Surah Ash-Shura Ayat 19-53 (end)

{19. Allah is very Gracious and Kind to His servants. He gives provisions to whom He wills. And He is the All-Strong, the Almighty.

20. Whosoever desires the reward of the Hereafter, We give him increase in his reward, and whosoever desires the reward of this world, We give him thereof, and he has no portion in the Hereafter.

21. Or have they partners with Allah who have instituted for them a religion which Allah has not ordained And had it not been for a decisive Word, the matter would have been judged between them. And verily, for the wrongdoers there is a painful torment.

22. You will see the wrongdoers fearful of that which they have earned, and it will surely befall them. But those who believe and do righteous deeds (will be) in the flowering meadows of the Gardens. They shall have whatsoever they desire with their Lord. That is the supreme grace.}

The Provision of Allah in this World and the Hereafter

Here Allah speaks of His kindness towards His creation, in that He provides for every last one of them and does not forget anyone. When it comes to His provision, the righteous and the sinner are alike. Allah says: “And no moving creature is there on the 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 there are many similar Ayat. “He gives provisions to whom He wills.” means, He gives generously to whomsoever He wills. “And He is the All-Strong, the Almighty.” means, there is nothing that can overpower Him. Then Allah says: “Whosoever desires the reward of the Hereafter,” means, whoever does things for the sake of the Hereafter, “We give him increase in his reward,” meaning, ‘We will give him strength and help him to do what he wants to do, and We will increase it for him. So for every good, We will multiply it and give him between ten and seven hundred good rewards,’ as much as Allah wills. “and whosoever desires the reward of this world, We give him thereof, and he has no portion in the Hereafter.” means, whoever strives for the purpose of worldly gains, and never pays any heed to the Hereafter at all, Allah will deny him the Hereafter; and in this world, if He wills He will give to him and if He does not will, he will gain neither. So the one who strives with this intention in mind will have the worst deal in this world and in the Hereafter. The evidence for that is the fact that this Ayah is reinforced by the passage in Surat Al-Isra in which Allah says: “Whoever desires the quick-passing, We readily grant him what We will for whom We like. Then, afterwards, We have appointed for him Hell; he will (enter) burn therein disgraced and rejected. And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it, with the necessary effort due for it while he is a believer – then such are the ones whose striving shall be appreciated. On each – these as well as those – We bestow from the bounties of your Lord. And the bounties of your Lord can never be forbidden. See how We prefer one above another (in this world), and verily, the Hereafter will be greater in degrees and greater in preferment.” (17:18-21) It was reported that Ubayy bin Kab, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Give the glad tidings to this Ummah of sublimity, high status, victory and power in the land. But whoever among them does the deeds of the Hereafter for the sake of worldly gain, will have no portion of the Hereafter.” (Ahmad 5:134) 

Making Legislation for the Creatures is Shirk

Allah says: “Or have they partners with Allah who have instituted for them a religion which Allah has not ordained” means, they do not follow what Allah has ordained for you of upright religion; on the contrary, they follow what their devils (Shayatin), of men and Jinn, have prescribed for them. They instituted taboos, such as the Bahirah, Sa’ibah, Wasilah or Ham. They also permitted eating flesh and blood of animals not slaughtered for consumption, gambling and other kinds of misguidance, ignorance and falsehood. These are things that they invented during Jahiliyyah, when they came up with all kinds of false rulings on what was permitted and what was forbidden, and false rites of worship and other corrupt ideas. It was recorded in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“I saw Amr bin Luhayy bin Qamaah dragging his intestines in Hell” (Fath Al-Bari 6:63)

because he had been the first one to introduce the idea of the Sa’ibah. This man was one of the kings of the Khuzaah tribe, and he was the first one to do these things. He was the one who had made the Quraysh worship idols, may the curse of Allah be upon him. Allah said: “And had it not been for a decisive Word, the matter would have been judged between them.” means, the punishment would have been hastened for them, were it not for the fact that it had already been decreed that it would be delayed until the Day of Resurrection. “And verily, for the wrongdoers there is a painful torment.” i.e., an agonizing torment in Hell, what a terrible destination.

The Terror of the Idolators in the Place of Gathering

“You will see the wrongdoers fearful of that which they have earned,” means, in the arena of Resurrection. “and it will surely befall them.” means, the thing that they fear will undoubtedly happen to them. This is how they will be on the Day of Resurrection; they will be in a state of utter fear and terror. “But those who believe and do righteous deeds (will be) in the flowering meadows of the Gardens. They shall have whatsoever they desire with their Lord.” What comparison can there be between the former and the latter How can the one who will be in the arena of resurrection in a state of humiliation and fear, deserving it for his wrongdoing, be compared with the one who will be in the gardens of Paradise, enjoying whatever he wants of food, drink, clothing, dwellings, scenery, spouses and other delights such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and has never crossed the minds of men. Allah says: “That is the supreme grace.” means, the ultimate victory and complete blessing.

{23. That is whereof Allah gives glad tidings to His servants who believe and do righteous good deeds. Say: “No reward do I ask of you for this except to be kind to me for my kinship with you.” And whoever earns a good righteous deed, We shall give him an increase of good in respect thereof. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Ready to appreciate.

24. Or say they: “He has invented a lie against Allah” If Allah willed, He could have sealed up your heart. And Allah wipes out falsehood, and establishes the truth by His Word. Verily, He knows well what are in the breasts.}

Good News of the Blessings of Paradise for the People of Faith

Having mentioned the gardens of Paradise, Allah then says to His servants who believe and do righteous deeds: “That is whereof Allah gives glad tidings to His servants who believe and do righteous good deeds.” meaning, this will undoubtedly come to them, because it is glad tidings from Allah to them. “Say: “No reward do I ask of you for this except to be kind to me for my kinship with you.” means, ‘say, O Muhammad, to these idolators among the disbeliever of Quraysh: I do not ask you for anything in return for this message and sincere advice which I bring to you. All I ask of you is that you withhold your evil from me and let me convey the Messages of my Lord. If you will not help me, then do not disturb me, for the sake of the ties of kinship that exist between you and I.’ Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, was asked about the Ayah: “except to be kind to me for my kinship with you.” Said bin Jubayr said, “To be kind to the family of Muhammad.” Ibn Abbas said, “No, you have jumped to a hasty conclusion. There was no clan among Quraysh to whom the Prophet did not have some ties of kinship.” Ibn Abbas said, “Except that you uphold the ties of kinship that exist between me and you.” This was recorded by Al-Bukhari. (Fath Al-Bari 8:326) It was also recorded by Imam Ahmad with a different chain of narration. (Ahmad 1:229)  “And whoever earns a good righteous deed, We shall give him an increase of good in respect thereof” means, ‘whoever does a good deed, We will increase him in good for it, i.e., in reward.’ This is like the Ayah: “Surely, Allah wrongs not even of 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) “Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Ready to appreciate.” means, He forgives many bad deeds and increases a small amount of good deeds; He conceals and forgives sins and He multiplies and increases the reward of good deeds.

The Accusation that the Prophet fabricated the Qur’an — and the Response to that

Allah’s saying; “Or say they: “He has invented a lie against Allah” If Allah willed, He could have sealed up your heart.” means, ‘if you had invented any lies against Him, as these ignorant people claim,’ “He could have sealed up your heart.” means, ‘and thus caused you to forget what had already come to you of the Qur’an.’ This is like the Ayah: “And if he had forged a false saying concerning Us (Allah), We surely would have seized him by his right hand, and then We certainly would have cut off his life artery, And none of you could have withheld Us from (punishing) him.” (69:44-47) which means, ‘We would have wrought the utmost vengeance upon him, and no one among mankind would have been able to protect him.’ And Allah said: “and establishes the truth by His Word.” means, He establishes it and strengthens it and makes it clear by His Words, i.e., by His evidence and signs. “Verily, He knows well what are in the breasts.” means, all that is hidden in the hearts of men.

{25. And He it is Who accepts repentance from His servants, and forgives sins, and He knows what you do.

26. And He answers those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and gives them increase of His bounty. And as for the disbelievers, theirs will be a severe torment.

27. And if Allah were to extend the provision for His servants, they would surely rebel in the earth, but He sends down by measure as He wills. Verily, He is, in respect of His servants, the Well-Aware, the All-Seer.

28. And He it is Who sends down the rain after they have despaired, and spreads His mercy. And He is the Wali, Worthy of all praise.}

Allah accepts Repentance and responds to Supplications

Here Allah reminds His servants that He accepts repentance. If they turn to Him and come back to Him, then by His kindness and generosity He forgives, overlooks and conceals (their sins), as He says: “And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (4:110) It was reported in Sahih Muslim that Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His servant than anyone of you who loses his riding beast in a barren land, and it was carrying his food and drink; he despairs of ever finding it, so he comes to a tree and lies down in its shade, having given up all hope of finding his riding beast; then whilst he is there like that, suddenly he sees it standing near him, so he takes hold of its reins and because of his great joy he says, “O Allah,You are my slave and I am Your Lord!” – i.e,. he makes a mistake because of his great joy.” (Muslim 4:2104)

A similar report was also narrated in the Sahih from Abdullah bin Masud, may Allah be pleased with him. (Muslim 4:2103) “And He it is Who accepts repentance from His servants,” It was reported that Az-Zuhri said, concerning this Ayah, that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Messenger of Allah said: 

“Allah rejoices more over the repentance of His servant than one of you feels when he finds his lost camel in a place where he had feared that he would die of thirst.” (Abdur Razzaq 3:191)

Hammam bin Al-Harith said, “Ibn Masud was asked about a man who commits immoral sins with a woman and then marries her. He said, ‘There is nothing wrong with that,’ and recited: “And He it is Who accepts repentance from His servants.” (At-Tabari 21:533)  “and forgives sins,” means, He will accept repentance in the future, and He forgives past sins. “and He knows what you do.” means, He knows all your deeds and actions and words, yet He still accepts the repentance of those who repent to Him. “And He answers those who believe and do righteous good deeds,” As-Suddi said, “This means, He responds to them.” This was also the view of Ibn Jarir: “It means that He answers their supplication for themselves, their companions and their brothers.” (At-Tabari 21:534) “and gives them increase of His bounty.” means, He answers their supplications and gives them more besides. Qatadah said, narrating from Ibrahim An-Nakhai Al-Lakhmi about the Ayah: “And He answers those who believe and do righteous good deeds,” – (this means) they intercede for their brothers; “and gives them increase of His bounty.” – (this means) they intercede for their brothers’ brothers. (At-Tabari 21:534)  “And as for the disbelievers, theirs will be a severe torment.” – having mentioned the believers and the great reward that is theirs, Allah then mentions the disbelievers and the severe, painful, agonising torment that they will find with Him on the Day of Resurrection, the Day when they are brought to account.

The Reason why Provision is not Increased

“And if Allah were to extend the provision for His servants, they would surely rebel in the earth,” means, ‘if We gave them more provision than they need, this would make them rebel and transgress against one another in an arrogant and insolent manner.’ “but He sends down by measure as He wills. Verily, He is, in respect of His servants, the Well-Aware, the All-Seer.” means, but He gives them provision according to what is in their best interests, and He knows best about that. So He makes rich those who deserve to be rich, and He makes poor those who deserve to be poor. “And He it is Who sends down the rain after they have despaired,” means, after the people have given up hope that rain will fall, He sends it down upon them at their time of need. This is like the Ayah: “And verily, before that (rain) – just before it was sent down upon them – they were in despair!” (30:49) “and spreads His mercy.” means, He bestows it upon all the people who live in that region. Qatadah said, “We were told that a man said to Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, ‘O Commander of the faithful, no rain has come and the people are in despair.’ Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, ‘Rain will be sent upon you,’ and he recited: “And He it is Who sends down the rain after they have despaired, and spreads His mercy. And He is the Protector, Worthy of all praise.” (At-Tabari 21:537) Meaning He is the One Who is in control of His creation, taking care of what will benefit them in this world and the Hereafter, and the consequences of all His decrees and actions are good, for which He is worthy of all praise.

{29. And among His Ayat is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and whatever moving creatures He has dispersed in them both. And He is Able to assemble them whenever He wills.

30. And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much.

31. And you cannot escape from Allah in the earth, and besides Allah you have neither any protector nor any helper.}

Among the Signs of Allah is the Creation of the Heavens and the Earth

“And among His Ayat” the signs which point to His great might and power, “is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and whatever moving creatures He has dispersed in them both.” means, whatever He has created in them, i.e., in the heavens and the earth. “and whatever moving creatures” this includes the angels, men, Jinn and all the animals with their different shapes, colours, languages, natures, kinds and types. He has distributed them throughout the various regions of the heavens and earth. “And He” means, yet despite all that, “is Able to assemble them whenever He wills.” means, on the Day of Resurrection, He will gather the first and the last of them, and bring all His creatures together in one place where they will all hear the voice of the caller and all of them will be seen clearly; then He will judge between them with justice and truth.

