Surah Al-‘Araf Ayat 180-206 (end)

{180. And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do.}

Allah’s Most Beautiful Names

Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Verily, Allah has ninety-nine Names, a hundred less one; whoever counts (and preserves) them, will enter Paradise. Allah is Witr (One) and loves Al-Witr (the odd numbered things)”

The Two Sahihs collected this Hadith. (Fath Al-Bari 5:417 and 11:218 and Muslim 4:2062)

We should state that Allah’s Names are not restricted to only ninety-nine. For instance, in his Musnad, Imam Ahmad recorded that Abdullah bin Masud said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said;

“Any person who is overcome by sadness or grief and supplicates, ‘O Allah! I am Your servant, son of your female servant. My forelock in in Your Hand. Your decision concerning me shall certainly come to pass. Just is Your Judgement about me. I invoke You by every Name that have and that You have called Yourself by, send down in Your Book, taught to any of Your creatures, or kept with You in the knowledge of the Unseen that is with You. Make the Glorious Qur’an the spring of my heart, the light of my chest, the remover of my grief and the dissipater of my concern.’ Surely, Allah will remove his grief and sadness and exchange them for delight.” 

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Should we learn these words?” He said,

“Yes. It is an obligation on all those who hear this supplication to learn it.” (Ahmad 1:391)

Al-‘Afwi said that Ibn Abbas said about Allah’s statement,

“and leave the company of those who belie His Names”

”To belie Allah’s Names includes saying that Al-Lat (an idol) derived from Allah’s Name.” (At-Tabari 13:282) Ibn Jurayj narrated from Mujahid that he commented,

“and leave the company of those who belie His Names”

”They derived Al-Lat (an idol’s name) from Allah, and Al-Uzza (another idol) from Al-Aziz (the All-Mighty). (At-Tabari 13:283) Qatadah stated that Ilhad refers to associating others with Allah in His Names (such as calling an idol Al-Uzza). (At-Tabari 13:283) The word Ilhad [used in the Ayah in another from] means deviation, wickedness, injustice and straying. The hole in the grave is called Lahd, because it is a hole within a hole, that is turned towards the Qiblah (the direction of the prayer).

 

{181. And of those whom We have created, there is a community who guides (others) with the truth, and establishes justice therewith.}

 

Allah said, “And of those whom We have created”, in reference to some nations, “a community”, that stands in truth, in words and action, “who guides (others) with the truth”, they proclaim it and call to it, “and establishes justice therewith”, adhere to it themselves and judge by it. It was reported that this Ayah refers to the Ummah of Muhammad. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Muawiyah bin Abi Sufyan said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“There will always be a group of my Ummah who are apparent on the Truth, unabated by those who fail or oppose them, until the (Last) Hour commences.”

In another narration, the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Until Allah’s command (the Last Hour) comes while they are still like this.”

and in yet another narration,

“And they will dwell in Ash-Sham (Greater Syria).”  (Fath Al-Bari 13:451 and Muslim 3:1524) 

 

{182. Those who reject Our Ayat, We shall gradually seize them with punishment in ways they perceive not.

183. And I respite them; certainly My plan is strong.}

 

Allah said,“Those who reject Our Ayat, We shall gradually seize them in ways  they perceive not” meaning, the doors of provisions will be opened for them and also the means of livelihood, in this life. They will be deceived by all this and think that they are on the correct path. Allah said in another instance, “So, when they forgot (the warning) with which they had been reminded, We opened for them the gates of every (pleasant) thing, until in the midst of their enjoyment in that which they were given, all of a sudden, We took them (in punishment), and lo! They were plunged into destruction with deep regrets and sorrow. So the root of the people who did wrong was cut off. And all the praises and thanks are to Allah, the Lord of all that exists.” (6:44-45). Allah said here, “And I respite them” prolong what they are in, “certainly My plan is strong” and perfect.

{184. Do they not reflect There is no madness in their companion. He is but a plain warner.}

 

Allah said, “Do they not reflect?” ‘those who deny Our Ayat,’ “there is not in their companion”, Muhammad, “madness” Muhammad is not mad, rather, he is truly the Messenger of Allah, calling to Truth, “but he is a plain warner”, and this is clear for those who have a mind and a heart by which they understand and comprehend. Allah said in another Ayah, “And (O people) your companion is not a madman.” (81:22) Allah also said, “Say: “I exhort you to one (thing) only, that you stand up for Allah’s sake in pairs and singly, and reflect, there is no madness in your companion. He is only a warner to you in face of a severe torment.” (34:46) meaning, ‘I ask you to stand for Allah in sincerity without stubbornness or bias,’ “in pairs and singly” (34:46) individuals and in groups, “and reflect” (34:46), about this man who brought the Message from Allah, is he mad? If you do this, it will become clear to you that he is the Messenger of Allah in truth and justice. Qatadah bin Di’amah said, “We were informed that the Prophet of Allah once was on (Mount) As-Safa and called the Quraysh, subtribe by subtribe, proclaiming, “O Children of so-and-so, O Children of so-and-so! He warned them against Allah’s might and what He has done (such as revenge from His enemies).” Some of them commented, ‘This companion of yours (Prophet Muhammad) is mad; he kept shouting until the morning’ Allah sent down this Ayah, “Do they not reflect? There is no madness in their companion. He is but a plain warner” (7:184). (At-Tabari 13:298) 

