Surah Ar-Rad Ayat 1-13

Surah A-Rad (The Thunder) 

Chapter 13

Which was Revealed in Makkah


{1. Alif Lam-Mim Ra. These are the verses of the Book (the Qur’an), and that which has been revealed unto you from your Lord is the truth, but most men believe not.}

The Quran is Allah’s Qalam (Speech)

We talked before, in the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah (chapter 2) about the meaning of the letters that appear in the beginnings of some chapters in the Qur’an. We stated that every Surah that starts with separate letters, affirms that the Qur’an is miraculous and is an evidence that it is a revelation from Allah, and that there is no doubt or denying in this fact. This is why Allah said next,“These are the verses of the Book”, the Qur’an, which Allah described afterwards,“and that which has been revealed unto you”, O Muhammad,“from your Lord is the truth” Allah said next,“but most men believe not.” just as He said in another Ayah,“And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly.” (12:103) Allah declares that even after this clear, plain and unequivocal explanation (the Qur’an), most men will still not believe, due to their rebellion, stubbornness and hypocrisy.

{2. Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that you can see. Then, He rose above (Istawa) the Arsh [Throne]. He has subjected the sun and the moon, each running (its course) for a term appointed. He manages and regulates all affairs; He explains the Ayat in detail, that you may believe with certainty in the meeting with your Lord.}

Clarifying Allah’s Perfect Ability

Allah mentions His perfect ability and infinite authority, since it is He Who has raised the heavens without pillars by His permission and order. He, by His leave, order and power, has elevated the heavens high above the earth, distant and far away from reach. The heaven nearest to the present world encompasses the earth from all directions, and is also high above it from every direction. The distance between the first heaven and the earth is five hundred years from every direction, and its thickness is also five hundred years. The second heaven surrounds the first heaven from every direction, encompassing everything that the latter carries, with a thickness also of five hundred years and a distance between them of five hundred years. The same is also true about the third, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth and the seventh heavens. Allah said,“It is Allah who has created seven heavens and of the earth the like thereof.” (65:12) Allah said next,“..without any pillars that you can see.” meaning, ‘there are pillars, but you cannot see them,’ according to Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, and several other scholars. (At-Tabari 16:324) Iyas bin Muawiyah said, “The heaven is like a dome over the earth,” meaning, without pillars. (At-Tabari 16:324) Similar was reported from Qatadah, and this meaning is better for this part of the Ayah, (At-Tabari 16:324) 16:325) especially since Allah said in another Ayah,“He withholds the heaven from falling on the earth except by His permission.” (22:65) Therefore, Allah’s statement,“..that you can see”, affirms that there are no pillars. Rather, the heaven is elevated (above the earth) without pillars, as you see. This meaning best affirms Allah’s ability and power.

Al-Istawa, Rising Above the Throne

Allah said next,“Then, He rose above (Istawa) the Throne.” We explained the meaning of the Istawa’ in Surat Al-Araf (7:54), and stated that it should be accepted as it is without altering, equating, annulling its meaning, or attempts to explain its true nature. Allah is glorified and praised from all that they attribute to Him.

Allah subjected the Sun and the Moon to rotate continuously

Allah said,”He has subjected the sun and the moon, each running (its course) for a term appointed.” It was said that the sun and the moon continue their course until they cease doing so upon the commencement of the Final Hour, as Allah stated,“And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term (appointed).” (36:38) It was also said that the meaning is: until they settle under the Throne of Allah after passing the other side of the earth. So when they, and the rest of the planetary bodies reach there, they are at the furthest distance from the Throne. Because according to the correct view, which the texts prove, it is shaped like a domb, under which is all of the creation. It is not circular like the celestial bodies, because it has pillars by which it is carried. (See Surat Ghafir 40:7) This fact is clear to those who correctly understand the Ayat and authentic Hadiths. All the (praise is due to) Allah and all the favors are from Him.

Allah mentioned the sun and the moon here because they are among the brightest seven heavenly objects. Therefore, if Allah subjected these to His power, then it is clear that He has also subjected all other heavenly objects. Allah said in other Ayat,“Prostrate yourselves not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate yourselves to Allah Who created them, if you (really) worship Him.)” (41:37) and,“And (He created) the sun, the moon, the stars subjected to His command. Surely, His is the creation and commandment. Blessed is Allah, the Lord of all that exists!” (7:54)

Allah’s statement next,“He explains the Ayat in detail, that you may believe with certainty in the Meeting with your Lord.” means, He explains the signs and clear evidences that testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him. These evidences prove that He will resurrect creation if He wills, just as He started it.