The Cause of Misfortune is Sin

“And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned.” means, ‘whatever disasters happen to you, O mankind, are because of sins that you have committed in the past.’ “And He pardons much.” means, of sins; ‘He does not punish you for them, rather He forgives you.’ “And if Allah were to punish men for that which they earned, He would not leave a moving creature on the surface of the earth” (35:45). According to a Sahih Hadith:

“By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, no believer is stricken with fatigue, exhaustion, worry or grief, but Allah will forgive him for some of his sins thereby – even a thorn which pricks him.” (Ahmad 2:303)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Muawiyah bin Abi Sufyan, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, say:

“No physical harm befalls a believer, but Allah will expiate for some of his sins because of it.” (Ahmad 4:98)

Imam Ahmad also recorded that A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“If a person commits many sins and has nothing that will expiate for them, Allah will test him with some grief that will expiate for them.” (Ahmad 6:157)

{32. And among His signs are the ships in the sea like mountains.

33. If He wills, He causes the wind to cease, then they would become motionless on the surface (of the sea). Verily, in this are signs for everyone patient and grateful.

34. Or He may destroy them because of that which their (people) have earned. And He pardons much.

35. And those who dispute as regards Our Ayat may know that there is no place of refuge for them.}

Ships are also among the Signs of Allah

Allah tells us that another sign of His great power and dominion is the fact that He has subjugated the sea so that ships may sail in it by His command, so they sail in the sea like mountains. This was the view of Mujahid, Al-Hasan, As-Suddi and Ad-Dahhak. In other words, these ships on the sea are like mountains on land. (At-Tabari 21:541) “If He wills, He causes the wind to cease,” means, the winds that cause the ships to travel on the sea. If He willed, He could cause the winds to cease, then the ships would not move and would remain still, neither coming nor going, staying where they are on the surface of the water. “Verily, in this are signs for everyone patient” means, who is patient in the face of adversity “and grateful.” means, in the fact that Allah has subjugated the sea and He sends as much wind as they need in order to travel, there are signs of His blessings to His creation for everyone who is patient, i.e., at times of difficulty, and grateful, i.e., at times of ease. “Or He may destroy them because of that which their (people) have earned.” means, if He wills, He may destroy the ships and drown them, because of the sins of the people on board. “And He pardons much.” means, of their sins; if He were to punish them for all of their sins, He would destroy everyone who sails on the sea. Some of the scholars interpreted the Ayah “Or He may destroy them because of that which their (people) have earned.” as meaning, if He willed, He could send the wind to blow fiercely so that it would take the ships and divert them from their courses, driving them to the right or the left, so that they would be lost and would not be able to follow their intended path. This interpretation also includes the idea of their being destroyed. This also fits the first meaning, which is that if Allah willed, He could cause the wind to cease, in which case the ships would stop moving, or He could make the wind fierce, in which case the ships would be lost and destroyed. But by His grace and mercy, He sends the wind according to their needs, just as He sends rain that is sufficient. If He sent too much rain, it would destroy their houses, and if He sent too little, their crops and fruits would not grow. In the case of lands such as Egypt, He sends water from another land, because they do not need rain; if rain were to fall upon them, it would destroy their houses and cause walls to collapse. “And those who dispute as regards Our Ayat may know that there is no place of refuge for them.” means, they have no means of escape from Our torment and vengeance, for they are subdued by Our power.

{36. So whatever you have been given is but (a passing) enjoyment for this worldly life, but that which is with Allah is better and more lasting for those who believe and put their trust in their Lord.

37. And those who shun the greater sins, and Al-Fawahish, and when they are angry, they forgive.

38. And those who answer the Call of their Lord, and perform the Salah, and who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation, and who spend of what We have bestowed on them.

39. And those who, when an oppressive wrong is done to them, take revenge.}

The Attributes of Those Who deserve that which is with Allah 

Here Allah points out the insignificance of this worldly life and its transient adornments and luxuries. “So whatever you have been given is but (a passing) enjoyment for this worldly life.” means, no matter what you achieve and amass, do not be deceived by it, for it is only the enjoyment of this life, which is the lower, transient realm that will undoubtedly come to an end. “but that which is with Allah is better and more lasting” means, the reward of Allah is better than this world, and it will last forever, so do not give preference to that which is transient over that which is lasting. Allah says: “for those who believe” means, for those who are patient in forgoing the pleasures of this world “and put their trust in their Lord.” means, so that He will help them to be patient in doing what is obligatory and avoiding what is forbidden. Then Allah says: “And those who shun the greater sins, and Al-Fawahish,” We have already discussed sin and Al-Fawahish in Surat Al-Araf. “and when they are angry, they forgive.” means, their nature dictates that they should forgive people and be tolerant. Vengeance is not in their nature. It was reported in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah never took revenge for his own sake, only when the sacred Laws of Allah were violated. (Fath Al-Bari 10:541) “And those who answer the Call of their Lord,” means, they follow His Messenger and obey His commands and avoid that which He has prohibited. “and perform As-Salah” — which is the greatest act of worship of Allah, may He be glorified. “and who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation,” means, they do not make a decision without consulting one another on the matter so that they can help one another by sharing their ideas concerning issues such as wars and other matters. This is like the Ayah: “and consult them in the affairs” (3:159). The Prophet used to consult with them concerning wars and other matters, so that they would feel confidant. When Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, was dying, after he had been stabbed, he entrusted the choice of the next Khalifah to six people who were to be consulted. They were Uthman, Ali, Talhah, Az-Zubayr, Said and Abdur-Rahman bin Awf, may Allah be pleased with them all. Then all of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, agreed to appoint Uthman as their leader. “and who spend of what We have bestowed on them.” this means kindly treating the creation of Allah, starting with those who are closest, then the next closest, and so on. “And those who, when an oppressive wrong is done to them, take revenge.” means, they have the strength to take revenge on those who commit aggressive wrong and hostile acts against them. They are not incapable of doing so and they are not helpless; they are able to take revenge against those who transgress against them, even though when they have the power to take revenge, they prefer to forgive, as when Yusuf, peace be upon him, said to his brothers: “No reproach on you this day; may Allah forgive you” (12: 92). even though he was in a position to take revenge on them for what they had done to him. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, forgave the eighty people who intended to do him harm during the year of Al-Hudaybiyah, camping by the mountain of At-Tanim. When he overpowered them, he set them free, even though he was in a position to take revenge on them. He also forgave Ghawrath bin Al-Harith who wanted to kill him and unsheathed his sword while he was sleeping. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, woke up to find him pointing the sword at him. He reproached him angrily and the sword dropped. Then the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, picked up the sword and called his Companions. He told them what had happened, and he forgave the man. There are many similar Hadiths and reports. And Allah knows best.

{40. The recompense for an evil is an evil like thereof; but whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is with Allah. Verily, He likes not the wrongdoers.

41. And indeed whosoever takes revenge after he has suffered wrong, for such there is no way (of blame) against them.

42. The way is only against those who oppress men and rebel in the earth without justification; for such there will be a painful torment.

43. And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives, that would truly be from the things recommended by Allah.}

Forgiving or exacting Revenge on Wrongdoers

“The recompense for an evil is an evil like thereof”. This is like the Ayat: “Then whoever transgresses the prohibition against you, you transgress likewise against him” (2:194), and “And if you punish, then punish them with the like of that with which you were afflicted” (16:126). Justice, has been prescribed, in the form of the prescribed laws of equality in punishment (Al-Qisas), but the better way, which means forgiving, is recommended, as Allah says: “and wounds equal for equal. But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it shall be for him an expiation” (5:45). Allah says here: “but whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is with Allah.” means, that will not be wasted with Allah. As it says in a Sahih Hadith:

“Allah does not increase the person who forgives except in honor.” (Muslim 4:201)

“Verily, He likes not the wrongdoers.” means, the aggressors, i.e., those who initiate the evil actions. “And indeed whosoever takes revenge after he has suffered wrong, for such there is no way (of blame) against them.” means, there is no sin on him for taking revenge against the one who wronged him. “The way” means, the burden of sin, “is only against those who oppress men and rebel in the earth without justification” means, those who initiate wrongful actions against others, as it says in the Sahih Hadith:

“When two persons indulge in abusing each other, the one who initiated the wrongful action is to blame, unless the one who was wronged oversteps the mark in retaliation.” (Muslim 4:2000)

 “for such there will be a painful torment.” means, intense and agonizing. It was reported that Muhammad bin Wasi said, “I came to Makkah and there was a security out post over the trench whose guards took me to Marwan bin Al-Muhallab, who was the governor of Basrah. He said, ‘What do you need, O Abu Abdullah?’ I said, ‘If you can do it, I need you to be like the brother of Banu Adiy.’ He said, ‘Who is the brother of Banu Adiy?’ He said, ‘Al-Ala’ bin Ziyad; he once appointed a friend of his to a position of authority, and he wrote to him: If you can, only go to sleep after you make sure that there is nothing on your back [i.e., you do not owe anything to anyone], your stomach is empty and your hands are untainted by the blood or wealth of the Muslims. If you do that, then there will be no way (of blame) against you  “The way is only against those who oppress men and rebel in the earth without justification; for such there will be a painful torment.” Marwan said, `He spoke the truth, by Allah, and gave sincere advice.’ Then he said, ‘What do you need, O Abu Abdullah?’ I said, ‘I need you to let me join my family.’ He said, ‘Yes [I will do that].”’ (Ibn Abi Shaybah 7:245) This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim. When Allah condemned wrongdoing and the people who do it, and prescribed Al-Qisas, He encouraged forgiveness: “And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives,” meaning, whoever bears the insult with patience and conceals the evil action, “that would truly be from the things recommended by Allah.” Said bin Jubayr said, “This means, one of the things enjoined by Allah,” i.e., good actions for which there will be a great reward and much praise.

{44. And whomsoever Allah sends astray, for him there is no protector after Him. And you will see the wrongdoers, when they behold the torment, they will say: “Is there any way of return”

45. And you will see them brought forward to it (Hell) made humble by disgrace, (and) looking with stealthy glance. And those who believe will say: “Verily, the losers are they who lose themselves and their families on the Day of Resurrection.” Verily, the wrongdoers will be in a lasting torment.

46. And they will have no protectors to help them other than Allah. And he whom Allah sends astray, for him there is no way.}

The State of the Wrongdoers on the Day of Resurrection

Allah tells us that whatever He wills happens and whatever He does not will does not happen, and no one can make it happen. Whomever He guides, none can lead astray, and whomever He leads astray, none can guide, as He says: “but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no protecting to lead him.” (18:17). Then Allah tells us about the wrongdoers, i.e., the idolators who associate others in worship with Allah: “when they behold the torment,” i.e., on the Day of Resurrection, they will wish that they could go back to this world. “they will say: “Is there any way of return” This is like the Ayah: “If you could but see when they will be held over the (Hell) Fire! They will say: “Would that we were but sent back! Then we would not deny the Ayat of our Lord, and we would be of the believers!” Nay, it has become manifest to them what they had been concealing before. But if they were returned, they would certainly revert to that which they were forbidden. And indeed they are liars.” (6:27-28) “And you will see them brought forward to it” means, to the Fire. “made humble by disgrace,” means, in a befitting manner, because of their previous disobedience towards Allah. “(and) looking with stealthy glance.” Mujahid said, “In a humiliated manner.” (At-Tabari 21:553) That is, they will steal glances at it, because they will be afraid of it. But the thing that they are afraid of will undoubtedly happen, and worse than that — may Allah save us from that. “And those who believe will say” means, on the Day of Resurrection they will say: “Verily, the losers…” means, the greatest losers. “are they who lose themselves and their families on the Day of Resurrection.” means, they will be taken to the Fire and deprived of any pleasures in the Hereafter. They will lose themselves, and they will be separated from their loved ones, companions, families and relatives, and they will lose them. “Verily, the wrongdoers will be in a lasting torment.” means, everlasting and eternal, with no way out and no escape. “And they will have no protectors to help them other than Allah.” means, no one to save them from the punishment and torment which they are suffering. “And he whom Allah sends astray, for him there is no way.” means, no salvation.

{47. Answer the Call of your Lord before there comes from Allah a Day which cannot be averted. You will have no refuge on that Day nor there will be for you any denying.

48. But if they turn away, We have not sent you as a Hafiz over them. Your duty is to convey. And verily, when We cause man to taste of mercy from Us, he rejoices there at; but when some evil befalls them because of the deeds which their hands have sent forth, then verily, man (becomes) ingrate!}

Encouragement to obey Allah before the Day of Resurrection

When Allah tells us about the horrors and terrifying events of the Day of Resurrection, He warns us about it and commands us to prepare for it: “Answer the Call of your Lord before there comes from Allah a Day which cannot be averted.” means, once He issues the command, it will come to pass within the blinking of an eye, and no one will be able to avert it or prevent it. “You will have no refuge on that Day nor there will be for you any denying.” means, you will have no stronghold in which to take refuge, no place in which to hide from Allah, for He will encompass you with His knowledge and power, and you will have no refuge from Him except with Him. “On that Day man will say: “Where (is the refuge) to flee” No! There is no refuge! Unto your Lord will be the place of rest that Day.” (75:10-12) “But if they turn away,” refers to the idolators, “We have not sent you as a Hafiz over them.” means, ‘you have no power over them.’ And Allah says elsewhere: “Not upon you is their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills” (2:272). “your duty is only to convey (the Message) and on Us is the reckoning” (13:40). And Allah says here: “Your duty is to convey.” meaning, ‘all that We require you to do is to convey the Message of Allah to them.’ “And verily, when We cause man to taste of mercy from Us, he rejoices there at” means, when a time of ease and comfort comes to him, he is happy about it. “but when befalls them” means mankind. (some evil) means, drought, punishment, tribulation or difficulty, “then verily, man (becomes) ingrate!” means, he forgets the previous times of ease and blessings and acknowledges nothing but the present moment. If times of ease come to him, he becomes arrogant and transgresses, but if any difficulty befalls him, he loses hope and is filled with despair. This is like what the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to the women:

“O women, give in charity, for I have seen that you form the majority of the people of Hell.”

