Surah Al-A’raf Ayat 1-37

The Tafsir of Surat Al-Araf (The Heights) 

Chapter – 7

Which was revealed in Makkah

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

{1. Alif-Lam-Mim-Sad.

2. (This is the) Book (the Qur’an) sent down unto you, so let not your breast be narrow therefrom, that you warn thereby; and a reminder unto the believers.

3. Follow what has been sent down unto you from your Lord, and follow not any Awliya’ (protectors), besides Him (Allah). Little do you remember!}

We mentioned before the explanation of the letters – such as, Alif-Lam, that are in the beginning of some Surahs in the Qur’an. “(This is the) Book (the Qur’an) sent down unto you (O Muhammad)”, from your Lord, “so let not your breast be narrow therefrom,” meaning, having doubt about it according to Mujahid, Qatadah and As-Suddi. (At-Tabari 12:296) It was also said that the meaning here is: ‘do not hesitate to convey the Qur’an and warn with it,’ “Therefore be patient as did the Messengers of strong will” (46:35). Allah said here, “that you warn thereby” meaning, ‘We sent down the Qur’an so that you may warn the disbelievers with it, “and a reminder unto the believers”. Allah then said to the world, “Follow what has been sent down unto you from your Lord” meaning, follow and imitate the unlettered Prophet, who brought you a Book that was revealed for you, from the Lord and master of everything. “and follow not any Awliya’, besides Him (Allah)” meaning, do not disregard what the Messenger brought you and follow something else, for in this case, you will be deviating from Allah’s judgment to the decision of someone else. Allah’s statement, “And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly” (12:103), and; “And if you obey most of those on the earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah’s path” (6:116), and, “And most of them believe not in Allah except that they attribute partners unto Him” (12:106). “Little do you remember!” is similar to,

 

{4. And a great number of towns We destroyed. Our torment came upon them by night or while they were taking their midday nap.

5. No cry did they utter when Our torment came upon them but this: “Verily, we were wrongdoers.”

6. Then surely, We shall question those (people) to whom it was sent and verily, We shall question the Messengers.

7. Then surely, We shall narrate unto them (their whole story) with knowledge, and indeed We have not been absent.}

 

Nations that were destroyed

Allah said, And a great number of towns We destroyed.” for defying Our Messengers and rejecting them. This behavior led them to earn disgrace in this life, which led them to disgrace in the Hereafter. Allah said in other Ayat, “And indeed (many) Messengers before you were mocked at, but their scoffers were surrounded by the very thing that they used to mock at” (6:10), and “And many a township did We destroy while they were given to wrongdoing, so that it lie in ruins (up to this day), and (many) a deserted well and lofty castle!” (22:45), and, “And how many a town have We destroyed, which was thankless for its means of livelihood? And those are their dwellings, which have not been inhabited after them except a little. And verily, We have been the heirs” (28:58). Allah’s saying, “Our torment came upon them by night or while they were taking their midday nap.” means, Allah’s command, torment and vengeance came over them at night or while taking a nap in the middle of the day. Both of these times are periods of rest and leisure or heedlessness and amusement.

Allah also said “Did the people of the towns then feel secure against the coming of Our punishment by night while they were asleep? Or, did the people of the towns then feel secure against the coming of Our punishment in the forenoon while they were playing” (7:97-98) and, “Do then those who devise evil plots feel secure that Allah will not sink them into the earth, or that the torment will not seize them from directions they perceive not Or that He may catch them in the midst of their going to and from, so that there be no escape for them? Or that He may catch them with gradual wastage. Truly, Your Lord is indeed full of kindness, Most Merciful” (16:45-47). Allah’s saying; “No cry did they utter when Our torment came upon them but this: “Verily, we were wrongdoers.” This means, when the torment came to them, their cry was that they admitted their sins and that they deserved to be punished. Allah said in a similar Ayah, “How many a town given to wrongdoing, have We destroyed?” (21:11), until, “Extinct” (21:15). Allah’s saying. “Then surely, We shall question those (people) to whom it (the Book) was sent” is similar to the Ayat, “And (remember) the Day (Allah) will call them, and say: “What answer gave you to the Messengers?” (28:65), and, “On the Day when Allah will gather the Messengers together and say to them: “What was the response you received?” They will say: “We have no knowledge, verily, only You are the Knower of all that is unseen.”  (5:109).

Allah will question the nations, on the Day of Resurrection, how they responded to His Messengers and the Messages He sent them with. He will also question the Messengers if they conveyed His Messages. So, Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn Abbas, who said commenting on the Ayah: “Then surely, We shall question those (people) to whom it (the Book) was sent and verily, We shall question the Messengers.” He said; “About what they conveyed.” (At-Tabari 12:306) Ibn Abbas commented on Allah’s statement, “Then surely, We shall narrate unto them (their whole story) with knowledge, and indeed We have not been absent.” “The Book [See Surat Al-Khaf 18:49] will be brought forth on the Day of Resurrection and it will speak, disclosing what they used to do.” (At-Tabari 12:308)  “and indeed We have not been absent” meaning, On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will inform His servants about what they said and did, whether substantial or minor. Certainly, He witnesses to everything, nothing escapes His observation, and He is never unaware of anything. Rather, He has perfect knowledge of what the eyes are deluded by and what the hearts conceal, “Not a leaf falls, but He knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record.” (6:59)

 

{8. And the weighing on that Day will be the true (weighing). So, as for those whose scale (of good deeds) will be heavy, they will be the successful (by entering Paradise).

