereafter. Then Allah states that the idols which they worshipped were not able to do any harm or any good, and tells them, “You made up names for them and called them gods, but they are created beings just like you.” This interpretation was reported by Al-Awfi from Ibn Abbas. (At-Tabari 20:19) It was also the view of Mujahid and As-Suddi. Al-Walibi reported from Ibn Abbas: “You invent falsehood, means, you carve idols,” (At-Tabari 20:19) which do not have the power to provide for you. “so seek from Allah your provision,” This emphasizes the idea of asking Allah Alone. This is like the Ayat: “You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help.” (1:5) And His saying: “My Lord! Build for me, with You, a home in Paradise” (66:11). Allah says here: “so seek” meaning, ask for “from Allah your provision,” meaning, do not seek it from anyone or anything other than Him, for no one else possesses the power to do anything. “and worship Him, and be grateful to Him.” Eat from what He has provided and worship Him Alone, and give thanks to Him for the blessings He has given you. “To Him you will be brought back.” means, on the Day of Resurrection, when He will reward or punish each person according to his deeds. His saying: “And if you deny, then nations before you have denied.” means, ‘you have heard what happened to them by way of punishment for opposing the Messengers.’ “And the duty of the Messenger is only to convey plainly.” All the Messengers have to do is to convey the Message as Allah has commanded them. Allah guides whoever He wills and leaves astray whoever He wills, so strive to be among the blessed. Qatadah said concerning the Ayah: “And if you deny, then nations before you have denied.” “These are words of consolation to His Prophet, peace be upon him.” This suggestion by Qatadah implies that the narrative (about Ibrahim) is interrupted here, and resumes with the words “And nothing was the answer of (Ibrahim’s) people…” in Ayah 24. This was also stated by Ibn Jarir. From the context it appears that Ibrahim, peace be upon him, said all of what is in this section. Here he establishes proof against them that the Resurrection will indeed come to pass, because at the end of this passage it says: “And nothing was the answer of his people…” (29:24) And Allah knows best.

{19. See they not how Allah originates the creation, then repeats it. Verily, that is easy for Allah.

20. Say: “Travel in the land and see how He originated the creation, and then Allah will bring forth the creation of the Hereafter. Verily, Allah is able to do all things.”

21. He punishes whom He wills, and shows mercy to whom He wills; and to Him you will be returned.

22. And you cannot escape in the earth or in the heaven. And besides Allah you have neither any protector nor any helper.

23. And those who disbelieve in the Ayat of Allah and meeting with Him, such have no hope of My mercy: and for such there is a painful torment.}

The Evidence for Life after Death

Allah tells us that Ibrahim, peace be upon him, showed them the proof of life after death, which they denied, in their souls. For Allah created them after they had been nothing at all, then they came into existence and became people who could hear and see. The One Who originated this is able to repeat it, it is very easy for Him. Then he taught them to contemplate the visible signs on the horizons and the things that Allah has created: the heavens with their stars and planets, moving and stationary, the earth with its plains and mountains, its valleys, deserts and wildernesses, trees and rivers, fruits and oceans. All of that indicates that these are themselves created things, and that there must be a Creator Who does as He chooses, Who merely says to a thing “Be!” and it is. Allah says: “See they not how Allah originates the creation, then repeats it. Verily, that is easy for Allah.” This is like the Ayah: “And He it is Who originates the creation, then He will repeat it; and this is easier for Him” (30:27). Then Allah says: “Say: “Travel in the land and see how He originated the creation, and then Allah will bring forth the creation of the Hereafter.” meaning, the Day of Resurrection. “Verily, Allah is able to do all things.” “He punishes whom He wills, and shows mercy to whom He wills” He is the Ruler Who is in control, Who does as He wishes and judges as He wants, and there is none who can put back His judgement. None can question Him about what He does; rather it is they who will be questioned, for His is the power to create and to command, and whatever He decides is fair and just, for He is the sovereign who cannot be unjust in the slightest. According to a Hadith recorded by the Sunan compilers: “If Allah willed to punish the dwellers of His heavens and His earth, He would do so, while He would not be unjust to them.” (Abu Dawud 5:75) Allah says: “He punishes whom He wills, and shows mercy to whom He wills; and to Him you will be returned.” You will return to Him on the Day of Resurrection. “And you cannot escape on the earth or in the heaven.” No one in heaven or on earth can flee from Him, for He is the Subduer Who is above His servants, and everything fears Him and is in need of Him, while He is the One Who is Independent of all else. “And besides Allah you have neither any protector nor any helper. And those who disbelieve in the Ayat of Allah and the meeting with Him,” Those who disbelieved in the signs of Allah and denied the Resurrection, “such have no hope of My mercy” they will have no share in it, “and for such there is a painful torment.” meaning, extremely painful, in this world and the next.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 457-479

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Surah Al-Qasas Ayat 68-88 (end)

{68. And your Lord creates whatsoever He wills and chooses, no choice have they. Glorified is Allah, and exalted above all that they associate.

69. And your Lord knows what their breasts conceal, and what they reveal.

70. And He is Allah; La ilaha illa Huwa, His is the praise in the first and in the last, and His is the decision, and to Him shall you be returned.}

Allah Alone is the One Who has the Power of Creation, Knowledge and Choice

Allah tells us that He is the only One Who has the power to create and make decisions, and there is no one who can dispute with Him in that or reverse His judgement. His saying: “And your Lord creates whatsoever He wills and chooses,” means, whatever He wills, for what He wills, happens; and what He does not will, does not happen. All things, good and bad alike, are in His Hands and will return to Him. “no choice have they.” is a negation, according to the correct view. This is like the Ayah, “It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision” (33:36). Then Allah says: “And your Lord knows what their breasts conceal, and what they reveal.” He knows what is hidden in their hearts, just as He knows what they do openly. “It is the same whether any of you conceals his speech or declares it openly, whether he be hid by night or goes forth freely by day.” (13:10). “And He is Allah; La ilaha illa Huwa,” meaning, He is unique in His divinity, for none is to be worshipped besides Him, and there is no lord who can create what he wills and chooses besides Him. “His is the praise, in the first and in the last,” in all that He does, He is to be praised for His justice and wisdom. “His is the decision,” that none can put back, because of His might, power, wisdom and mercy. “and to Him shall you be returned.” means, all of you on the Day of Resurrection, and everyone will be rewarded or punished according to his deeds, good and evil alike, and absolutely none of their deeds will be concealed from Him.

{71. Say: “Tell me! If Allah made the night continuous for you till the Day of Resurrection, which god besides Allah could bring you light? Will you not then hear?”

72. Say: “Tell me! If Allah made the day continuous for you till the Day of Resurrection, which god besides Allah could bring you night wherein you rest? Will you not then see?”

73. It is out of His mercy that He has made for you the night and the day that you may rest therein and that you may seek of His bounty – and in order that you may be grateful.}

Night and Day are among the Blessings of Allah and are Signs of Tawhid

Allah reminds His servants of His favors towards them by subjugating for them the night and day, without which they could not survive. He explains that if He made the night continuous, lasting until the Day of Resurrection, that would be harmful for them and would cause boredom and stress. So He says: “which god besides Allah could bring you light?” meaning, ‘with which you could see things and which would bring you relief’ “Will you not then hear?” Then Allah tells us that if He had made the day continuous, lasting until the Day of Resurrection, that would also be harmful for them and their bodies would get tired from so much movement and activity. Allah says: “which god besides Allah could bring you night wherein you rest?” meaning, ‘to rest from your work and activity.’ “Will you not then see? It is out of His mercy” towards you, “that He has made for you the night and the day” He created both, “that you may rest therein” during the night, “and that you may seek of His bounty” during the day, by traveling, moving about and working. “and in order that you may be grateful.” So that you may give thanks to Allah by performing all kinds of acts of worship at night and during the day. Whoever misses something during the night can make it up during the day, and vice versa. This is like the Ayah, “And He it is Who has put the night and the day in succession, for such who desires to remember or desires to show his gratitude.” (25:62). And there are many similar Ayat.