A woman asked, “Why is that, O Messenger of Allah?” He said:

“Because you complain too much, and you are ungrateful to (your) husbands. If one of you were to be treated kindly for an entire lifetime, then that kindness was lacking for one day, she would say, ‘I have never seen anything good from you!” (Muslim 1:86)

This is the case with most women, except for those whom Allah guides and who are among the people who believe and do righteous deeds. As the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, the believer is the one who:

“… if something good happens to him, he is thankful, and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience, and that is good for him. This does not happen to anyone except the believer.” (Muslim 4:2295)

{49. To Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows female upon whom He wills, and bestows male upon whom He wills.

50. Or He bestows both males and females, and He renders barren whom He wills. Verily, He is the All-Knower and is Able (to do all things).}

Allah tells us that He is the Creator, Sovereign and Controller of the heavens and the earth. Whatever he wills happens, and whatever He does not will does not happen. He gives to whomsoever He wills and withholds from whomsoever he wills; none can withhold what He gives, and none can give what He withholds, and He creates whatever He wills. “He bestows female upon whom He wills.” means, He gives them daughters only. Al-Baghawi said, “And among them (those who were given daughters only) was Lut, peace be upon him.” (Al-Baghawi 4:132) “and bestows male upon whom He wills.” means, He gives them sons only. Al-Baghawi said, “Like Ibrahim Al-Khalil, peace be upon him, who did not have any daughters.” (Al-Baghawi 4:132)“Or He bestows both males and females,” means, He gives to whomsoever He wills both males and females, sons and daughters. Al-Baghawi said, “Like Muhammad .”(Al-Baghawi 4:132) “and He renders barren whom He wills.” means, so that he has no children at all. Al-Baghawi said, “Like Yahya and Isa, peace be upon them.” (Al-Baghawi 4:132) So people are divided into four categories: some are given daughters, some are given sons, some are given both sons and daughters, and some are not given either sons or daughters, but they are rendered barren, with no offspring. “Verily, He is the All-Knower” means, He knows who deserves to be in which of these categories. “and is Able (to do all things).” means, to do whatever He wills and to differentiate between people in this manner. This issue is similar to that referred to in the Ayah where Allah says of Isa, peace be upon him: “And (We wish) to appoint him as a sign to mankind” (19:21): i.e., proof for them of His power, for He created people in four different ways. Adam, peace be upon him, was created from clay, from neither a male nor a female. Hawwa, peace be upon her, was created from a male without a female. All other people, besides `Isa, peace be upon him, were created from male and female, and this sign of Allah was completed with the creation of Isa bin Maryam, may peace be upon them both, who was created from a female without a male. Allah says: “And (We wish) to appoint him as a sign to mankind” (19: 21). This issue has to do with parents, whilst the previous issue has to do with children, and in each case there are four categories. Glory be to the All-Knower Who is Able to do all things.

{51. It is not given to any human being that Allah should speak to him unless (it be) by revelation, or from behind a veil, or (that) He sends a Messenger to reveal what He wills by His leave. Verily, He is Most High, Most Wise.

52. And thus We have sent to you Ruh of Our command. You knew not what is the Book, nor what is Faith. But We have made it a light wherewith We guide whosoever of Our servants We will. And verily, you are indeed guiding to a straight path.

53. The path of Allah to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. Verily, all matters at the end go to Allah.}

How the Revelation comes down

This refers to how Allah sends revelation. Sometimes He casts something into the heart of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and he has no doubt that it is from Allah, as it was reported in Sahih Ibn Hibban that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Ar-Ruh Al-Qudus [i.e., Jibril] breathed into my heart that no soul will die until its allotted provision and time have expired, so have Taqwa of Allah and keep seeking in a good (and lawful) way.” (Musnad Ash-Shihab 2:185)

“or from behind a veil” – as He spoke to Musa, peace be upon him. He asked to see Him after He had spoken to him, but this was not granted to him.

In the Sahih, it recorded that the Messenger of Allah said to Jabir bin Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him:

“Allah never speaks to anyone except from behind a veil, but He spoke to your father directly.”  (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:360)

This is how it was stated in the Hadith. He [Jabir’s father] was killed on the day of Uhud, but this refers to the realm of Al-Barzakh, whereas the Ayah speaks of this earthly realm. “or (that) He sends a Messenger to reveal what He wills by His leave.” as Jibril, peace be upon him, and other angels came down to the Prophets, peace be upon them. “Verily, He is Most High, Most Wise.” He is Most High, All-Knowing, Most Wise. “And thus We have sent to you Ruh of Our command.” means, the Qur’an. “You knew not what is the Book, nor what is Faith.” means, ‘in the details which were given to you in the Qur’an.’ “But We have made it” means, the Qur’an, “a light wherewith We guide whosoever of Our servants We will.” This is like the Ayah: “Say: “It is for those who believe, a guide and a healing. And as for those who disbelieve, there is heaviness (deafness) in their ears, and it (the Qur’an) is blindness for them.” (41:44). “And verily, you” means, ‘O Muhammad,’ “are indeed guiding to a straight path.” means, the correct behavior. Then Allah explains this further by saying: “The path of Allah” meaning, His Laws which He enjoins. “to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth.” means, their Lord and Sovereign, the One Who is controlling and ruling them, Whose decree cannot be overturned. “Verily, all matters at the end go to Allah.” means, all matters come back to Him and He issues judgement concerning them. Glorified and exalted be He far above all that the evildoers and deniers say.

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Ash-Shura.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 9 Pages 580-613

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Surah Ash-Shura Ayat 1-18

Surah Ash-Shura 

The Consultation

Chapter 42

Which was revealed in Makkah

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

{1. Ha Mim.

2. Ain Sin Qaf.

3. Likewise Allah, the Almighty, the All-Wise sends revelation to you as to those before you.

4. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and He is the Most High, the Most Great.

5. Nearly the heavens might be rent asunder from above them, and the angels glorify the praises of their Lord, and ask for forgiveness for those on the earth. Lo, Verily, Allah is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.

6. And as for those who take as protecting friends others besides Him – Allah is Hafiz over them, and you are not a trustee over them.}

The Revelation and Allah’s Might

We have previously discussed the individual letters. “Likewise Allah, the Almighty, the All-Wise sends revelation to you as to those before you.” means, ‘just as this Qur’an has been revealed to you, so too the Books and Scriptures were revealed to the Prophets who came before you.’ “Allah, the Almighty” means, in His vengeance. “the All-Wise” means, in all that He says and does. Imam Malik, may Allah have mercy on him, narrated that A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “Al-Harith bin Hisham asked the Messenger of Allah , ‘O Messenger of Allah, how does the revelation come to you?’ The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Sometimes it comes to me like the ringing of a bell, which is the most difficult for me; then it goes away, and I understand what was said. And sometimes the angel comes to me in the image of a man, and he speaks to me and I understand what he says.”

A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “I saw him receiving the revelation on a very cold day, and when it departed from him, there were beads of sweat on his forehead.” (Muwatta 1:202)

It was also reported in the Two Sahihs, and the version quoted here is that recorded by Al-Bukhari. (Fath Al Bari 1:25, Muslim 4:1816)

“To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth,” means, everything is subject to His dominion and control. “and He is the Most High, the Most Great.” This is like the Ayat: “the Most Great, the Most High” (13:9), and “He is the Most High, the Most Great” (22:62). And there are many similar Ayat. “Nearly the heavens might be rent asunder from above them,” Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Kab Al-Ahbar said, “Out of fear of His might.” (At-Tabari 21:501) “and the angels glorify the praises of their Lord, and ask for forgiveness for those on the earth.” This is like the Ayah: “Those who bear the Throne and those around it glorify the praises of their Lord, and believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for those who believe (saying): “Our Lord! You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge,” (40:7) “Lo! Verily, Allah is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” This is a reminder, to take heed of this fact. “And as for those who take as protecting friends others besides Him” This refers to the idolators, “Allah is Hafiz over them.” meaning, He is Witness to their deeds, recording and enumerating them precisely, and He will requite them for them in full. “and you are not a trustee over them.” meaning, ‘you are just a warner, and Allah is the Trustee of all affairs.’

{7. And thus We have revealed to you a Qur’an in Arabic that you may warn the Mother of the Towns and all around it, and warn (them) of the Day of Assembling of which there is no doubt, a party will be in Paradise and a party in the blazing Fire.

8. And if Allah had willed, He could have made them one nation, but He admits whom He wills to His mercy. And the wrongdoers will have neither a protector nor a helper.}

The Qur’an was revealed to serve as a Warning

Allah says, ‘just as We sent revelation to the Prophets before you,’ “thus We have revealed to you a Qur’an in Arabic” meaning, plain, clear, and manifest “that you may warn the Mother of the Towns”, i.e., Makkah, “and all around it,” means, all the lands, east and west. Makkah is called Umm Al-Qura “the Mother of the Towns” because it is nobler than all other lands, as indicated by much evidence that has been discussed elsewhere. Among the most concise and clear proofs of that is the report recorded by Imam Ahmad from Abdullah bin Adi bin Al-Hamra’ Az-Zuhri, who heard the Messenger of Allah say, as he was standing in the market place of Makkah;

“By Allah, you are the best land of Allah, the most beloved land to Allah; were it not for the fact that I was driven out from you, I would never have left you.” (Ahmad 4:305)

This was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah; At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih. ” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 10:426) “and warn (them) of the Day of Assembling” i.e., the Day of Resurrection, when Allah will assemble the first and the last in one plain. “of which there is no doubt,” means, there is no doubt that it will happen and will most certainly come to pass. “a party will be in Paradise and a party in the blazing Fire.” This is like the Ayah: “(And remember) the Day when He will gather you (all) on the Day of Gathering, – that will be the Day of mutual loss and gain” (64:9). which means that the people of Paradise and the people of Hell will gain and lose, respectively. And it is like the Ayah: “Indeed in that (there) is a sure lesson for those who fear the torment of the Hereafter. That is a Day whereon will be gathered together, and that is a Day when all (the dwellers of the heavens and the earth) will be present. And We delay it only for a term fixed. On the Day when it comes, no person shall speak except by His leave. Some among them will be wretched and (others) blessed.” (11:103-105) Imam Ahmad recorded that Abdullah bin Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, came out to us, holding two books in his hand. He said,

“Do you know what these two books are?”

We said, “We do not know unless you tell us, O Messenger of Allah.” Concerning the book in his right hand, He said:

“This is a book from the Lord of the worlds, containing the names of the people of Paradise and of their fathers and tribes; all of them are detailed, down to the last one of them, and nothing will be added or taken away from it.”

Then concerning the book in his left hand, he said:

“This is the book of the people of Hell, containing their names and the names of their fathers and tribes, all of them are detailed down to the last one of them, and nothing will be added or taken away from it.”

The Companions of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “Why should we strive if it is something that is already cut and dried?” The Messenger of Allah said:

“Strive with your deeds as hard as you can for middle course or close to it, for the person who is destined for Paradise will die doing the deeds of the people of Paradise, regardless of what he did before, and the person who is destined for Hell will die doing the deeds of the people of Hell, regardless of what he did before.”

Then he made a gesture with his fist and said,

“Your Lord has settled the matter of His servants”

and he opened his right hand as if throwing something;

“A party in Paradise.”

and he made a similar gesture with his left hand;

“And a party in the blazing Fire.” (Ahmad 2:167)

This was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi, and An-Nasa’i; At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih Gharib.”

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Nadrah said, “One of the Companions of the Prophet, whose name was Abu Abdullah, was visited by some of his friends, and they found him weeping. They asked him, ‘What has caused you to weep? Didn’t the Messenger of Allah say to you,

“Trim your moustache and adhere to that practice until you meet me?”

He said, ‘Yes, but I heard the Messenger of Allah say;

“Allah picked up a handful in His Right Hand and another in His other Hand, and said, “This is for this and this is for this, and I do not care.”

‘And I do not know in which of the two handfuls I am.” (Ahmad 4:176)

There are several Hadiths about Al-Qadr (the Divine Decree) in the books of Sahih, Sunan and Musnad. Including those narrated by Ali, Ibn Masud, A’ishah and a large number of Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all. “And if Allah had willed, He could have made them one nation,” means, either all following guidance or all following misguidance, but He made them all different, and He guides whomsoever He wills to the truth and He sends astray whomsoever He wills, and He has complete wisdom and perfect proof. Allah says: “but He admits whom He wills to His mercy. And the wrongdoers will have neither a protector nor a helper.”

{9. Or have they taken protecting friends besides Him But Allah – He Alone is the protector. And He Who gives life to the dead, and He is Able to do all things.

10. And in whatsoever you differ, the decision thereof is with Allah. Such is Allah, my Lord in Whom I put my trust, and to Him I turn in repentance.

11. The Creator of the heavens and the earth. He has made for you mates from yourselves, and for the cattle (also) mates. By this means He creates you. There is nothing like Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.