9. And as for those whose scale will be light, they are those who will lose themselves for their wrongful behavior with Our Ayat.}

 

The Meaning of weighing the Deeds

Allah said, And the weighing”, of deeds on the Day of Resurrection, “will be the true (weighing)”, for Allah will not wrong anyone. Allah said in other Ayat, “And We shall set up the Balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And Sufficient are We to take account.” (21:47), “Surely, Allah wrongs not even the weight of a speck of dust, but if there is any good (done), He doubles it, and gives from Him a great reward.” (4:40), “Then as for him whose scale (of good deeds) will be heavy. He will live a pleasant life (in Paradise). But as for him whose scale (of good deeds) will be light. He will have his home in Hawiyah (pit, Hell). And what will make you know what it is? (It is) a fiercely blazing Fire!” (101:6-11) and, “Then, when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no kinship among them that Day, nor will they ask of one another. Then, those whose scales (of good deeds) are heavy, they are the successful. And those whose scales (of good deeds) are light, they are those who lose themselves, in Hell will they abide” (23:101-103).

As for what will be placed on the Balance on the Day of Resurrection, it has been said that the deeds will be placed on it, even though they are not material objects. Allah will give these deeds physical weight on the Day of Resurrection. Al-Baghawi said that this was reported from Ibn Abbas. (Al-Baghawi 2:149) It is recorded in the Sahih that Al-Baqarah            (chapter 2)  and Al Imran (chapter 3) will come on the Day of Resurrection in the shape of two clouds, or two objects that provide shade, or two lined groups of birds. (Muslim 1:553)  It is also recorded in the Sahih that the Qur’an will come to its companion “who used to recite and preserve it” in the shape of a pale-faced young man. He will ask “the young man”, “Who are you?” He will reply, “I am the Qur’an, who made you stay up sleeplessly at night and caused you thirst in the day. ” (Ibn Majah 2:1242) The Hadith that Al-Bara’ narrated about the questioning in the grave states,

“A young man with fair color and good scent will come to the believer, who will ask, ‘Who are you?’ He will reply, ‘I am your good deeds”. (Ahmad 4:287)

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, mentioned the opposite in the case of the disbeliever and the hypocrite. It was also said that the Book of Records that contains the deeds will be weighed. A Hadith states that a man will be brought forth and ninety-nine scrolls containing errors and sins will be placed on one side of the balance each as long as the sight can reach. He will then be brought a card on which ‘La ilaha illallah’ will be written. He will say, “O Lord! What would this card weigh against these scrolls?” Allah will say, “You will not be wronged.” So the card will be placed on the other side of the Balance, and as the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said

“Behold! The (ninety-nine) scrolls will go up, as the card becomes heavier.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 7:395)

At-Tirmidhi recorded similar wording for this Hadith and said that it is authentic. It was also said that the person who performed the deed will be weighed. A Hadith states,

“On the Day of Resurrection, a fat man will be brought forth, but he will not weigh with Allah equal to the wing of a mosquito”.

He then recited the Ayah, “And on the Day of Resurrection, We shall assign no weight for them” (18:105). (Fath Al-Bari 8:279)

Also, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said about Abdullah bin Masud,

“Do you wonder at the thinness of his legs? By He in Whose Hand is my soul! They are heavier on the Balance than (Mount) Uhud.” (Ahmad 1:420)

It is also possible to combine the meanings of these Ayat and Hadiths by stating that all this will truly occur, for sometimes the deeds will be weighed, sometimes the scrolls where they are recorded will be weighed, and sometimes those who performed the deeds will be weighed. Allah knows best.

 

{10. And surely, We gave you authority on the earth and appointed for you therein livelihoods. Little thanks do you give.}

 

All Bounties in the Heavens and Earth are for the Benefit of Mankind

Allah reminds of His favor on His servants in that He made the earth a fixed place for dwelling, placed firm mountains and rivers on it and made homes and allowed them to utilize its benefits. Allah made the clouds work for them (bringing rain) so that they may produce their sustenance from them. He also created the ways and means of earnings, commercial activities and other professions. Yet, most of them give liltle thanks for this. Allah said in another Ayah, “And if you count the blessings of Allah,never will you be able to count them. Verily, man is indeed a wrongdoer, an ingrate.” (14:34)

 

{11. And surely, We created you and then gave you shape; then We told the angels, “Prostrate yourselves to Adam,” and they prostrated, except Iblis (Shaytan), he refused to be of those who prostrated.}

 

Prostration of the Angels to Adam and Shaytan’s Arrogance

Allah informs the Children of Adam about the honor of their father and the enmity of Shaytan, who still has envy for them and for their father Adam. So they should beware of him and not follow in his footsteps. Allah said, “And surely, We created you and then gave you shape; then We told the angels, “Prostrate yourselves to Adam,” and they prostrated” This is like His saying, “And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: “I am going to create a man from dried (sounding) clay of altered mud. So, when I have fashioned him completely and breathed into him the soul (which I created for him), then fall (you) down prostrating yourselves unto him.” (15:28-29). After Allah created Adam with His Hands from dried clay of altered mud and made him in the shape of a human being, He blew life into him and ordered the angels to prostrate before him, honoring Allah’s glory and magnificence. The angels all heard, obeyed and prostrated, but Iblis did not prostrate. We explained this subject in the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah. Therefore, the Ayah (7:11) refers to Adam, although Allah used the plural in this case, because Adam is the father of all mankind. Similarly, Allah said to the Children of Israel who lived during the time of the Prophet, “And We shaded you with clouds and sent down on you manna and the quail” (2:57) This refers to their forefathers who lived during the time of Moses. But, since that was a favor given to the forefathers, and they are their very source, then the offspring have also been favored by it. This is not the case in: And indeed We created man out of an extract of clay (water and earth.)” (23:12) For this merely means that Adam was created from clay. His children were created from Nutfah “mixed male and female sexual discharge”. This last Ayah is thus talking about the origin of mankind, not that they were all created from clay, and Allah knows best.

