Surah Al-Hijr Ayat 1-44

Surah Al-Hijr

(The Rocky Tract)

Chapter 15

Which was revealed in Makkah

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

{1. Alif-Lam-Ra. These are Ayat of the Book and a plain Qur’an. 

2. How much would those who disbelieved wish that they had been Muslims. 

3. Leave them to eat and enjoy, and let them be preoccupied with (false) hope. They will come to know!}

The Disbelievers will Someday Wish that They had been Muslims

We have already discussed the letters which appear at the beginning of some Surahs. Allah said: “How much would those who disbelieved wish” Here Allah tells us that they will regret having lived in disbelief, and will wish that they had been Muslims in this world.

Regarding Allah’s saying, “How much would those who disbelieved wish that they had been Muslims.” Sufyan Ath-Thawri reported from Salamah bin Kuhayl, who reported from Abi Az-Zara, from Abdullah, who said: “This is about the Jahannamiyyum (the sinners among the believers who will stay in hell for sometime), when they [the disbelievers] see them being brought out of Hell.” (At-Tabari 17:62) “How much would those who disbelieved wish that they had been Muslims.” Ibn Jarir reported that Ibn Abbas and Anas bin Malik explained that this Ayah refers to the Day when Allah will detain the sinful Muslims in Hell along with the idolators. He said: “The idolators will say to them, ‘What you used to worship on earth has not helped you.’ Then by virtue of His mercy, Allah will be angry for their sake, and He will remove them [from it]. That is when, “How much would those who disbelieved wish that they had been Muslims”. (At Tabari 17:62) “Leave them to eat and enjoy” this is a stern and definitive threat for them, like His saying, “Say: “Enjoy your brief life! But certainly, your destination is the Fire!” (14:30) “(O disbelievers!) Eat and enjoy yourselves (in this worldly life) for a little while. Verily, you are the guilty.” (77:46) Allah says: “let them be preoccupied with false hope.” i.e., distracted from repentance and turning to Allah, for “They will soon come to know!” that is, their punishment.

{4. And never did We destroy a township but there was a known decree for it. 

5. No nation can advance its term, nor delay it.}

Every Township has an Allotted Time

Allah is informing us that He never destroys a township until He has established evidences for it and its allotted time has ended. When the time for a nation’s destruction has come, He never delays it, and He never moves its appointed time forward. This was a message and a warning to the people of Makkah, telling them to give up their Shirk, their stubbornness and disbelief for which they deserved to be destroyed.

{6. And they say: “O you (Muhammad) to whom the Dhikr (the Qur’an) has been revealed! Verily, you are a madman! 

7. “Why do you not bring angels to us if you are of the truthful” 

8. We do not send the angels down except with the truth, and in that case, they (the disbelievers) would have no respite! 

9.Verily, We, it is We Who revealed the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur’an) and surely We will guard it (from corruption)}

The Accusation that the Prophet was a madman and Demands for Him to bring down Angels

Allah tells us about the disbelief, arrogance and stubbornness of the disbelievers as reflected in their words: “O you (Muhammad) to whom the Dhikr (the Qur’an) has been revealed!” i.e., the one who claims to receive it. “Verily, you are a mad man!” i.e., by your invitation to us to follow you and leave the way of our forefathers.“Why do you not bring angels to us?” i.e., to bear witness to the accuracy of what you have brought to us is true, if you are really telling the truth This is similar to what Pharaoh said:”Why then are not golden bracelets bestowed on him, or angels sent along with him”(43:53). And Allah said: “And those who do not expect a meeting with Us (i. e., those who deny the Day of Resurrection and the life of the Hereafter)say: “Why are not the angels sent down to us, or why do we not see our Lord” Indeed they think too highly of themselves, and are scornful with great pride. On the Day that they do see the angels – there will be no good news given on that day to the guilty. And they (angels) will say: “All kinds of glad tidings are forbidden for you.” (25:21-22) For this reason Allah said: “We do not send the angels down except with the truth, and in that case, they (the disbelievers) would have no respite!” Mujahid said in this Ayah: “We do not send the angels down except with the truth” ” [i.e] with the Message and the punishment.” (At Tabari 17:68) Then Allah, may He be exalted, stated that He is the One Who revealed the Dhikr to him, which is the Qur’an, and He is protecting it from being changed or altered.

{10. Indeed, We sent (Messengers) before you (O Muhammad) amongst the earlier communities. 

11. And there never came a Messenger to them but that they mocked him.  

12. Thus We allow it to enter the hearts of the guilty. 

13. They would not believe in it (the Qur’an); and already the example of the ancients has gone forth.}

The Idolators of Every Nation made a Mockery of their Messengers

Consoling His Messenger for the rejection of the disbelieving Quraysh, Allah says that He has sent Messengers before him to the nations of the past, and no Messenger came to a nation but they rejected him and mocked him. Then He tells him that He lets disbelief enter the hearts of those sinners who are too stubborn and too arrogant to follow His guidance. “Thus We allow it to enter the hearts of the guilty.” Anas and Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that this referred to Shirk. (At-Tabari 17:70) “and already the example of the ancients has gone forth.” meaning the destruction wrought by Allah on those who rejected His Messengers, and how He saved His Prophets and their followers in this world and in the Hereafter, is well known.