12. To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth. He enlarges provision for whom He wills, and straitens. Verily, He is the All-Knower of everything.}

Allah is the Protector, Ruler and Creator

Here Allah denounces the idolators for taking other gods instead of Allah, and declares that He is the True God, and it is not right to worship anyone except Him Alone. He is the One Who is able to bring the dead back to life and He is Able to do all things. Then He says: “And in whatsoever you differ, the decision thereof is with Allah.” means, in whatever issue you differ. This is general in meaning and applies to all things. “the decision thereof is with Allah.” means, He is the Judge of that, according to His Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. This is like the Ayah: “(And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger” (4:59). “Such is Allah, my Lord” means, “He is” the Judge of all things. “in Whom I put my trust, and to Him I turn in repentance.” means, ‘I refer all matters to Him.’ “The Creator of the heavens and the earth.” means, the Maker of them both and everything in between. “He has made for you mates from yourselves,” means, of your own kind. As a blessing and a favor from Him, He has made your kind male and female. “and for the cattle (also) mates.” means, and He has created for you eight pairs of cattle. “By this means He creates you.” means, in this manner He creates you, male and female, generation after generation of men and cattle. “There is nothing like Him,” means, there is nothing like the Creator of these pairs, for He is the Unique, the Self-Sufficient Master, Who has no peer or equal. “He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” “To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth.” We have already discussed the interpretation of this phrase in Surat Az-Zumar (39:63), the conclusion of which is that He is the One Who is controlling and governing them. “He expands provision for whom He wills, and straitens.” means, He gives plentiful provision to whomsoever He wills and He reduces it for whomsoever He wills, and He is perfectly Wise and Just. “Verily, He is the All-Knower of everything.”

{13. He (Allah) has ordained for you the same religion which He ordained for Nuh, and that which We have revealed to you, and that which We ordained for Ibrahim, Musa and Isa saying you should establish religion and make no divisions in it. Intolerable for the idolators is that to which you call them. Allah chooses for Himself whom He wills, and guides unto Himself who turns to Him in repentance.

14. And they divided not till after knowledge had come to them, through transgression between themselves. And had it not been for a Word that went forth before from your Lord for an appointed term, the matter would have been settled between them. And verily, those who were made to inherit the Scripture after them, are in grave doubt concerning it.}

The Religion of the Messengers is One

Allah says to this Umma: “He (Allah) has ordained for you the same religion which He ordained for Nuh, and that which We have revealed to you,” Allah mentions the first Messenger who was sent after Adam, that is, Nuh, peace be upon them, and the last of them is Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Then He mentions those who came in between them who were the Messengers of strong will, namely Ibrahim, Musa and Isa bin Maryam. This Ayah mentions all five, just as they are also mentioned in the Ayah in Surat Al-Ahzab, where Allah says: “And (remember) when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from you, and from Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, and Isa son of Maryam.” (33:7). The Message which all the Messengers brought was to worship Allah Alone, with no partner or associate, as Allah says: “And We did not send any Messenger before you but We revealed to him (saying): None has the right to be worshipped but I, so worship Me.” (21:25). And according to a Hadith (the Prophet said):

“We Prophets are brothers and our religion is one.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:550)

In other words, the common bond between them is that Allah Alone is to be worshipped, with no partner or associate, even though their laws and ways may differ, as Allah says. “To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way” (5:48). Allah says here: “saying you should establish religion and make no divisions in it.” meaning, Allah enjoined all the Prophets, peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all, to be as one and He forbade them to differ and be divided. “Intolerable for the idolators is that to which you call them.” means, ‘it is too much for them to bear, and they hate that to which you call them, O Muhammad, i.e., Tawhid.’ “Allah chooses for Himself whom He wills, and guides unto Himself who turns to Him in repentance.” means, He is the One Who decrees guidance for those who deserve it, and decrees misguidance for those who prefer it to the right path. Allah says here; “And they divided not till after knowledge had come to them,” means, their opposition to the truth arose after it had come to them and proof had been established against them. Nothing made them resist in this manner except their transgression and stubbornness. “And had it not been for a Word that went forth before from your Lord for an appointed term,” means, were it not for the fact that Allah had already decreed that He would delay the reckoning of His servants until the Day of Resurrection, the punishment would have been hastened for them in this world. “And verily, those who were made to inherit the Scripture after them,” means, the later generation which came after the earlier generation which had rejected the truth. “are in grave doubt concerning it.” means, they do not have any firm conviction in matters of religion; they merely imitate their forefathers, without any evidence or proof. So they are very confused and doubtful.

{15. So unto this then invite (people), and stand firm as you are commanded, and follow not their desires but say: “I believe in whatsoever Allah has sent down of the Book and I am commanded to do justice among you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. For us our deeds and for you your deeds. There is no dispute between us and you. Allah will assemble us (all), and to Him is the final return.”}

This Ayah includes ten separate and independent ideas, each of which is a ruling on its own. They (the scholars) said that there is nothing else like it in the Qur’an, apart from Ayat Al-Kursi (2:255), which also includes ten ideas. “So unto this then invite (people),” means, ‘so call people to this which We have revealed to you and which We enjoined upon all the Prophets before you,’ the Prophets of major ways [of Shariah] that were followed, such as the Messengers of strong will, and others. “and stand firm as you are commanded,” means, ‘adhere firmly, you and those who follow you, to the worship of Allah as He has commanded you.’ “and follow not their desires” means, the desires of the idolators, in the falsehoods that they have invented and fabricated by worshipping idols. “but say: “I believe in whatsoever Allah has sent down of the Book…” means, ‘I believe in all the Books that have been revealed from heaven to the Prophets; we do not differentiate between any of them.’ “and I am commanded to do justice among you.” means, when judging according to the commands of Allah. “Allah is our Lord and your Lord.” means, ‘He is the One Who is to be worshipped, and there is no true God but He. We affirm this willingly, and even though you do not do so willingly, everyone in the universe prostrates to Him obediently and willingly.’ “For us our deeds and for you your deeds.” means, ‘we have nothing to do with you.’ This is like the Ayah: “And if they deny you, say: “For me are my deeds and for you are your deeds! You are innocent of what I do, and I am innocent of what you do!” (10:41) “There is no dispute between us and you.” Mujahid said, “This means, no argument.” (At-Tabari 21:518) As-Suddi said, “This was before Ayah of the sword was revealed.” This fits the context, because this Ayah was revealed in Makkah, and Ayah of the sword (22:39-40) was revealed after the Hijra. “Allah will assemble us (all),” means, on the Day of Resurrection. This is like the Ayah: “Say: “Our Lord will assemble us all together, then He will judge between us with truth. And He is the Just Judge, the All-Knower of the true state of affairs.” (34:26). “and to Him is the final return.” means, the final return on the Day of Reckoning.

{16. And those who dispute concerning Allah, after it has been accepted, of no use is their dispute before their Lord and on them is wrath, and for them will be a severe torment.

17. It is Allah Who has sent down the Book in truth, and the Balance. And what can make you know that perhaps the Hour is close at hand

18. Those who believe not therein seek to hasten it, while those who believe are fearful of it, and know that it is the very truth. Verily, those who dispute concerning the Hour are certainly in error far away.}

A Warning to Those Who dispute concerning Matters of Religion

Here Allah warns those who try to hinder those who believe in Allah, from following His path. “And those who dispute concerning Allah, after it has been accepted,” means, those who dispute with the believers who have responded to Allah and His Messenger, and try to stop them from following the path of guidance. “no use is their dispute before their Lord” means, it is futile before Allah. “and on them is wrath,” means, from Him. “and for them will be a severe torment.” means, on the Day of Resurrection. Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, and Mujahid said, “They disputed with the believers after they responded to Allah and His Messenger, and tried to prevent them from following the path of guidance, hoping that they would return to Jahiliyyah.” (At-Tabari 21:518, 519) Qatadah said, “These were the Jews and Christians who said to them, ‘Our religion is better than your religion, our Prophet came before your Prophet, and we are better than you and closer to Allah than you.” (At-Tabari 21:519) This was nothing but lies.

Then Allah says: “It is Allah Who has sent down the Book in truth,” referring to all the Books which were revealed from Him to His Prophets. “and the Balance.” means, justice and fairness. This was the view of Mujahid and Qatadah. (At-Tabari 21:520) This is like the Ayat: “Indeed We have sent Our Messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance that mankind may keep up justice” (57:25). “And the heaven He has raised high, and He has set up the Balance. In order that you may not transgress (due) balance. And observe the weight with equity and do not make the balance deficient.” (55:7-9) “And what can make you know that perhaps the Hour is close at hand” This is encouragement (to strive) for its sake, a terrifying warning, and advice to think little of this world. “Those who believe not therein seek to hasten it,” means, they say, ‘when will this promise be fulfilled, if you are telling the truth’ But they say this by way of disbelief and stubbornness, thinking that it is unlikely to happen. “while those who believe are fearful of it” means, they are afraid of it happening. “and know that it is the very truth.” means, that it will undoubtedly come to pass, so they prepare themselves for it and strive for its sake. It was reported through various chains of narration, a number reaching the level of being Mutawatir, in Sahih and Hasan narrations, in the Books of Sunan and Musnad.

According to some versions, a man addressed the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in a loud voice, when he was on one of his journeys, calling out to him, “O Muhammad!” The Messenger of Allah replied in a similar manner,

“Here I am!”

The man said, “When will the Hour come?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Woe to you! It will most certainly come. What have you done to prepare for it?”

He said, “Love for Allah and His Messenger.” He, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“You will be with those whom you love.”

According to another Hadith:

“A man will be with those whom he loves.” (Muslim 4:2034)

This is Mutawatir beyond a doubt. The point is that he did not answer his question about when the Hour would happen, but he commanded him to prepare for it. “Verily, those who dispute concerning the Hour” means, who dispute whether it will happen and think it is unlikely ever to come, “are certainly in error far away.” means, they are clearly ignorant, because the One Who created the heavens and the earth is even more able to give life to the dead, as Allah says: “And He it is Who originates the creation, then He will repeat it; and this is easier for Him” (30:27).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir Vol 8 (Abridged) Pages 561-580

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Surah Fussilat Ayat 25-54 (end)

{25. And We have assigned for them intimate companions (in this world), who have made fair seeming to them, what was before them and what was behind them. And the Word is justified against them as it was justified against those who were among the previous generations of Jinn and men that had passed away before them. Indeed they (all) were the losers.

26. And those who disbelieve say: “Listen not to this Qur’an, and make noise in the midst of its (recitation) that you may overcome.”

27. But surely, We shall cause those who disbelieve to taste a severe torment, and certainly, We shall requite them the worst of what they used to do.

28. That is the recompense of the enemies of Allah: the Fire. Therein will be for them the eternal home, a recompense for that they used to deny Our Ayat.

29. And those who disbelieve will say: “Our Lord! Show us those among Jinn and men who led us astray, that we may crush them under our feet so that they become the lowest.”}

The intimate Companions of the Idolators make Evil Actions attractive to Them

Allah tells us that He is the One Who sends the idolators astray, and that this happens by His will and decree. He is the All-Wise in His actions, when He appoints for them close companions from among the devils of men and Jinn. “who have made fair seeming to them, what was before them and what was behind them.” means, they made their deeds attractive to them in the past. As far as the future is concerned, they only see themselves as doing good, as Allah says: “And whosoever turns away blindly from the remembrance of the Most Gracious, We appoint for him a Shaytan to be a companion for him. And verily, they hinder them from the path, but they think that they are guided aright!” (43:36-37) “And the Word is justified against them” means, the Word of torment, just as it was justified against the nations of the past who did what they did, men and Jinn alike. “Indeed they (all) were the losers.” means, they are all equal in terms of loss and being doomed.

How the disbelievers advised One Another not to listen to the Qur’an, and the Recompense for that

“And those who disbelieve say: “Listen not to this Qur’an…” means, they advised one another not to pay heed to the Qur’an or obey its commands. “and make noise in the midst of its” means, when it is recited, do not listen to it. This was the view of Mujahid. “And make noise in the midst of its (recitation)” means whistling and trying to make the Messenger of Allah confused when he recited Qur’an, which is what the Quraysh did. “that you may overcome.” means, this is the practice of these ignorant disbelievers and those who follow in their footsteps, when they hear the Qur’an. Allah commanded us to be different from that, and said: “So, when the Qur’an is recited, listen to it, and be silent that you may receive mercy.” (7:204). Then Allah says: “But surely, We shall cause those who disbelieve to taste a severe torment,” meaning, in return for what they do when they hear the Qur’an. “and certainly, We shall requite them the worst of what they used to do.” means, for their evil deeds. “That is the recompense of the enemies of Allah: the Fire. Therein will be for them the eternal home, a recompense for that they used to deny Our Ayat. And those who disbelieve will say: “Our Lord! Show us those among Jinn and men who led us astray, that we may crush them under our feet so that they become the lowest.” It was reported that Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said, concerning the phrase, “those who led us astray” (At-Tabari 21:462) “Iblis and the son of Adam who killed his brother.” As-Suddi reported that Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said; “Iblis is followed by everyone who commits Shirk and the son of Adam is followed by everyone who commits a major sin. So Iblis is the one who calls people to every evil thing, such as Shirk and lesser sins.” (At-Tabari 21:462) As for the first son of Adam, it is as confirmed in the Hadith:

“No soul is wrongfully killed, but a share of the burden (of that sin) will be upon the first son of Adam, because he was the first one who set the precedent of killing another.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:419) 

“that we may crush them under our feet” means, ‘make them beneath us in the torment, so that they will be punished more severely than us.’ “so that they become the lowest.” means, in the lowest level of Hell, as already mentioned in Al-Araf, where the followers ask Allah to multiply the torment for their leaders: “(Allah) said: “For each one there is double (torment), but you know not.” (7:38) i.e., Allah will give each of them the torment and punishment they deserve for their deeds. This is like the Ayah: “Those who disbelieved and hinder (men) from the path of Allah, for them We will add torment to the torment because they used to spread corruption.” (16:88).

