Surah Al A’raf Ayat 38-72

{38. (Allah) will say: “Enter you in the company of nations who passed away before you, of men and Jinn, into the Fire.” Every time a new nation enters, it curses its sister nation (that went before) until they are all together in the Fire. The last of them will say to the first of them: “Our Lord! These misled us, so give them a double torment of the Fire.” He will say: “For each one there is double (torment), but you know not.”

39. The first of them will say to the last of them: “You were not better than us, so taste the torment for what you used to earn.”}

 

People of the Fire will dispute and curse Each Other

Allah mentioned what He will say to those who associate others with Him, invent lies about Him, and reject His Ayat, “Enter you in the company of nations”, who are your likes and similar to you in conduct, “Who passed away before you” from the earlier disbelieving nations, “Of men and Jinn, into the Fire.” Allah said next, “Every time a new nation enters, it curses its sister nation (that went before)” Al-Khalil (Prophet Ibrahim), peace be upon him, said, “But on the Day of Resurrection, you shall deny each other” (29:25). Also, Allah said, ”When those who were followed declare themselves innocent of those who followed (them), and they see the torment, then all their relations will be cut off from them. And those who followed will say: “If only we had one more chance to return (to the worldly life), we would declare ourselves as innocent from them as they have declared themselves as innocent from us.” Thus Allah will show them their deeds as regrets for them. And they will never get out of the Fire” (2:166-167).

Allah’s statement, “until they are all together in the Fire” means, they are all gathered in the Fire, ”The last of them will say to the first of them” that is, the nation of followers that enter last will say this to the first nations to enter. This is because the earlier nations were worse criminals than those who followed them, and this is why they entered the Fire first. For this reason, their followers will complain against them to Allah, because they were the ones who misguided them from the correct path, saying, “Our Lord! These misled us, so give them a double torment of the Fire.” multiply their share of the torment. Allah said in another instance, “On the Day when their faces will be turned over in the Fire, they will say: “Oh! Would that we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger.” And they will say: “Our Lord! Verily, we obeyed our chiefs and our great ones, and they misled us from the (right) way. Our Lord! Give them a double torment.” (33:66-68).

Allah said in reply, “He will say: “For each one there is double (torment)…”, We did what you asked, and recompensed each according to their deeds.’ Allah said in another Ayah, “Those who disbelieved and hinder (men) from the path of Allah, for them We will add torment” (16:88).

Furthermore, Allah said, “And verily, they shall bear their own loads, and other loads besides their own” (29:13) and, “And also (some thing) of the burdens of those whom they misled without knowledge” (16:25). “The first of them will say to the last of them” meaning, the followed will say to the followers, “You were not better than us…” meaning, you were led astray as we were led astray, according to As-Suddi. “So taste the torment for what you used to earn.” Allah again described the condition of the idolators during the gathering (of Resurrection), when He said; “And those who were arrogant will say to those who were deemed weak: “Did we keep you back from guidance after it come to you? Nay, but you were criminals.” Those who were deemed weak will say to those who were arrogant: “Nay, but it was your plotting by night and day, when you ordered us to disbelieve in Allah and set up rivals to Him!” And each of them (parties) will conceal their own regrets, when they behold the torment. And We shall put iron collars round the necks of those who disbelieved. Are they requited aught except what they used to do?” (34:32-33)

 

{40. Verily, those who belie Our Ayat and treat them with arrogance, for them the gates of the heavens will not be opened, and they will not enter Paradise until the Jamal goes through the eye of the needle. Thus do We recompense the criminals.

41. Theirs will be Mihad from the Fire, and over them Ghawash. Thus do We recompense the wrongdoers.}

 

Doors of Heaven shall not open for Those Who deny Allah’s Ayat, and They shall never enter Paradise

Allah said, “for them the gates of the heavens will not be opened” meaning, their good deeds and supplication will not ascend through it, according to Mujahid, Said bin Jubayr and Ibn Abbas, as Al-Awfi and Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from him. (At-Tabari 12:422-423) Ath-Thawri narrated that, Layth said that Ata’ narrated this from Ibn Abbas. (At-Tabari 12:422) It was also said that the meaning here is that the doors of the heavens will not be opened for the disbelievers’ souls, according to Ad-Dahhak who reported this from Ibn Abbas.(At-Tabari 12:422) As-Suddi and several others mentioned this meaning. What further supports this meaning, is the report from Ibn Jarir that Al-Bara’ said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, mentioned capturing the soul of the ‘Fajir’ (wicked sinner or disbeliever), and that his or her soul will be ascended to heaven. The Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him,said,

“So they (angels) ascend it and it will not pass by a gathering of the angels, but they will ask, who’s wicked soul is this?’ They will reply, ‘The soul of so-and-so,’ calling him by the worst names he was called in this life. When they reach the (lower) heaven, they will ask that its door be opened for the soul, but it will not be opened for it.”

The Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, then recited, “For them the gates of heaven will not be opened”(At-Tabari 12:422)

This is a part of a long Hadith which was also recorded by Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah. (Abu Dawud 5:114, An-Nasai 4:87 and Ibn Majah 1:494)

Ibn Jurayj commented on the Ayah, “for them the gates of heaven will not be opened” “(The gates of heaven) will not be opened for their deeds or souls.” (At-Tabari 12:423) This explanation combines the two meanings we gave above, and Allah knows best. Allah’s statement , “and they will not enter Paradise until the Jamal goes through the eye of the needle.” refers to the male camel. Ibn Masud said it is a male camel from the she camel. In another narration it refersto the spouse of the she camel. (At-Tabari 12:428) Mujahid and Ikrimah said that Ibn Abbas used to recite this Ayah this way, “Until the Jummal goes through the eye of the needle”, whereas ‘Jummal’ is a thick rope. (At-Tabari 12:431) Allah’s statement , “Theirs will be Mihad from the Fire” means, beds, while; “and over them Ghawash”, means, coverings, according to Muhammad bin Kab Al-Qurazi. (At-Tabari 12:436) Similar was said by Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim and As-Suddi. (At-Tabari 12:436) Allah said next, “Thus do We recompense the wrongdoers.”