 

{12. (Allah) said: “What prevented you (O Iblis) that you did not prostrate, when I commanded you” Iblis said: “I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.”}

 

Allah said, ”What prevented you (O Iblis) that you did not prostrate?” (7: 12) meaning, what stopped and hindered you from prostrating after I ordered you to do so, according to Ibn Jarir. This meaning is sound, and Allah knows best. Iblis, may Allah curse him, said, “I am better than him (Adam)”, and this excuse is worse than the crime itself! Shaytan said that he did not obey Allah because he who is better cannot prostrate to he who is less. Shaytan, may Allah curse him, meant that he is better than Adam, “So how can You order me to prostrate before him?” Shaytan said that he is better than Adam because he was created from fire while, “You created him from clay, and fire is better.” The cursed one looked at the origin of creation not at the honor bestowed, that is, Allah creating Adam with His Hand and blowing life into him. Shaytan made a false comparison when confronted by Allah’s command, “Then you fall down prostrate to him” (38:72). Therefore, Shaytan alone contradicted the angels, because he refused to prostrate. He, thus, became Ablasa’ from the mercy, meaning, lost hope in acquiring Allah’s mercy. He committed this error, may Allah curse him, due to his false comparison. His claim that the fire is more honored than mud was also false, because mud has the qualities of wisdom, for – bearance, patience and assurance, mud is where plants grow, flourish, increase, and provide good. To the contrary, fire has the qualities of burning, recklessness and hastiness. Therefore, the origin of creation directed Shaytan to failure, while the origin of Adam led him to return to Allah with repentance, humbleness, obedience and submission to His command, admitting his error and seeking Allah’s forgiveness and pardon for it. Muslim recorded that Aishah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“The angels were created from light, Shaytan from a smokeless flame of fire, while Adam was created from what was described to you.”(Muslim 4:2294)

Iblis was the First to use Qiyas (Analogical Comparison)

Ibn Jarir recorded that Al-Hasan commented on Shaytan’s statement, “You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.” “Iblis used Qiyas [analogy], and he was the first one to do so.” (At-Tabari 12:328) This statement has an authentic chain of narration. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn Sirin said, “The first to use Qiyas was Iblis, and would the sun and moon be worshipped if it was not for Qiyas?” (At-Tabari 12:328) This statement also has an authentic chain of narration.

 

{13. (Allah) said: “(O Iblis) get down from this (Paradise), it is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out, for you are of those humiliated and disgraced.”

14. (Iblis) said: “Allow me respite till the Day they are raised up (the Day of Resurrection).”

15. (Allah) said: “You are of those respited.”}

 

Allah ordered Iblis; “Get down from this” “because you defied My command and disobeyed Me. Get out, it is not for you to be arrogant here,” in Paradise, according to the scholars of Tafsir. It could also refer to particular status which he held in the utmost highs. Allah said to Iblis, “Get out, for you are of those humiliated and disgraced.” as just recompense for his ill intentions, by giving him the opposite of what he intended (arrogance). This is when the cursed one remembered and asked for respite until the Day of Judgment, “Then allow me respite till the Day they are raised up. (Allah) said: “Then you are of those respited.” (15: 36-37) Allah gave Shaytan what he asked for out of His wisdom, being His decision and decree, that is never prevented or resisted. Surely, none can avert His decision, and He is swift in reckoning.

 

{16. (Iblis) said: “Because You have Aghwaytni’, surely, I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your straight path.

17. “Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them to be thankful.’}

 

Allah said that after He gave respite to Shaytan, “till the Day they are raised up (resurrected)” and Iblis was sure that he got what he wanted, he went on in defiance and rebellion. He said, “Because You have ‘Aghwaytani’, surely, I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your straight path.” meaning, as You have sent me astray. Ibn Abbas said that Aghwaytani’ means, “Misguided me.” (At-Tabari 12:332) Others said, “As You caused my ruin, I will sit in wait for Your servants whom You will create from the offspring of the one you expelled me for.” He went on, “Your straight path”, the path of truth and the way of safety. I (Iblis) will misguide them from this path so that they do not worship You Alone, because You sent me astray. Mujahid said that the ‘straight path’, refers to the truth. Imam Ahmad recorded that Saburah bin Abi Al-Fakih said that he heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saying,

“Shaytan sat in wait for the Son of Adam in all his paths. He sat in the path of Islam, saying, ‘Would you embrace Islam and abandon your religion and the religion of your forefathers?’ However, the Son of Adam disobeyed Shaytan and embraced Islam. So Shaytan sat in the path of Hijrah (migration in the cause of Allah), saying, ‘Would you migrate and leave your land and sky?’ But the parable of the Muhajir is that of a horse in his stamina. So, he disobeyed Shaytan and migrated. So Shaytan sat in the path of Jihad, against one’s self and with his wealth, saying, ‘If you fight, you will be killed, your wife will be married and your wealth divided.’ So he disobeyed him and performed Jihad. Therefore, whoever among them (Children of Adam) does this and dies, it will be a promise from Allah that He admits him into Paradise. If he is killed, it will be a promise from Allah that He admits him into Paradise. If he drowns, it will be a promise from Allah that He admits him into Paradise. If the animal breaks his neck, it will be a promise from Allah that He admits him into Paradise.” (Ahmad 3:483)

Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas commented on: “Then I will come to them from before them” Raising doubts in them concerning their Hereafter, “and (from) behind them”, making them more eager for this life, “from their right”, causing them confusion in the religion, “and from their left” luring them to commit sins.” (At-Tabari 12:338)

This is meant to cover all paths of good and evil. Shaytan discourages the people from the path of good and lures them to the path of evil. Al-Hakam bin Abban said that Ikrimah narrated from Ibn Abbas concerning the Ayah, “Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left” “He did not say that he will come from above them, because the mercy descends from above.” (At-Tabari 12:341) Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said, “and You will not find most of them to be thankful.” “means, those who single Him out [in worship].” (At-Tabari 12:342) When Shaytan said this, it was a guess and an assumption on his part. Yet, the truth turned out to be the same, for Allah said, “And indeed Iblis (Shaytan) did prove true his thought about them, and they followed him, all except a group of true believers. And he had no authority over them, except that We might test him who believes in the Hereafter, from him who is in doubt about it. And your Lord is Watchful over everything.” (34:20-21). This is why there is a Hadith that encourages seeking refuge with Allah from the lures of Shaytan from all directions. Imam Ahmad narrated that Abdullah bin Umar said, “The Messenger of Allah used to often recite this supplication in the morning and when the night falls,

“O Allah! I ask You for well-being in this life and the Hereafter. O Allah! I ask You for pardon and well-being in my religion, life, family and wealth. O Allah! Cover my errors and reassure me in times of difficulty. O Allah! Protect me from before me, from behind me, from my right, from my left and from above me. I seek refuge with Your greatness from being killed from below me.” 

Waki commented (about being killed from below), “This refers to earthquakes.” (Ahmad 2:25)

 

{18. (Allah) said (to Iblis): “Get out from this (Paradise), Madh’uman Madhura. Whoever of them (mankind) will follow you, then surely, I will fill Hell with you all.}

 

Allah emphasized His cursing, expelling, banishing and turning Shaytan away from the uppermost heights, saying; Ibn Jarir said, “As for Madh’um, it is disgraced.” And he said, “Madhur is the distanced, that is, he is banished and expelled.” (At-Tabari 12:342)  Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said, “We do not know of any who is Madh’uh and Madhmum except for one.” (At-Tabari 12:344) Sufyan Ath-Thawri narrated from Abu Ishaq from At- Tamimi from Ibn Abbas, ”Get out from this (Paradise), Madh’uman Madhura” “despised.” (At-Tabari 12:344) Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas commented on, “Get out from this (Paradise), Madh’uman Madhura” (7:18) “Belittled and despised”, (At-Tabari 12:343) while As- Suddi commented, “Hateful and expelled.” (At-Tabari 12:343) Qatadah commented, “Cursed and despised”, (At-Tabari 12:343) while Mujahid said, “Expelled and banished.” (At-Tabari 12:343) Ar-Rabi bin Anas said that ‘Madh’um’ means banished, while, ‘Madhura’ means belittled. (At-Tabari 12:344) Allah said, “Whoever of them (mankind) will follow you, then surely, I will fill Hell with you all.” This is similar to “(Allah) said: “Go, and whosoever of them follows you, surely, Hell will be the recompense of you (all) an ample recompense. And gradually delude those whom you can among them with your voice, make assaults on them with your cavalry and your infantry, share with them wealth and children, and make promises to them.” But Shaytan promises them nothing but deceit. “Verily, My servants – you have no authority over them. And All-Sufficient is your Lord as a Guardian.” (17:63-65)

 

{19. “And O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise, and eat thereof as you both wish, but approach not this tree otherwise you both will be of the wrongdoers.

20. Then Shaytan whispered suggestions to them both in order to uncover that which was hidden from them of their private parts (before); he said: “Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save you should become angels or become of the immortals.”

21. And he Qasamahuma: “Verily, I am one of the sincere well-wishers for you both.”}

 

Shaytan’s Deceit with Adam and Hawwa’ and Their eating from the Forbidden Tree

Allah states that He allowed Adam and his wife to dwell in Paradise and to eat from all of its fruits, except one tree. We have already discussed this in Surat Al-Baqarah. Thus, Shaytan envied them and plotted deceitfully, whispering and suggesting treachery. He wished to rid them of the various favors and nice clothes that they were enjoying. “He (Shaytan) said) uttering lies and falsehood, ‘Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save you should become angels…” meaning, so that you do not become angels or dwell here for eternity. Surely, if you eat from this tree, you will attain both, he said. In another Ayah, “Shaytan whispered to him, saying: “O Adam! Shall I lead you to the Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom that will never waste away” (20:120). Here, the wording is similar, so it means,  ‘so that you do not become angels’ as in; “(Thus) does Allah make clear to you (His Law) lest you go astray.” (4:176) meaning, so that you do not go astray, and, “And He has affixed into the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with you” (16:15) that is, so that the earth does not shake with you. “Verily, I am one of the sincere well-wishers for you both.” for I was here before you and thus have better knowledge of this place. It is a fact that the believer in Allah might sometimes become the victim of deceit. Qatadah commented on this Ayah, “Shaytan swore by Allah, saying, ‘I was created before you, and I have better knowledge than you. Therefore, follow me and I will direct you.”’ “And he Qasamahuma”, swore to them both by Allah, saying, ‘Inwas created before you, , and I have better knowledge than you. Therefore, follow me and I will direct you.’”