{30. Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allah,” and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (saying): “Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!”

31. “We have been your friends in the life of this world and are (so) in the Hereafter. Therein you shall have (all) that your souls desire, and therein you shall have (all) for which you ask.”

32. “An entertainment from the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”}

Glad Tidings to Those Who believe in Allah Alone and stand firm

“Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allah,” and then they stand firm,” means, they do good deeds sincerely for the sake of Allah, and they obey Allah, doing what Allah has prescribed for them. Ibn Jarir recorded that Said bin Imran said, “I read this Ayah to Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him: “Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allah,” and then they stand firm,” He said, ‘Those are the ones who do not associate anything with Allah.”’ (At-Tabari 21:464) Then he reported a narration of Al-Aswad bin Hilal, who said, “Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, said, ‘What do you say about this Ayah: “Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allah,’and then they stand firm,” They said: “Our Lord is Allah,” and then they stand firm,” ‘They shun sin.’ He said, ‘You have not interpreted it improperly.’ They say: ‘Our Lord is Allah, then they stand firm and do not turn to any other god besides Him.” (At-Tabari 21:464) This was also the view of Mujahid, Ikrimah, As-Suddi and others. (At-Tabari 21:465)

Ahmad recorded that Sufyan bin Abdullah Ath-Thaqafi said, “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, tell me something that I can adhere to.’ He said:

“Say, my Lord is Allah, then stand firm.”

I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what do you fear most for me?’ The Messenger of Allah took hold of the edge of his tongue and said,

“This.” (Ahmad 3:314)

This was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah; At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 7:91)

Muslim also recorded it in his Sahih, and An-Nasa’i recorded that Sufyan bin `Abdullah Ath-Thaqafi said, “I said, `O Messenger of Allah, tell me something about Islam that I will not have to ask anyone about it after you.’ He said:

“Say: I believe in Allah, then stand firm.”

then he mentioned the rest of the Hadith. (Muslim 1:65) “on them the angels will descend”. Mujahid, As-Suddi, Zayd bin Aslam and his [Zayd’s] son said, “This means, at the time of death, and they will say, “Fear not”. (At-Tabari 21:466) ” Mujahid, Ikrimah and Zayd bin Aslam said, “This means not to fear “that which you will face in the Hereafter.” (At-Tabari 21:467) “nor grieve!” ‘for what you have left behind of worldly things, children, family, wealth and debt, for we will take care of it for you.’ “But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!” So they give glad tidings of the end of bad things and the arrival of good things. This is like what is said in the Hadith narrated by Al-Bara’, may Allah be pleased with him:

“The angels say to the soul of the believer, “Come out, O good soul from the good body in which you used to dwell, come out to rest, and provision and a Lord Who is not angry.”(Ahmad 4:287)

It was said that the angels will come down to them on the Day when they are brought out of their graves. Zayd bin Aslam said, “They will give him glad tidings when he dies, in his grave, and when he is resurrected.” This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim, and this view reconciles all the opinions; it is a good view and it is true. “We have been your friends in the life of this world and are (so) in the Hereafter.” means, the angels will say to the believers when death approaches: “We have been your friends, i.e., your close companions, in this world, protecting you and helping you by the command of Allah, and we will be with you in the Hereafter, keeping you from feeling lonely in your graves and when the Trumpet is blown; we will reassure you on the Day of Resurrection and will take you across the Sirat and bring you to the Gardens of delight.” “Therein you shall have (all) that your souls desire,” means, ‘in Paradise you will have all that you wish for and that will delight you.’ “and therein you shall have (all) for which you ask.” means, ‘whatever you ask for, it will appear before you as you wish it to be.’ “An entertainment from the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” means, ‘a welcoming gift and a blessing from the One Who has forgiven your sins and Who is Merciful and Kind towards you, Who has forgiven you, concealed your faults and been Kind and Merciful.’

{33. And who is better in speech than he who invites to Allah, and does righteous deeds, and says: “I am one of the Muslims.”

34. The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better, then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.

35. But none is granted it except those who are patient — and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion in this world.

36. And if an evil whisper from Shaytan tries to turn you away, then seek refuge in Allah. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.}

The Virtue of Calling Others to Allah

“And who is better in speech than he who invites to Allah,” means, he calls the servants of Allah to Him. “and does righteous deeds, and says: “I am one of the Muslims.” means, he himself follows that which he says, so it benefits him as well as others. He is not one of those who enjoin good but do not do it themselves, or who forbid evil yet they do it themselves. He does good and avoids doing evil, and he calls people to their Creator, may He be blessed and exalted. This is general in meaning and applies to everyone who calls people to what is good and is himself guided by what he says. The Messenger of Allah is the foremost among people in this regard, as Muhammad bin Sirin, As-Suddi and Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said. (Al-Qurtubi 15:360)

It was also said that what was meant here is the righteous Mu’adhdhin, as it was mentioned in Sahih Muslim:

“The Mu’adhdhins will be the ones with the longest necks on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim 1:290)

In As-Sunan it is reported that the Prophet said:

“The Imam is a guarantor and the Mu’adhdhin is in a position of trust. May Allah guide the Imams and forgive the Mu’adhdhin.” (Abu Dawud 1:356)

The correct view is that the Ayah is general in meaning, and includes the Mu’adhdhin and others. When this Ayah was revealed, the Adhan had not been prescribed at all. The Ayah was revealed in Makkah, and the Adhan was prescribed in Al-Madinah after the Hijrah, when it was shown to Abdullah bin Abd Rabbihi Al-Ansari in a dream. He told the Messenger of Allah about it, and he told him to teach it to Bilal, may Allah be pleased with him, who had a more beautiful voice, as we have discussed elsewhere. So the correct view is that the Ayah is general in meaning, as Abdur-Razzaq said, narrating from Mamar, from Al-Hasan Al-Basri, who recited this Ayah: “And who is better in speech than he who invites to Allah, and does righteous deeds, and says: “I am one of the Muslims.” and said, “This is the beloved of Allah, this is the close friend of Allah, this is the chosen one of Allah, this is the most beloved of the all the people of earth to Allah. He responded to the call of Allah and called mankind to that to which he had responded. He did righteous deeds in response and said, ‘I am one of the Muslims.’ This is Allah’s Khalifah.” (Abdul Razzaq 2:187)

Wisdom in Dawah 

“The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal.” means, there is a huge difference between them. “Repel (the evil) with one which is better,” means, ‘when someone does you wrong, repel him by treating him well,’ as Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “There is no better punishment for one who has disobeyed Allah with regard to you, than your obeying Allah with regard to him.” “then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.” means, ‘if you treat well those who treat you badly, this good deed will lead to reconciliation, love and empathy, and it will be as if he is a close friend to you and he will feel pity for you and be kind to you.’ Then Allah says: “But none is granted it except those who are patient” meaning, no one accepts this advice and works according to it, except for those who can be patient in doing so, for it is difficult for people to do. “and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion” means, the one who has a great portion of happiness in this world and in the Hereafter. Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas explained this Ayah: “Allah commands the believers to be patient when they feel angry, to be forbearing when confronted with ignorance, and to forgive when they are mistreated. If they do this, Allah will save them from the Shaytan and subdue their enemies to them until they become like close friends.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:418)

“And if an evil whisper from Shaytan tries to turn you away, then seek refuge in Allah.” means, the devils among men may be deceived by your kind treatment of him, but the devils among the Jinn, when they insinuate their evil whispers, cannot be dealt with except by seeking refuge with the Creator Who gave him power over you. If you seek refuge with Allah and turn to Him, He will stop him from harming you and bring his efforts to naught. When the Messenger of Allah stood up to pray, he would say:

“I seek refuge in Allah the All-Hearing, All-Knowing, from the accursed Shaytan and his evil insinuations, breath and impurity.” (Ahmad 5:253)

We have already stated that there is nothing like this in the Qur’an, apart from the passage in Surat Al-Araf, where Allah says: “Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish. And if an evil whisper comes to you from Shaytan, then seek refuge with Allah. Verily, He is All-Hearer, All-Knower.” (7:199-200) and the passage in Surat Al-Mu’minun where Allah says: “Repel evil with that which is better. We are Best-Acquainted with the things they utter. And say: “My Lord! I seek refuge with You from the whisperings of the Shayatin. And I seek refuge with You, My Lord! lest they should come near me.’‘ (23:96-98)

{37. And from among His signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Do not prostrate yourselves to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate yourselves to Allah Who created them, if you worship Him.

38. But if they are too proud, then there are those who are with your Lord glorify Him night and day, and never are they tired.

39. And among His signs; that you see the earth barren, but when We send down water to it, it is stirred to life and growth. Verily, He Who gives it life, surely is able to give life to the dead. Indeed He is Able to do all things.}

From among the Signs of Allah

Here Allah reminds His Creation of His power, and that He is the One Who has no equal, and He is Able to do all things. Allah’s saying; “And from among His signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon.” means, He created the night with its darkness and the day with its light, and they alternate without ceasing. And He created the sun with its shining light, and the moon with its reflected light. and He allotted their stages and gave them separate orbits in the heavens, so that by the variations in their movements man may know the stages of night and day, of weeks, months and years, and time periods related to people’s rights, acts of worship and various transactions. Moreover, because the sun and moon are the most beautiful of the heavenly bodies that can be seen in both the upper and lower realms, Allah points out that they are created entities which are in a state of enthralment to Him, subject to His dominion and control. So He says: “Do not prostrate yourselves to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate yourselves to Allah Who created them, if you (really) worship Him.” meaning, ‘do not associate anything in worship with Him, for your worship of Him will be of no benefit to you if you worship others alongside Him, because He does not forgive the association of others in worship with Him.’ He says: “But if they are too proud,” i.e., to worship Him Alone, and they insist on associating others with Him, “then there are those who are with your Lord” i.e., the angels, “glorify Him night and day, and never are they tired.” This is like the Ayah: “But if these disbelieve therein, then, indeed We have entrusted it to a people who are not disbelievers therein.” (6:89). “And among His signs” means, signs of His ability to bring the dead back to life. “that you see the earth barren,” means, lifeless, with nothing growing in it; it is dead. “but when We send down water (rain) to it, it is stirred to life and growth.” means, it brings forth all kinds of crops and fruits. “Verily, He Who gives it life, surely is able to give life to the dead. Indeed He is Able to do all things.”

{40. Verily, those who Yulhiduna Fi Our Ayat are not hidden from Us. Is he who is cast into the Fire better or he who comes secure on the Day of Resurrection Do what you will. Verily, He is All-Seer of what you do.

41. Verily, those who disbelieved in the Reminder when it came to them. And verily, it is an honorable well-fortified respected Book.

42. Falsehood cannot come to it from before it or behind it, (it is) sent down by the All-Wise, Worthy of all praise.

43. Nothing is said to you except what was said to the Messengers before you. Verily, your Lord is the Possessor of forgiveness, and (also) the Possessor of painful punishment.}

The Punishment of the Deniers and the Description of the Qur’an

“Verily, Yulhiduna Fi Our Ayat” Ibn Abbas said, “Al-Ilhad means putting words in their improper places.” (At-Tabari 21:478) Qatadah and others said, “It means disbelief and obstinate behavior.” “are not hidden from Us.” This is a stern warning and dire threat, stating that He, may He be exalted, knows who denies His signs, Names and attributes, and He will punish them for that. He says: “Is he who is cast into the Fire better or he who comes secure on the Day of Resurrection” means, are these two equal They are not equal. Then Allah warns the disbelievers: “Do what you will.” Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak and Ata’ Al-Khurasani said that “Do what you will.” is a threat. (At-Tabari 21:478) Meaning, ‘do what you will of good or evil, for He knows and sees all that you do.’ He says: “Verily, He is All-Seer of what you do.” “Verily, those who disbelieved in the Reminder when it came to them.” Ad-Dahhak, As-Suddi and Qatadah said, “This is the Qur’an.” (At-Tabari 21:479) “And verily, it is an honorable well-fortified respected Book.” means, it is protected and preserved, and nobody can produce anything like it. “Falsehood cannot come to it from before it or behind it,” means, there is no way to corrupt it, because it has been sent down by the Lord of the worlds. Allah says: “(it is) sent down by the All-Wise, Worthy of all praise.” meaning, He is Wise in all that He says and does, Praiseworthy in all that He commands and forbids; everything that He does is for praiseworthy purposes and its consequences will be good. “Nothing is said to you except what was said to the Messengers before you.” Qatadah, As-Suddi and others said, “Nothing is said to you by way of rejection and disbelief, that was not said to the Messengers who came before you. Just as you have been rejected, they were also rejected. Just as they bore their people’s insults with patience, so too you must bear your people’s insults with patience.” (At-Tabari 21:481) “Verily, your Lord is the Possessor of forgiveness,” means, for those who turn to Him in repentance. “and (also) the Possessor of painful punishment.” means, for those who persist in disbelief, transgression and stubborn opposition.