 

{42. But those who believed, and worked righteousness – We burden not any person beyond his scope – such are the dwellers of Paradise. They will abide therein.

43. And We shall remove from their breasts any Ghill; rivers flowing under them, and they will say: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has guided us to this, and never could we have found guidance, were it not that Allah had guided us! Indeed, the Messengers of our Lord did come with the truth.” And it will be cried out to them: “This is the Paradise which you have inherited for what you used to do. ”}

 

Destination of Righteous Believers

After Allah mentioned the condition of the miserable ones, He then mentioned the condition of the happy ones, saying, “But those who believed, and worked righteousness” Their hearts have believed and they performed good deeds with their limbs and senses, as compared to those who disbelieved in the Ayat of Allah and were arrogant with them. Allah also said that embracing faith and implementing it are easy, when He said, “But those who believed, and worked righteousness – We burden not any person beyond his scope – such are the dwellers of Paradise. They will abide therein. And We shall remove from their breasts any Ghill” meaning, envy and hatred. Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Said Al- Khudri said that the Messenger of Allah peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“After the believers are saved from entering the Fire, they will be kept in wait by a bridge between Paradise and Hellfire. Then, transgression that occurred between them in the life of this world will be judged. Until, when they are purified and cleansed, they will be given permission to enter Paradise. By He in Whose Hand is my soul! One of them will be able to find his dwelling in Paradise more so than he did in the life of this world.” (Fath Al-Bari 5:115)

As-Suddi said about Allah’s statement, “And We shall remove from their breasts any Ghill; rivers flowing under them,” “When the people of Paradise are taken to it, they will find a tree close to its door, and two springs from under the trunk of that tree. They will drink from one of them, and all hatred will be removed from their hearts, for it is the cleansing drink. They will take a bath in the other, and the brightness of delight will radiate from their faces. Ever after, they will never have messy hair or become dirty.” (At-Tabari 12:439)

An-Nasa’i and Ibn Marduwyah (this being his wording) recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Each of the people of Paradise will see his seat in the Fire and he will say, ‘Had not Allah guided me!’ And this will cause him to be grateful. Each of the people of the Fire will see his seat in Paradise, and he will say, ‘Might that Allah had guided me!’ So it will be a cause of anguish for him.” (An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 6:447) 

This is why when the believers are awarded seats in Paradise that belonged to the people of the Fire, they will be told, “This is the Paradise that you inherited because of what you used to do. ” This means, because of your good deeds, you earned Allah’s mercy and thus entered Paradise and took your designated dwellings in it, comparable to your deeds. This is the proper meaning here, for it is recorded in the Two Sahihs that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“And know that the good deeds of one of you will not admit him into Paradise.”

They said, “Not even you, O Allah’s Messenger?” He said,

“Not even I, unless Allah grants it to me out of His mercy and favour.” (Fath Al-Bari 11:300 and Muslim 4:2170)

 

{44. And the dwellers of Paradise will call out to the dwellers of the Fire (saying): “We have indeed found true what our Lord had promised us; have you also found true what your Lord promised (warned)” They shall say: “Yes.” Then a crier will proclaim between them: “The curse of Allah is on the wrongdoers.”

45. Those who hindered (men) from the path of Allah, and would seek to make it crooked, and they were disbelievers in the Hereafter.}

 

People of Hellfire will feel Anguish upon Anguish

Allah mentioned how the people of the Fire will be addressed, chastised and admonished when they take their places in the Fire, “We (dwellers of Paradise) have indeed found true what our Lord had promised us; have you (dwellers of Hell) also found true what your Lord promised (warned)?” They shall say: “Yes.”

In Surat As-Saffat, Allah mentioned the one who had a disbelieving companion, “So he looked down and saw him in the midst of the Fire. He said: “By Allah! You have nearly ruined me. Had it not been for the grace of my Lord, I would certainly have been among those brought forth (to Hell).” (The dwellers of Paradise will say!) “Are we then not to die (any more)? Except our first death, and we shall not be punished” (37:55-59). Allah will punish the disbeliever for the claims he used to utter in this life. The angels will also admonish the disbelievers, saying, “This is the Fire which you used to belie. Is this magic or do you not see? Taste you therein its heat and whether you are patient of it or impatient of it, it is all the same. You are only being requited for what you used to do” (52:14-16).

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, admonished the inhabitants of the well at Badr:

“O Abu Jahl bin Hisham! O Utbah bin Rabiah! O Shaybah bin Rabiah (and he called their leaders by name)! Have you found what your Lord promised to be true (the Fire)? I certainly found what my Lord has promised me to be true (victory).”

Umar said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Do you address a people who have become rotten carrion?” He said,

“By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You do not hear what I am saying better than they do, but they cannot reply.” (Muslim 3:2203) [Those were the disbelievers of the Quraysh who were killed at the battle of Badr, their corpses were thrown into the well]

Allah’s statement, “Then a crier will proclaim between them” will herald and announce, “The curse of Allah is on the wrongdoers” meaning, the curse will reside with the wrongdoers. Allah then described them by saying, “Those who hindered (men) from the path of Allah, and would seek to make it crooked” meaning, they hindered the people from following Allah’s path, His Law, and what the Prophets brought. They sought to make Allah’s path appear crooked and winding, so that no one would follow it. Allah said, “and they were disbelievers in the Hereafter” They disbelieved in the Meeting with Allah in the Hereafter, They used to deny this will ever occur, not accepting it nor believing in it. This is why they used to discount the seriousness of the evil deeds and statements that they committed, because they did not fear any reckoning or punishment. Therefore, they were and are indeed the worst people in statement and action.