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 4 Pages 17-37

{22. So he misled them with deception. Then when they tasted of the tree, that which was hidden from them of their shame (private parts) became manifest to them and they began to cover themselves with the leaves of Paradise. And their Lord called out to them (saying): “Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you: Verily, Shaytan is an open enemy unto you?”

23. They said: “Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.”}

 

Ubayy bin Kab said, “Adam was a tall man, about the height of a palm tree, and he had thick hair on his head. When he committed the error that he committed, his private part appeared to him while before, he did not see it. So he started running in fright through Paradise, but a tree in Paradise took him by the head. He said to it, ‘Release me,’ but it said, ‘No, I will not release you.’ So his Lord called him, ‘O Adam! Do you run away from Me’ He said, ‘O Lord! I felt ashamed before You.”’ (At-Tabari 12:354) Ibn Jarir and Ibn Marduwyah collected this statement using several chains of narration from Al-Hasan from Ubayy bin Kab who narrated it from the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. (At-Tabari 12:352) However, relating the Hadith to Ubayy is more correct.

Ibn Abbas commented on the Ayah, “And they began to cover themselves with the leaves of Paradise.” “Using fig leaves.” (At-Tabari 12:354) This statement has an authentic chain of narration leading to Ibn Abbas. Mujahid said that they began to cover themselves with the leaves of Paradise, “Making them as a dress (or garment).” (At-Tabari 12:353) Commenting on Allah’s statement, “Stripping them of their raiment” (7:27) Wahb bin Munabbih said, “The private parts of Adam and Hawwa’ had a light covering them which prevented them from seeing the private parts of each other. When they ate from the tree, their private parts appeared to them.” Ibn Jarir reported this statement with an authentic chain of narration. (At-Tabari 12:355)

Abdur-Razzaq reported from Qatadah, “Adam said, ‘O Lord! What if I repented and sought forgiveness?’ Allah said, ‘Then, I will admit you into Paradise.’ As for Shaytan, he did not ask for forgiveness, but for respite. Each one of them was given what he asked for.” (Abdur Razzaq 2:226) Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim commented, “Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.” “These are the words that Adam received from his Lord.” (At-Tabari 12:357)

 

{24. (Allah) said: “Get down, one of you an enemy to the other. On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment for a time.”

25. He said: “Therein you shall live, and therein you shall die, and from it you shall be brought out (resurrected).”}

 

Sending Them All Down to Earth

It was said that, Get down”, was addressed to Adam, Hawwa’, Iblis and the snake. Some scholars did not mention the snake, and Allah knows best. The enmity is primarily between Adam and Iblis, and Hawwa’ follows Adam in this regard. Allah said in Surah Ta Ha, “Get you down (from the Paradise to the earth), both of you, together…” (20:123). If the story about the snake is true, then it is a follower of Iblis. Some scholars mentioned the location on earth they were sent down, but these accounts are taken from the Israelite tales, and only Allah knows if they are true. If having known these areas was useful for the people in matters of religion or life, Allah would have mentioned them in His Book, and His Messenger would have mentioned them too. Allah’s statement, “On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment for a time.” means, on earth you will have dwellings and known, designated, appointed terms that have been recorded by the Pen, counted by Predestination and written in the First Record. “He (Allah) said: “Therein you shall live, and therein you shall die, and from it you shall be brought out (resurrected).” This Ayah is similar to Allah’s other statement, “Thereof (the earth) We created you, and into it We shall return you, and from it We shall bring you out once again.” (20:55). Allah states that He has made the earth a dwelling place for the Children of Adam, for the remainder of this earthly life. On it, they will live, die and be buried in their graves; and from it, they will be resurrected for the Day of Resurrection. On that Day, Allah will gather the first and last of creatures and reward or punish each according to his or her deeds.

 

{26. O Children of Adam! We have bestowed Libas (raiment) upon you to cover yourselves with, and as Rish (adornment); and the Libas (raiment) of Taqwa, that is better. Such are among the Ayat of Allah, that they may remember.}

 

Bestowing Raiment and Adornment on Mankind

Allah reminds His servants that He has given them Libas and Rish. Libas refers to the clothes that are used to cover the private parts, while Rish refers to the outer adornments used for purposes of beautification. Therefore, the first type is essential while the second type is complimentary. Ibn Jarir said that Rish includes furniture and outer clothes. (At-Tabari 12:364)

Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam commented on the Ayah, “and the Libas (raiment) of Taqwa…” “When one fears Allah, Allah covers his errors. Hence the Libas of Taqwa’ (that the Ayah mentions).” (At-Tabari 12:368)

 

{27. O Children of Adam! Let not Shaytan deceive you, as he got your parents out of Paradise, stripping them of their raiment, to show them their private parts. Verily, he and his tribe see you from where you cannot see them. Verily, We made the Shayatin friends of those who believe not.}

 

Warning against the Lures of Shaytan

Allah warns the Children of Adam against Iblis and his followers, by explaining about his ancient enmity for the father of mankind, Adam peace be upon him. Iblis plotted to have Adam expelled from Paradise, which is the dwelling of comfort, to the dwelling of hardship and fatigue (this life) and caused him to have his private part uncovered, after it had been hidden from him. This, indeed, is indicative of deep hatred (from Shaytan towards Adam and mankind). Allah said in a similar Ayah “Will you then take him (Iblis) and his offspring as protectors and helpers rather than Me, while they are enemies to you What an evil is the exchange for the wrongdoers.” (18:50).

 

{28. And when they commit a Fahishah, they say: “We found our fathers doing it, and Allah has commanded it for us.” Say: “Nay, Allah never commands Fahishah. Do you say about Allah what you know not?”