{44. And if We had sent this as a Qur’an in a foreign language, they would have said: “Why are not its verses explained in detail What! Not in Arabic nor an Arab” Say: “It is for those who believe, a guide and a cure. And as for those who disbelieve, there is heaviness in their ears, and it is blindness for them. They are called from a place far away.”

45. And indeed We gave Musa the Scripture, but dispute arose therein. And had it not been for a Word that went forth before from your Lord, and the matter would have been settled between them. But truly, they are in grave doubt thereto.}

Rejection of the Qur’an is pure Stubbornness

Allah tells us that the Qur’an is so eloquent and perfect in its wording and meanings, yet despite that the idolators do not believe in it. He tells us that their disbelief is the disbelief of stubbornness, as He says elsewhere: “And if We had revealed it unto any of the non-Arabs, and he had recited it unto them, they would not have believed in it.” (26:198-199). If the Qur’an had been revealed in the language of the non-Arabs, they would have said, because of their stubbornness: “Why are not its verses explained in detail What! not in Arabic and an Arab” meaning, why is it not revealed in detail in Arabic And by way of denunciation they would have said, “What! not in Arabic nor from an Arab — i.e., how can foreign words be revealed to an Arab who does not understand them This interpretation was reported from Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ikrimah, Said bin Jubayr, As-Suddi and others. (At-Tabari 21:482) “Say: “It is for those who believe, a guide and a cure…” means, ‘say, O Muhammad: this Qur’an, for the one who believes in it, is guidance for his heart and a cure for the doubts and confusion that exists in people’s hearts.’ “And as for those who disbelieve, there is heaviness in their ears” means, they do not understand what is in it. “and it is blindness for them.” means they are not guided to the explanations contained therein. This is like the Ayah: “And We send down of the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe, and it increases the wrongdoers nothing but loss.” (17:82). “They are called from a place far away.” Mujahid said, “Far away from their hearts.” (At-Tabari 21:485) Ibn Jarir said, “It is as if the one who is addressing them is calling to them from a distant place, and they cannot understand what he is saying.” (At-Tabari 21:484) This is like the Ayah: “And the example of those who disbelieve is as that of him who shouts to those (flock of sheep) that hears nothing but calls and cries. (They are) deaf, dumb and blind. So they do not understand.” (2:171)

Taking Musa as an Example

“And indeed We gave Musa the Scripture, but dispute arose therein.” means, they disbelieved in him and did not show him any respect. “Therefore be patient as did the Messengers of strong will” (46:35). “And had it not been for a Word that went forth before from your Lord,” i.e., to delay the Reckoning until the Day of Resurrection, “the matter would have been settled between them.” means, the punishment would have been hastened for them. But they have an appointed time, beyond which they will find no escape. “But truly, they are in grave doubt thereto.” means, their words of disbelief are not due to any wisdom or insight on their part; rather they spoke without any attempt at examining it thoroughly. This was also the interpretation of Ibn Jarir, and it is a plausible interpretation. (At-Tabari 21:487) And Allah knows best.

{46. Whosoever does righteous good deed, it is for himself; and whosoever does evil, it is against himself. And your Lord is not at all unjust to (His) servants.

47. To Him is referred the knowledge of the Hour. No fruit comes out of its sheath, nor does a female conceive nor brings forth (young), except by His knowledge. And on the Day when He will call unto them (saying): “Where are My (so-called) partners” They will say: “We inform You that none of us bears witness to it!”

48. And those whom they used to invoke before (in this world) shall disappear from them, and they will perceive that they have no place of refuge.}

Everyone will be requited according to His Deeds

“Whosoever does righteous good deed, it is for himself” means, the benefit of which will come to him. “And your Lord is not at all unjust to (His) servants” means, He only punishes people for their sins, and He does not punish anyone except after establishing proof against him and sending a Messenger to him.

Knowledge of the Hour is with Allah Alone

Then Allah says: “To Him is referred the knowledge of the Hour.” meaning, no one knows about that apart from Him. Muhammad , the leader of mankind, said to Jibril, who is one of the leading angels, when he asked him about the Hour: “The one who is asked about it does not know more than the one who is asking.” (Fath Al-Bari 1:140) And Allah says: “To your Lord belongs the term thereof.” (79:44) “None can reveal its time but He” (7:187). “No fruit comes out of its sheath, nor does a female conceive nor brings forth (young), except by His knowledge.” means, all of that is known to Him, and nothing is hidden from your Lord the weight of a speck of dust on the earth or in the heaven. Allah says: “not a leaf falls, but He knows it” (6:59). “Allah knows what every female bears, and by how much the wombs fall short or exceed. Everything with Him is in (due) proportion” (13:8). “And no aged man is granted a length of life nor is a part cut off from his life, but is in a Book. Surely, that is easy for Allah.” (35:11) “And on the Day when He will call unto them (saying): “Where are My (so-called) partners” means, on the Day of Resurrection, Allah will call out to the idolators before all of creation and say, “Where are My partners whom you worshipped besides Me” “They will say: “We inform You…” means, `we tell You,’ “that none of us bears witness to it.” means, ‘not one of us will bear witness today that You have any partner.’ “And those whom they used to invoke before (in this world) shall disappear from them,” means, they will go away, and will be of no benefit to them. “and they will perceive that they have no place of refuge” means, they will have no way of escaping from the punishment of Allah. This is like the Ayah: “And the criminals shall see the Fire and apprehend that they have to fall therein. And they will find no way of escape from there.” (18:53)

{49. Man does not get tired of asking for good; but if an evil touches him, then he gives up all hope and is lost in despair.

50. 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 due to my (merit); I think not that the Hour will be established. But if I am brought back to my Lord, surely there will be for me the best with Him. “Then, We verily will show to the disbelievers what they have done, and We shall make them taste a severe torment.

51. And when We show favor to man, he turns away and becomes arrogant; but when evil touches him, then he has recourse to long supplications.}

Man is fickle when Ease comes to Him after Difficulty

Allah tells us that man never gets bored of asking his Lord for good things, such as wealth, physical health, etc., but if evil touches him — i.e., trials and difficulties or poverty — “then he gives up all hope and is lost in despair.”, i.e., he thinks that he will never experience anything good again. “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 due to my (merit)…” means, if something good happens to him or some provision comes to him after a period of difficulty, he says, ‘this is because of me, because I deserve this from my Lord.’ “I think not that the Hour will be established.” means, he does not believe that the Hour will come. So when he is given some blessing, he becomes careless, arrogant and ungrateful, as Allah says: “Nay! Verily, man does transgress. Because he considers himself self-sufficient.” (96:6) “But if I am brought back to my Lord, surely there will be for me the best with Him.” means, ‘if there is a Hereafter after all, then my Lord will be generous and kind to me just as He was in this world.’ So he expects Allah to do him favors in spite of his bad deeds and lack of certain faith. Allah says: “Then, We verily will show to the disbelievers what they have done, and We shall make them taste a severe torment.” Thus Allah threatens punishment and vengeance to those whose conduct and belief is like that. “And when We show favor to man, he turns away and becomes arrogant” means, he turns away from doing acts of obedience and is too proud to obey the commands of Allah. This is like the Ayah: “But [Fir`awn] turned away along with his hosts” (51:39). “but when evil touches him,” means, difficulties, “then he has recourse to long supplications.” means, he asks at length for one thing. Long supplications are those which are long on words and short on meaning. The opposite is concise speech which is brief but full of meaning. And Allah says: “And when harm touches man, he invokes Us, lying on his side, or sitting or standing. But when We have removed his harm from him, he passes on as if he had never invoked Us for a harm that touched him!” (10:12)

{52. Say: “Tell me, if it is from Allah, and you disbelieve in it Who is more astray than one who is in opposition far away.”

53. We will show them Our signs in the universes, and within themselves, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a Witness over all things

54. Lo, Verily, they are in doubt concerning the meeting with their Lord. Verily, He is surrounding all things!}

The Qur’an and the Proofs of its Truth

Allah says: “Say” — ‘O Muhammad, to these idolators who disbelieve in the Qur’an’– “Tell me, if it” — this Qur’an — “is from Allah, and you disbelieve in it” means, ‘what do you think your position is before the One Who revealed it to His Messenger’ Allah says: “Who is more astray than one who is in opposition far away.” means, he is in a state of disbelief, stubbornness and opposition to the truth, and is following a path that leads far away from guidance. Then Allah says: “We will show them Our signs in the universe, and within themselves,” meaning, `We will show them Our evidence and proof that the Qur’an is true and has indeed been sent down from Allah to the Messenger of Allah, through external signs, (in the universe), ‘ such as conquests and the advent of Islam over various regions and over all other religions. Mujahid, Al-Hasan and As-Suddi said, “And signs within themselves means, the battle of Badr, the conquest of Makkah, and other events which befell them, where Allah granted victory to Muhammad and his Companions, and inflicted a humiliating defeat on falsehood and its followers.” It may also be that what is meant here is man and his physical composition. As detailed in the science of anatomy, which indicates the wisdom of the Creator — may He be blessed and exalted — and the different inclinations and opposite natures that people have, good and bad, etc., and the (divine) decrees to which man is subjected, having no power to change and over which he has no control. “until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Qur’an) is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a Witness over all things” means, sufficient is Allah as a Witness over the words and deeds of His servants, and He bears witness that Muhammad is telling the truth in what he says, as Allah says: “But Allah bears witness to that which He has sent down unto you; He has sent it down with His knowledge” (4:166). “Lo, Verily, they are in doubt concerning the meeting with their Lord.” means, they doubt that the Hour will come, they do not think about it or strive for it or pay heed to it; on the contrary, they regard it as irrelevant and do not care about it. But it will undoubtedly come to pass. Then Allah states that He is Able to do all things and He encompasses all things, and it is very easy for Him to bring about the Hour: “Verily, He is surrounding all things!” means, all of creation is subject to His control, dominion and knowledge; He is controlling all things by His power, so whatever He wills happens, and whatever He does not will does not happen, and there is no god worthy of worship apart from Him.

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surah Fussilat.

To Allah be praise and blessings.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir Vol 8 (Abridged) Pages 533-560

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Surah Fussilat Ayat 1-24

Surah Fussilat

(Explained in Detail)

This Surah is also known as Ha Mim As-Sajdah

Chapter 41 

Which was revealed in Makkah

 

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

{1. Ha Mim.

2. A revelation from the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

3. A Book whereof the Ayat are explained in detail — a Qur’an in Arabic for people who know.

4. Giving glad tidings and warning, but most of them turn away, so they hear not.

5. And they say: “Our hearts are under coverings from that to which you invite us; and in our ears is deafness, and between us and you is a screen, so work you (on your way); verily, we are working (on our way).”}

Description of the Qur’an, and what Those Who turn away from it

“Ha Mim. A revelation from the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.” means, the Qur’an is revealed from the Most Gracious, Most Merciful. This is like the Ayat: “Say Ruh Al-Qudus (Jibril) has brought it down from your Lord with truth” (16:102). “And truly, this is a revelation from the Lord of all that exists, Which the trustworthy Ruh (Jibril) has brought down upon your heart that you may be (one) of the warners.” (26:192-194). “A Book whereof the Ayat are explained in detail” means, its meanings are clear and its rulings are sound and wise. “a Qur’an in Arabic” means, because it is a clear Arabic Qur’an, its meanings are precise and detailed and its words are clear and not confusing. This is like the Ayah: “(This is) a Book, the Ayat whereof are completed, and then explained in detail from One (Allah), Who is All-Wise Well-Acquainted” (11:1) meaning, it is miraculous in its wording and in its meanings. “Falsehood cannot come to it from before it or behind it, (it is) sent down by the All-Wise, Worthy of all praise.” (41:42). “for people who know.” means, this clear style will be readily understood by scholars who are thoroughly versed in knowledge. “Giving glad tidings and warning,” means, sometimes it brings glad tidings to the believers, and sometimes it brings a warning to the disbelievers. “but most of them turn away, so they hear not.” means, most of the Quraysh did not understand anything of it at all, despite the fact that it was so clear. “And they say: “Our hearts are under coverings…” meaning, they are wrapped and screened, “from that to which you invite us; and in our ears is deafness,” means, ‘we are deaf to the message you bring to us.’ “and between us and you is a screen,” ‘so nothing of what you say reaches us.’ “so work you (on your way); verily, we are working” means, go your way, and we will go our way, and we will not follow you.

{6. Say: “I am only a human being like you. It is revealed to me that your God is One God, therefore take straight path to Him and obedience to Him, and seek forgiveness of Him. And woe to the polytheists.