 

{46. And between them will be a (barrier) screen and on Al-Araf will be men, who would recognize all, by their marks. And they will call out to the dwellers of Paradise, “Peace be on you” and at that time they will not yet have entered it (Paradise), but they will hope to enter (it).

47. And when their eyes will be turned towards the dwellers of the Fire, they will say: “Our Lord! Place us not with the people who are wrongdoers.”}

 

The People of Al-A’raf

After Allah mentioned that the people of Paradise will address the people of the Fire, He stated that there is a barrier between Paradise and the Fire, which prevents the people of the Fire from reaching Paradise. Ibn Jarir said, “It is the wall that Allah described, “So a wall will be put up between them, with a gate therein. Inside it will be mercy, and outside it will be torment.” (57:13) It is also about Al-A’raf that Allah said, “and on Al-A’raf will be men.” (At-Tabari 12:249) Ibn Jarir recorded that As-Suddi said about Allah’s statement, “And between them will be a screen” “It is the wall, it is Al-A’raf.” (At-Tabari 12:449)  Mujahid said, “Al-A’raf is a barrier between Paradise and the Fire, a wall that has a gate.” (At-Tabari 12:451) 

Ibn Jarir said, “Al-A’raf is plural for Urf, where every elevated piece of land is known as Urf to the Arabs.” As-Suddi said, “Al- A’raf is so named because its residents recognize (Yarifun) the people. Al-A’raf’s residents are those whose good and bad deeds are equal, as Hudhayfah, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Masud and several of the Salaf and later generations said.” Ibn Jarir recorded that Hudhayfah was asked about the people of Al-A’raf and he said, “A people whose good and bad deeds are equal. Their evil deeds prevented them from qualifying to enter Paradise, and their good deeds qualified them to avoid the Fire. Therefore, they are stopped there on the wall until Allah judges them.” (At-Tabari 12:453) 

Mamar said that Al-Hasan recited this Ayah, “and at that time they will not yet have entered it (Paradise), but they will hope to enter (it).” Then he said, “By Allah! Allah did not put this hope in their hearts, except for an honor that He intends to bestow on them.” (Abdur Razzaq 2:230) Qatadah said; “Those who hope are those among you whom Allah informed of their places.” (At-Tabari 12:465) Allah said next, “And when their eyes will be turned towards the dwellers of the Fire, they will say: “Our Lord! Place us not with the people who are wrongdoers.” Ad-Dahhak reported that Ibn Abbas said, “When the people of Al-A’raf look at the people of the Fire and recognize them, they will supplicate, ‘O Lord! Do not place us with the people who are wrongdoers.”’ (At-Tabari 12:463) 

 

{48. And the men on Al-A’raf will call unto the men whom they would recognize by their marks, saying: “Of what benefit to you was your gathering, and your arrogance?”

49. “Are they those, of whom you swore that Allah would never show them mercy (Behold! It has been said to them): ‘Enter Paradise, no fear shall be on you, nor shall you grieve.”’}

 

Allah states that the people of Al-A’raf will admonish some of the chiefs of the idolators whom they recognize by their marks in the Fire, saying, “Of what benefit to you was your gathering…” meaning, your great numbers, “…and your arrogance” This Ayah means, your great numbers and wealth did not save you from Allah’s torment. Rather, you are dwelling in His torment and punishment. Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn Abbas, “Are they those, of whom you swore that Allah would never show them mercy?” refers to the people of Al-A’raf who will be told when Allah decrees: “(Behold! It has been said to them): “Enter Paradise, no fear shall be on you, nor shall you grieve.” (At-Tabari 12:469)

 

{50. And the dwellers of the Fire will call to the dwellers of Paradise: “Pour on us some water or anything that Allah has provided you with.” They will say: “Both (water and provision) Allah has forbidden for the disbelievers.

51. “Who took their religion as amusement and play, and the life of the world deceived them.” So this Day We shall forget them as they forgot their meeting of this Day, and as they used to reject Our Ayat.}

 

The Favors of paradise are Prohibited for the People of the Fire

Allah emphasizes the disgrace of the people of the Fire. They will ask the people of Paradise for some of their drink and food, but they will not be given any of that. As-Suddi said, “And the dwellers of the Fire will call to the dwellers of Paradise: “Pour on us some water or anything that Allah has provided you with.” “That is food”. (At-Tabari 12:473) Ath-Thawri said that Uthman Ath- Thaqafi said that Said bin Jubayr commented on this Ayah, “One of them will call his father or brother, ‘I have been burned, so pour some water on me.’ The believers will be asked to reply, and they will reply, “Both Allah has forbidden to the disbelievers.” (At-Tabari 12:474) 

Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said that, “Both Allah has forbidden to the disbelievers.” “Refers to the food and drink of Paradise.” (At-Tabari 12:474) Allah describes the disbelievers by what they used to do in this life, taking the religion as amusement and play, and being deceived by this life and its adornment, rather than working for the Hereafter as Allah commanded, “So this Day We shall forget them as they forgot their meeting of this Day” meaning, Allah will treat them as if He has forgotten them. Certainly, nothing escapes Allah’s perfect watch and He never forgets anything. Allah said in another Ayah, “In a Record. My Lord neither errs nor forgets” (20:52) Allah said – that He will forget them on that Day – as just recompense for them, because, “They have forgotten Allah, so He has forgotten them” (9:67) “Like this: Our Ayat came unto you, but you disregarded them, and so this Day, you will be neglected” (20:126) and, “And it will be said: “This Day We will forget you as you forgot the meeting of this Day of yours.” (45:34)

Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas commented on, “So this Day We shall forget them as they forgot their meeting of this Day” “Allah will forget the good about them, but not their evil.” And Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said, “We shall forsake them as they have forsaken the meeting of this Day of theirs.” Mujahid said, “We shall leave them in the Fire.” As-Suddi said, “We shall leave them from any mercy, just as they left any action on behalf of the meeting on this Day of theirs.”