 

{185. Do they not look in the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all things that Allah has created; and that it may be that the end of their lives is near. In what message after this will they then believe?}

 

Allah asks, those who denied faith, did they not contemplate about Our Ayat in the kingdom of the heavens and earth and what was created in them Do they not contemplate about all this and learn lessons from it, so that they are certain that He Who has all this, has no equal or rival? All this was made by He Who Alone deserves the worship and sincere religion, so that they might have faith in Him and believe in His Messenger, all the while turning to Allah’s obedience, rejecting any rivals to Him, and rejecting idols. They should be warned that their lifes may have reached their end, and they, thus, face their demise while disbelievers, ending up in Allah’s torment and severe punishment. Allah said, “In what message after this will they then believe?” Allah says, what more warnings, and discouragements should compel them to believe, if the warnings and threats that Muhammad brought them from Allah in His Book do not compel them to do so Allah said next,

 

{186. Whomsoever Allah sends astray, none can guide him; and He lets them wander blindly in their transgressions.}

 

Allah says, those who were destined to be misguided, then none can lead them to guidance, and even if they try their best effort to gain such guidance, this will not avail them, “And whomsoever Allah wants to put in Fitnah (error, because of his rejecting of Faith, or trial), you can do nothing for him against Allah” (5:41), and, “Say: “Behold all that is in the heavens and the earth,” but neither Ayat nor warners benefit those who believe not” (10:101).

{187. They ask you about the Hour (Day of Resurrection): “When will be its appointed time?” Say: “The knowledge thereof is with my Lord (Alone). None can reveal its time but He. Heavy is its burden through the heavens and the earth. It shall not come upon you except all of a sudden.” They ask you as if you have a good knowledge of it. Say: “The knowledge thereof is with Allah (Alone), but most of mankind know not.”}

 

The Last Hour and its Portents

Allah said here, They ask you about the Hour”, just as He said in another Ayah, “People ask you concerning the Hour” (33:63). It was said that this Ayah was revealed about the Quraysh or the Jews, although it appears that it was about the Quraysh, because this Ayah was revealed in Makkah. The Quraysh used to ask about the Last Hour, because they used to deny it and discount its coming. For instance, Allah said in another Ayah, “Those who believe not therein seek to hasten it, while those who believe are fearful of it, and know that it is the very truth. Verily, those who dispute concerning the Hour are certainly in error far away” (42:18).

Allah said here (that the Quraysh asked), “When will be its appointed time?” in reference to its commencement, according to Ali bin Abi Talhah who reported this from Ibn Abbas. (At-Tabari 13:294) They asked about the Hour’s appointed term and when the end of this world will begin; “Say: “The knowledge thereof is with my Lord (Alone). None can reveal its time but He.”

Allah commanded His Messenger that when asked about the appointed term of the Last Hour, he referred its knowledge to Allah, the Exalted. Only Allah knows the Last Hour’s appointed term and when it will certainly occur, and none besides Him has this knowledge, “Heavy is its burden through the heavens and the earth” Abdur-Razzaq narrated that Mamar said that Qatadah commented on this Ayah, “Heavy is its burden through the heavens and the earth” “Its knowledge is heavy on the residents of the heavens and earth, they do not have knowledge in it.” (Abdur-Razzaq 2:244) Also, Mamar said that Al-Hasan commented on this Ayah, “When the Last Hour comes, it will be heavy on the residents of the heavens and earth.” (Abdur-Razzaq 2:245)

Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn Abbas explained this Ayah, “Heavy is its burden through the heavens and the earth,” saying, “All creatures will suffer its heaviness on the Day of Resurrection.” Ibn Jurayj also said about this Ayah, “Heavy is its burden through the heavens and the earth.” “When it commences, the heavens will be torn, the stars will scatter all over, the sun will be wound round (thus losing its light), the mountains will be made to pass away and all of which Allah spoke of will occur. This is the meaning of its burden being heavy.” As-Suddi said that, “Heavy is its burden through the heavens and the earth” means, its knowledge is hidden in the heavens and earth, and none, not even a close angel or a sent Messenger has knowledge of its appointed time. (At-Tabari 13:295)  “It shall not come upon you except all of a sudden” indicating that the Hour will start all of a sudden, while t hey are unaware. Qatadah said, “Allah has decided that, ”It shall not come upon you except all of a sudden.” He then said, “We were informed that Allah’s Prophet said,

”The Hour will start (suddenly) for the people while one is mending his watering hole, giving water to his cattle, setting his goods in the market or lowering his scale and raising it (selling and buying).”’ (At-Tabari 13:297)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”The Hour will not commence until the sun rises from the west. When it rises (from the west) and the people see it, then, all people will believe. However, this is when faith does not benefit a soul that did not believe beforehand nor earned good in faith. The Hour will (all of a sudden) commence while two men have spread a garment between them, and they will neither have time to conclude the transaction nor to fold the garment. The Hour will commence after a man milked his animal, but he will not have time to drink it. The Hour will start when a man is making his watering hole (for his animals), but will not have time to make use of the pool. And the Hour will commence while a man has raised his hand with a bite to his mouth, but will not eat it.” (Fath Al-Bari 11:360)