{3. And it is He Who spread out the earth, and placed therein firm mountains and rivers and of every kind of fruit. He made Zawjayn Ithnayn (two in pairs). He brings the night as a cover over the day. Verily, in these things, there are Ayat (signs) for people who reflect.  

4. And in the earth are neighboring tracts, and gardens of vines, and green crops (fields), and date palms, growing into two or three from a single stem root, or otherwise, watered with the same water; yet some of them We make more excellent than others to eat. Verily, in these things there are Ayat (signs) for the people who understand.}

Allah’s Signs on the Earth

After Allah mentioned the higher worlds, He started asserting His power, wisdom and control over the lower parts of the world. Allah said,“And it is He Who spread out the earth” made it spacious in length and width. Allah has placed on the earth firm mountains and made rivers, springs and water streams run through it, so that the various kinds of fruits and plants of every color, shape, taste and scent are watered with this water,“and of every kind of fruit He made Zawjayn Ithnayn.”, two types from every kind of fruit,“He brings the night as a cover over the day.”

Allah made the day and night pursue each other, when one is about to depart, the other overcomes it, and vice versa. Allah controls time just as He controls space and matter,“Verily, in these things, there are Ayat for people who reflect.” who reflect on Allah’s signs and the evidences of His wisdom.

Allah said,“And in the earth are neighbouring tracts,” Meaning, next to each other, some of them are fertile and produce what benefits people, while others are dead, salty and do not produce anything. This meaning was collected from Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Said bin Jubayr, Ad-Dahhak and several others. (At-Tabari 16:331-333) This also covers the various colours and types of diverse areas on the earth; some red, some white, or yellow, or black, some are stony, or flat, or sandy, or thick, or thin, all made to neighbour each other while preserving their own qualities. All this indicates the existence of the Creator Who does what He wills, there is no deity or lord except Him. Allah said next,“and gardens of vines, and green crops (fields), and date palms…” Allah’s statement, next,“Sinwanun wa (or) Ghayru Sinwan.” Sinwan’ means, growing into two or three from a single stem, such as figs, pomegranate and dates. Ghayru Sinwan’ means, having one stem for every tree, as is the case with most plants. From this meaning, the paternal uncle is called one’s Sinw’ of his father. There is an authentic Hadith that states that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to Umar bin Al-Khattab,”Do you not know that man’s paternal uncle is the Sinw of his father?” (Muslim 2:677)

Allah said next,“watered with the same water; yet some of them We make more excellent than others to eat.” Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, commented on Allah’s statement,“yet some of them We make more excellent than others to eat.”“The Dagal, [These are different dates] the Persian, the sweet, the bitter…” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:544)  At-Tirmidhi collected this Hadith and said, “Hasan Gharib.” Therefore, there are differences between plants and fruits with regards to shape, colour, taste, scent, blossoms and the shape of their leaves. There are plants that are very sweet or sour, bitter or mild, fresh; some plants have a combination of these attributes, and the taste then changes and becomes another taste, by Allah’s will. There is also some that are yellow in colour, or red, or white, or black, or blue, and the same can be said about their flowers; and all these variances and complex diversities are watered by the same water. Surely, in this there are signs for those who have sound reasoning, and surely, all this indicates the existence of the Creator Who does what He wills and Whose power made distinctions between various things and created them as He wills. So Allah said,“Verily, in these things there are Ayat for the people who understand.”

{5. And if you wonder, then wondrous is their saying: “When we are dust, shall we indeed then be (raised) in a new creation” They are those who disbelieved in their Lord! They are those who will have iron chains linking their hands to their necks. They will be dwellers of the Fire to abide therein forever.}

Denying Resurrection after death, is Strange

Allah says to His Messenger Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him,“And if you wonder.” at the rejection of the polytheists who deny Resurrection, even though they witness Allah’s signs and evidences that He made in His creation which testify that He is able to do everything. Yet, they admit that Allah originated the creation of all things and brought them into existence after they were nothing. However, they deny Allah’s claim that He will resurrect the world anew, even though they admit to what is more amazing than what they deny and reject. Therefore, it is amazing that they said,“When we are dust, shall we indeed then be (raised) in a new creation”

It is an obvious fact to every sane and knowledgeable person that creating the heavens and earth is a greater feat than creating men, and that He Who has originated creation is more able to resurrect it anew,“Do they not see that Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, and was not wearied by their creation, is able to give life to the dead? Yes, He surely is able to do all things” (46:33) Allah described those who deny Resurrection,“They are those who disbelieved in their Lord! They are those who will have iron chains linking their hands to their necks.” They will be dragged in the Fire by these chains,“They will be dwellers of the Fire to abide therein forever.”, for they will remain in Hell forever and will never escape it or be removed from it.