It is recorded in the Sahih that Allah will say to the servant on the Day of Resurrection:

“Have I not gotten you married? Have I not honored you? Have I not made horses and camels subservient for you and allowed you to become a leader and a master?” He will say, “Yes.” Allah will say, “Did you think that you will meet Me?” He will say, “No.” Allah the Exalted will say, ‘Then this Day, I will forget you as you have forgotten Me.” (Muslim 4:2279)

 

{52. Certainly, We have brought to them a Book (the Qur’an) which We have explained in detail with knowledge, a guidance and a mercy to a people who believe.

53. Await they just for the final fulfilment of the event? On the Day the event is finally fulfilled, those who neglected it before will say: “Verily, the Messengers of our Lord did come with the truth, now are there any intercessors for us that they might intercede on our behalf? Or could we be sent back (to the first life of the world) so that we might do (good) deeds other than those (evil) deeds which we used to do” Verily, they have lost themselves and that which they used to fabricate has gone away from them.}

The Idolators have no Excuse

Allah states that He has left no excuse for the idolators, for He has sent to them the Book that the Messenger came with, and which is explained in detail, “(This is) a Book, the Ayat whereof are perfected (in every sphere of knowledge), and then explained in detail” (11:1) Allah said next, “We have explained in detail with knowledge” meaning, ‘We have perfect knowledge of what We explained in it’. Allah said in another Ayah, “He has sent it down with His Knowledge,” (4:166) The meaning here is that after Allah mentioned the loss the idolators end up with in the Hereafter, He stated that He has indeed sent Prophets and revealed Books in this life, thus leaving no excuse for them. Allah also said; “And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger (to give warning).”(17:15)

This is why Allah said here, ”Await they just for the final fulfilment of the event?” in reference to what they were promised of torment, punishment, the Fire; or Paradise, according to Mujahid and several others. (At-Tabari 12:479) ”On the Day the event is finally fulfilled” on the Day of Resurrection, according to Ibn Abbas, (At-Tabari 12:479) “those who neglected it before will say” those who ignored it in this life and neglected abiding by its implications will say, “Verily, the Messengers of our Lord did come with the truth, now are there any intercessors for us that they might intercede on our behalf”’ so that we are saved from what we ended up in. “Or could we be sent back”, to the first life, “So that we might do (good) deeds other than those (evil) deeds which we used to do?”.

This part of the Ayah is similar to Allah’s statement, “If you could but see when they will be held over the (Hell) Fire! They will say: “Would that we were but sent back! Then we would not deny the Ayat of our Lord, and we would be of the believers!” Nay, it has become manifest to them what they had been concealing before. But if they were returned (to the world), they would certainly revert to that which they were forbidden. And indeed they are liars” (6:27-28) Allah said here, “Verily, they have lost themselves and that which they used to fabricate has gone away from them.” meaning, they destroyed themselves by entering the Fire for eternity, “And that which they used to fabricate has gone away from them.” What they used to worship instead of Allah abandoned them and will not intercede on their behalf, aid them or save them from their fate.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Volume 4 Pages 57-76

{54. Indeed, your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and then He rose over (Istawa) the Throne. He brings the night as a cover over the day, seeking it rapidly, and (He created) the sun, the moon, the stars subjected to His command. Surely, His is the creation and commandment. Blessed is Allah, the Lord of all that exists!}

The Universe was created in Six Days

Allah states that He created the universe, the heavens and earth and all that is in, on and between them in six days, as He has stated in several Ayat in the Qur’an. These six days are: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Friday, the entire creation was assembled and on that day, Adam was created. There is a difference of opinion whether these days were the same as our standard days as suddenly comes to the mind, or each day constitutes one thousand years, as reported from Mujahid, (At-Tabari 12:482) Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, and from Ibn Abbas according to Ad-Dahhak’s narration from him. As for Saturday, no creation took place in it since it is the seventh day of (of the week). The word ‘As-Sabt’ means stoppage, or break. Imam Ahmad recorded Abu Hurayrah saying: Allah’s Messenger told me:

“Allah created the dust on Saturday, and He created the mountains on Sunday, and He created the trees on Monday, and He created the unpleasant things on Tuesday and He created the light on Wednesday and He spread the creatures through out it on Thursday and He created Adam after Asr on Friday. He was the last created during the last hour of Friday, between Asr and the night.”(Ahmad 2:327 and Muslim no.2149)

Meaning of Istawa

As for Allah’s statement, and then He rose over (Istawa) the Throne” the people had several conflicting opinions over its meaning. However, we follow the way that our righteous predecessors took in this regard, such as Malik, Al-Awzai, Ath-Thawri, Al-Layth bin Sad, Ash-Shafi’i, Ahmad, Ishaq bin Rahwayh and the rest of the scholars of Islam, in past and present times. Surely, we accept the apparent meaning of, Al-Istawa, without discussing its true essence, equating it (with the attributes of the creation), or altering or denying it (in any way or form). We also believe that the meaning that comes to those who equate Allah with the creation is to be rejected, for nothing is similar to Allah, “There is nothing like Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” (42:11) Indeed, we assert and affirm what the Imams said, such as Nu’aym bin Hammad Al-Khuza’i, the teacher of Imam Al-Bukhari, who said, “Whoever likens Allah with His creation, will have committed Kufr. Whoever denies what Allah has described Himself with, will have committed Kufr. Certainly, there is no resemblance (of Allah with the creation) in what Allah and His Messenger have described Him with. Whoever attests to Allah’s attributes that the plain Ayat and authentic Hadiths have mentioned, in the manner that suits Allah’s majesty, all the while rejecting all shortcomings from Him, will have taken the path of guidance.”