Al-Awfi said that Ibn Abbas commented on the Ayah, ”They ask you as if you have good knowledge of it.” “As if you have good relations and friendship with them!” Ibn Abbas said, “When the people (pagans of Quraysh) asked the Prophet about the Last Hour, they did so in a way as if Muhammad was their friend! Allah revealed to him that its knowledge is with Him Alone and He did not inform a close angel or Messenger of it.” (At-Tabari 13:298) The correct explanation for this Ayah is, as narrated from Mujahid, through Ibn Abi Najih, “They ask you as if you have Hafi of it.” means, ‘as if you had asked about its time and so its knowledge is with you.’

Allah said, “Say: “The knowledge thereof is with Allah (Alone), but most of mankind know not.” When Jibril came in the shape of a bedouin man to teach the people matters of their religion, he sat next to the Messenger of Allah asking him as if to learn. Jibril asked the Messenger about Islam, then about Iman (faith) then about Ihsan (Excellence in the religion). He asked next, “When will the Hour start” Allah’s Messenger said,

“He who is asked about it has no more knowledge of it than the questioner.”

Therefore, the Prophet was saying, ‘I have no more knowledge in it than you (O Jibril), nor does anyone have more knowledge in it than anyone else.’ The Prophet then recited the Ayah,“Verily, Allah, with Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour.” (31:34) In another narration, Jibril asked the Prophet about the portents of the Hour, and the Prophet mentioned them. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, also said in this narration,

“Five, their knowledge is only with Allah”

then recited this Ayah (31:34). In response to the Prophet’s answers after each question, Jibril would say, “You have said the truth.” This made the Companions wonder about this questioner who would ask a question and attest to every answer he was given. When Jibril went away, the Messenger of Allah said to the Companions,

“This is Jibril, he came to teach you matters of your religion.”

In yet another narration, the Prophet commented,

”I recognized him (Jibril) in every shape he came to me in, except this one.” (Fath Al-Bari 1:140)

Muslim recorded that Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said; “When the bedouins used to come to the Prophet, they used to ask him about the Hour. The Prophet would answer them, while pointing at the youngest person among them,

”If this (young man) lives, he will not become old before your Hour starts.” (Muslim 4:2269)

The Prophet meant the end of their life that introduces them to the life in Barzakh, which is between this life and the Hereafter. Muslim recorded that Anas said that a man asked Allah’s Messenger about the Hour, and the Messenger answered,

”If this young boy lives, it might be that he will not become old before the Hour starts.” (Muslim 4:2270)

Only Muslim collected this Hadith. Jabir bin Abdullah said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah saying, one month before he died,

”You keep asking me about the Hour, when its knowledge is with Allah. I swear by Allah that there is no living soul on the face of the earth now will be alive a hundred years from now.” Muslim collected this Hadith.

A similar Hadith is recorded in Two Sahihs from Ibn Umar, but he commented, “The Messenger of Allah meant that his generation will be finished by that time reach its appointed term.” Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Masud said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”During the night of Isra’, I met Ibrahim, Musa and Isa. They mentioned the matter of the Last Hour, and they asked Ibrahim about it, who said, ‘I do not have knowledge of it.’ They asked Musa about it and he said, ‘I have no knowledge of it.’ They then asked Isa about it, and he said, As for when it will occur, only Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored, knows that. My Lord has conveyed to me that the Dajjal (False Messiah) will appear, and I will have two staffs (spears) with me. When he sees me, he will dissolve just as lead is dissolved. Allah will destroy him when he sees me, and the tree and the stone will say, ‘O Muslim! There is a disbeliever under (behind) me, so come and kill him.’ Allah will destroy them (the Dajjal and his army), and the people will safely go back to their lands and areas. Thereafter, Gog and Magog will appear, and they will be swarming from every mound, sweeping over the earth and destroying everything they pass by. They will drink every water source they pass. The people will come to me complaining about Gog and Magog and will invoke Allah, the Exalted and Most Honoured, against them, and Allah will bring death to all of them until the earth rots with their stinking odour. Allah will send down rain on them and the rain will carry their corpses, until it throws them in the sea… My Lord, the Exalted and Most Honored has conveyed to me that when this occurs, the Hour will be just like the pregnant women when the term of pregnancy is full, her family does not know when she will surprise them and give birth, whether by night or by day.” (Ahmad 1:375) 

Ibn Majah also collected a similar Hadith (Ibn Majah 2:1365). Therefore these are the greatest of the Messengers but they did not have knowledge of the appointed term of the Hour. They asked Isa about it and he spoke about its Signs, since he will descend in the last generations of this Ummah, implementing the Law of Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, killing the Dajjal and destroying Gog and Magog people by the blessing of his supplication. Isa merely informed them of the knowledge Allah gave him on this subject. Imam Ahmad recorded that Hudhayfah said, “The Messenger of Allah was asked about the Hour and he said,

”Its knowledge is with my Lord, the Exalted and Most Honored, none can reveal its time except Him. However, I will tell you about its portents and the signs that precede it. Before it commences, there will be Fitnah (trials) and Harj.”