7. Those who give not the Zakah and they are disbelievers in the Hereafter.

8. Truly, those who believe and do righteous good deeds, for them will be an endless reward that will never stop.}

The Call to Tawhid Allah

“Say” O Muhammad, to these disbelievers and idolators, “I am only a human being like you. It is revealed to me that your God is One God,” ‘not like these idols and false gods which you worship. Allah is one God,’ “therefore take straight path to Him” means, `worship Him Alone sincerely, in accordance with what He has commanded you through His Messengers.’ “and seek forgiveness of Him” means, ‘for your past sins.’ “And woe to the polytheists.” means, doom and destruction is their lot. “Those who give not the Zakah” Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn Abbas that this means those who do not bear witness that there is no God except Allah. (At-Tabari 21:430) This was also the view of Ikrimah. (At-Tabari 21:430) This is like the Ayat: “Indeed he succeeds who purifies himself. And indeed he fails who corrupts himself.” (91:9-10) And; “Indeed whosoever purifies himself shall achieve success. And remembers (glorifies) the Name of his Lord, and prays.” (87:14-15) And; “And say to him: “Would you purify yourself” (79:18) What is meant by Zakah here is purification of the soul, ridding oneself of all bad qualities, the worst of which is Shirk. The Zakah paid on one’s wealth is so called because it purifies wealth, and it is a means of increasing it, blessing it and making it more beneficial, and a means of assisting one to use it in doing good deeds.

Qatadah said, “They withheld the Zakah of their wealth.” This is the apparent meaning according to many of the scholars of Tafsir, and this is the view favored by Ibn Jarir. (At-Tabari 21:431)

But the matter is subject to further examination, because the obligation of Zakah was instituted during the second year after the Hijrah to Al-Madinah, according to what is stated by several scholars. Yet this Ayah was revealed in Makkah. However, it is not unlikely that the principle of giving charity and Zakah was already in place and had been enjoined at the beginning of the Prophet’s mission, as Allah says: “but pay the due thereof on the day of their harvest” (6:141). As for the details of Zakah and how it is to be calculated according to the Nusub, were explained in Al-Madinah. This is how we may reconcile between the two opinions. Similarly, prayer was originally enjoined before sunrise and before sunset at the beginning of the Prophet’s mission; it was only on the Night of the Isra’, a year and a half before the Hijrah, that Allah enjoined upon His Messenger the five daily prayers. The conditions and essential elements of prayer were explained later, in stages. And Allah knows best. Then Allah says: “Truly, those who believe and do righteous good deeds, for them will be an endless reward that will never stop.” Mujahid and others said, “It will never be cut off or decrease.” This is like the Ayat: “They shall abide therein for ever.” (18:3) “a gift without an end” (11:108)

{9. Say: “Do you verily disbelieve in Him Who created the earth in two Days And you set up rivals with Him That is the Lord of all that exists.”

10. He placed therein firm mountains from above it, and He blessed it, and measured therein its sustenance in four Days equal for all those who ask.

11. Then He rose over (Istawa ila) the heaven when it was smoke, and said to it and to the earth: “Come both of you willingly or unwillingly.” They both said: “We come willingly.”

12. Then He completed and finished their creation (as) seven heavens in two Days and He made in each heaven its affair. And We adorned the nearest (lowest) heaven with lamps (stars) to be an adornment as well as to guard. Such is the decree of Him, the Almighty, the All-Knower.}

Some Details of the Creation of this Universe

Here denounces the idolators who worship other gods apart from Him although He is the Creator, Subduer and Controller of all things. He says: “Say: “Do you verily disbelieve in Him Who created the earth in two Days And you set up rivals with Him” meaning, ‘false gods whom you worship alongside Him’ “That is the Lord of the that exists.” the Creator of all things is the Lord of all the creatures. Here the Ayah; “Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days” (7:54). is explained in more detail; the creation of the earth and the creation of the heaven are discussed separately. Allah says that He created the earth first, because it is the foundation, and the foundation should be built first, then the roof. Allah says elsewhere: “He it is Who created for you all that is on the earth. Then He rose over (Istawa ila) the heaven and made them seven heavens” (2:29).

With regard to the Ayat: “Are you more difficult to create or is the heaven that He constructed He raised its height, and has perfected it. Its night He covers with darkness and its forenoon He brings out (with light). And after that He spread the earth, And brought forth therefrom its water and its pasture. And the mountains He has fixed firmly, (to be) a provision and benefit for you and your cattle.” (79:27-33) This Ayah states that the spreading out of the earth came after the creation of the heavens, but the earth itself was created before the heavens according to some texts.

This was the response of Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, as recorded by Al-Bukhari in his Tafsir of this Ayah in his Sahih. He recorded that Said bin Jubayr said: “A man said to Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, saying: ‘I find some things in the Qur’an which confuse me: “There will be no kinship among them that Day, nor will they ask of one another” (23:101), “And they will turn to one another and question one another” (37:27), “but they will never be able to hide a single fact from Allah” (4:42), “By Allah, our Lord, we were not those who joined others in worship with Allah” (6:23) But in this Ayah they did hide something. And Allah says: “Are you more difficult to create or is the heaven that He constructed?” until; “And after that He spread the earth.” (79:27-30) So He mentioned the creation of the heavens before the earth, then He said: “Say: “Do you verily disbelieve in Him Who created the earth in two Days…?” until; “We come willingly.”

Here He mentioned the creation of the earth before the creation of the heavens. And He says: “Verily, Allah (Kana) is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (4:23). [Kana literally means ‘was’]“Most Powerful, All-Wise” (4:56). “All-Hearer, All-Seer” (4:58). It is as if He was and is no longer.’ Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, replied: “There will be no kinship among them that Day, nor will they ask of one another” (23:101), this will happen when the Trumpet is blown for the first time. “And all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth will swoon away, except him whom Allah wills” (39:68), and at that time there will be no kinship among them, nor will they ask of one another. Then when the Sur will be blown again, “And they will turn to one another and question one another” (37:27). With regard to the Ayat, “By Allah, our Lord, we were not those who joined others in worship with Allah” (6:23) and “but they will never be able to hide a single fact from Allah” (4:42), Allah will forgive the sincere believers their sins, then the idolators will say, ‘Let us say that we never joined others in worship with Allah.’ Then a seal will be placed over their mouths, and their hands will speak. Then it will be known that not a single fact can be hidden from Allah, and at that point, “those who disbelieved will wish” (4:42). Allah created the earth in two days, then He created the heavens, then He “Istawa ila” the heaven and gave it its shape in two more days. Then He spread the earth, which means that He brought forth therefrom its water and its pasture. And He created the mountains, sands, inanimate things, rocks and hills and everything in between, in two more days. This is what Allah says: “(He) spread (the earth)” (79:30) And Allah’s saying: “(He) created the earth in two Days” So He created the earth and everything in it in four days, and He created the heavens in two days. “verily, Allah (Kana) is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (4:23). This is how He described Himself, and this is how He still is. Whatever Allah wills comes to pass, so do not be confused about the Qur’an, for all of it comes from Allah.”’ This was recorded by Al-Bukhari. (Fath Al-Bari 8:418)

“(He) created the earth in two Days” means, on Sunday and Monday. “He placed therein firm mountains from above it, and He blessed it,” means, He blessed it and gave it the potential to be planted with seeds and bring forth produce. “And measured therein its sustenance” means, what its people need of provision and places in which to plant things and grow crops. This was on Tuesday and Wednesday, which together with the two previous days add up to four days. “in four Days equal for all those who ask.” meaning, for those who want to ask about that, so that they might know. Ikrimah and Mujahid said concerning the Ayah: “and measured therein its sustenance” “He placed in every land that which is not suited for any other land.” (At-Tabari 21:436)

Ibn Abbas, Qatadah and As-Suddi said, concerning the Ayah, “equal for all those who ask” this means, “For whoever wants to ask about that.” (At-Tabari 21:438) Ibn Zayd said: “and measured therein its sustenance in four Days equal for all those who ask.”“According to whatever a person who is need of provision wants, Allah measures out for him what he needs.” (At-Tabari 21:438) This is like what they said concerning the Ayah: “And He gave you of all that you asked for” (14:34). And Allah knows best. “Then He rose over (Istawa ila) towards the heaven when it was smoke,” i.e., steam which arose from it when the earth was created. “and said to it and to the earth: “Come both of you willingly or unwillingly.” meaning, ‘respond to My command and be subjected to this action, willingly or unwillingly.’ “They both said: “We come willingly.” meaning, ‘we will respond to You willingly and everything that You want to create in us — angels, Jinn and men — will all be obedient to You.’ “Then He completed and finished their creation (as) seven heavens in two Days” means, He finished forming them as seven heavens in two more days, which were Thursday and Friday. “and He decreed in each heaven its affair.” means, He placed in each heaven whatever it needs of angels and things which are known only unto Him. “And We adorned the nearest (lowest) heaven with lamps” means, the stars and planets which shine on the people of the earth. “as well as to guard.” means, as protection against the Shayatin, lest they listen to the angels on high. “Such is the Decree of Him, the Almighty, the All-Knower” means, the Almighty Who has subjugated all things to His control, the All-Knower Who knows all the movements of His creatures.

{13. But if they turn away, then say: “I have warned you of a Saiqah [thunderbolt of lightening] like the Saiqah which overtook Ad and Thamud.”

14. When the Messengers came to them, from before them and behind them (saying): “Worship none but Allah,” they said: “If our Lord had so willed, He would surely have sent down the angels. So, indeed we disbelieve in that with which you have been sent.”

15. As for Ad, they were arrogant in the land without right, and they said: “Who is mightier than us in strength” See they not that Allah Who created them was mightier in strength than them. And they used to deny Our Ayat!

16. So, We sent upon them a Sarsar wind in days of calamity that We might give them a taste of disgracing torment in this present worldly life. But surely the torment of the Hereafter will be more disgracing, and they will never be helped.

17. And as for Thamud, We showed them the path of truth but they preferred blindness to guidance; so the Saiqah of disgracing torment seized them because of what they used to earn.

18. And We saved those who believed and had Taqwa.}

A Warning to the Disbelievers and a Reminder of the Story of Ad and Thamud

Allah says: ‘Say, O Muhammad, to these idolators who disbelieve in the message of truth that you have brought: If you turn away from that which I have brought to you from Allah, then I warn you of the punishment of Allah like the punishment that the past nations suffered for disbelieving in the Messengers.’ “a Saiqah like the Saiqah which overtook Ad and Thamud.” and other similar nations who did what they did, “When the Messengers came to them, from before them and behind them” This is like the Ayah: “And remember (Hud) the brother of Ad, when he warned his people in Al-Ahqaf. [Curved sand-hills in the southern part of Arabian Peninsula] And surely, there have passed away warners before him and after him” (46:21). which means that in the neighboring towns and cities, Allah sent Messengers who commanded the people to worship Allah Alone with no partner or associate, and they brought good news as well as warnings. They saw the punishment Allah sent upon His enemies, and the blessings which He bestowed upon His friends, yet despite all of this, they did not believe in them. On the contrary, they denied them and rejected them, and said: “If our Lord had so willed, He would surely have sent down the angels.” meaning, if Allah were to send Messengers, they would be angels sent from His presence. “So, indeed we disbelieve in that with which you have been sent.” means, ‘because you are a mere human; we will not follow you because you are just men like us.’ “As for Ad, they were arrogant in the land without right.” means, they were arrogant, stubborn and disobedient. “and they said: “Who is mightier than us in strength” They boasted of their physical strength, and power; they thought that this would protect them from Allah’s punishment. “See they not that Allah Who created them was mightier in strength than them.” means, do they not realize, when they are showing enmity, that He is the Almighty Who created all things and gave them whatever strength they have, and that His onslaught will be far greater This is like the Ayah: “With Hands did We construct the heaven. Verily, We are able to extend the vastness of space thereof.” (51:47) They openly opposed the Almighty and denied His signs and disobeyed His Messenger. Allah said: “So We sent upon them a Sarsar wind”. Some said that this was a strongly blowing wind; others said that it was a cold wind. It was also said that it is the wind that makes a noise. The truth that it was all of these things, for it was a strong wind that was an apt punishment for their being deceived by their physical strength. It was also intensely cold, as Allah says: “with a Sarsar wind!” (69:6), meaning a very cold wind. It also made a furious sound. Additionally, there is a famous river in the east which is called Sarsar because of the noise it makes as it flows. “in days of calamity” means, consecutive days. “seven nights and eight days in succession” (69: 7). This is like the Ayah: “on a day of calamity, continuous” (54:19) i.e., the punishment began on a day which was of evil omen for them, and this evil omen continued for them, “seven nights and eight days in succession” (69:7) until they were destroyed, every last one of them, and their humiliation in this world was joined to their punishment in the Hereafter. Allah says: “that We might give them a taste of disgracing torment in this present worldly life. But surely the torment of the Hereafter will be more disgracing.” meaning, more humiliating for them. “and they will never be helped.” means, in the Hereafter, just as they were never helped in this world, and they had no one who could protect them from Allah or save them from His punishment. “And as for Thamud, We showed them the path of truth” Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, Abu Al-Aliyah, Said bin Jubayr, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd said, “We explained to them. ” (At-Tabari 21:448) Ath-Thawri said, “We called them.” Allah’s saying; “but they preferred blindness to guidance” means, ‘We showed them the truth and made it clear to them through the words of their Prophet Salih, but they opposed him and rejected him, and they slaughtered the she-camel of Allah which He had made a sign for them of the truth of their Prophet.’ “so the Saiqah of disgracing torment seized them” means, Allah sent upon them the Sayhah, earthquake, intense humiliation, punishment and torment. “because of what they used to earn” means, because of their disbelief and rejection. “And We saved those who believed” means, ‘We saved them from among them, and no harm came to them;’ Allah saved them along with His Prophet Salih, peace be upon him, because of their fear of Allah.