The Day and the Night are among the Signs of Allah

Allah said, He brings the night as a cover over the day, seeking it rapidly” meaning, the darkness goes away with the light, and the light goes away with the darkness. Each of them seeks the other rapidly, and does not come late, for when this vanishes, the other comes, and vice versa. Allah also said; “And a sign for them is the night. We withdraw therefrom the day, and behold, they are in darkness. And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term (appointed). That is the decree of the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing. And the moon, We have measured for it mansions (to traverse) till it returns like the old dried curved date stalk. It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor does the night outstrip the day. They all float, each in an orbit.” (36:37-40) Allah’s statement, “Nor does the night outstrip the day” (36:40) means, the night follows the day in succession and does not come later or earlier than it should be. This is why Allah said here, “seeking it rapidly, and (He created) the sun, the moon, the stars subjected to His command.” meaning, all are under His command, will and dominion. Allah alerted us afterwards, “Surely, His is the creation and commandment” the dominion and the decision. Allah said next, “Blessed is Allah, the Lord of the all that exists!” which is similar to the Ayah, “Blessed be He Who has placed in the heaven big stars” (25:61) Abu Ad-Darda’ said a supplication, that was also attributed to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him,

“O Allah! Yours is all the kingdom, all the praise, and Yours is the ownership of all affairs. I ask You for all types of good and seek refuge with You from all types of evil.”

{55. Invoke your Lord Tadarru’an and Khufyah. He likes not the aggressors.

56. And do not do mischief on the earth, after it has been set in order, and invoke Him with fear and hope. Surely, Allah’s mercy is (ever) near unto the good-doers.}

Encouraging supplicating to Allah

Allah commands His servants to supplicate to Him, for this will ensure their welfare in this life and the Hereafter. Allah said, “Invoke your Lord Tadarru’an and Khufyah” meaning, in humbleness and humility. Allah said in a similar Ayah, “And remember your Lord within yourself” (7:205) It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Abu Musa Al-Ashari said, “The people raised their voices with supplications but the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“O people! Take it easy on yourselves. Verily, you are not calling one who is deaf or absent, rather, the One you are calling is All-Hearer, Near (to His servants by His knowledge).” (Fath Al-Bari 11:191 and Muslim 4:2076)

Ibn Jarir said that, “Tadarru’an”, means obeying Him in humility and humbleness, “and Khufyah”, with the humbleness in your hearts and certainty of His Oneness and Lordship not supplicating loudly to show off. (At-Tabari 12:485)

Forbidding Aggression in Supplications

It was reported that Ata’ Al-Khurasani narrated from Ibn Abbas, who said about Allah’s statement, “He likes not the aggressors” “In the Du’a and otherwise.” (At-Tabari 12:486)  Abu Mijlaz commented on, “He likes not the aggressors”, “Such (aggression) as asking to reach the grade of the Prophets.” (At-Tabari 12:486)  Imam Ahmad narrated that Abu Ni`amah said that Abdullah bin Mughaffal heard his son supplicating, “O Allah! I ask you for the white castle on the right side of Paradise, if I enter it.” So Abdullah said, “O my son! Ask Allah for Paradise and seek refuge with Him from the Fire, for I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saying,

“There will come some people who transgress in supplication and purification” (Ahmad 5:55)

The Prohibition of causing Mischief in the Land

Allah said next, “And do not do mischief on the earth, after it has been set in order” (5:56) . Allah prohibits causing mischief on the earth, especially after it has been set in order. When the affairs are in order and then mischief occurs, it will cause maximum harm to the people; thus Allah forbids causing mischief and ordained worshipping Him, supplicating to Him, begging Him and being humble to Him. Allah said, “and invoke Him with fear and hope” fearing what He has of severe torment and hoping in what He has of tremendous reward. Allah then said, “Surely, Allah’s mercy is (ever) near unto the good-doers” meaning, His mercy is for the good- doers who obey His commands and avoid what He prohibited. Allah said in another Ayah, “And My mercy envelopes all things. That (mercy) I shall ordain for those who who have Taqwa.” (7:156). Matar Al-Warraq said, “Earn Allah’s promise by obeying Him, for He ordained that His mercy is near to the good-doers. ” Ibn Abi Hatim collected this statement. (Ibn Abi Hatim 5:1501)

 

{57. And it is He Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His mercy (rain). Till when they have carried a heavy-laden cloud, We drive it to a land that is dead, then We cause water (rain) to descend thereon. Then We produce every kind of fruit therewith. Similarly, We shall raise up the dead, so that you may remember or take heed.

58. The vegetation of a good land comes forth (easily) by the permission of its Lord; and that which is bad, brings forth nothing but (a little) with difficulty. Thus do We explain variously the Ayat for a people who give thanks.}