They asked, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! We know the meaning of the Fitnah, so what is the Harj?’ He said,

”It means killing, in the Language of the Ethiopians.”

He then said,

”Isolation and loneliness will be common between people, and therefore, almost no one will be able to recognize any other.” (Ahmad 5:389)

None among the collectors of the six Sunan collected this Hadith using this chain of narration. Tariq bin Shihab said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, kept mentioning the Last Hour [for people kept asking about it], until this Ayah was revealed, ”They ask you about the Hour (Day of Resurrection): “When will be its appointed time?” (At-Tabari 3:292) An- Nasa’i collected this Hadith, (An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 6:506) which has a strong chain. Therefore, this unlettered Prophet, the chief of the Messengers and their Seal, Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be on him, Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy, repentance, Al-Malhmah (great demise of the disbelievers), Al-Aqib (who came after many Prophets), Al-Muqaffi (the last of a succession) and Al-Hashir (below whom will all people be gathered [on the Day of Gathering] Muhammad who said, as collected in the Sahih from Anas and Sahl bin Sad,

”My sending and the Hour are like this”

and he joined his index and middle fingers. (Fath Al-Bari 11:355) Yet, he was commanded to defer knowledge of the Last Hour to Allah if he was asked about it, “Say: “The knowledge thereof is with Allah (alone), but most of mankind know not.”

 

{188. Say : “I possess no power over benefit or harm to myself except as Allah wills. If I had the knowledge of the Ghayb (Unseen), I should have secured for myself an abundance of wealth, and no evil should have touched me. I am but a warner, and a bringer of glad tidings unto people who believe.”}

 

The Messenger does not know the Unseen, and He cannot bring Benefit or Harm even to Himself

Allah commanded His Prophet to entrust all matters to Him and to inform, about himself, that he does not know the unseen future, but he knows of it only what Allah informs him. Allah said in another Ayah, “(He Alone is) the All-Knower of the Ghayb (Unseen), and He reveals to none His Ghayb.” (72:26) Ad-Dahhak reported that Ibn Abbas said that, ”If I had the knowledge of the Ghayb (Unseen), I should have secured for myself an abundance of wealth.” refers to money. In another narration, Ibn Abbas commented, “I would have knowledge of how much profit I would make with what I buy, and I would always sell what I would make profit from, “and no evil should have touched me.” and poverty would never touch me.” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 3:622) Ibn Jarir said, “And others said, ‘This means that if I know the Unseen then I would prepare for the years of famine during the prosperous years, and in the time of high cost, I would have prepared for it.” Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam also commented on this Ayah; “and no evil should have touched me. ”, “I would have avoided and saved myself from any type of harm before it comes.” (At-Tabari 13:302) Allah then stated that the Prophet is a warner and bearer of good news. He warns against the torment and brings good news of Paradise for the believers, “So We have made this (the Qur’an) easy on your tongue, only that you may give glad tidings to the pious, and warn with it the most quarrelsome of people.” (19:97)

{189. It is He Who has created you from a single person, and (then) He has created from him his wife, in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her. When he covered [had sexual relation with] her, she became pregnant and she carried it about (lightly). Then when it became heavy, they both invoked Allah, their Lord (saying): “If You give us a Salih (good in every aspect) child, we shall indeed be among the grateful.”

190. But when He gave them a Salih child, they ascribed partners to Him (Allah) in that which He has given to them. High be Allah, Exalted above all that they ascribe as partners to Him.}

 

All Mankind are the Offspring of Adam

Allah states that He has created all mankind from Adam, peace be upon him, and from Adam, He created his wife, Hawwa’ and from them, people started to spread. Allah said in another Ayah, “O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has Taqwa” (49:13), and, “O mankind! Have Taqwa of your Lord, Who created you from a single person, and from him He created his wife.” (4:1) In this honorable Ayah, Allah said; “And (then) He has created from him his wife, in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her.” so that he is intimate and compassionate with her. Allah said in another Ayah, ”And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives (spouses) from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy.” (30:21) Indeed, there is no intimacy between two souls like that between the spouses. This is why Allah mentioned that the sorcerer might be able with his trick to separate between a man and his wife [thus indicating the difficulty of separating them in normal circumstances]. Allah said next, ”she became pregnant and she carried it about lightly” in reference to the first stage of pregnancy when the woman does not feel pain, for at that time, the fetus will be just a Nutfah ”the mixture of the male and female discharge”, then becomes an Alaqah ”a piece of thick coagulated blood” and then a Mudghah ”a small lump of flesh”.

