Surah Al-Khaf Ayat 30-49

{30. Verily, as for those who believed and did righteous deeds, certainly We shall not make the reward of anyone to be lost who does his (righteous) deeds in the most perfect manner. 

31. These! For them will be Jannatu Adn; wherein rivers flow beneath them; therein they will be adorned with bracelets of gold, and they will wear green garments of Sundus and Istabraq. They will be Muttaki’in therein on Ara’ik. How good is the reward, and what an excellent Murtafaq!}

The Reward of those Who believe and do Righteous Deeds

When Allah mentions the state of those who are doomed, He follows that by mentioning the blessed who believed in Allah and believed what His Messengers brought, those who did the righteous deeds that they commanded them to do. They will have Jannatu Adn. Adn means lasting. “wherein rivers flow beneath them” means, from beneath its rooms and dwellings. Firawn said: “and these rivers flowing beneath me…” (43:51) “they will be adorned” means, with jewelry. “with bracelets of gold,” Allah says elsewhere: “and pearls and their garments therein will be of silk” (22:23). This is explained in more detail here, where Allah says: “and they will wear green garments of Sundus and Istabraq.” Sundus refers to a fine garment, like a shirt and the like, and Istabraq is thick and shiny velvet. “They will be Muttaki’in therein on Ara’ik.” The word Muttaki’in implies lying down, or it was said that it means sitting with one’s legs crossed, which is closer to the meaning here. In a Sahih Hadith, the Prophet said:

“As for me, I do not eat sitting with legs crossed (Muttaki’an)”. (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 5:557)

Ara’ik is the plural of Arikah, which is a bed under a canopy. And Allah knows best.

“How good is the reward, and what an excellent place of rest (Murtafaq)!” means, how blessed is Paradise as a reward for their good deeds. And what an excellent Murtafaq means, and how good a place to dwell and rest and stay. Previously, Allah had said of Hell, “Terrible is the drink, and an evil place of rest (Murtafaq)!” (18:29). In a similar way, He contrasts the two (Paradise and Hell) in Surat Al-Furqan, where He says: “Evil indeed it (Hell) is as an abode, and as a place to rest in.” (25:66). Then He mentions the qualities of the believers, then says: “Those will be rewarded with the highest place because of their patience. Therein they shall be met with greetings and the word of peace and respect. Abiding therein excellent it is as an abode, and as a place to rest in.” (25:75-76)

{32. And put forward to them the example of two men: unto one of them We had given two gardens of grapes, and We had surrounded both with date palms; and had put between them green crops (cultivated fields). 

33. Each of those two gardens brought forth its produce, and failed not in the least therein, and We caused a river to gush forth in the midst of both. 

34. And he had Thamar, and he said to his companion in the course of discussion: “I am greater than you in wealth and have a mightier entourage.” 

35. And he went into his garden while having been unjust to himself. He said: “I do not think that this will ever perish.” 

36. “And I do not think the Hour will ever come, and if indeed I am brought back to my Lord, I surely, shall find better than this when I return to Him.”}

The Example of the Rich Idolators and the Poor Muslims

After mentioning the idolators who were too arrogant to sit with the poor and weak among Muslims, showing off before them with their wealth and noble lineage, Allah then gives a parable for them of two men, one of whom Allah gave two gardens of grapes, surrounded with palm trees and cultivated with crops throughout. All of the trees and plants were abundantly fruitful, providing readily accessible, good quality produce. Allah says: “Each of those two gardens brought forth its produce” meaning, produced its fruits, “and failed not in the least therein” meaning, nothing at all was diminishing. “and We caused a river to gush forth in the midst of both.” means, rivers were flowing through them here and there. “And he had Thamar,” It was said that what was meant here was wealth, and it was said that what was meant were fruits, which is the more apparent meaning here. This is also supported by the alternative recitation, Thumr, which is the plural of Thamrah (fruit) just as Khushb is the plural of Khashab (wood). Others recite it as Thamar. (At-tabari 18:21)  “and he said” the owner of the two gardens “to his companion in the course of discussion” means, while he was disputing with him and boasting to him and showing off, “I am greater than you in wealth and have a mightier entourage” meaning, ‘I have more servants, attendants and children.’ Qatadah said, “This, by Allah, is the wish of the immoral to have a lot of wealth and a large entourage.” (At-Tabari 18:22) “And he went into his garden having been unjust to himself.” meaning, in his disbelief, rebellion, arrogance and denial of the Hereafter. “He said: “I do not think this will ever perish.” Thus he was allowing himself to be deceived because of the plants, fruits and trees that he saw, and the rivers flowing through the different parts of his gardens. He thought that it could never come to an end or cease or be destroyed. This was because of his lack of understanding and the weakness of his faith in Allah, and because he was enamored with this world and its adornments, and because he disbelieved in the Hereafter. So he said: “And I do not think the Hour will ever come…” meaning, will ever happen “and if indeed I am brought back to my Lord, I surely shall find better than this when I return to Him.” meaning, ‘if there is a Hereafter and a return to Allah, then I will have a better share than this with my Lord, for if it were not that I am dear to Him, He would not have given me all this.’ As Allah says elsewhere: “But if I am brought back to my Lord, surely there will be for me the best with Him.” (41:50) “Have you seen him who disbelieved in Our Ayat and said: “I shall certainly be given wealth and children (if I will be alive again).” (19:77) He took it for granted that Allah would give him this, without any sound evidence for that. The reason why this Ayah was revealed was because of Al-As bin Wa’il, as we will explain in the appropriate place, if Allah wills. In Allah we put our trust.