Among Allah’s Signs, He sends down the Rain and brings forth the Produce

After Allah stated that He created the heavens and earth and that He is the Owner and Possessor of the affairs Who makes things subservient (for mankind), He ordained that He be invoked in Du’a, for He is able to do all things. Allah also stated that He is the Sustainer and He resurrects the dead on the Day of Resurrection. Here, Allah said that He sends the wind that spreads the clouds that are laden with rain. Allah said in another Ayah, “And among His signs is this, that He sends the winds with glad tidings” (30:46). Allah’s statement, “going before His mercy” means, before the rain. Allah also said; “And He it is Who sends down the rain after they have despaired, and spreads His mercy. And He is Al-Wali (the Guardian), Al-Hamid (the praiseworthy)” (42:28) and, “Look then at the results of Allah’s mercy, how He revives the earth after its death. Verily, that [is the one Who] shall indeed raise the dead, and He is able to do all things” (30:50). Allah said next, “Till when they have carried a heavy-laden cloud” when the wind carries clouds that are heavy with rain, and this is why these clouds are heavy, close to the earth, and their color is dark. Allah’s statement, “We drive it to a land that is dead” that is, a dry land that does not have any vegetation. This Ayah is similar to another Ayah, “And a sign for them is the dead land. We give it life” (36:33). This is why Allah said here, “Then We produce every kind of fruit therewith. Similarly, We shall raise up the dead.” meaning, just as We bring life to dead land, We shall raise up the dead on the Day of Resurrection, after they have disintegrated. Allah will send down rain from the sky and the rain will pour on the earth for forty days. The corpses will then be brought up in their graves, just as the seeds become grow in the ground (on receiving rain). Allah often mentions this similarity in the Qur’an when He gives the example of what will happen on the Day of Resurrection, and bringing life to dead land, “The vegetation of a good land comes forth (easily) by the permission of its Lord” meaning, the good land produces its vegetation rapidly and proficiently. Allah said in another Ayah about Maryam, mother of Isa, peace be upon him; “He made her grow in a good manner.” (3:37) The Ayah continues, “and that which is bad, brings forth nothing but with difficulty.” Mujahid, and others such as As-Sibakh, etc. also said this. (At-Tabari 12:497)

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

“The parable of the guidance and knowledge with which Allah has sent me is that of an abundant rain falling on a land, some of which was fertile soil that absorbed rain water and brought forth vegetation and grass in abundance. And another portion of it was hard and held the rain water; and Allah benefited the people with it, they utilized it for drinking, making their animals drink from it, and for irrigation of the land for cultivation. And a portion of it was barren which could neither hold the water nor bring forth vegetation. The first is the example of the person who comprehends Allah’s religion and gets benefit which Allah sent me with, by learning and teaching others. The last example is that of a person who does not care for it and does not accept the guidance Allah sent me with.” (Fath Al-Bari 1:211)

 

{59. Indeed, We sent Nuh to his people and he said: “O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other god but Him. Certainly, I fear for you the torment of a Great Day!”

60. The leaders of his people said: “Verily, we see you in plain error.”

61. [Nuh] said: “O my people! There is no error in me, but I am a Messenger from the Lord of all that exists!

62. I convey unto you the Messages of my Lord and give sincere advice to you. And I know from Allah what you know not.”}

 

The Story of Nuh and His People

After Allah mentioned the story of Adam in the beginning of this Surah, He started mentioning the stories of the Prophets, the first then the latter of them. Allah mentioned the story of Nuh, because he was the first Messenger Allah sent to the people of the earth after Adam. His name was Nuh bin Lamak bin Matushalakh bin Khanukh. And Khanukh was, as they claim, the Prophet Idris. And Idris was the first person to write letters using pen, and he was the son of Barad bin Mahlil, bin Qanin bin Yanish bin Shith bin Adam, upon them all be peace. This lineage is mentioned by Muhammad bin Ishaq and other Imams who document lineage. Abdullah bin Abbas and several other scholars of Tafsir said that the first idol worship began when some righteous people died and their people built places of worship over their graves. They made images of them so that they could remember their righteousness and devotion, and thus, imitate them. When time passed, they made statues of them and later on worshipped these idols, naming them after the righteous people: Wadd, Suwa, Yaghuth, Ya’uq and Nasr. After this practice became popular, Allah sent Nuh as a Messenger, all thanks are due to Him. Nuh commanded his people to worship Allah alone without partners, saying, “O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other god but Him. Certainly, I fear for you the torment of a Great Day!” the torment of the Day of Resurrection, if you meet Allah while associating others with Him. “The leaders of his people said” meaning, the general public, chiefs, commanders and great ones of his people said, “Verily, we see you in plain error” because of your calling us to abandon the worship of these idols that we found our forefathers worshipping.

This, indeed, is the attitude of evil people, for they consider the righteous people to be following misguidance. Allah said in other Ayat, “And when they saw them, they said: “Verily, these have indeed gone astray!” (83:32) and, “And those who disbelieve say of those who believe: “Had it been a good thing, they (the weak and poor) would not have preceded us thereto!” And when they have not let themselves be guided by it (this Qur’an), they say: “This is an ancient lie!” (46:11)

There are several other Ayat on this subject. “[Nuh] said: “O my people! There is no error in me, but I am a Messenger from the Lord of all that exists!” meaning, there is nothing wrong with me, but I am a Messenger from the Lord of all that exists, Lord and King of all things, “I convey unto you the Messages of my Lord and give sincere advice to you. And I know from Allah what you know not.” This is the attribute of a Messenger, that he conveys using plain, yet eloquent words, offers sincere advice and is knowledgeable about Allah; indeed, no other people can compete with the Prophets in this regard. In his Sahih, Muslim recorded that the Messenger of Allah said to his Companions on the Day of Arafah, when their gathering was as large as it ever was,

“O people! You will be asked about me, so what will you say?”

They said, “We testify that you have conveyed and delivered (the Message) and offered sincere advice.” So he kept raising his finger to the sky and lowering it towards them, saying,

“O Allah! Bear witness, O Allah! Bear witness.” (Muslim 2:890)

 

{63. “Do you wonder that there has come to you a Reminder from your Lord through a man from among you, that he may warn you, so that you may fear Allah and that you may receive (His) mercy?”