{6. They ask you to hasten the evil before the good, while exemplary punishments have indeed occurred before them. But verily, your Lord is full of forgiveness for mankind, in spite of their wrongdoing. And verily, your Lord is (also) severe in punishment.}

The Disbelievers ask for the Punishment to be delivered now!

Allah said,“They ask you to hasten”, in reference to the disbelievers,“the evil before the good” meaning, the punishment. Allah said in other Ayat that they said,“And they say: “O you to whom the Dhikr (the Qur’an) has been sent down! Verily, you are a mad man! Why do you not bring angels to us if you are of the truthful” We send not the angels down except with the truth (i.e. for torment), and in that case, they (the disbelieves) would have no respite!” (15:6-8), and two Ayat;“And they ask you to hasten on the torment!” (29:53-54) Allah also said,“A questioner asked concerning a torment about to befall.” (70:1),“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.” (42:18), and,“They say: “Our Lord! Hasten to us Qittana.” (38:16), meaning, our due torment and reckoning. Allah said that they also supplicated,“And (remember) when they said: “O Allah! If this (the Qur’an) is indeed the truth from You.” (8:32)

They were such rebellious, stubborn disbelievers that they asked the Messenger to bring them Allah’s torment. Allah replied,“while exemplary punishments have indeed occurred before them.” Meaning, ‘We have exerted Our punishment on the previous disbelieving nations, and made them a lesson and example for those who might take heed from their destruction.’

If it was not for His forbearance and forgiveness, Allah would have indeed punished them sooner. Allah said in another Ayah,“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) Allah said in this honorable Ayah,“But verily, your Lord is full of forgiveness for mankind in spite of their wrongdoing.”

He is full of forgiveness, pardoning and covering the mistakes of people, in spite of their wrongdoing and the errors committed night and day. Allah next reminds that His punishment is severe, so that fear and hope are both addressed and mentioned. Allah said in other Ayat,“If they belie you, say: “Your Lord is the Owner of vast mercy, and never will His wrath be turned back from the people who are criminals.” (6:147) “Verily, your Lord is quick in retribution and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (7:167), and,“Declare unto My servants that truly I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful. And that My torment is indeed the most painful torment.” (15:49-50) There are many other Ayat that mention both fear and hope.

{7. And the disbelievers say: “Why is not a sign sent down to him from his Lord?” You are only a warner, and to every people there is a guide.}

The Idolators ask for a Miracle

Allah states that out of their disbelief and stubbornness, the idolators asked why is not a miracle sent down to the Messenger from his Lord, just like the earlier Messengers For instance, the disbelievers were being stubborn when they asked the Prophet to turn As-Safa into gold, to remove the mountains from around them, and to replace them with green fields and rivers. Allah said,“And nothing stops Us from sending the Ayat but that the people of old denied them.” (17:59) Allah said here,“You are only a warner”, and your duty is only to convey Allah’s Message which He has ordered you,“Not upon you is their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills.” (2:272) Allah said;“And to every people there is a guide.” meaning that for every people there has been a caller, according to Ibn Abbas and as narrated from him by Ali bin Abi Talhah. (At-Tabari 16:357) Allah said in a similar Ayah, “And there never was a nation but a warner had passed among them.” (35:24) Similar has reported from Qatadah and Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd. (At-Tabari 16:356)

{8. Allah knows what every female bears, and by how much the wombs fall short (of their time or number) or exceed. Everything with Him is in (due) proportion. 