29. Say: “My Lord has commanded justice and that you should face Him only, in every Masjid and invoke Him only, making your religion sincere to Him. As He brought you (into being) in the beginning, so shall you be brought into being again.”

30. A group He has guided, and a group deserved to be in error; (because) surely, they took the Shayatin as supporters instead of Allah, and think that they are guided.}

 

Disbelievers commit Sins and claim that Allah commanded Them to do so!

Mujahid said, “The idolators used to go around the House (Kabah) in Tawaf while naked, saying, ‘We perform Tawaf as our mothers gave birth to us.’ The woman would cover her sexual organ with something saying, ‘Today, some or all of it will appear, but whatever appears from it, I do not allow it (it is not for adultery or for men to enjoy looking at!).”’ Allah sent down the Ayah, “And when they commit a Fahishah (sin), they say: “We found our fathers doing it, and Allah has commanded it for us.” (7:28) [Literally: strictly religious. Called such, as they used to say, ‘We are people of Allah, we shall not go out of the sanctuary.] I say, the Arabs, with the exception of the Quraysh, used to perform Tawaf naked. They claimed they would not make Tawaf while wearing the clothes that they disobeyed Allah in. As for the Quraysh, known as Al-Hums, (At-Tabari 12:37) they used to perform Tawaf in their regular clothes. Whoever among the Arabs borrowed a garment from one of Al-Hums, he would wear it while in Tawaf. And whoever wore a new garment, would discard it and none would wear it after him on completion of Tawaf. Those who did not have a new garment, or were not given one by Al-Hums, then they would perform Tawaf while naked. Even women would go around in Tawaf while naked, and one of them would cover her sexual organ with something and proclaim, “Today, a part or all of it will appear, but whatever appears from it I do not allow it.” Women used to perform Tawaf while naked usually at night. This was a practice that the idolators invented on their own, following only their forefathers in this regard. They falsely claimed that what their forefathers did was in fact following the order and legislation of Allah. Allah then refuted them, Allah said, “And when they commit a Fahishah, they say: “We found our fathers doing it, and Allah has commanded it for us.”

Allah does not order Fahsha’, but orders Justice and Sincerity

Allah replied to this false claim, “(Say), O Muhammad, to those who claimed this, “Nay, Allah never commands Fahsha’…” meaning, the practice you indulge in is a despicable sin, and Allah does not command such a thing. “Do you say about Allah what you know not?” that is, do you attribute to Allah statements that you are not certain are true Allah said next, “Say: “My Lord has commanded justice, (fairness and honesty)”“And that you should face Him only, in every Masjid, and invoke Him only making your religion sincere to Him…” This Ayah means, Allah commands you to be straightforward in worshipping Him, by following the Messengers who were supported with miracles and obeying what they conveyed from Allah and the Law that they brought. He also commands sincerity in worshipping Him, for He, Exalted He is, does not accept a good deed until it satisfies these two conditions: being correct and in conformity with His Law, and being free of Shirk.

The Meaning of being brought into Being in the Beginning and brought back again

Allah’s saying “As He brought you in the beginning, so shall you be brought into being again” (7:29). Until; “error” There is some difference over the meaning of: “As He brought you in the beginning, so shall you be brought into being again.” Ibn Abi Najih said that Mujahid said that it means, “He will bring you back to life after you die.” (At-Tabari 12:385) Al-Hasan Al- Basri commented, “As He made you begin in this life, He will bring you back to life on the Day of Resurrection.” (At-Tabari 12:385) Qatadah commented on: “As He brought you in the beginning, so shall you be brought into being again.” “He started their creation after they were nothing, and they perished later on, and He shall bring them back again.” (At-Tabari 12:385) Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said, “As He created you in the beginning, He will bring you back in the end.” This last explanation was preferred by Abu Jafar Ibn Jarir and he supported it with what he reported from Ibn Abbas, “The Messenger of Allah stood up and gave us a speech, saying,

“O people! You will be gathered to Allah while barefooted, naked and uncircumcised, ”As We began the first creation, We shall repeat it. (It is) a promise binding upon Us. Truly, We shall do it” (21:104) (At-Tabari 12:386)

This Hadith was collected in the Two Sahihs. (Fath Al-Bari 6:445 and 8:135 and Muslim 4:2194) Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas commented on the Ayah, “As He brought you in the beginning, so shall you be brought into being again. A group He has guided, and a group deserved to be in error” Allah, the Exalted, began the creation of the Sons of Adam, some believers and some disbelievers, just as He said, “He it is Who created you, then some of you are disbelievers and some of you are believers.” (64:2). He will then return them on the Day of Resurrection as He started them, some believers and some disbelievers. (At-Tabari 12:382) I say, what supports this meaning, is the Hadith from Ibn Masud that Al-Bukhari recorded, (that the Prophet said)

“By He, other than Whom there is no god, one of you might perform the deeds of the people of Paradise until only the length of an arm or a forearm would separate him from it. However, that which was written in the Book takes precedence, and he commits the work of the people of the Fire and thus enters it. And one of you might perform the deeds of the people of the Fire until only the length of an arm or a forearm separates between him and the Fire. However, that which was written in the Book takes precedence, and he performs the work of the people of Paradise and thus enters Paradise.” (Fath Al-Bari 11:486)