{74. And the Day when He will call to them, and will say: “Where are My (so-called) partners, whom you used to assert?”

75. And We shall take out from every nation a witness, and We shall say: “Bring your proof.” Then they shall know that the truth is with Allah, and the lies which they invented will disappear from them.}

 

Rebuking the Idolators

This is another call by way of rebuke for those who worshipped other gods besides Allah. The Lord, may He be exalted, will call to them before all the witnesses, and will say: “Where are My (so-called) partners, whom you used to assert” meaning, in this world. “And We shall take out from every nation a witness,” Mujahid said, “This means a Messenger.” (At-Tabari 19:614) “and We shall say: “Bring your proof.” meaning, ‘of the truth of your claim that Allah had any partners.’ “Then they shall know that the truth is with Allah,” meaning, that there is no god besides Him. Then they will not speak and they will not be able to find any answer. “and the lies which they invented will disappear from them.” they will vanish and will be of no benefit to them.

{76. Verily, Qarun was of Musa’s people, but he behaved arrogantly towards them. And We gave him of the treasures, that of which the keys would have been a burden to a body of strong men. Remember when his people said to him: “Do not exult. Verily, Allah likes not those who exult.”

77. “But seek, with that which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter, and forget not your portion of lawful enjoyment in this world; and be generous as Allah has been generous to you, and seek not mischief in the land. Verily, Allah likes not the mischief-makers.”}

 

Qarun and His People’s exhortation

It was recorded that Ibn Abbas said: “Verily, Qarun was of Musa’s people,” “He was the son of his paternal uncle.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 9:3005) This was also the view of Ibrahim An-Nakhai, Abdullah bin Al-Harith bin Nawfal, Sammak bin Harb, Qatadah, Malik bin Dinar, Ibn Jurayj and others; they all said that he was the cousin of Musa, peace be upon him. (At-Tabari 19:616)   Ibn Jurayj said: “He was Qarun bin Yashar bin Qahith, and Musa was the son of `Imran bin Qahith. (At-Tabari 19:615) “And We gave him of the treasures,” meaning, of wealth; “that of which the keys would have been a burden to a body of strong men.” Groups of strong men would not have been able to carry them because they were so many. Al-Amash narrated from Khaythamah, “The keys of Qarun’s treasure were made of leather, each key like a finger, and each key was for a separate storeroom. When he rode anywhere, the keys would be carried on sixty mules with white blazes on their foreheads and white feet.” (At-Tabari 19:617) Other views were also given, and Allah knows best. “Remember when his people said to him: “Do not exult. Verily, Allah likes not those who exult.” means, the righteous ones among his people exhorted him. By way of sincere advice and guidance, they said: “Do not exult in what you have,” meaning, `do not be arrogant and proud of your wealth.’ “Verily, Allah likes not those who exult.” Ibn Abbas said, “This means, those who rejoice and gloat.” Mujahid said, “It means those who are insolent and reckless, and do not thank Allah for what He has given them.” (At-Tabari 19:623)

His saying: “But seek, with that which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter, and forget not your portion of lawful enjoyment in this world” means, ‘use this great wealth and immense blessing Allah has given you to worship your Lord and draw closer to Him by doing a variety of good deeds which will earn you reward in this world and the Hereafter.’ “and forget not your portion of lawful enjoyment in this world” ‘That which Allah has permitted of food, drink, clothing, dwelling places and women. Your Lord has rights over you, your self has rights over you, your family has rights over you, and your visitors have rights over you. So give each of them their due.’ “and be generous as Allah has been generous to you,” “Be generous to His creatures, as He has been generous to you.’ (and seek not mischief in the land.” meaning: ‘do not let your aim be to spread corruption on earth and do harm to Allah’s creation.’ “Verily, Allah likes not the mischief-makers.”

{78. He said: “This has been given to me only because of the knowledge I possess.” Did he not know that Allah had destroyed before him generations, men who were stronger than him in might and greater in the amount they had collected But the criminals will not be questioned of their sins.}

Allah informs us how Qarun responded to the exhortations of his people when they sought to guide him “He said: “This has been given to me only because of the knowledge I possess.” meaning, ‘I have no need of your advice; Allah has only given me this wealth because He knows that I deserve it and because He loves me. ‘ In other words: ‘He has given it to me because He knows that I am fit for this.’ This is like the Ayat: “When harm touches man, he calls upon Us; then when We have changed it into a favor from Us, he says: “Only because of knowledge I obtained it.” (39:49) An alternative interpretation of this Ayah says that the meaning is: “Only because of what Allah knows about me did I obtain this favor.” This is like His saying: “And truly, if We give him a taste of mercy from Us, after some adversity has touched him, he is sure to say: “This is from me.” (41:50) meaning, “I deserved it.” Imam Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam explained this Ayah very well. Concerning the phrase, “He said: “This has been given to me only because of the knowledge I possess.” He said: “Were it not for the fact that Allah is pleased with me and knows my virtue, He would not have given me this wealth.” And He said: “Did he not know that Allah had destroyed before him generations, men who were stronger than him in might and greater in the amount they had collected” This is what those who have little knowledge say when they see a person whom Allah has granted a lot of wealth; they say that if he did not deserve it, Allah would not have given it to him.

{79. So, he went forth before his people in his finery. Those who were desirous of the life of the world, said: “Ah, would that we had the like of what Qarun has been given! Verily, he is the owner of a great fortune.”

80. But those who had been given knowledge said: “Woe to you! The reward of Allah is better for those who believe and do righteous deeds, and this none shall attain except the patient.”}

How Qarun went forth in His Finery, and His People’s Comments

Allah tells us how Qarun went forth one day before his people with his magnificent regalia; wearing his fine clothes, accompanied by his fine horses, his servants and retinue. When those whose desires and inclinations were for the world saw his adornments and splendor, they wished that they could have the same as he had been given, and said: “Ah, would that we had the like of what Qarun has been given! Verily, he is the owner of a great fortune.” meaning, ‘he is very lucky and has a great share in this world.’ When the people of beneficial knowledge heard this, they said to them: “Woe to you! The reward of Allah is better for those who believe and do righteous deeds,” `Allah’s reward to His believing, righteous servants in the Hereafter is better than what you see,’ as is reported in the authentic Hadith:

“Allah has prepared for His righteous servants what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and the heart of a human cannot comprehend. Recite, if you wish: “No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.” (32:17). (Fath Al-Bari 8:375)

“and this none shall attain except the patient.”  As-Suddi said: “None shall reach Paradise except for the patient” — as if this were the completion of the statement made by the people of knowledge. (Ibn Abi Hatim 9:3016) Ibn Jarir said, “This applies only to those who patiently forsake the love of this world, seeking the Hereafter. It is as if this is part of what the people of knowledge said, but it is made part of the Words of Allah, stating this fact.” (Fath Al-Bari 10:269)

{81. So, We caused the earth to swallow him and his dwelling place. Then he had no group to help him against Allah, nor was he one of those who could save themselves.

82. And those who desired his position the day before, began to say: “Know you not that it is Allah Who expands the provision or restricts it to whomsoever He pleases of His servants. Had it not been that Allah was Gracious to us, He could have caused the earth to swallow us up! Know you not that the disbelievers will never be successful.”}

How Qarun and His Dwelling Place were swallowed up by the Earth

After telling us about Qarun’s conceit and pride in his adornments, and how he was arrogant towards his people and transgressed against them, Allah then tells us how he and his dwelling place were swallowed up by the earth. This was also reported in the Sahih by Al-Bukhari from Salim, who said that his father told him that the Messenger of Allah said: “While a man was dragging his lower garment, he was swallowed up and he will remain sinking down into the earth until the Day of Resurrection.” He also recorded something similar from Salim from Abu Hurayrah from the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. (At-Tabari 19:629) Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Said said, “The Messenger of Allah said:

“When a man among the people who came before you went out wearing two green garments, walking proudly and arrogantly, Allah commanded the earth to swallow him up, and he will remain sinking down into it until the Day of Resurrection.” (Ahmad 3:40)

This version was recorded only by Ahmad, and its chain of narration is Hasan (sound). “Then he had no group to help him against Allah, nor was he one of those who could save themselves.” means, his wealth, group, servants and retinue were of no avail to him; they could not protect him from the wrath and vengeance of Allah. Nor could he help himself or save himself. There was no one to help him, neither himself nor anybody else.