9. All-Knower of the unseen and the seen, the Most Great, the Most High.}

Allah is All-Knower of Al-Ghayb (Unseen)

Allah affirms His perfect knowledge, from which nothing is hidden, and that He has complete knowledge of whatever every female creature is carrying,“And He knows that which is in the wombs.” (31:34), whether male or female, fair or ugly, miserable or happy, whether it will have a long or a short life. Allah said in other Ayat,“He knows you well when He created you from the earth, and when you were fetuses.” (53:32), and,“He creates you in the wombs of your mother: creation after creation in three veils of darkness.” (39:6) meaning stage after stage. Allah also said,“And indeed We created man out of an extract of clay. Thereafter We made him as a Nutfah in a safe lodging. Then We made the Nutfah into a clot, then We made the clot into a little lump of flesh, then We made out of that little lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, and then We brought it forth as another creation. So Blessed is Allah, the Best of creators.” (23:12-14)

In the two Sahihs it is recorded that Abdullah bin Masud said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah  be upon him, said,

“The matter of the creation of one of you is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allah sends an angel who is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his provisions, his life span, his deeds, and whether he will be blessed or wretched.” (Fath Al-Bari 11:486, Muslim 4:2036)

In another Hadith, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Then the angel asks, “O my Lord! Is it a male or a female, miserable or happy, what is its provisions and life span” Allah then ordains and the angel records it.” (Fath Al-Bari 11:486, Muslim 4:2038)

Allah said next,“and by how much the wombs fall short or exceed.” Al-Bukhari recorded that Abdullah bin Umar said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“The Keys of the Ghayb (unseen knowledge) are five, nobody knows them but Allah. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow except Allah; nobody knows what is in the womb except Allah; nobody knows when it will rain except Allah; no soul knows at what place he will die except Allah; and nobody knows when the (Final) Hour will begin except Allah.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:225)

Al-Awfi reported from Ibn Abbas that he said,”and by how much the wombs fall short”, this refers to miscarriages,“or exceed”, this refers to carrying her fetus in her womb for the full term. Some women carry their fetus for ten months, while others for nine months. Some terms are longer or shorter than others. This is the falling short or exceeding that Allah the Exalted mentioned, and all this occurs by His knowledge.”(At-Tabari 16:359)

Qatadah commented on Allah’s statement,“Everything with Him is in proportion.” “For a term appointed. Allah has the records of the provisions and terms of His creation and made an appointed term for everything.” An authentic Hadith mentioned that one of the Prophet’s daughters sent (a messenger) to him requesting him to come as her child was dying, but the Prophet returned the messenger and told him to say to her,

“Verily, whatever Allah takes is for Him and whatever He gives is for Him, and everything with Him has a limited fixed term (in this world), and so she should be patient and hope for Allah’s reward.” (Fath Al-Bari 11:502)

Allah said next,“All-Knower of the Ghayb (the unseen) and the Shahadah (the witnessable)” Who knows everything that the servants see and all what they cannot see, and none of it ever escapes His knowledge,“the Most Great”, greater than everything,“the Most High.” above everything,“(Allah) surrounds all things in (His) knowledge.” (65:12), and has full power over all things, the necks are under His control and the servants are subservient to Him, willingly or unwillingly.

{10. It is the same (to Him) whether any of you conceals his speech or declares it openly, whether he be hid by night or goes forth freely by day. 

11. For him (each person), there are angels in succession, before and behind him. They guard him by the command of Allah. Verily, Allah will not change the (good) condition of a people as long as they do not change their state (of goodness) themselves. But when Allah wills a people’s punishment, there can be no turning it back, and they will find besides Him no protector.}

Allah’s Knowledge encompasses all Things Apparent and Hidden

Allah declares that His knowledge is encompassing all of His creation, those who declare their speech or hide it, He hears it and nothing of it ever escapes His observation. Allah said in other Ayat,“And if you speak aloud, then verily, He knows the secret and that which is yet more hidden.” (20:7), and,“And (Allah) knows what you conceal and what you reveal.”

A’ishah said, “All praise is due to Allah Whose hearing has encompassed all voices! By Allah, she who came to complain about her husband to the Messenger of Allah was speaking while I was in another part of the room, yet I did not hear some of what she said. Allah sent down,“Indeed Allah has heard the statement of her that disputes with you concerning her husband and complains to Allah. And Allah hears the argument between you both. Verily, Allah is All-Hearer, All-Seer.” (58:1) (Al-Bukhari 7385)

Allah said next,“whether he be hid by night”, in his house in the darkness of the night,“or goes forth freely by day.” moves about during the daylight; both are encompassed by Allah’s knowledge. Allah said in other Ayat,“Surely, even when they cover themselves with their garments.” (11:5), and,“Neither you do any deed nor recite any portion of the Qur’an nor you do any deed, but We are witness thereof when you are doing it. And nothing is hidden from your Lord (so much as) the a speck of dust on the earth or in the heaven. Not what is less than that or what is greater than that but is (written) in a Clear Record.” (10:61)