{37. His companion said to him during his discussion: “Do you disbelieve in Him Who created you out of dust, then out of Nutfah*, then fashioned you into a man?” 

38. “But as for my part, (I believe) that He is Allah, my Lord, and none shall I associate as partner with my Lord.” 

39. “It was better for you to say, when you entered your garden: ‘That which Allah wills! There is no power but with Allah!’ If you see me less than you in wealth, and children,” 

40. “It may be that my Lord will give me something better than your garden, and will send on it Husban from the sky, then it will be as a barren slippery earth.” 

41. “Or the water thereof becomes Ghawran so that you will never be able to seek it.”}

(* A drop of sperm. Usually used to refer to the mixture of the male and female discharge)

The Response of the Poor Believer

Allah tells us how the rich man’s believing companion replied to him, warning and rebuking him for his disbelief in Allah and allowing himself to be deceived. “Do you disbelieve in Him Who created you out of dust…?” This is a denunciation, pointing out the seriousness of his rejection of his Lord Who created and formed man out of dust – that is, refering to Adam – then made his offspring from despised liquid, as Allah says: “How can you disbelieve in Allah Seeing that you were dead and He gave you life?” (2:28) meaning, how can you reject your Lord and His clear signs to you, which every one recognizes in himself, for there is no one among His creatures who does not know that he was nothing, then he came to be, and his existence is not due to himself or any other creature. He knows that his existence is due to his Creator, beside Whom there is no other god, the Creator of all things. So the believer said: “But as for my part, (I believe) that He is Allah, my Lord” meaning, ‘I do not say what you say; rather I acknowledge the Oneness and Lordship of Allah,’ “and none shall I associate as partner with my Lord.” meaning, He is Allah, the One Who is to be worshipped Alone, with no partner or associate. Then he said: “It was better for you to say, when you entered your garden, ‘That which Allah wills! There is no power but with Allah!’ If you see me less than you in wealth, and children.” Here he was urging and encouraging him to say that, as if he was saying, “When you entered your garden and looked at it and liked it, why wouldn’t you praise Allah for the blessings He gave you and the wealth and children that He has given to you and not to others? Why did you not say ‘That which Allah wills! There is no power but with Allah!”’ One of the Salaf said, “Whoever is delighted with something in his circumstances or his wealth or his children, let him say, ‘That which Allah wills! There is no power but with Allah!”’ This is based on this Ayah. It was reported in the Sahih from Abu Musa that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Shall I not tell you about some of the treasure of Paradise? La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah (There is no power or might but with Allah).” (Fath Al-Bari 11:217, Muslim 4:2076)

“It may be that my Lord will give me something better than your garden,” in the Hereafter “and will send on it” on your garden in this world, which you think will never come to an end or cease to be, “Husban from the sky” Ibn Abbas, Ad-Dahhak and Qatadah (At-Tabari 18:25) said – and Malik narrated that Az-Zuhri said – a punishment from heaven. The apparent meaning is that it is a mighty rain which would disrupt his garden and uproot its plants and trees. As he said: “then it will be as a barren slippery earth.” meaning, smooth mud in which one cannot get a foothold. Ibn Abbas said, “Like land without vegetation, where nothing grows.”  (At-Tabari 18:26) “Or the water thereof becomes Ghawran” means, it disappears into the earth, which is the opposite of flowing water that seeks the surface of the earth. So Gha’ir is to go lower, as Allah says: “Say: “Tell me! If your water were Ghawran, who then can supply you with flowing water” (67: 30) meaning, water that flows in all directions. And here Allah says: “Or the water thereof (of the gardens) becomes deep-sunken (underground) so that you will never be able to seek it.” Ghawr is from the same root as Gha’ir and has a similar meaning, but is more intensive.

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