We should combine this meaning — if it is held to be the correct meaning for the Ayah — with Allah’s statement: “So set you your face towards the religion, Hanifan. Allah’s Fitrah with which He has created mankind.” (30:30), [The meaning of the ayah is ‘Dedicate yourself to the natural religion of Allah which made for humanity.’] and what is recorded in the Two Sahihs from Abu Hurayrah who said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Every child is born upon the Fitrah, it is only his parents who turn him into a Jew, a Christian or a Zoroastrian.” (Fath Al-Bari 3:290 and Muslim 4:2047)

Muslim recorded that Iyad bin Himar said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Allah said, ‘I created My servants Hunafa’ (monotheists), but the devils came to them and deviated them from their religion.” (Muslim 4:2197) 

The collective meaning here is, Allah created His creatures so that some of them later turn believers and some turn disbelievers. Allah has originally created all of His servants able to recognize Him, to single Him out in worship, and know that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him. He also took their covenant to fulfill the implications of this knowledge, which He placed in their consciousness and souls. He has decided that some of them will be miserable and some will be happy, “He it is Who created you, then some of you are disbelievers and some of you are believers” (64:2). Also, a Hadith states,

“All people go out in the morning and sell themselves, and some of them free themselves while some others destroy themselves.” (Muslim 1:203)

Allah’s decree will certainly come to pass in His creation. Verily, He it is “Who has measured (everything); and then guided” (87: 3), and, “He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright.”  (20:50). And in the Two Sahihs:

“As for those among you who are among the people of happiness, they will be facilitated to perform the deeds of the people of happiness. As for those who are among the miserable, they will be facilitated to commit the deeds of the miserable.” (At-Tabari 12:388)

This is why Allah said here, “A group He has guided, and a group deserved to be in error” Allah then explained why, “because surely, they took the Shayatin as supporters instead of Allah”. Ibn Jarir said, “This is one of the clearest arguments proving the mistake of those who claim that Allah does not punish anyone for disobedient acts he commits of deviations he believes in until after knowledge of what is correct reaches him, then he were to obstinately avoid it anyway. If this were true, then there would be no difference between the deviations of the misguided group – their belief that they are guided – and the group that is in fact guided. Yet Allah has differentiated between the two in this noble Ayah, doing so in both name and judgement.” (Fath Al-Bari 3:267 and Muslim 4:2039)

 

{31. O Children of Adam! Take your adornment to every Masjid, and eat and drink, but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not the wasteful.}

 

Allah commands taking Adornment when going to the Masjid

This honorable Ayah refutes the idolators’ practice of performing Tawaf around the Sacred House while naked. Muslim, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Jarir, (the following wording is that of Ibn Jarir) recorded that Shu`bah said that Salamah bin Kuhayl said that Muslim Al-Batin said that Sa`id bin Jubayr said that Ibn Abbas said, “The idolators used to go around the House while naked, both men and women, men in the day and women by night. The woman would say, “Today, a part or all of it will be unveiled, but whatever is exposed of it, I do not allow.” (Muslim 4:2320)

Allah said in reply, “Take your adornment to every Masjid” Al-Awfi said that Ibn Abbas commented on: “Take your adornment to every Masjid” “There were people who used to perform Tawaf around the House while naked, and Allah ordered them to take adornment, meaning, wear clean, proper clothes that cover the private parts. people were commanded to wear their best clothes when performing every prayer.” (At-Tabari 12:391) Mujahid, Ata’, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Said bin Jubayr, Qatadah, As-Suddi, Ad-Dahhak and Malik narrated a similar saying from Az-Zuhri, (At-Tabari 12:392-394) and from several of the Salaf. They said that this Ayah was revealed about the idolators who used to perform Tawaf around the House while naked.

This Ayah (7:31), as well as the Sunnah, encourage wearing the best clothes when praying, especially for Friday and Id prayers. It is also recommended [for men] to wear perfume for prayer, because it is adornment, and to use Siwak for it is part of what completes adornment. The best color for clothes is white, for Imam Ahmad narrated that Ibn Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be him, said,

“Wear white clothes, for it is among your best clothes, and also wrap your dead with it. And Ithmid (antimony) is among the best of your Kuhl, for it clears the sight and helps the hair grow.” (Ahmad 1:247)

This Hadith has a sound chain of narration, consisting of narrators who conform to the conditions and guidelines of Imam Muslim. Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah also recorded it, and At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih.” (Abu Dawud 4:332)

Prohibiting Extravagance

Allah said, “And eat and drink…”. Al-Bukhari said that Ibn Abbas said, “Eat what you wish and wear what you wish, as long as you avoid two things: extravagance and arrogance.” (Fath Al-Bari 1:264) Ibn Jarir said that Muhammad bin Abdul-Ala narrated to us that Muhammad bin Thawr narrated to us from Mamar from Ibn Tawus from his father who said that Ibn Abbas said, “Allah has allowed eating and drinking, as long as it does not contain extravagance or arrogance.” (At-Tabari 12:394) This chain is Sahih. Imam Ahmad recorded that Al-Miqdam bin Madikarib Al-Kindi said that he heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saying,

“The Son of Adam will not fill a pot worse for himself than his stomach. It is enough for the Son of Adam to eat a few bites that strengthens his spine. If he likes to have more, then let him fill a third with food, a third with drink and leave a third for his breathing.” (Ahmad 4:132)

An-Nasa’i and At- Tirmidhi collected this Hadith, (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 7:51) At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan” or “Hasan Sahih” according to another manuscript.