The Guardian Angels

Allah said next,“For him (each person), there are angels in succession, before and behind him. They guard him by the command of Allah.” Allah states that there are angels who take turns guarding each servant, some by night and some by day. These angels protect each person from harm and accidents. There are also angels who take turns recording the good and evil deeds, some angels do this by day and some by night. There are two angels, one to the right and one to the left of each person, recording the deeds. The angel to the right records the good deeds, while the angel to the left records the evil deeds. There are also two angels that guard and protect each person, one from the back and one from in front. Therefore, there are four angels that surround each person by day and they are replaced by four others at night, two scribes and two guards. An authentic Hadith states,

“Angels take turns around you, some at night and some by day, and all of them assemble together at the time of the Fajr and Asr prayers. Then those who have stayed with you throughout the night, ascend to Allah Who asks them, and He knows the answer better than they about you, “How have you left My servants?” They reply, “As we have found them praying, we have left them praying.” (Fath Al-Bari 13:426)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Verily, every one among you has his companion from the Jinn and his companion from the angels.”

They said, “And you too, O Allah’s Messenger?” He said,

“And I too, except that Allah has helped me against him, so he only orders me to do good.” (Ahmad 1:401)

Muslim collected this Hadith. (Muslim no. 2814) Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Ibrahim said, “Allah revealed to a Prophet from among the Children of Israel, ‘Say to your nation: every people of a village or a house who used to obey Allah but changed their behavior to disobeying Him, then He will take away from them what they like and exchange it for what they dislike.” Ibrahim next said that this statement has proof in Allah’s Book,“Verily, Allah will not change the (good) condition of a people as long as they do not change their state (of goodness) themselves.”

{12. It is He Who shows you the lightning, as a fear and as a hope. And it is He Who brings up the clouds, heavy (with water). 

13. And Ar-Ra’d (thunder) glorifies and praises Him, and so do the angels because of His awe. He sends the thunderbolts, and therewith He strikes whom He wills, yet they (disbelievers) dispute about Allah. And He is Mighty in strength and Severe in punishment.}

Clouds, Thunder and Lightning are Signs of Allah’s Power

Allah states that He has full power over Al-Barq (lightning), which is the bright light that originates from within clouds. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn Abbas once wrote to Abu Al-Jald asking about the meaning of Al-Barq, and he said that it is water. (At-Tabari 16:387) Qatadah commented on Allah’s statement,“as a fear and as a hope.” “Fear for travelers, for they feel afraid of its harm and hardship, and hope for residents, awaiting its blessing and benefit and anticipating Allah’s provisions.” Allah said next,“And it is He Who brings up the clouds, heavy.” meaning, He originates the clouds that are heavy and close to the ground because of being laden with rain.  Mujahid said that this part of the Ayah is about clouds that are heavy with rain. (At-Tabari 16:388) Allah’s statement,“And Ar-Rad (thunder) glorifies and praises Him”, is similar to His other statement, “And there is not a thing but glorifies His praise.” (17:44)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibrahim bin Sad said, “My father told me that he was sitting next to Hamid bin Abdur Rahman in the Masjid. A man from the tribe of Ghifar passed and Hamid sent someone to him to please come to them. When he came, Hamid said to me, ‘My nephew! Make space for him between me and you, for he had accompanied Allah’s Messenger .’ When that man came, he sat between me and Hamid and Hamid said to him, ‘What was the Hadith that you narrated to me from the Messenger of Allah? ‘ He said, ‘A man from Ghifar said that he heard the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, say,

“Verily, Allah originates the clouds, and they speak in the most beautiful voice and laugh in the most beautiful manner.” (Ahmad 5:435)

It appears, and Allah has the best knowledge, that the cloud’s voice is in reference to thunder and its laughter is the lightning. Musa bin Ubaydah narrated that Sad bin Ibrahim said, “Allah sends the rain and indeed, none has a better smile than it, nor more comforting voice. Its smile is lightning and its voice is thunder.”