His People learned a Lesson from Him being swallowed up

Allah’s saying: “And those who had desired his position the day before,” means, those witnessed him with his finery and said: “Those who were desirous of the life of the world, said: “Ah, would that we had the like of what Qarun has been given! Verily, he is the owner of a great fortune.” When he was swallowed up in the earth, they began to say: “Know you not that it is Allah Who expands the provision or restricts it to whomsoever He pleases of His servants.” Wealth does not indicate that Allah is pleased with its owner, for Allah gives and withholds, allows times of difficulty and times of ease, raises and lowers, His is the most complete wisdom and most convincing proof. According to a Hadith narrated by Ibn Masud, “Allah has alloted character among you just as He has alloted your provision. Allah gives wealth to those whom He loves and those whom He does not love, but He gives Faith only to those whom He loves.” (Ahmad 1:387) “Had it not been that Allah was Gracious to us, He could have caused the earth to swallow us up!” meaning, ‘were it not for the kindness and grace of Allah towards us, we could have been swallowed up by the earth just as he was swallowed up, because we wanted to be like him.’ “Know you not that the disbelievers will never be successful.”  He was a disbeliever, and the disbelievers will never be successful before Allah in this world or in the Hereafter.

{83. That is the home of the Hereafter, We shall assign to those who do not want to exalt themselves in the land nor cause corruption. And the good end is for those who have Taqwa.

84. Whosoever brings good, he shall have the better thereof; and whosoever brings evil, then those who do evil deeds will only be requited for what they used to do.}

 

The Blessings of the Hereafter for the humble Believers

Allah tells us that He has made the home of the Hereafter, and its eternal delights which will never change or fade away, for His believing, humble servants who do not rebel against the truth with pride and oppression in the land. They do not exalt themselves above the creatures of Allah, arrogantly oppressing them and spreading corruption among them. Ikrimah said that this phrase referred to haughtiness and arrogance. (At-Tabari 19:637)

Ibn Jurayj said: “those who do not want to exalt themselves in the land” “Arrogance and tyranny, “nor cause corruption” committing sins.” (At-Tabari 19:637) Ibn Jarir recorded that Ali said, “If a man wants the straps of his sandals to be better than the straps of his companion’s sandals, then he is one of those referred to in the Ayah, “That is the home of the Hereafter, We shall assign to those who do not want to exalt themselves in the land nor cause corruption. And the good end is for those who have Taqwa.” (At-Tabari 19:638) This is understood to mean that if his intention is to show off and appear better than others, then that is to be condemned, as it was reported in the Sahih that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“It has been revealed to me that you should be humble to the extent that none of you boasts to others or mistreats others.”   (Muslim 4:2199)

But if a person simply likes to look good, then there is nothing wrong with that. It was recorded that a man said: “O Messenger of Allah, I like to have my garment looking good and my shoes looking good – is this a kind of arrogance” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“No, for Allah is beautiful and loves beauty…” (Muslim 1:93)

And Allah says: “Whosoever brings good,” meaning, on the Day of Resurrection, “he shall have the better thereof” meaning, the reward of Allah is better than the good deeds of His servant – how can it not be, when Allah has multiplied it many times over This is the position of generosity. Then Allah says: “and whosoever brings evil, then those who do evil deeds will only be requited for what they used to do.” This is like the Ayah, “And whoever brings an evil deed, they will be cast down on their faces in the Fire. (And it will be said to them) “Are you being recompensed anything except what you used to do” (27: 90). This is the postition of generosity and justice.

{85. Verily, He Who has given you the Qur’an, will surely bring you back to the return. Say: “My Lord is Aware of him who brings guidance, and of him who is in manifest error.”

86. And you were not expecting that the Book would be sent down to you, but it is a mercy from your Lord. So never be a supporter of the disbelievers.

87. And let them not turn you away from the Ayat of Allah after they have been sent down to you, and invite to your Lord and be not of idolators.

88. And invoke not any other god along with Allah, La ilaha illa Huwa. Everything will perish save His Face. His is the decision, and to Him you shall be returned.}

The Command to convey the Message of Tawhid

Here Allah commands His Messenger to convey the Message and recite the Qur’an to people. He tells him that he will be brought back to the return, which is the Day of Resurrection, where he will be asked about the prophethood he was entrusted with. So Allah says: “Verily, He Who has given you the Qur’an, will surely bring you back to the return.” meaning, ‘the One Who has commanded you to put it into practice among mankind,’ “will surely bring you back to the return.” ‘On the Day of Resurrection, where He will question you concerning that,’ as Allah said: “Then surely, We shall question those to whom it was sent and verily, We shall question the Messengers.” (7:6) Allah said: “On the Day when Allah will gather the Messengers together and say to them: “What was the response you received” (5:109). And He said: “and the Prophets and the witnesses will be brought forward” (39: 69) In his Tafsir of his Sahih, Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Abbas commented on the Ayah: “will surely bring you back to the return.” “To Makkah.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:369) This was also recorded by An-Nasa’i in his Tafsir in his Sunan, (An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 6:425) and by Ibn Jarir(At-Tabari 19:641). Al-Awfi also reported from Ibn `Abbas that the phrase: “will surely bring you back to the return.” means, “will surely bring you back to Makkah as He brought you out of it.” (At-Tabari 19:641) Muhammad bin Ishaq recorded that Mujahid commented on: “will surely bring you back to the return.” He said, “Back to your place of birth in Makkah.” (At-Tabari 19:641)

Ibn Abbas is also reported to have interpreted it variously referring to death, to the Day of Resurrection which will come after death, and to Paradise which will be his reward and his destiny for putting the Message of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, into practice and conveying it to the humans and Jinns, and because he is the most perfect, most eloquent and most noble of all the creation of Allah.

Allah’s saying: “Say: “My Lord is Aware of him who brings guidance, and of him who is in manifest error.” means: “Say, O Muhammad, to those among your people who oppose you and disbelieve you, among the idolators and those who follow them in their disbelief, ‘My Lord knows best which of us, you or I, is rightly guided, and you will come to know for which of us will be the (happy) end in the Hereafter, and for which of us will be a good end and victory in this world and in the Hereafter’.” Then Allah reminds His Prophet the numerous blessings He granted to him and mankind by virtue of sending him to them: “And you were not expecting that the Book would be sent down to you,” `Before the revelation was sent down to you, you did not expect that revelation would be sent down to you.’ “but it is a mercy from your Lord.” means, ‘but revelation has been sent down to you from Allah as a mercy to you and to mankind because of you. Since Allah has granted you this great blessing,’ “So never be a supporter” i.e., a helper, “of the disbelievers.” rather, separate from them, `express your hostility towards them and oppose them. ‘ “And let them not turn you away from the Ayat of Allah after they have been sent down to you.” meaning, ‘Do not let their opposition to you affect you or put people off from following your way; do not worry about that or pay any attention to it, for Allah will make your word supreme, will support your religion and will make the Message with which He has sent you prevail over all other religions.’ So He says: “and invite to your Lord” to worship your Lord Alone, with no partners or associates, “and be not of idolators.” “And invoke not any other god along with Allah, there is no God but Him.” means, it is not appropriate to worship anything or anybody except Him, and divinity does not befit any except His glory. “Everything will perish save His Face.” Here Allah is telling us that He is Eternal, Ever Lasting, Ever Living, Self-Sustaining, Who, although His creation dies, He will never die, as He says: “Whatsoever is on it will perish. And the Face of your Lord full of majesty and honor will remain forever.” (55:26-27). Allah used the word “Face” to refer to Himself, as He says here: “Everything will perish save His Face.” meaning, everything except Him. It was reported in the Sahih via Abu Salamah that Abu Hurayrah said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“The truest word of a poet was the saying of Labid – indeed everything except Allah is false.” 