64. But they belied him, so We saved him and those along with him in the Fulk, and We drowned those who belied Our Ayat. They were indeed a blind people.}

Allah said that Nuh proclaimed to his people, “Do you wonder…”, do not wonder because of this. Surely, it is not strange that Allah sends down revelation to a man among you as mercy, kindness and compassion for you, so that he warns you that you may avoid Allah’s torment by associating none with Him, “and that you may receive (His) mercy.” Allah said, “But they belied him” but they insisted on rejecting and opposing him, and only a few of them believed in him, as Allah stated in another Ayah. Allah said next, “So We saved him and those along with him in the Fulk” the ark, “And We drowned those who belied Our Ayat.” Allah said in another Ayah, “Because of their sins they were drowned, then they were admitted into the Fire. And they found none to help them instead of Allah.” (71:25) Allah said, “They were indeed a blind people.” meaning, blind from the Truth, unable to recognize it or find their way to it. Here, Allah said that He has taken revenge from His enemies and saved His Messenger and those who believed in him, while destroying their disbelieving enemies. Allah said in a another Ayah, “Verily, We will indeed make victorious Our Messengers” (40:51). This is Allah’s Sunnah (way) with His servants, in this life and the Hereafter, that the good end, victory and triumph is for those who fear Him. For example, Allah destroyed the people of Nuh, and saved Nuh and his believing followers. Ibn Wahb said that he was told that Ibn Abbas said that eighty men were saved with Nuh in the ship, one of them was Jurhum, who spoke Arabic. Ibn Abi Hatim collected this statement, which was also narrated with a continuous chain of narration from Ibn Abbas.

{65. And to Ad (the people, We sent) their brother Hud. He said: “O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other god but Him. Will you then not have Taqwa?”

66. The leaders of those who disbelieved among his people said: “Verily, we see you in foolishness, and verily, we think you are one of the liars.”

67. (Hud) said: “O my people! There is no foolishness in me, but (I am) a Messenger from the Lord of all that exists!

68. “I convey unto you the Messages of my Lord, and I am a trustworthy adviser (or well-wisher) for you.

69. “Do you wonder that there has come to you a Reminder (and an advice) from your Lord through a man from among you to warn you? And remember that He made you successors (generations after generations) after the people of Nuh and increased you amply in stature. So remember the graces (bestowed upon you) from Allah so that you may be successful.”}

 

The Story of Hud, Peace be upon Him, and the Lineage of the People of Ad

Allah says, just as We sent Nuh to his people, similarly, to the Ad people, We sent Hud one of their own brethren. Muhammad bin Ishaq said that the tribe of Ad were the descendants of Ad, son of Iram, son of Aws, son of Sam, son of Nuh. I say, these are indeed the ancient people of Ad whom Allah ment ioned, t he children of Ad, son of Iram who were living in the deserts with lofty pillars or statues. Allah said, “Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with Ad (people). Of Iram like (lofty) pillars. The like of which were not created in the land?” (89:6-8) because of their might and strength. Allah said in another instance, “As for Ad, they were arrogant in the land without right, and they said: “Who is mightier than us in strength?” See they not that Allah Who created them was mightier in strength than them. And they used to deny Our Ayat!” (41:15).

The Land of  Ad

The people of Ad lived in Yemen, in the area of Ahqaf, which means sand mounds. Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Abu At-Tufayl Amir bin Wathilah said that he heard Ali (bin Abi Talib) saying to a man from Hadramawt (in Yemen), “Have you seen a red sand mound, where there are a lot of Arak and Lote trees in the area of so-and-so in Hadramawt? Have you seen it?” He said, “Yes, O Commander of the faithful! By Allah, you described it as if you have seen it before.” Ali said, ‘I have not seen it, but it was described to me.” The man asked, “What about it, O Commander of the faithful?” Ali said, “There is the grave of Hud, peace be upon him, in its vicinity.” (At-Tabari 12:507) Ibn Jarir recorded this statement, which gives the benefit of indicating that Ad used to live in Yemen, since Prophet Hud was buried there. Prophet Hud was among the noble men and chiefs of Ad, for Allah chose the Messengers from among the best, most honorable families and tribes. Hud’s people were mighty and strong, but their hearts were mighty and hard, for they were among the most denying of Truth among the nations. Prophet Hud called Ad to worship Allah alone without partners, and to obey and fear Him.

Debate between Hud and his People

“The leaders of those who disbelieved among his people said…” meaning, the general public, chiefs, masters and commanders of his people said, “Verily, we see you in foolishness, and verily, we think you are one of the liars” meaning, you are misguided because you call us to abandon worshipping the idols in order to worship Allah Alone. Similarly, the chiefs of Quraysh wondered at the call to worship One God, saying, “Has he (Muhammad) made the gods (all) into One God?” (38:5). “(Hud) said: “O my people! There is no foolishness in me, but (I am) a Messenger from the Lord of all that exists!” Hud said, I am not as you claim. Rather, I brought you the Truth from Allah, Who created everything, and He is the Lord and King of all things, “I convey unto you the Messages of my Lord, and I am a trustworthy adviser for you. ” These, indeed, are the qualities of the Prophets: conveying, sincerity and honesty, “Do you wonder that there has come to you a Reminder from your Lord through a man from among you to warn you?” Prophet Hud said, do not wonder because Allah sent a Messenger to you from among yourselves to warn you about Allah’s Days (His torment) and meeting with Him. Rather than wondering, you should thank Allah for this bounty. “And remember that He made you successors (generations after generations) after the people of Nuh…” meaning, remember Allah’s favor on you in that He made you among the offspring of Nuh, because of whose supplication Allah destroyed the people of the earth after they defied and opposed him. “and increased you amply in stature.” making you taller than other people. Similarly, Allah said in the description of Talut (Saul), “And has increased him abundantly in knowledge and stature.” (2:247) Hud continued, “So remember the graces (bestowed upon you) from Allah.” in reference to Allah’s favors and blessings “so that you may be successful.”

{70. They said: “You have come to us that we should worship Allah Alone and forsake that which our fathers used to worship. So bring us that wherewith you have threatened us if you are of the truthful.”

71. (Hud) said: “Rijs (torment) and wrath have already fallen on you from your Lord. Dispute you with me over names which you have named – you and your fathers – with no authority from Allah? Then wait, I am with you among those who wait.”