Supplicating to Allah upon hearing Ar-Rad (Thunder)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Salim bin Abdullah narrated that his father said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to say upon hearing the thunder and thunderbolts,

“O Allah! Do not kill us with Your anger, nor destroy us with Your torment, and save us before that.” (Ahmad 2:100)

This Hadith was recorded by At-Tirmidhi, Al-Bukhari in his book Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, An-Nasa’i in Amal Al-Yawm wal-Laylah, and Al-Hakim in Al-Mustadrak. (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 9:412, Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 187, An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 6:230, Al-Hakim 4:286) When Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr used to hear thunder, he would stop talking and would supplicate, “All praise is to He Whom Ar-Rad (thunder) glorifies and praises, and so do the angels because of His awe.” He would then say, “This is a stern warning to the people of earth.” Malik collected this Hadith in Al-Muwatta‘, and Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad. (Al-Muwatta 2:992, Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad no 724)  Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Your Lord, the Exalted and Most High, said, ‘Had My servants obeyed Me, I would have given them rain by night and the sun by day, and would not have made them hear the sound of the Rad (thunder).” (Ahmad 2:359)

Allah’s statement,“He sends the thunderbolts, and therewith He strikes whom He wills” indicates that He sends thunderbolts as punishment upon whom He wills, and this is why thunderbolts increase as time comes to an end.

Al-Hafiz Abu Al-Qasim At-Tabarani narrated that Ibn Abbas said that Arbad bin Qays bin Juzu’ bin Julayd bin Jafar bin Kulab, and Amir bin At-Tufayl bin Malik came to Al-Madinah to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and sat where he was sitting. Amir bin At-Tufayl said, “O Muhammad! What will you give me if I embrace Islam?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“You will have the rights and duties of all Muslims.”

Amir bin At-Tufayl said, “Will you make me your successor if I embrace Islam?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“That is not your right, nor your people’s right. However, I could appoint you a commander of the horsemen (i.e., war).”

Amir said, “I am already the commander of the horsemen of Najd (in the north of Arabia). Give me control over the desert and you keep the cities.” The Messenger of Allah refused. When these two men were leaving the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, Amir said, “By Allah! I will fill it (Al-Madinah) with horses and men (hostile to Muslims).” The Messenger of Allah replied,

“Rather, Allah will prevent you.”

When Amir and Arbad left, Amir said, “O Arbad! I will keep Muhammad busy while talking to him, so you can strike him with the sword. Verily, if you kill Muhammad, the people (Muslims) will agree to take blood money and will hate to wage war over his murder. Then we will give them the blood money.” Arbad said, “I will do that,” and they went back to the Messenger . Amir said, “O Muhammad! Stand next to me so that I can talk to you.” The Messenger stood up, and they both stood next to a wall talking to each other. Arbad wanted to grab his sword, but his hand froze when it touched the sword’s handle and he could not take the sword out of its sheath. Arbad did not strike the Messenger as Amir suggested, and the Messenger of Allah looked at Arbad and realized what he was doing, so he departed. When Arbad and Amir left the Messenger of Allah and arrived at Al-Harrah of Waqim area, they dismounted from their horses. However, Sad bin Muadh and Usayd bin Hudayr came out saying, “Come, O enemies of Allah! May Allah curse you.” Amir asked, “Who is this with you, O Sad?” Sad said, “This is Usayd bin Hudayr.” They fled until they reached the Riqm area, where Allah struck Arbad with a bolt of lightning and he met his demise. As for Amir, he went on until he reached the Kharim area, where Allah sent an open ulcer that struck him. During that night, Amir took refuge in a woman’s house, from Banu Salul. Amir kept touching his open ulcer and saying, “An ulcer as big as a camel’s hump, while I am at the house of a woman from Bani Salul, seeking to bring my death in her house!” He rode his horse, but he died while riding it headed to his area. Allah sent down these Ayat (13:8-11) in their case,“Allah knows what every female bears” until,“..and they will find besides Him no protector.”

Ibn Abbas commented, “The angels in succession, guard Muhammad, peace be upon him, by the command of Allah.” He next mentioned the demise of Arbad by Allah’s command, reciting this Ayah,“He sends the thunderbolts’‘ (At-Tabarani 10:379-381) Allah said next,“yet they (disbelievers) dispute about Allah.” they doubt Allah’s greatness and that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him,“And He is Mighty in strength and Severe in punishment.”

Allah’s torment is severe against those who rebel against Him, defy Him and persist in disbelief, according to the Tafsir of Ibn Jarir At-Tabari. (At-Tabari 16:394) There is a similar Ayah in the Qur’an,“So they plotted a plot, and We planned a plan, while they perceived not. Then see how was the end of their plot! Verily, We destroyed them and their nation all together.” (27:50-51) Ali bin Abi Talib said that,“And He is Mighty in strength and Severe in punishment (Al-Mihal)”, means, His punishment is severe. (At-Tabari 16:396)

Tafsir Ibn Kathir Abridged (Vol 5) pages 230-254

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