“His is the decision,” means, dominion and control, and there is none who can reverse His judgement or decision. “and to Him you shall be returned.” means, on the Day when you will be brought back, and He will reward or punish you according to your deeds: if they are good, then you will be rewarded, and if they are bad, then you will be punished.

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Qasas. To Allah be praise and blessings.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 436-456

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Surah Al-Qasas Ayat 48-67

{48. But when the truth has come to them from Us, they say: “Why is he not given the like of what was given to Musa? Did they not disbelieve in that which was given to Musa of old?” They say: “Two kinds of magic, each helping the other!” And they say: “Verily, in both we are disbelievers.”

49. Say: “Then bring a Book from Allah, which is a better guide than these two, that I may follow it, if you are truthful.”

50.But if they answer you not, then know that they only follow their own lusts. And who is more astray than one who follows his own lusts, without guidance from Allah Verily, Allah guides not the people who are wrongdoers.

51. And indeed now We have conveyed the Word to them, in order that they may remember.}

The Stubborn Response of the Disbelievers

Allah tells us that if people were to be punished before proof was established against them, they would use the excuse that no Messenger came to them, but when the truth did come to them through Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him in their stubbornness, disbelief, ignorance and misguided thinking, they said: “Why is he not given the like of what was given to Musa?” Meaning – and Allah knows best – many signs like the staff, the hand, the flood, the locusts, the lice, the frogs, the blood, the destruction of crops and fruits – which made things difficult for the enemies of Allah – and the parting of the sea, the clouds (following the Children of Israel in the wilderness and) shading them, the manna and quails, and other clear signs and definitive proof, miracles which Allah wrought at the hands of Musa as evidence and proof against Firawn and his chiefs and the Children of Israel. But all of this had no effect on Firawn and his chiefs; on the contrary, they denied Musa and his brother Harun, as Allah tells us: “Have you come to us to turn us away from what we found our fathers following, and that you two may have greatness in the land We are not going to believe you two!” (10:78) “So they denied them both and became of those who were destroyed.” (23:48)

The Rebellious do not believe in Miracles

Allah says here: “Did they not disbelieve in that which was given to Musa of old?” Did not mankind disbelieve in those mighty signs which were given to Musa “They say: “Two kinds of magic, each helping the other!” cooperating or working one with the other. “And they say: “Verily, in both we are disbelievers.” meaning, ‘we disbelieve in each of them.’ Because of the close relationship between Musa and Harun, mention of one includes the other.

False Accusation that Musa and Harun (peace be upon them both) practiced Magic

Mujahid bin Jabr said, “The Jews told Quraysh to say this to Muhammad, then Allah said: ”Did they not disbelieve in that which was given to Musa of old? They say: Two kinds of magic, each helping the other!” This refers to Musa and Harun, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both, “each helping the other” i.e., working together and supporting one another.” (At-Tabari 19:588) This was also the view of Said bin Jubayr and Abu Razin that the phrase “two kinds of magic” referred to Musa and Harun. (At-Tabari 19:598) This is a good suggestion. And Allah knows best.

The Response to this False Accusation

“Two kinds of magic, each helping the other!” Ali bin Abi Talhah and Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said that this refers to the Tawrah and the Qur’an, (At-Tabari 19:589) because Allah says next: “Say: “Then bring a Book from Allah, which is a better guide than these two that I may follow it.” Allah often mentions the Tawrah and the Qur’an together, as in the Ayat: “Say: “Who then sent down the Book which Musa brought, a light and a guidance to mankind…” until: “And this is a blessed Book which We have sent down.” (6:91-92) And at the end of the same Surah, Allah says: “Then, We gave Musa the Book, to complete (Our favor) upon those who would do right” (6: 154). “And this is a blessed Book which We have sent down, so follow it and have Taqwa of Allah, that you may receive mercy” (6:155). And the Jinn said: “Verily, we have heard a Book sent down after Musa, confirming what came before it” (46:30). Waraqah bin Nawfal said, “This is An-Namus, [Meaning Jibril] who came down to Musa.” And those who are possessed of insight know instinctively that among the many Books which He has sent down to His Prophets, there is no Book more perfect, more eloquent or more noble than the Book which He revealed to Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, which is the Qur’an. Next to it in status and greatness is the Book which Allah revealed to Musa bin Imran, which is the Book concerning which Allah says: “Verily, We did send down the Tawrah, therein was guidance and light, by which the Prophets, who submitted themselves to Allah’s will, judged for the Jews. And the rabbis and the priests, for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah’s Book, and they were witnesses thereto” (5:44). The Injil was revealed as a continuation and complement of the Tawrah and to permit some of the things that had been forbidden to the Children of Israel. Allah says: “Then bring a Book from Allah, which is a better guide than these two, that I may follow it, if you are truthful.” meaning, ‘in your efforts to refute the truth with false arguments.’ “But if they answer you not,” means, ‘if they do not respond to what you tell them, and do not follow the truth,’ “then know that they only follow their own lusts.” means, with no basis or evidence. “And who is more astray than one who follows his own lusts, without guidance from Allah” means, with no guidance taken from the Book of Allah. “Verily, Allah guides not the people who are wrongdoers.” “And indeed now We have conveyed the Word” Mujahid said: “We have explained the Word to them.” (At-Tabari 19:593) As-Suddi said something similar. (Ibn Abi Hatim 9:2987) Qatadah said: “Allah is saying, ‘He has told them what He did in the past and what He will do in the future.”’ “in order that they may remember.” (At-Tabari 19:593) Mujahid and others said: “We have conveyed the Word” means, to Quraysh. (At-Tabari 19:594)

{52. Those to whom We gave the Scripture before it, they believe in it.

53. And when it is recited to them, they say: “We believe in it. Verily, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed even before it we have been from Muslims.”

54. These will be given their reward twice over, because they are patient, and repel evil with good, and spend out of what We have provided for them.

55. And when they hear evil vain talk, they withdraw from it and say: “To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you. We seek not (the way of) the ignorant.”}

The Believers among the People of the Book

Allah tells us that the pious scholars among the People of the Book believe in the Qur’an, as He says: “Those to whom We gave the Book recite it as it should be recited, they are the ones who believe therein” (2:121). “And there are, certainly, among the People of the Scripture, those who believe in Allah and in that which has been revealed to you, and in that which has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before Allah” (3:199). “Verily, those who were given knowledge before it, when it is recited to them, fall down on their faces in humble prostration. And they say: “Glory be to our Lord! Truly, the promise of our Lord must be fulfilled.” (17:107-108) “And you will find the nearest in love to the believers those who say: “We are Christians.” until: “so write us down among the witnesses” (5:82-83). Said bin Jubayr said, “This was revealed concerning seventy priests who were sent by An-Najashi (ruler of Ethiopia). When they came to the Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon them,  he recited to them: “Ya Sin. By the Qur’an, full of wisdom.” (36:1-2) until he completed the Surah. They began to weep, and they embraced Islam. These other Ayat were revealed concerning them (Ibn Abi Hatim 9:2988) : “Those to whom We gave the Scripture before it, they believe in it. And when it is recited to them, they say: “We believe in it. Verily, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed even before it we have been from Muslims.” meaning, ‘even before the Qur’an came we were Muslims, i.e., we believed in One God and were sincerely responding to Allah’s commands.’ “These will be given their reward twice over, because they are patient,” means, those who have this characteristic – that they believed in the first Book and then in the second. Allah says: “because they are patient,” meaning, in their adherence to the truth, for taking such thing upon oneself is not easy for people. It was reported in the Sahih from the Hadith of Amir Ash-Shabi from Abu Burdah that Abu Musa Al-Ashari, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “There are three who will be given their reward twice: a man among the People of the Book who believed in his Prophet then believed in me; a slave who fulfills his duty towards Allah and towards his master; and a man who has a slave woman and educates her and teaches her good manners, then he frees her and marries her.” (Fath Al-Bari 1:229) Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Umamah said: “On the day of the Conquest [of Makkah] I was walking alongside the Messenger of Allah as he was riding, and he said some very beautiful words, including the following: “Whoever among the people of the two Books becomes Muslim, he will have his reward twice, and he has the same rights and duties as we do. Whoever among the idolators becomes Muslim will have one reward, and he has the same rights and duties as we do.” (Ahmad 5:259) Allah’s saying: “and spend out of what We have provided for them.” meaning, ‘from the lawful provision that We have given them, they spend on their families and relatives as they are required to do, and they pay Zakah and give voluntary charity.’ “And when they hear evil vain talk, they withdraw from it” meaning, they do not mix with the people who indulge in such talk, rather they do as Allah says: “and if they pass by some evil vain talk, they pass by it with dignity” (25:72). “and they say: “To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you. We seek not (the way of) the ignorant.” means, if some foolish person speaks to them in a foolish manner and says something to which it does not befit them to respond, they turn away from him and do not respond in kind with ugly speech. They never say anything but good words. Allah says of them that they say: “To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you. We seek not (the way of) the ignorant.” meaning, ‘we do not seek the way of the ignorant and we do not like it.’

