Surah Al-Ankabut Ayat 1-66 (end)

Surah Al-Ankabut

The Spider

Chapter 29

Which was revealed in Makkah

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

 

{1. Alif Lam Mim.

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

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

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

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

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

The Evildoers cannot escape from Allah

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

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

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

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

Allah will fulfill the Hopes of the Righteous

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

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

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

The Command to be Good and Dutiful to Parents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nuh and His People

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ibrahim’s preaching to His People

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Evidence for Life after Death

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Shuayb and His People

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

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

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

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

 

The Destruction of Nations Who rejected Their Messengers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arguing with the People of the Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Idolators’ demand for Signs, and the Response

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How the Idolators asked for the Torment to be hastened on

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evidences of Tawhid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Blessing of the Sanctuary Here

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

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

All praise and thanks are due to Allah.

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