Ata’ Al-Khurasani said that Ibn Abbas commented on the Ayah, “And eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not the wasteful.” “With food and drink.” (At-Tabari 12:394) Ibn Jarir commented on Allah’s statement, “Certainly He (Allah) likes not the wasteful.” “Allah the Exalted says that He does not like those who trespass the limits on an allowed matter or a prohibited matter, those who go to the extreme over what He has allowed, allow what He has prohibited, or prohibit what He has allowed. But, He likes that what He has allowed be considered as such (without extravagance) and what He has prohibited be considered as such. This is the justice that He has commanded.” (At-Tabari 12:395)

 

{32. Say: “Who has forbidden the adornment with clothes given by Allah, which He has produced for His servants, and At-Tayyibat (good things) of sustenance” Say: “They are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, (and) exclusively for them (believers) on the Day of Resurrection.” Thus We explain the Ayat in detail for people who have knowledge.}

 

Allah refutes those who prohibit any type of food, drink or clothes according to their own understanding, without relying on what Allah has legislated. ‘‘Say” O Muhammad, to the idolators who prohibit some things out of false opinion and fabrication, “Who has forbidden the adornment with clothes given by Allah, which He has produced for His servants” meaning, these things were created for those who believe in Allah and worship Him in this life, even though the disbelievers share in these bounties in this life. In the Hereafter, the believers will have all this to themselves and none of the disbelievers will have a share in it, for Paradise is prohibited for the disbelievers.

 

{33. Say: “(But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are the Fawahish (immoral deeds) whether committed openly or secretly, and Ithm, and transgression without right, and joining partners with Allah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge.”}

 

Fahishah, Sin, Transgression, Shirk and Lying about Allah are prohibited

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

“None is more jealous than Allah, and this is why He prohibited Fawahish, committed openly or in secret. And none likes praise more than Allah.” (Ahmad 1:381)

This was also recorded in the Two Sahihs. (Fath Al-Bari 9:230 and Muslim 4:2114) In the explanation of Surat Al-Anam, we explained the Fahishah that is committed openly and in secret. Allah said next, “and Ithm, and transgression without right,” (7:33). As-Suddi commented, “Al-Ithm means, ‘disobedience’. As for unrighteous oppression, it occurs when you transgress against people without justification.” (At-Tabari 12:403) Mujahid said, “Ithm includes all types of disobedience. Allah said that the oppressor commits oppression against himself.” (At-Tabari 12:403) Therefore, the meaning of, Ithm is the sin that one commits against himself, while ‘oppression’ pertains to transgression against other people, and Allah prohibited both. Allah’s statement, “and joining partners with Allah for which He has given no authority,” prohibits calling partners with Allah in worship. ”and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge.” such as lies and inventions, like claiming that Allah has a son, and other evil creeds that you — O idolators — have no knowledge of. This is similar to His saying: ”So shun the abomination (worshipping) of the idols” (22:30).

 

{34. And every Ummah has its appointed term; when their term comes, neither can they delay it nor can they advance it an hour (or a moment).

35. O Children of Adam! If there come to you Messengers from among you, reciting to you My Ayat, then whosoever has Taqwa and becomes righteous, on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve.

36. But those who reject Our Ayat and treat them with arrogance, they are the dwellers of the Fire, they will abide therein forever.}

 

Allah said, “And every Ummah has”, meaning, each generation and nation, ”its appointed term; when their term comes’‘ which they were destined for, ”neither can they delay it nor can they advance it an hour (or a moment)”. Allah then warned the Children of Adam that He sent to them Messengers who conveyed to them His Ayat. Allah also conveyed good news, as well as warning, ”then whosoever has Taqwa and becomes righteous” by abandoning the prohibitions and performing acts of obedience, ”on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve. But those who reject Our Ayat and treat them with arrogance” meaning, their hearts denied the Ayat and they were too arrogant to abide by them, ”they are the dwellers of the Fire, they will abide therein forever.” without end to their dwelling in it.

 

{37. Who is more unjust than one who invents a lie against Allah or rejects His Ayat? For such their appointed portion will reach them from the Book (of Decrees) until Our messengers (the angel of death and his assistants) come to them to take their souls, they (the angels) will say: “Where are those whom you used to invoke and worship besides Allah,” they will reply, “They have vanished and deserted us.” And they will bear witness against themselves, that they were disbelievers.}

 

Idolators enjoy Their destined Share in This Life, but will lose Their Supporters upon Death

Allah said, ”Who is more unjust than one who invents a lie against Allah or rejects His Ayat?” meaning, none is more unjust than whoever invents a lie about Allah or rejects the Ayat that He has revealed. Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi said that, ”For such their appointed portion will reach them from the Book” refers to each person’s deeds, alloted provisions and age. (At-Tabari 12:413) Similar was said by Ar-Rabi bin Anas and  Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam. (At-Tabari 12:413-414) Allah said in similar statements, ”Verily, those who invent a lie against Allah, will never be successful. (A brief) enjoyment in this world! And then unto Us will be their return, then We shall make them taste the severest torment because they used to disbelieve.” (10:69-70) and, ”And whoever disbelieves, let not his disbelief grieve you. To Us is their return, and We shall inform them what they have done. Verily, Allah is the All-Knower of what is in the breasts (of men). We let them enjoy for a little while.” (31:23-24). Allah said next, ”until when Our messengers come to them to take their souls.” Allah states that when death comes to the idolators and the angels come to capture their souls to take them to Hellfire, the angels horrify them, saying, “Where are the so-called partners (of Allah) whom you used to call in the life of this world, invoking and worshipping them instead of Allah Call them so that they save you from what you are suffering.” However, the idolators will reply, “They have vanished and deserted us” meaning, we have lost them and thus, we do not hope in their benefit or aid, ”And they will bear witness against themselves” they will admit and proclaim against themselves, ”that they were disbelievers.”

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