72. So We saved him and those who were with him out of mercy from Us, and We severed the roots of those who belied Our Ayat; and they were not believers.}

 

Allah mentions the rebellion, defiance and stubbornness of Hud’s people, and their opposition to him, peace be upon him

“They said: “You have come to us that we should worship Allah Alone?” Later on, the disbelievers of Quraysh said, “And (remember) when they said: “O Allah! If this (the Qur’an) is indeed the truth (revealed) from You, then rain down stones on us from the sky or bring on us a painful torment.” Muhammad bin Ishaq said that the people of Hud used to worship several idols, such as Suda’, Samud and Al-Haba’. This is why Hud, peace be upon him, said to them, “Rijs and wrath have already fallen on you from your Lord.” you deserve ‘Rijs’ from your Lord because of what you said. Ibn Abbas said that, ‘Rijs’, means scorn and anger. (At-Tabari 12:522) “Dispute you with me over names which you have named – you and your fathers?” (7:71). Hud said, do you dispute with me over these idols that you and your fathers made gods, even though they do not bring harm or benefit; did Allah give you authority or proof allowing you to worship them? Hud further said, “with no authority from Allah? Then wait, I am with you among those who wait.” this is a threat and warning from the Messenger to his people.

The End of ‘Ad

So Allah said, “So We saved him and those who were with him out of mercy from Us, and We severed the roots of those who belied Our Ayat; and they were not believers.” Allah mentioned several times in the Qur’an, the way the people of Ad were destroyed stating that He sent a barren wind that destroyed everything it passed by. Allah said in another Ayah, “And as for Ad, they were destroyed by a furious violent wind! They were subjected to it for seven nights and eight days in succession, so that you could see men lying overthrown (destroyed), as if they were hollow trunks of date palms! Do you see any remnants of them.” (69:6-8) When Ad rebelled and transgressed, Allah destroyed them with a strong wind that carried them, one by one, up in the air and brought each one of them down on his head, thus smashing his head and severing it from its body. This is why Allah said, “as if they were hollow trunks of date palms!” (69:7)

Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Ad used to live in Yemen between Oman and Hadramawt. They also spread throughout the land and defeated various peoples, because of the strength that Allah gave them. They used to worship idols instead of Allah, and Allah sent to them Prophet Hud, peace be upon him. He was from their most common lineage and was the best among them in status. Hud commanded them to worship Allah Alone and associate none with him. He also ordered them to stop committing injustice against the people. But they rejected him and ignored his call. They said, ‘Who is stronger than us?’ Some of them, however, followed Hud, although they were few and had to conceal their faith. When Ad defied the command of Allah, rejected His Prophet, committed mischief in the earth, became arrogant and built high palaces on every high place – without real benefit to them – Hud spoke to them, saying, “Do you build high palaces on every high place, while you do not live in them? And do you get for yourselves palaces (fine buildings) as if you will live therein forever. And when you seize (somebody), seize you (him) as tyrants Have Taqwa of Allah, and obey me.” (26:128-131) However, “They said: “O Hud! No evidence have you brought us, and we shall not leave our gods for your (mere) saying! And we are not believers in you. All that we say is that some of our gods have seized you with evil.” meaning, madness, “He said: “I call Allah to witness, and bear you witness that I am free from that which you associate with Him. 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 creature but He has the grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the straight path (the truth).” (11:53-56). (At-Tabari 12:507)

Story of the Emissary of Ad

Imam Ahmad recorded that Al-Harith Al-Bakri said: “I went to the Messenger of Allah to complain to him about Al-Ala bin Al-Hadrami. When I passed by the area of Ar-Rabdhah, I found an old woman from Bani Tamim who was alone in that area. She said to me, “O servant of Allah! I need to reach the Messenger of Allah to ask him for some of my needs, will you take me to him?” So I took her along with me to Al-Madinah and found the Masjid full of people. I also found a black flag raised high, while Bilal was holding a sword before the Messenger of Allah. I asked, “What is the matter with the people?” They said, “The Prophet intends to send Amr bin Al-As (on a military expedition) somewhere.” So I sat down. When the Prophet went to his house, I asked for permission to see him, and he gave me permission. I entered and greeted him. He said, “Was there a dispute between you and Bani Tamim?” I said, “Yes. And we had been victorious over them. I passed by an old woman from Bani Tamim, who was alone, and she asked me to bring her to you, and she is at the door”. So he allowed her in and I said, “O Allah’s Messenger! What if you make a barrier between us and (the tribe of) Bani Tamim, such as Ad- Dahna’ (Desert)?” The old woman became angry and opposed me. So I said, “My example is the example of a sheep that carried its own destruction. I carried this woman and did not know that she was an opponent. I seek refuge with Allah and His Messenger that I become like the emissary of ‘Ad.’ So the Prophet asked me about the emissary of ‘Ad, having better knowledge in it, but he liked to hear the story again. I said, “Once, ‘Ad suffered from a famine and they sent an emissary [to get relief], whose name was Qayl. Qayl passed by Mu’awiyah bin Bakr and stayed with him for a month. Mu’awiyah supplied him with alcoholic drinks, and two female singers were singing for him. When a month ended, Qayl went to the mountains of Muhrah and said, ‘O Allah! You know that I did not come here to cure an ill person or to ransom a prisoner. O Allah! Give ‘Ad water as You used to.’ So black clouds came and he was called, ‘Choose which one of them you wish (to go to Ad)!’ So he pointed to one of the black clouds and he heard someone proclaiming from it, ‘Take it, as ashes that will leave none in ‘Ad.’ And it has been conveyed to me that the wind sent to them was no more than what would pass through this ring of mine, but it destroyed them.” Abu Wa’il said, “That is true. When a man or a woman would send an emissary, they would tell him, ‘Do not be like the emissary of Ad (bringing disaster and utter destruction to them instead of relief).” Imam Ahmad collected this story in the Musnad. (Ahmad 3:482)

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