{19. And (remember) the Day that the enemies of Allah will be gathered to the Fire, then they will be driven.

20. Till, when they reach it, their hearing (ears) and their eyes and their skins will testify against them as to what they used to do.

21. And they will say to their skins, “Why do you testify against us?” They will say: “Allah has caused us to speak – as He causes all things to speak, and He created you the first time, and to Him you are made to return.”

22. And you have not been hiding yourselves (in the world), lest your ears and your eyes and your skins should testify against you; but you thought that Allah knew not much of what you were doing.

23. And that thought of yours which you thought about your Lord, has brought you to destruction; and you have become of those utterly lost!

24. Then, if they bear the torment patiently, then the Fire is the home for them, and if they seek to please Allah, yet they are not of those who will ever be allowed to please Allah.}

On the Day of Judgement, the Sinners’ Limbs will testify against Them

“And (remember) the Day that the enemies of Allah will be gathered to the Fire, then they will be driven.” means, remind these idolators of the Day when they will be gathered to the Fire and they will be driven, i.e., the keepers of Hell will gather the first of them with the last of them, as Allah says elsewhere: “And We shall drive the criminals to Hell, in a thirsty state” (19:86). “Till, when they reach it,” means, when they stand at its edge, “their hearing (ears) and their eyes and their skins will testify against them as to what they used to do.” means, all their deeds, earlier and later; not a single letter will be concealed. “And they will say to their skins, “Why do you testify against us” they will blame their limbs and their skins when they testify against them, at which point their limbs will answer: “They will say: “Allah has caused us to speak — as He causes all things to speak, and He created you the first time” means, and He cannot be opposed or resisted, and to Him you will return. Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bazzar narrated that Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Messenger of Allah laughed and smiled one day, and said:

“Will you not ask about why I laughed?”

They said, “O Messenger of Allah, why did you laugh” He said:

“I was amazed at how a servant will dispute with his Lord on the Day of Resurrection. He will say, “My Lord, did You not promise me that you would not treat me unjustly” Allah will say, “Yes.” The man will say, “I will not accept any witness against me except from myself.” Allah will say, “Is it not sufficient that I and the angels, the noble scribes, are witnesses” These words will be repeated several times, then a seal will be placed over his mouth and his organs (or limbs) will speak about what he used to do. Then he will say, “Away with you! It was only for your sake that I was arguing!” (Al-Hakim 4:601)

It was recorded by him and Ibn Abi Hatim. (At-Tabari 21:452) It was also recorded by Muslim and An-Nasa’i. (Muslim 4:2280, An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 6:508) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Burdah said that Abu Musa said, “The disbeliever or the hypocrite will be called to account and his Lord will show him his deeds, but he will deny them and say, ‘O Lord, by Your glory, this angel has written about me something that I did not do.’ The angel will say to him, ‘Did you not do such and such on such and such a day in such and such a place’ He will say, ‘No, by Your glory O Lord, I did not do it.’ When he does that, a seal will be placed over his mouth.” Al-Ashari, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “I think that the first part of his body to speak will be his right thigh.” Allah’s saying: “And you have not been hiding yourselves (in the world), lest your ears and your eyes and your skins should testify against you” means, their organs and skins will say to them, when they blame them for testifying against them, ‘you did not hide from us what you used to do, on the contrary, you openly committed disbelief and sin, and you claimed that you did not care, because you did not believe that Allah knew about all your deeds.’ Allah says: “but you thought that Allah knew not much of what you were doing. And that thought of yours which you thought about your Lord, has brought you to destruction” meaning, ‘this evil thought, i.e., your belief that Allah did not know much of what you were doing, is what has caused you to be doomed and has made your losers before your Lord.’ “and you have become of those utterly lost!” means, ‘in the place of Resurrection, you have lost your own selves and your families.’

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “I was hiding beneath the covering of the Kabah, and three men came along — a man from the Quraysh and two of his brothers-in-law from Thaqif, or a man from Thaqif and two of his brothers-in-law from the Quraysh. Their bellies were very fat, and did not have much understanding. They said some words I could not hear, then one of them said, ‘Do you think that Allah can hear what we are saying now?’ The other said, ‘If we raise our voices, He will hear it, but if we do not raise our voices, He will not hear it.’ The other said, ‘If He can hear one thing from us, He can hear everything.’ I mentioned this to the Prophet , then Allah revealed the words: “And you have not been hiding yourselves (in the world), lest your ears and your eyes and your skins should testify against you” until; “of those utterly lost!” (Ahmad 1:381) This is how it was recorded by At-Tirmidhi. (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 9:123) A similar report was also narrated by Ahmad (through a different chain), Muslim and At-Tirmidhi, (Ahmad 1:408, Muslim 4:2142) and Al-Bukhari and Muslim also recorded (a different chain). (Fath Al-Bari 8:424)

“Then, if they bear the torment patiently, then the Fire is the home for them, and if they seek to please Allah, yet they are not of those who will ever be allowed to please Allah.” means, whether they bear it patiently or not, they are in the Fire and they will have no escape or way out from it, and even if they try to please Allah and offer excuses, nothing of that will be accepted from them. Ibn Jarir said, “The meaning of the Ayah, “and if they seek to please Allah,” is: They will ask to go back to this world, but this plea will not be answered. This is like the Ayah: “They will say: “Our Lord! Our wretchedness overcame us, and we were (an) erring people. Our Lord! Bring us out of this. If ever we return (to evil), then indeed we shall be wrongdoers.” He will say: “Remain you in it with ignominy! And speak you not to Me!” (23:106-108). (At-Tabari 21:458)

Tafsir Ibn Kathir Vol 8 (Abridged) Pages 511-533

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Four Types of Tribulation

The tribulation that the servant is afflicted with affects one of four things: himself – either by death or by something less than that; his property; his honour; or his family and those beloved to him. The severest of these is tribulation in oneself.

It is well known that everybody will die and the goal of the believer is that he be martyred in the cause of Allah for that is the most noble of death and the easiest. The martyr will feel the pain of death as if it were but the bite of a flea. Hence, whoever thinks martyrdom to be a tribulation greater than that of death on one’s bed is ignorant. Indeed martyrdom is the easiest form of death, the most noble and exalted; the one who flees from it thinks that through his fleeing his lifespan will increase but Allah has proved this notion false,

“Say: ‘Flight will not benefit you if you try to run away from death or being killed. Then you will enjoin only a short respite” (al-Ahzab 33:16)

Here Allah, Exalted is He, informs us that running away from martyrdom is of no benefit, and even if it were of benefit, that benefit would only be slight for the one fleeing must die, hence this person has missed out on a great deal of good in order to acquire something very slight. Then Allah says,

“Say: ‘Who is going to shield you from Allah if He desires evil for you or desires mercy for you?’ They will find no one to protect or help them besides Allah.” (al-Ahzab 33:17)

This person ran away from death thinking it would be bad for him, but Allah informs him that there is no one who could shield him from Allah, were He to have desired evil for him; indeed he could be fleeing from martyrdom and fall into something much greater.

The same applies to the tribulation of wealth, honour and in body. Whoever is miserly and does not spend in the cause Allah, Allah will take that wealth away from him or restrict it such that he spends it in ways that neither benefit his life in this world nor the Hereafter. If the person hoards wealth, Allah would prevent him from taking pleasure from it, and after his death it will merely be passed on to someone else; hence he will bear its sin and the inheritor will feel the joy of acquiring it. The same applies to one who prefers not to employ his body, weary it and fatigue it many times over, in other than His cause and good pleasure. This is something that man knows though practical experience.

Abu Hazim said, “The one who does not fear Allah, in trying to benefit from his dealing with people, will never attain anything greater than that attained by the one who does fear Allah in his trying to perfect taqwa.’

Consider the case of Ibis, he refused to prostrate to Adam thinking that by doing so he was submitting to him and humiliating himself. He sought to ennoble himself but Allah caused him to become the most despicable creation, a servant to the sinners and transgressors among the progeny of Adam. Consider also the case of the idol-worshippers, they haughtily refused to follow a human Messenger and worship one God, Glorious is He, and instead chose to worship gods made of stone!

The same applies to everyone who refuses to humble himself before Allah, or use what he has in order to please Him, or exert his energies in obedience to Him; inevitably he will humble himself before something that is incomparable to Allah and spend his wealth and energies in trying to please it – by way of punishment. Some of the Salaf would say, ‘Whoever refuses to lift a step in coming to the aid of his brother, Allah will cause him to lift many steps in disobeying Him.’

Now in order to complete this discussion, we will mention the actual goal that is desired of one; all that has preceded is merely a means to attaining this goal. The goal is the love of Allah, Glorious is He, taking comfort and solace with Him. This is the essence of the religion and essence of ones deeds and desires. Cognisance of Allah, knowledge of His Names, Attributes and Actions are from the greatest of objectives; worshipping Him is the most noble deed; praising Him through His Names and Attributes and glorifying Him is the most noble speech; and all of this constitutes the foundation of the upright and sound religion, the religion of Ibrahim, peace be upon him,. Allah, Exalted is He, says to His Messenger,

“Follow the religion of Ibrahim, a man of pure and natural belief. He was not of the polytheists.” (an-Nahl 16:123)

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, would advise his Companions to say upon awakening,

“We have awoken upon the pure natural way of Islam; upon the statement of sincerity; the religion of our Prophet, Muhammad, the religion of our father, Ibrahim, the devout Muslim who was not of the polytheists.”

This is the reality behind the testification that none has the right to be worshipped save Allah, it is upon this that the religion of Islam is constructed, this is the religion of all the Prophets and Messengers and there is no other religion which Allah will accept.

“If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted of him and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers.” (Ali Imran 3:85)

Trials and Tribulations: Wisdom and Benefits (Note that this extract is taken from Aid for the Yearning One in Resisting Shaytan) Imam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah Pages 52-56

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The Trials of Conformity

Man is a social creature, he must live amongst other people. People all posses intent, imagination and beliefs, as such they will require him to conform to these. If he does not agree with them they will harm or punish him, if he does agree with them he will harmed of punished via other means. Man must co-exist with the men and he will always be in a state of conforming with them or opposing them. In agreeing with them lies punishment if what is agreed upon is false and opposing them lies punishment; however there is no doubt that the pain that results from opposing them in their falsehood is lighter and easier to bear that the pain that will result from conforming with them.

So whoever is asked to conform to another in oppression, sin, false witness or the likes, let him reflect on this principle. He knows that if he does conform, he will be harmed, but he also knows that the final end victory is for him if he shows sabr and taqwa; if he does not conform, he may well be saved from punishment but soon to follow it will be a punishment greater than that which he sought to avoid!

Understanding this principle is one of the most beneficial things; a small amount of punishment would be followed by never-ending delight and felicity and a small amount of relief and pleasure could be followed by eternal punishment. Allah is the One who grants accord.

Trials and Tribulations: Wisdom and Benefits (Note that this extract is taken from Aid for the Yearning One in Resisting Shaytan) Imam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah Pages 51-52

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Trials Reveal Who Is Best In Deed

Allah, Glorious is He, created the heavens and the earth and created life and death. He adorned the earth with what it contains in order to try His servants and examine them so that He could know those who desire what lies with Him as opposed to those who desire this world and its possessions.

“It is He Who created the heavens and the earth in six days when His Throne was on water, in order to test which of you has the best deeds.” (Hud 11:7)

“We made everything on the earth adornment for it so that We could test them to see what deeds are best.” (al-Kahf 18:7)

“He who created death and life to test which of you is best in deed.” (al-Mulk 67:2)

“We test you with both good and evil as a trial; and you will be returned to Us.” (al-Anbiya 21:35)

“We will test you until We know the true fighters among you and those who are steadfast and test what is reported of you.” (Muhammad 47:31)

“Alif Lam Mim. Do people think that they will be left to say, ‘We believe and will not be tested? We tested those before them so that Allah would know the truthful and who know the liars.” (al-Ankabut 29:1-3)

When Messengers are sent to them, people fall into one of two categories – believer and disbeliever, both are tried. As for the believer, he will necessarily undergo trial and tribulation so that is becomes clear as to whether he is truthful in his claim or not. If he is not truthful, he will turn on his heels and flee from tribulation. If he is truthful, he will remain firm and the tribulation will serve to increase him in faith. Allah, Exalted is he, says,

“When the believers saw the confederates they said, ‘This is what Allah and His Messenger promised us. Allah and His Messenger told us the truth.’ It only increased them in faith and submission.” (al-Ahzab 33:22)

As for the believer, he will be tried in the Hereafter with the punishment. Everyone will face tribulation in this life, in the Barzakh and on the Day of Judgement; however the tribulation faced by the believer is relatively less than that of the disbeliever. Allah allows the believer to bear the tribulation by virtue of his faith and nourishes him with sabr, firmness (thabat), rida and acceptance such as would lighten the burden of tribulation. As for the disbeliever, the hypocrite and sinner, tribulation weighs down heavily on them and stretches on. Therefore the tribulation faced by the believer is light and short whereas the tribulation faced by the disbeliever is burdensome and prolonged.

Trials and Tribulations: Wisdom and Benefits (Note that this extract is taken from Aid for the Yearning One in Resisting Shaytan) Imam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah Pages 48-51

 

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