{56. Verily, you guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who are the guided.

57. And they say: “If we follow the guidance with you, we would be snatched away from our land.” Have We not established for them a secure sanctuary, to which are brought fruits of all kinds, a provision from Ourselves, but most of them know not.}

Allah guides Whom He wills

Allah says to His Messenger : ”O Muhammad: “Verily, you guide not whom you like” meaning, ‘the matter does not rest with you; all that you have to do is convey the Message, and Allah will guide whom He wills, and His is the ultimate wisdom,’ as He says: “Not upon you is their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills.” (2:272) “And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly.” (12:103) This Ayah is even more specific than the following: “Verily, you guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who are the guided.” meaning: Allah knows best who deserves to be guided and who deserves to be misguided. It was recorded in the Two Sahihs that this Ayah was revealed concerning Abu Talib, the paternal uncle of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. He used to protect the Prophet, support him and stand by him. He loved the Prophet dearly, but this love was a natural love, i.e., born of kinship, not a love that was born of the fact that he was the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. When he was on his deathbed, the Messenger of Allah called him to Faith and to enter Islam, but the decree overtook him and he remained a follower of disbelief, and Allah’s is the complete wisdom. Az-Zuhri said: “Said bin Al-Musayyib narrated to me that his father, Al-Musayyib bin Hazan Al-Makhzumi, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “When Abu Talib was dying, the Messenger of Allah came to him and found Abu Jahl bin Hisham and Abdullah bin Abi Umayyah bin Al-Mughirah with him. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“O my uncle, say La ilaha illallah, a word which I may use as evidence in your favor before Allah [in the Hereafter].”

Abu Jahl bin Hisham and Abdullah bin Abi Umayyah said: ‘O Abu Talib, will you leave the religion of Abdul-Muttalib?’ The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, kept urging him to say La ilaha illallah, and they kept saying, ‘Will you leave the religion of Abdul-Muttalib?’ – until, at the very end, he said that he was on the religion of Abdul-Muttalib, and he refused to say La ilaha illallah. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“By Allah, I shall certainly seek forgiveness for you unless I am told not to.”

Then Allah revealed: “It is not (proper) for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allah’s forgiveness for the idolators, even though they be of kin” (9:113). And there was revealed concerning Abu Talib the Ayah, “Verily, you guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills.” This was recorded (by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) from the Hadith of Az-Zuhri. (Fath Al-Bari 8:365)

The Excuses made by the People of Makkah for not believing, and the Refutation of Their Excuses 
“And they say: “If we follow the guidance with you, we would be snatched away from our land.” Allah tells us that this is the excuse which was given by some of the disbelievers for not following true guidance. They said to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him: “If we follow the guidance with you, we would be snatched away from our land.”, meaning, ‘we are afraid that if we follow the message of guidance that you have brought, and go against the pagan Arab tribes around us, they will seek to do us harm and wage war against us, and they may snatch us away from wherever we may be.’ Allah said in response to them: “Have We not established for them a secure sanctuary,” meaning, the excuse they give is a lie and is false, because Allah has put them in a secure city and a venerated sanctuary which has been safe from the time it was built — how could this sanctuary be safe for them when they believed in disbelief and Shirk, and how could it not be safe for them when they become Muslims and follow the truth “to which are brought fruits of all kinds,” means, all kinds of fruits from the surrounding regions, from At-Ta’if and elsewhere. Similarly, the people of Makkah engaged in trade and other goods also came to their city. “a provision from Ourselves, but most of them know not.” – this is why they said what they said.

{58. And how many a town have We destroyed, which was thankless for its means of livelihood! And those are their dwellings, which have not been inhabited after them except a little. And verily, We have been the heirs.

59. And never will your Lord destroy the towns until He sends to their mother town a Messenger reciting to them Our Ayat. And never would We destroy the towns unless the people thereof are wrongdoers.}

The Destruction of Towns, which are not destroyed until Evidence is established against Them

Referring to the people of Makkah, Allah says: “And how many a town have We destroyed, which was thankless for its means of livelihood!” They were arrogant transgressors who denied Allah’s blessing of giving them ample provision. This is like the Ayah, “And Allah puts forward the example of a township, that dwelt secure and well-content: its provision coming to it in abundance from every place” until: “So the torment overtook them while they were wrongdoers.” (16:112-113) Allah said: “And those are their dwellings, which have not been inhabited after them except a little.” Their land became empty and desolate, and you can see nothing but their dwellings. “And verily, We have been the heirs.” Their towns became ruins, with none remaining. Then Allah tells us of His justice and that He does not destroy anyone unjustly; on the contrary, He destroys those whom He destroys after establishing proof against them. So, he says: “And never will your Lord destroy the towns until He sends to their mother town” i.e., Makkah — “a Messenger reciting to them Our Ayat.” This indicates that the Unlettered Prophet, Muhammad was sent from the Mother of Cities as a Messenger to all cities and towns, Arab and non-Arab alike. This is like the Ayat: “so that you may warn the Mother of Towns and all those around it” (6:92). “Say: “O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah.” (7:158), “That I may therewith warn you and whomsoever it may reach.” (6:19) “but those of the sects that reject it, the Fire will be their promised meeting place.” (11:17). “And there is not a town but We shall destroy it before the Day of Resurrection, or punish it with a severe torment.” (17:58). Allah tells us that He will destroy every town before the Day of Resurrection, as He says: “And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger.” (17:15). Allah has sent the Unlettered Prophet to all the towns “all of mankind”, because he has been sent to the Mother of Cities, their source to which they all return. It was recorded in the Two Sahihs that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“I have been sent to the red and the black.” (Muslim 1:370)

Prophethood ended with him, and there is no Prophet or Messenger to come after him, but his way will remain as long as night and day remain, until the Day of Resurrection.

{60. And whatever you have been given is an enjoyment of the life of the world and its adornment, and that which is with Allah is better and will remain forever. Have you then no sense

61. Is he whom We have promised an excellent promise – which he will find true – like him whom We have made to enjoy the luxuries of the life of the world, then on the Day of Resurrection, he will be among those brought up}

 

This World is transient and the One Whose concern is this World is not equal to the One Whose concern is the Hereafter

Allah tells us about the insignificance of this world and its contemptible adornments which are nothing in comparison to the great and lasting delights which Allah prepared for His righteous servants in the Hereafter. As Allah says: “Whatever is with you, will be exhausted, and whatever is with Allah will remain” (16:96). “and that which is with Allah is the best for the most righteous.” (3:198) “whereas the life of this world as compared with the Hereafter is but a brief passing enjoyment.” (13:26) “Nay, you prefer the life of this world. Although the Hereafter is better and more lasting.” (87:16-17). The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“By Allah, the life of this world in comparison to the Hereafter is as if one of you were to dip his finger in the sea; let him see what comes back to him.” (Ahmad 4:230)

Allah’s saying: “Have you then no sense?” means, do those who prefer this world to the Hereafter have no sense “Is he whom We have promised an excellent promise – which he will find true – like him whom We have made to enjoy the luxuries of the life of the world, then on the Day of Resurrection, he will be among those brought up?” Is the one who believes in the reward which Allah has promised in return for righteous deeds, which he will undoubtedly attain, like one who disbelieves in the meeting with Allah and in His promises and threats He is only enjoying a few days in this life, “then on the Day of Resurrection, he will be among those brought up.” Mujahid and Qatadah said: “He will be among those who are punished.” It was said that this was revealed concerning the Messenger of Allah and Abu Jahl, or that it was revealed concerning Hamzah and Ali, and Abu Jahl. (At-Tabari 19: 604) Both views were narrated from Mujahid. (At-Tabari 19:604) The apparent meaning is that it is more general than that. This is like the Ayah where Allah describes a believer in Paradise looking out at his companion who is in Hell, and saying: “Had it not been for the grace of my Lord, I would certainly have been among those brought forth (to Hell).” (37:57) And Allah says: “but the Jinn know well that they have indeed to appear (before Him) (37:158).