Allah said next, ”and she carried it about”, she continued the pregnancy, according to Mujahid. (At-Tabari 13:305) It was reported that Al-Hasan, Ibrahim An-Nakhai and As-Suddi said similarly. (At-Tabari 13:304-305) Maymun bin Mahran reported that his father said, “She found the pregnancy unnoticeable.” Ayyub said, “I asked Al-Hasan about the Ayah, ”and she carried it about” and he said, ‘Had you been an Arab, you would know what it means! It means that she continued the pregnancy [through its various stages].”’ (At-Tabari 13:304) Qatadah said, “and she carried it about (lightly).” means, it became clear that she was pregnant. (At-Tabari 13:305) Ibn Jarir commented, “This Ayah means that the liquid remained, whether she stood up or sat down.” (At-Tabari 13:304) Al- Awfi recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “The semen remained in, but she was unsure if she became pregnant or not, “When he covered her” meaning had sexual intercourses with her. “Then when it became heavy”, she became heavier with the fetus”, (At-Tabari 13:305) As-Suddi said, “The fetus grew in her womb.” (At-Tabari 13:305)

“they both invoked Allah, their Lord (saying): “If You give us a Salih child,” if he is born human in every respect. Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn Abbas commented, “They feared that their child might be born in the shape of an animal!” (At-Tabari 13:306) while Abu Al-Bakhtri and Abu Malik commented, “They feared that their newborn might not be human.” (At-Tabari 13:306) Al-Hasan Al-Basri also commented, “If You (Allah) give us a boy.” (At-Tabari 13:306) “we shall indeed be among the grateful. But when He gave them a Salih child, they ascribed partners to Him (Allah) in that which He has given to them. High be Allah, Exalted above all that they ascribe as partners to Him.” (7:189-190) Ibn Jarir recorded that Al-Hasan commented on this part of the Ayah, ”they ascribed partners to Him (Allah) in that which He has given to them” “This occurred by followers of some religion, not from Adam [or Hawwa’].” (At-Tabari 13:314) 

Al-Hasan also said, “This Ayah refers to those among the offspring of Adam who fell into Shirk, ”they ascribed partners to Him (Allah) in that which He has given to them.” (At-Tabari 13:314) Qatadah said, “Al- Hasan used to say that it refers to the Jews and Christians. Allah gave them children, and they turned them into Jews and Christians.” (At-Tabari 13:315) The explanations from Al-Hasan have authentic chains of narration leading to him, and certainly, it is one of the best interpretations. This Ayah should therefore be understood this way, for it is apparent that it does not refer to Adam and Hawa’, but about the idolators among their offspring. Allah mentioned the person first [Adam and Hawwa’] and then continued to mention the species [mankind, many of whom committed Shirk]. There are similar cases in t he Qur’an. For cases, Allah said “And indeed We have adorned the nearest heaven with lamps” It is well-known that the stars that were made as lamps in the sky are not the same as the shooting missiles that are thrown at the devils [mentioned later in the Ayah]. There are similar instances in the Qur’an. Allah knows best.

Tafsir Ibn kathir (Abridged) Volume 4 Pages 213 -235

{191. Do they attribute as partners to Allah those who created nothing but they themselves are created?

192. No help can they give them, nor can they help themselves.

193. And if you call them to guidance, they follow you not. It is the same for you whether you call them or you keep silent.

194. Verily, those whom you call upon besides Allah are servants like you. So call upon them and let them answer you if you are truthful.

195. Have they feet wherewith they walk? Or have they hands wherewith they hold? Or have they eyes wherewith they see? Or have they ears wherewith they hear? Say: “Call your (so-called) partners (of Allah) and then plot against me, and give me no respite!

196. Verily, my protector is Allah Who has revealed the Book (the Qur’an), and He protects the righteous.

197. And those whom you call upon besides Him (Allah) cannot help you nor can they help themselves.

198. And if you call them to guidance, they hear not and you will see them looking at you, yet they see not.”}

Idols do not create, help, or have Power over Anything

Allah admonishes the idolators who worshipped idols, rivals and images besides Him, although these objects were created by Allah, and neither own anything nor can they bring harm or benefit. These objects do not see or give aid to those who worship them. They are inanimate objects that neither move, hear, or see. Those who worship these objects are better than they are, for they hear see and have strength of their own. Allah said, “Do they attribute as partners to Allah those who created nothing but they themselves are created?” meaning, ‘Do you associate with Allah others that neither create, nor have power to create anything?’ Allah said in another Ayah, “O mankind! A similitude has been coined, so listen to it (carefully): Verily, those on whom you call besides Allah, cannot create (even) a fly, even though they combine together for the purpose. And if the fly snatches away a thing from them, they will have no power to release it from the fly. So weak are (both) the seeker and the sought. They have not estimated Allah His rightful estimate. Verily, Allah is All-Strong, Almighty” (22:73-74).