{62. And (remember) the Day when He will call to them and say: “Where are My (so-called) partners whom you used to assert”

63. Those about whom the Word will have been fulfilled will say: “Our Lord! These are they whom we led astray. We led them astray, as we were astray ourselves. We declare our innocence before You. It was not us they worshipped.”

64. And it will be said: “Call upon your partners,” and they will call upon them, but they will give no answer to them, and they will see the torment. If only they had been guided!

65. And the Day He will call to them, and say: “What answer gave you to the Messengers?”

66. Then the news of a good answer will be obscured to them on that Day, and they will not be able to ask one another.

67. But as for him who repented, believed, and did righteous deeds, then perhaps he will be among those who are successful.}

The Idolators and Their Partners and the Emnity between Them in the Hereafter

Allah informs of how He will rebuke the idolators on the Day of Resurrection, when He will call them and say: “Where are My (so-called) partners whom you used to assert” meaning, ‘where are the gods which you used to worship in the world, the idols and rivals Can they help you or save you?’ This is said in the nature of a rebuke and warning, as in the Ayah, “And truly, you have come unto Us alone as We created you the first time. You have left behind you all that which We had bestowed on you. We see not with you your intercessors whom you claimed to be partners with Allah. Now all relations between you and them have been cut off, and all that you used to claim has vanished from you.” (6:94) His saying: “Those about whom the Word will have been fulfilled” means the Shayatin and evil Jinn, and those who used to advocate disbelief. “Our Lord! These are they whom we led astray. We led them astray, as we were astray ourselves. We declare our innocence before You. It was not us they worshipped.” They will testify against them and say that they led them astray, then they will declare their innocence of their worship. This is like the Ayat: “And they have taken gods besides Allah, that they might give them honor, power and glory. Nay, but they will deny their worship of them, and become opponents to them.” (19:81-82) “And who is more astray than one who calls besides Allah, who will not answer him till the Day of Resurrection, and who are (even) unaware of their calls to them And when mankind are gathered, they will become their enemies and will deny their worshipping.” (46:5-6). Ibrahim Al-Khalil, peace be upon him, said to his people: “You have taken idols instead of Allah. The love between you is only in the life of this world, but on the Day of Resurrection, you shall disown each other, and curse each other.” (29:25) “When those who were followed disown those who followed, and they see the torment, then all their relations will be cut off from them” until: “And they will never get out of the Fire.” (2:166-167). Allah says: “And it will be said (to them): “Call upon your partners,” meaning, ‘to save you from the predicament you are in, as you hoped that they would do in this world.’ “and they will call upon them, but they will give no answer to them, and they will see the torment.” means, they will realize for sure that they are inevitably destined for the Fire. His saying: “If only they had been guided!” means, when they see the punishment with their own eyes, they will wish that they had been among the guided in this world. This is like the Ayah, “And the Day He will say: “Call those partners of Mine whom you claimed.” Then they will cry unto them, but they will not answer them, and We shall put a Mawbiq (a barrier) between them. And the criminals, shall see the Fire and apprehend that they have to fall in it. And they will find no way of escape from there.” (18:52-53)

Their attitude towards the Messengers on the Day of Resurrection

“And the Day He will call to them, and say: “What answer gave you to the Messengers” The first call will be concerning the issue of Tawhid, which includes evidences of the prophethood – `What was your response to the Messengers who were sent to you How did you deal with them’ This is like the questions which will be asked of a person in his grave: ‘Who is your Lord who is your Prophet and what is your religion?’ The believer will testify that there is no God except Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger, but the disbelievers will say, “Oh, oh, I do not know.” So he will have no answer on the Day of Resurrection except to remain silent, because whoever is blind in this world “i.e., does not see Allah’s signs and believes not in Him”, will be blind in the Hereafter, and more astray. Allah says: “Then the news of a good answer will be obscured to them on that Day, and they will not be able to ask one another.” Mujahid said: “The proof will be obscured from them,” (At-Tabari 19:607) so they will not be able to ask one another for help by virtue of their blood ties. Allah’s saying: “But as for him who repented, believed, and did righteous deeds,” means, in this world. “then perhaps he will be among those who are successful.” means, on the Day of Resurrection. And the word; perhaps (Asa), when used in reference to Allah, may He be exalted, implies that the thing described will inevitably come to pass, and this will undoubtedly happen by the grace and mercy of Allah.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 415-437

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Surah Al-Qasas Ayah 29-47

{29. Then, when Musa had fulfilled the term, and was traveling with his family, he saw a fire in the direction of At-Tur. He said to his family: “Wait, I have seen a fire; perhaps I may bring to you from there some information, or a burning firebrand that you may warm yourselves.”

30. So when he reached it, he was called from the right side of the valley, in the blessed place, from the tree: “O Musa! Verily, I am Allah, the Lord of all that exists!”

31. “And throw your stick!” But when he saw it moving as if it were a snake, he turned in flight, and looked not back. (It was said:) “O Musa! Draw near, and fear not. Verily, you are of those who are secure.”

32. “Put your hand into the opening of your garment, it will come forth white without a disease; and draw your hand close to your side to be free from the fear. These are two proofs from your Lord to Firawn and his chiefs. Verily, they are the people who are rebellious.”}

Musa’s Return to Egypt and how he was honored with the Mission and Miracles on the Way

In the explanation of the previous Ayah, we have already seen that Musa completed the longer and better of the two terms, which may also be understood from the Ayah where Allah says: “Then, when Musa had fulfilled the term,” meaning, the longer of the two; and Allah knows best. “and was traveling with his family,” They said: “Musa missed his country and his relatives, so he resolved to visit them in secret, without Firawn and his people knowing. So he gathered up his family and the flocks which his father-in-law had given to him, and set out on a cold, dark, rainy night. They stopped to camp, and whenever he tried to start a fire, he did not succeed. He was surprised by this, and while he was in this state, “he saw a fire in the direction of At-Tur” he saw a fire burning from a far. “He said to his family: “Wait, I have seen a fire…” meaning, ‘wait while I go there, ‘ “perhaps I may bring to you from there some information,” This was because they lost their way. “or a burning firebrand that you may warm yourselves.” so that they could get warm and find relief from the cold. “So when he reached it (the fire), he was called from the right side of the valley,” From the side of the valley that adjoined the mountain on his right, to the west. This is like the Ayah, “And you were not on the western side, when We made clear to Musa the commandment” (20:44). This indicates that when Musa headed for the fire, he headed in the direction of the Qiblah with the western mountain on his right. He found the fire burning in a green bush on the side of the mountain adjoining the valley, and he stood there amazed at what he was seeing. Then his Lord called him: “from the right side of the valley, in the blessed place, from the tree.” “O Musa! Verily, I am Allah, the Lord of all that exits!” meaning, ‘the One Who is addressing you and speaking to you is the Lord of all that exits, the One Who does what He wills, the One apart from Whom there is no other god or lord, may He be exalted and sanctified, the One Who by His very nature, attributes, words and deeds is far above any resemblance to His creation, may He be glorified. “And throw your stick!” ‘the stick that is in your hand’ – as was stated in the Ayah, “And what is that in your right hand, O Musa” He said: “This is my stick, whereon I lean, and wherewith I beat down branches for my sheep, and wherein I find other uses.” (20:17-18). The meaning is: ‘this stick, which you know so well’ “Cast it down, O Musa!” He cast it down, and behold! It was a snake, moving quickly.” (20:19-20). Musa knew that the One Who was speaking to him was the One Who merely says to a thing, “Be!” and it is, as we have already stated in (the explanation of) Surah Ta Ha. (Fath Al-Bari 5:342) And here Allah says: “But when he saw it moving as if it were a snake, he turned in flight,” It moved so quickly, even though it was so big, and its mouth was so huge, with its jaws snapping. It swallowed every rock it passed, and every rock that fell into its mouth fell with a sound like a rock falling into a valley. When he saw that: “he turned in flight, and looked not back.” he did not turn around, because it is human nature to flee from such a thing. But when Allah said to him: “O Musa! Draw near, and fear not. Verily, you are of those who are secure.” he came back to his original position. Then Allah said: “Put your hand into the opening of your garment, it will come forth white without a disease” meaning, ‘when you put your hand in your garment and then draw it out, it will be shining white as if it were a piece of the moon or a flash of lightning.’ Allah said: (without a disease) i.e., with no trace of leukoderma. “and draw your hand close to your side to be free from the fear.” Mujahid said, “To be free from terror.” Qatadah said, “To be free from fear.” (At-Tabari 19:575) Musa was commanded, when he felt afraid of anything, to draw his hand close to his side to be free from the fear. If he did that, whatever fear he felt would be gone. Perhaps if a person does this, following the example of Musa, and puts his hand over his heart, his fear will disappear or be lessened, if Allah wills; in Allah we place our trust. “These are two proofs from your Lord” This refers to the throwing down of his stick, whereupon it turned into a moving snake, and his putting his hand into his garment and bringing it forth white without a disease. These were two clear and definitive proofs of the power of the One Who does as He chooses, and of the truth of the prophethood of the one at whose hands these miracles occurred. Allah said: “to Firawn and his chiefs.” meaning his leaders and prominent followers. “Verily, they are the people who are rebellious.” means, who are disobedient towards Allah and who go against His commands and His religion.

{33. He said: “My Lord! I have killed a man among them, and I fear that they will kill me.”

34. “And my brother Harun – he is more eloquent in speech than me, so send him with me as a helper to confirm me. Verily, I fear that they will deny me.”

35. Allah said: “We will strengthen your arm through your brother, and give you both power, so they shall not be able to harm you, with Our Ayat; you two as well as those who follow you, will be the victors.”}

 

How Musa asked for the Support of His Brother and was granted that by Allah

When Allah commanded him to go to Firawn, the one who he had run away from and whose vengeance he feared, “Musa said: My Lord! I have killed a man among them,” meaning, that Coptic, “and I fear that they will kill me.” i.e., ‘when they see me.’ “And my brother Harun – he is more eloquent in speech than me,” Musa, peace be upon him, had a speech defect, because when he had been given the choice between a date and a pearl, he mistakenly picked up a coal and placed it on his tongue, so he found it difficult to speak clearly. Musa said: “And loose the knot (the defect) from my tongue. That they understand my speech. And appoint for me a helper from my family, Harun, my brother. Increase my strength with him, And let him share my task.” (20:27-32) meaning, ‘give me someone to keep me company in this immense task of prophethood and conveying the Message to this arrogant, tyrannical and stubborn king. ‘ Hence Musa said: “And my brother Harun — he is more eloquent in speech than me: so send him with me as a helper” meaning, as a support to give strength to my cause and confirm what I say and convey from Allah, because the word of two carries more weight in people’s minds than the word of one. So he said: “Verily, I fear that they will deny me.” Muhammad bin Ishaq said: “as a helper to confirm me.” means, ‘to explain to them what I say, for he can understand me where they may not.’ When Musa asked for this, Allah said to him: “We will strengthen your arm through your brother,” meaning, ‘We will add strength to your cause and give you help through your brother, who you have asked to be made a Prophet alongside you.’ This is like the Ayat; “You are granted your request, O Musa!” (20:36) “And We granted him his brother Harun, (also) a Prophet, out of Our mercy” (19:53). One of the Salaf said, “There is no one who has ever done a greater favor to his brother than Musa did for Harun, may peace be upon them both, for he interceded for him until Allah made him a Prophet and Messenger with him to Firawn and his chiefs. Allah said concerning Musa: “he was honorable before Allah” (33:69). “and (We will) give you both power” means, overwhelming evidence. so they shall not be able to harm you, with Our Ayat” means, ‘they will have no way or means of harming you because you are conveying the signs of Allah.’ This is like the Ayat: “O Messenger! Proclaim (the Message) which has been sent down to you from your Lord.” until His saying: “Allah will protect you from mankind” (5:67). “Those who convey the Message of Allah” until His saying: “And sufficient is Allah as a Reckoner” (33:39). And sufficient is Allah as a Helper and Supporter. And Allah told them the consequences in this world and the next, for them and for those who followed them, “you two as well as those who follow you will be the victors.” This is like the Ayat: “Allah has decreed: “Verily, it is I and My Messengers who shall be the victorious.” Verily, Allah is All-Powerful, All-Mighty.” (58:21) “Verily, We will indeed make victorious Our Messengers and those who believe in this world’s life” (40:51) to the end of the Ayah.

{36. Then when Musa came to them with Our Clear Ayat, they said: “This is nothing but invented magic. Never did we hear of this among our fathers of old.”

37. Musa said: “My Lord knows best him who came with guidance from Him, and whose will be the happy end in the Hereafter. Verily, the wrongdoers will not be successful.”}

Musa before Firawn and His People

Allah tells us how Musa and his brother Harun came before Firawn and his chiefs, and showed them the clear miracles and overwhelming proof that Allah had given them to confirm the truth of what they were saying about Allah being One and that His commandments were to be followed. Firawn and his chiefs saw that with their own eyes and realized that it was certainly from Allah, but because of their disbelief and sin they resorted to stubbornness and false arguments. This was because they were too evil and arrogant to follow the truth. They said: “This is nothing but invented magic.” meaning, fabricated and made up. They wanted to oppose him by means of their own tricks and their position and power, but this did not work. “Never did we hear of this among our fathers of old.” They were referring worshipping Allah Alone, with no partner or associate. They said: “We have never seen anyone among our forefathers following this religion; we have only ever seen people associating other gods in worship with Allah. Musa said in response to them: “My Lord knows best him who came with guidance from Him,” meaning, ‘of me and you, and He will decide between me and you.’ So he said: “and whose will be the happy end in the Hereafter.” meaning, who will be supported and will prevail. “Verily, the wrongdoers will not be successful.” refers to the idolators who associate others in worship with Allah.

{38. Firawn said: “O chiefs! I know not that you have a god other than me. So kindle for me (a fire), O Haman, to bake clay, and set up for me a Sarh in order that I may look at the God of Musa; and verily, I think that he (Musa) is one of the liars.”