Allah states that if all false gods of the disbelievers gather their strength, they would not be able to create a fly. Rather, if the fly steals anything from them, no matter how insignificant, and flew away, they would not be able to retrieve it. Therefore, if an object is this weak, how can it be worshipped and invoked for provisions and aid? This is why Allah said, “… who created nothing but they themselves are created?” these worshipped objects themselves were created and made. Prophet Ibrahim Al-Khalil proclaimed, “Worship you that which you (yourselves) carve?” (37:95)

Allah said next, “No help can they give them” those who worship them, “nor can they help themselves” nor are they able to aid themselves against those who seek to harm them. For instance, Allah’s Khalil, peace be upon him, broke and disgraced the idols of his people, just as Allah said he did, “Then he turned upon them, striking (them) with (his) right hand,” (37:93) and, “So he broke them to pieces, (all) except the biggest of them, that they might turn to it.” (21:58) Muadh bin Amr ibn Al-Jamuh and Muadh bin Jabal, may Allah be pleased with both of them, were still young when they embraced Islam after the Messenger of Allah came to Al- Madinah. So they were attacking the idols of the idolators at night, breaking, disfiguring them and using them as fuel for needy widows. They sought to give a lesson to their people to make them aware of their error. Amr bin Al-Jamuh, who was one of the chiefs of his people, had an idol that he used to worship and perfume. The two Muadhs used to go to that idol, turn it on its head and tarnish it with animal waste. When Amr bin Al-Jamuh would see what happened to his idol, he would clean it, perfume it and leave a sword next to it, saying, “Defend yourself.” However, the two young men would repeat their actions, and he would do the same as before. Once, they took the idol, tied it to a dead dog and threw it in a well while tied to a rope! When Amr bin Al-Jamuh saw this, he knew that his religion was false and said, “By Allah! Had you been a god who has might, you would not end up tied to a dog on a rope!” Amr bin Al- Jamuh embraced Islam, and he was strong in his Islam. He was later martyred during the battle of Uhud, may Allah be pleased with him, give him pleasure. and grant him Paradise as his dwelling. Allah said, “And if you call them to guidance, they follow you not.”

Allah says, these idols do not hear the calls of those who worship them. Therefore, the result is the same, whether calling the idols or shunning them. Ibrahim, peace be upon said, “O my father! Why do you worship that which hears not, sees not and cannot avail you in anything?” (19:42) Next, Allah states that the idols were created, just as those who worship them. Rather, the people are better than the idols, because they are able to hear, see and exert harm. The idols, on the other hand, have no such powers. Allah said next, “Say: “Call your (so-called) partners (of Allah)” invoke the idols for aid against me and do not give me respite, even for an instant, and give it your best effort, “Verily, my protector is Allah Who has revealed the Book (the Qur’an), and He protects the righteous.” Allah’s support is sufficient and He will suffice for me, He is My supporter, I trust in Him and take refuge with Him. He is my protector, in this life and the Hereafter, and the protector of every righteous believer after me. Similarly, the people of Hud said, “All that we say is that some of our gods have seized you with evil (madness). ” Hud replied: “I call Allah to witness, and bear you witness that I am free from that which you ascribe [as part ners in worship, with Him (Allah)]. So plot against me, all of you, and give me no respite. I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving (living) creature but He has the grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on a path that is straight” (11:54-56).

Ibrahim Al- Khalil proclaimed (to his people), “Do you observe that which you have been wershipping, You and your ancient fathers. Verily, they are enemies to me, save the Lord of all that exists. Who has created me, and it is He Who guides me.” (26:75-78) He also said to his father and his people, “Verily, I am innocent of what you warship. Except Him Who did create me; and verily, He will guide me.” And he made it a legacy lasting among his offspring, that they may turn back (to Allah).” (43:26-28) Allah said here, “Verily, those whom you call upon besides Allah” until the end of the Ayah, reiterating what has been said earlier, but He uses direct speech this time, “cannot help you nor can they help themselves.”

The Ayah, “And if you call them to guidance, they hear not and you will see them looking at you, yet they see not.” is similar to another Ayah, “If you invoke (or call upon) them, they hear not your call.” (35:14). Allah said next, “and you will see them looking at you, yet they see not.” meaning, they have eyes that stare as if they see, although they are solid. Therefore, the Ayah treated them as if they had a mind  [saying, Tarahum, instead of Taraha], since they are made in the shape of humans with eyes drawn on them.

 

{199. Show forgiveness, enjoin Al-‘Urf (the good), and turn away from the foolish (don’t punish them).

200. And if an evil whisper comes to you from Shaytan, then seek refuge with Allah. Verily, He is All-Hearer, All-Knower.}

 

Showing Forgiveness

Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam commented on Allah’s statement, “Show forgiveness” “Allah commanded [Prophet Muhammad] to show forgiveness and turn away from the idolators for ten years. Afterwards Allah ordered him to be harsh with them.” (At-Tabari 12:328) And more than one narration from Mujahid says, “From the [bad] behavior and actions of the people, of those who have not committed espionage.” (At-Tabari 12:327) And Hashim bin Urwah said that his father said, “Allah ordered Allah’s Messenger to pardon the people for their behavior.” And in one narration, “pardon what I have allowed you of their behavior. (At-Tabari 12:327) In Sahih Al-Bukhari it is recorded that Hisham reported from his father Urwah from his brother Abdullah bin Az- Zubayr who said; ” [The Ayah]; “Show forgiveness” was only revealed about the peoples [bad] character.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:155)

There is a narration from Mughirah from Hisham from his father from Ibn Umar; and another from Hisham from his father from A’ishah, both of whom said similarly. (Fath Al-Bari 8:156) And Allah knows best.

Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Yunus said that Sufyan bin Uyaynah narrated that Umay said, “When Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored, revealed this Ayah, “Show forgiveness, enjoin Al-Urf (what is good), and turn away from the foolish” to His Prophet, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, asked,

“What does it mean, O Jibril?”