39. And he and his armies were arrogant in the land, without right, and they thought that they would never return to Us.

40. So, We seized him and his armies, and We threw them all into the sea. So, behold what was the end of the wrongdoers.

41. And We made them leaders inviting to the Fire: and on the Day of Resurrection, they will not be helped.

42. And We made a curse to follow them in this world, and on the Day of Resurrection, they will be among disgraced.}

 

The Arrogance of Firawn and His ultimate Destiny

Allah tells us of Firawn’s disbelief and wrongdoing, and how he falsely claimed divinity for his evil self, may Allah curse him. “Thus he fooled his people, and they obeyed him.” (43:54) He called on his people to recognize his divinity, and they responded, because of their weak and foolish minds. So, he said: “O chiefs! I know not that you have a god other than me.” Allah tells us about Firawn: “Then he gathered (his people) and cried aloud, saying: “I am your lord, most high.” So Allah, seized him with punishment for his last and first transgression. Verily, in this is an instructive admonition for whosoever fears Allah.” (79:23-26) meaning: he brought his people together and called to them in a loud voice, shouting that, and they responded to him obediently. So Allah took revenge on him, and made him a lesson to others in this world and the Hereafter. He even confronted Musa with that, and said: “If you choose a god other than me, I will certainly put you among the prisoners” (26:29). “So kindle for me (a fire), O Haman, to bake (bricks out of) clay, and set up for me a Sarh in order that I may look at the God of Musa” He commanded his minister and adviser Haman to bake bricks for him, i.e., to make bricks in order to build a Sarh, a exalted towering palace. This is like the Ayah, “And Firawn said: “O Haman! Build me a Sarh that I may arrive at the ways – the ways of the heavens, and I may look upon the God of Musa, but verily, I think him to be a liar.” Thus it was made fair seeming, in Firawn’s eyes, the evil of his deeds, and he was hindered from the path; and the plot of Firawn led to nothing but loss and destruction” (40:36-37). Firawn built this tower, which was the highest structure ever seen on earth, because he wanted to show his people that Musa was lying when he claimed that there was a God other than Firawn. Firawn said: “and verily, I think that he (Musa) is one of the liars.” meaning, ‘when he says that there is a lord other than me.’ The issue was not whether Allah had sent Musa, because he did not acknowledge the existence of the Creator in the first place. On the contrary, he said: “And what is the Lord of Al-Alamin” (26:23) and: “And what is the Lord of Al-Alamin” (26:23) and: “O chiefs! I know not that you have a god other than me.” This was the view of Ibn Jarir. (At-Tabari 19:580) “And he and his armies were arrogant in the land, without right, and they thought that they would never return to Us.” means, they were arrogant oppressors who spread much mischief in the land, and they believed that there would be no Resurrection. “So, your Lord poured on them different kinds of severe torment. Verily, your Lord is Ever Watchful (over them).” (89:13-14). Allah says here: “So, We seized him and his armies, and We threw them all into the sea.” meaning, ‘We drowned them in the sea in a single morning, and not one of them was left.’ “So, behold what was the end of the wrongdoers. And We made them leaders inviting to the Fire” for those who followed them and took the same path as they did, rejecting the Messengers and denying the Creator. “and on the Day of Resurrection, they will not be helped.” their humiliation in this world is combined with and connected to their humiliation in the Hereafter, as Allah says: “We have destroyed them. And there was none to help them” (47:13). “And We made a curse to follow them in this world,” Allah decreed that they and their king Firawn should be cursed by the believers among His servants who follow His Messengers, just as in this world they were cursed by the Prophets and their followers. “and on the Day of Resurrection, they will be among disgraced.” Qatadah said, “This Ayah is like the Ayah, “They were pursued by a curse in this (life) and on the Day of Resurrection. Evil indeed is the gift given.” (11:99).” (At-Tabari 19:583)

{43. And indeed We gave Musa — after We had destroyed the generations of old — the Scripture as an enlightenment for mankind, and a guidance and a mercy, that they might remember.}

The Blessings which Allah bestowed upon Musa

Allah tells us about the blessings which He gave His servant and Messenger Musa, the speaker, may the best of peace and blessings from his Lord be upon him, He revealed the Tawrah to him after He destroyed Fir`awn and his chiefs. “after We had destroyed the generations of old” After the revelation of the Tawrah, no nation would again be punished with an overwhelming calamity; instead the believers were now commanded to fight the enemies of Allah among the idolators, as Allah says: “And Firawn, and those before him, and the cities overthrown committed sin. And they disobeyed their Lord’s Messenger, so He seized them with a strong punishment” (69:9-10). “as an enlightenment for mankind, and a guidance and a mercy,” guidance from blindness and error. A guidance to the truth and a mercy means, to show the way towards doing righteous deeds. “that they might remember.” means, that the people might be reminded and guided by it.

{44. And you were not on the western side (of the Mount), when We made clear to Musa the commandment, and you were not among the witnesses.

45. But We created generations, and long were the ages that passed over them. And you were not a dweller among the people of Madyan, reciting Our Ayat to them. But it is We Who kept sending (Messengers).

46. And you were not at the side of At-Tur when We called. But (you are sent) as a mercy from your Lord, to give warning to a people to whom no warner had come before you, in order that they may remember or receive admonition.

47. And if (We had) not (sent you to the people of Makkah) in case a calamity should seize them for what their hands have sent forth, they would have said: “Our Lord! Why did You not send us a Messenger We would then have followed Your Ayat and would have been among the believers.”}

Proof of the Prophethood of Muhammad, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him

Allah points out the proof of the prophethood of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, whereby he told others about matters of the past, and spoke about them as if he were hearing and seeing them for himself. But he was an illiterate man who could not read books, and he grew up among a people who knew nothing of such things. Similarly, Allah told him about Maryam and her story, as Allah said: “You were not with them, when they cast lots with their pens as to which of them should be charged with the care of Maryam; nor were you with them when they disputed” (3:44), meaning, ‘you were not present then, but Allah has revealed this to you.’ Similarly, Allah told him about Nuh and his people, and how He saved Nuh and drowned his people, then He said: “This is of the news of the Unseen which We reveal unto you ; neither you nor your people knew it before this. So, be patient. Surely, the (good) end is for those who have Taqwa” (11:49). And at the end of the same Surah (Hud) Allah says: “That is some of the news of the towns which We relate unto you” (11: 100). And here, after telling the story of Musa from beginning to end and how Allah began His revelation to him and spoke with him, Allah says: “And you were not on the western side (of the Mount), when We made clear to Musa the commandment,” meaning, ‘you – O Muhammad — were not on the western side of the mountain where Allah spoke to Musa from the tree which was to the east of it, in the valley.’ “and you were not among the witnesses.” ‘to that event, but Allah has revealed this to you,’ so that it may be evidence and proof of events which happened centuries ago, for people have forgotten the evidence that Allah established against them and what was revealed to the earlier Prophets. “And you were not a dweller among the people of Madyan, reciting Our Ayat to them.” meaning, ‘you were not living among the people of Madyan reciting Our Ayat to them, when you started to tell about Our Prophet Shuayb and what he said to his people and how they responded.’ “But it is We Who kept sending.” means, ‘but We revealed that to you and sent you to mankind as a Messenger.’ “And you were not at the side of At-Tur when We called.” Qatadah said that: “And you were not at the side of At-Tur when We did call.” refers to Musa, and this — and Allah knows best — is like the Ayah: “And you were not on the western side (of the Mount), when We made clear to Musa the commandment” Here Allah puts it in a different and more specific way by describing it as a call. This is like the Ayat: “And (remember) when your Lord called Musa” (26:10). “When his Lord called him in the sacred valley of Tuwa” (79:16). “And We called him from the right side of At-Tur, and made him draw near to Us for a talk with him” (19:52). “But (you are sent) as a mercy from your Lord,” means, ‘you were not a witness to any of those things, but Allah has revealed them to you and told you about them as a mercy from Him to you and to His servants, by sending you to them,’ “to give warning to a people to whom no warner had come before you, in order that they may remember or receive admonition.” means, ‘so that they may be guided by that which you bring from Allah.’ “And if (We had) not (sent you to the people of Makkah) – in case a calamity should seize them for (the deeds) that their hands have sent forth, they would have said: “Our Lord! Why did You not send us a Messenger” meaning: ‘and We have sent you to them to establish proof against them, and to give them no excuse when the punishment of Allah comes to them because of their disbelief, lest they offer the excuse that no Messenger or warner came to them.’ This is like what Allah says about the situation after He revealed His blessed Book the Qur’an: “Lest you should say: “The Book was sent down only to two sects before us, and for our part, we were in fact unaware of what they studied.” Or lest you should say: “If only the Book had been sent down to us, we would surely have been better guided than they.” So, now has come unto you a clear proof from your Lord, and a guidance and a mercy” (6:156-157). “Messengers as bearers of good news as well as warning in order that mankind should have no plea against Allah after the Messengers” (4:165). “O People of the Scripture! Now has come to you Our Messenger making (things) clear unto you, after a break in (the series of) Messengers, lest you say: “There came unto us no bringer of glad tidings and no warner.” But now has come unto you a bringer of glad tidings and a warner” (5:19). And there are many similar Ayat.

 Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 397-415

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