Jibril said, “Allah commands you to forgive those who wronged you, give to those who deprived you, and keep relations with those who cut theirs with you.” [At-Tabari 6:154 and Ibn Abi Hatim 5:1638. It’s chain is not connected. Ibn Kathir said that it was recorded by others with a connected chain and Ar-Rifai considered it authentic.]

Al-Bukhari said, “Allah said, “Show forgiveness, enjoin Al-Urf and turn away from the ignorant”. ‘Al-Urf’, means, righteousness.” Al-Bukhari next recorded from Ibn Abbas that he said, “Uyaynah bin Hisn bin Hudhayfah stayed with his nephew Al-Hur bin Qays, who was among the people whom Umar used to have near him, for Umar used to like to have the reciters of the Qur’an (who memorized it) near him and would listen to their opinion, regardless of whether they were old or young men. Uyaynah said to his nephew, ‘O my nephew! You are close to this chief (Umar), so ask for permission for me to see him.’ Al-Hur said ‘I will ask him for you,’ and he asked Umar for permission for Uyaynah to meet him, and Umar gave him permission. When Uyaynah entered on Umar, he said, ‘O Ibn Al-Khattab! You neither give to us sufficiently nor rule with justice between us.’ Umar became so angry that he almost punished Uyaynah. However, Al-Hur said, ‘O Chief of he Faithful! Allah, the Exalted, said to His Prophet, “Show forgiveness, enjoin Al-Urf, and turn away from the foolish” Verily this man (Uyaynah) is one of the fools!’ By Allah, Umar did not do anything after he heard that Ayah being recited, and indeed, he was one who adhered to the Book of Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:155) Al- Bukhari recorded this Hadith.

Some scholars said that people are of two kinds, a good-doer, so accept his good doing and neither ask him more than he can bear nor what causes him hardship. The other kind is the one who falls in shortcomings, so enjoin righteousness on him. If he still insists on evil, becomes difficult and continues in his ignorance, then turn away from him, so that your ignoring him might avert his evilness. Allah said in other instances, “Repel evil with that which is better. We are best-acquainted with the things they utter. And say: “My Lord! I seek refuge with You from the whisperings (suggestions) of the Shayatin (devils). And I seek refuge with You, My Lord! lest they should come near me.” (23:96-9) and, “The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better, then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend. But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient — and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion in this world.” (41:34-35) in reference to the advice contained in these Ayat, “And if an evil whisper from Shaytan tries to turn you away (from doing good), then seek refuge in Allah. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower” (41:36).

Allah said in this honorable Suah, “And if an evil whisper comes to you from Shaytan, then seek refuge with Allah. Verily, He is All-Hearer, All-Knower.” (7:200) These three instances in the Qur’an, in Surahs Al-Araf, Al- Mu’minun and As-Sajdah, are uinque in the Qur’an. Allah encourages lenient treatment of evil doers, for this might deter them from persistence in their evil, Allah willing, “then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend” (41:34). Allah also encourages seeking refuge with Him from the devils of the Jinns. The devil will not be deterred if one is lenient with him, because he seeks your destruction and total demise. The devil to you, O mankind, is an open enemy, just as he was for your father before you. Ibn Jarir said, while explaining Allah’s statement, “And if an evil whisper comes to you from Shaytan”, “If the devil lures you to get angry, thus directing you away from forgiving the ignorant and towards punishing him “then seek refuge with Allah.” Allah commands here to seek refuge with Him from the devil’s whispers, “Verily, He is All-Hearer, All-Knower.” Allah hears the ignorance that the fools subject you to, your seeking refuge with Him from the devil’s whispers, and the rest of the speech of His creation; none of it escapes His knowledge. He knows what drives the lures of the devil away from you, as well as, the rest of what His creatures do.” (At-Tabari 13:332)

We mentioned the Hadiths concerning Istiadhah (seeking refuge with Allah) in the beginning of this Tafsir, so we do not need to repeat them here.

 

{201. Verily, those who have Taqwa, when an evil thought comes to them from Shaytan, they remember (Allah), and (indeed) they then see (aright).

202. But (as for) their brothers (the devils’ brothers) they (the devils) plunge them deeper into error, and they never stop short.}

 

The Whispering of Shaytan and the People of Taqwa

Allah mentions His servants who have Taqwa, obeying His orders, and avoid what He forbade: “when comes to them” an evil thought, or anger, or the whispers of Shaytan cross their mind, or intend to err, or commit an error, “they remember” Allah’s punishment, as well as, His tremendous reward. They remember Allah’s promises and threats, then repent, go back to Him, seek refuge with Him and ask for forgiveness before death, “and (indeed) they then see (aright)” they become aright and aware of the error of their ways.

A Brethren of Devils among Mankind lure to Falsehood

Allah said next, “But (as for) their brothers they plunge them deeper” in reference to the devils’ brothers among mankind. Allah said in another Ayah, “Verily, the spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatin” (17:27) for they are followers of the Shayatin, who listen to them and obey their orders. “They plunge them deeper into error” the devils help them commit sins, making this path easy and appealing to them “and they never stop short” for the devils never cease inciting mankind to commit errors. Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas commented on Allah’s statement, “But (as for) their brothers they plunge them deeper into error, and they never stop short.” “Neither mankind stop short of the evil that they are doing nor the devils stop short of luring them.” (At-Tabari 13:338) Therefore, “they never stop short” refers to the devils getting tired or stopping their whispering. Allah said in another Ayah, “See you not that We have sent Shayatin against the disbelievers to push them to do evil” (19:83) persistently luring the disbelievers to commit evil, according to Ibn Abbas and others. (At-Tabari 18:252) 

 

{203. And if you do not bring them a miracle, they say: “Why have you not brought it?” Say: “I but follow what is revealed to me from my Lord. This (the Qur’an) is nothing but evidences from your Lord, and a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe.”}

 

Idolators ask to witness Miracles

Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas commented on Allah’s statement, “they say, “Why have you not brought it?” “They say, ‘Why have you not received a miracle?”’, or, “Why have you not initiated or made it?” (At-Tabari 13:341) Ibn Jarir reported that, Abdullah bin Kathir said that Mujahid said about Allah’s statement, “And if you do not bring them a miracle, they say: “Why have you not brought it” “They say, ‘Produce a miracle of your own.”’ (At-Tabari 13:341) Qatadah, As-Suddi, Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam and Ibn Jarir agreed with this. (At-Tabari 13:341-342) Allah said next, “And if you do not bring them an Ayah” a miracle or a sign. Similarly, Allah said, “If We will, We could send down to them from the heaven a sign, to which they would bend their necks in humility.” (26:4)

The pagans asked the Prophet, why did you not strive hard to bring us an Ayah (miracle) from Allah so that we witness it and believe in it. Allah said to him, “Say: “I but follow what is revealed to me from my Lord.”

I do not ask such things of my Lord. I only follow what He reveals and commands me. Therefore, if Allah sends a miracle, I will accept it. Otherwise, I will not ask for it unless He allows me. Certainly, Allah is Most Wise, the All-Knower.

Allah next directs the servants to the fact that this Qur’an is the most powerful miracle, clearest evidence and most true proof and explanation, saying, “This (the Qur’an) is nothing but evidences from your Lord, and a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe.”

 

{204. So, when the Qur’an is recited, listen to it, and be silent that you may receive mercy.}

The Order to listen to the Qur’an

After Allah mentioned that this Qur’an is a clear evidence, guidance and mercy for mankind, He commanded that one listen to the Qur’an when it is recited, in respect and honor of the Qur’an. This is to the contrary of the practice of the pagans of Quraysh, who said, “Listen not to this Qur’an, and make noise in the midst of its (recitation)” (41:26). Ibn Jarir reported that Ibn Masud said; “We would give Salams to each other during Salah. So the Ayah of Qur’an was revealed; “When the Qur’an is recited, then listen to it.”

 

{205. And remember your Lord within yourself, humbly and with fear and without loudness in words in the mornings and in the afternoons, and be not of those who are neglectful).

206. Surely, those who are with your Lord (angels) are never too proud to perform acts of worship to Him, but they glorify His praise and prostrate themselves before Him.}

 

Remembering Allah in the Mornings and Afternoons

Allah ordains that He be remembered more often in the mornings and the afternoons. Just as He ordered that He be worshipped during these two times when He said, “And glorify the praises of your Lord, before the rising of the sun and before (its) setting.” (50:39) Before the night of Isra’, when the five daily prayers were ordained, this Ayah was revealed in Makkah ordering that Allah be worshipped at these times, Allah said next, “humbly and with fear” meaning, remember your Lord in secret, not loudly, with eagerness and fear. This is why Allah said next, “and without loudness in words”. Therefore, it is recommended that remembering Allah in Dhikr is not performed in a loud voice. When the Companions asked the Messenger of Allah, “Is our Lord close, so that we call Him in secret, or far, so that we raise our voices” Allah sent down the verse, “And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor).” (2:186) In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Abu Musa Al-Ashari said, “The people raised their voices with Du’a (invoking Allah) while travelling. The Prophet said to them,

“O people! Take it easy on yourselves, for He Whom you are calling is not deaf or absent. Verily, He Whom you are calling is the All-Hearer, close (by His knowledge), closer to one of you than the neck of his animal.”

These texts encourage the servants to invoke Allah in Dhikr often, especially in the mornings and afternoons, so that they are not among those who neglect remembering Him. This is why Allah praised the angels who praise Him night and day without tiring, “Surely, those who are with your Lord (i.e., angels) are never too proud to perform acts of worship to Him” Allah reminded the servants of this fact so that they imitate the angels in their tireless worship and obedience of Allah. Prostration, here, upon the mention that the angels prostrate to Allah is legitimate. A Hadith reads;

“Why not you stand in line (for the prayer) like the angels stand in line before their Lord? They continue the first then the next lines and they stand close to each other in line.” (Muslim 1:322)

This is the first place in the Qur’an where it has been legitimized — according to the agreement of the scholars — for the readers of the Qur’an, and those listening to its recitation, to perform prostration.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 4 pages 235-250

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