{14. And even if We opened to them a gate to the heavens and they were to continue ascending through it (all day long). 

15. They would surely say (in the evening): “Our eyes have been (as if) dazzled (we have not seen any angel or heaven). Nay, we are a people bewitched.”}

The Stubborn Disbelievers will never Believe, no matter what Signs and Wonders they See

Allah explains the extent of their disbelief and stubborn resistance to the truth by stating that even if a door to heaven were to be opened for them, and they were to be taken up through it, they would still not believe. Rather, they would say: “Our eyes have been (as if) dazzled.” Mujahid, Ibn Kathir and Ad-Dahhak said, “[this means] our vision has been blocked.” (At-Tabari 17:74) Qatadah narrated that Ibn Abbas said, “[this means] our eyesight has been taken away.” Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said, “[this means] we were confused and put under a spell.” (At-Tabari 17:75) “Our eyes have been (as if) dazzled.” Ibn Zayd said: “The one who is dazzled [lit. intoxicated] is the one who cannot reason.”

{16. And indeed, We have put the big stars in the heaven and We beautified it for the beholders.  

17. And We have guarded it (near heaven) from every outcast Shaytan (devil). 

18. Except him (devil) who steals the hearing, then he is pursued by a clear flaming fire. 

19. And We have spread out the earth, and have placed firm mountains in it, and caused all kinds of things to grow in it, in due proportion. 

20. And in it We have provided means of living, for you and for those whom you provide not.}

The Power of Allah and His Signs in the Heavens and on Earth

To those who ponder, and look repeatedly at the dazzling signs and wonders that are to be seen in the creation, Allah mentions His creation of the heavens, with their immense height, and both the fixed and moving heavenly bodies with which He has adorned it. Here, Mujahid and Qatadah said that Buruj [big stars] refers to the heavenly bodies. (At-Tabari 17:77) (I say): This is like the Ayah : “Blessed be He Who has placed the big stars in the heavens.” (25:61) Atiyah Al-Awfi said: “Buruj here refers to sentinel fortresses.” (Al-Baghawi 3:45) He made the “shooting stars” to guard it against the evil devils who try to listen to information conveyed at the highest heights. If any devil breaches it and advances hoping to listen, a clear “shooting star” comes to him and destroys him. He may already have passed on whatever he heard before the fire hit him, to another devil below him; the latter will then take it to his friends [among humans], as is stated in the Sahih.

Explaining this Ayah, Al-Bukhari reported from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“When Allah decrees any matter in heaven, the angels beat their wings in submission to His Word, [with a sound like] a chain [beating] on a smooth rock.”

(Ali and other subnarrators said, “The sound reaches them.”) “When the fright leaves their (angels’) hearts, they (angels) are asked: ‘What did your Lord say?’ They respond: “The truth. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.’ So those who hope to hear something listen, and they are standing one above the other.” Sufyan [the narrator] described them with a gesture, spreading the fingers of his right hand and holding it in such a way that the fingers were above one another. “Sometimes the flaming fire hits one of these listeners before he is able to convey what he has heard to the one who is beneath him, and he is burned up, or sometimes the fire does not hit him until he has pit on to the one beneath him, so he brings it to the earth.” Perhaps Sufyan said: “…until it reaches the earth and he puts it into the mouth of the sorcerer or fortune-teller, so that after telling a hundred lies he gets something right, and the people say, ‘Did he not tell us that on such and such a day such and such would happen, and we found it to be the truth among the statements which were heard from heaven.”’ (Fath Al-Bari 8:231) Then Allah mentions His creation of the earth and how He spread it out, and the firm mountains, valleys, lands and sands that he has placed in it, and the plants and fruits that He causes to grow in their appropriate locations. “all kinds of things in due proportion.” Ibn Abbas said that this means with their predetermined proportions. This was also the opinion of Said bin Jubayr, Ikrimah, Abu Malik, Mujahid, Al-Hakim bin Utaybah, Al-Hasan bin Muhammad, Abu Salih and Qatadah. (At-Tabari 17:79-81) “And We have provided therein means of living, for you” Here Allah mentions that He created the earth with different means of provisions and livelihood of all kinds. “and for those whom you provide not.” Mujahid said, “This refers to the riding animals and the cattle.” (At-Tabari 17:82) Ibn Jarir said, “They are slaves, men and women, as well as the animals and the cattle. The meaning is that Allah, may He be exalted, is reminding them of the ways of earning provision that He has made easy for them, and of the animals that He has subjugated for them to ride and to eat, and the slaves from whom they benefit, but the provision of all of these comes from Allah alone.” (At-Tabari 17:82)

{21. And there is not a thing, but the supplies for it are with Us, and We do not send it down but in a known measure. 

22. And We send the winds fertilizing, then We cause the water to descend from the sky, and We give it to you to drink, and it is not you who are the owners of its supply. 

23. And certainly We! It is We Who give life, and cause death, and We are the Inheritors. 

24. And indeed, We know the first generations of you who have passed away, and indeed, We know the present generations of you (mankind), and also those who will come afterwards. 

25. And verily, your Lord will gather them together. Truly, He is Most Wise, (and) Knowing.}

The Supplies for All Things are with Allah

Allah tells us that He is the Owner of all things, and that everything is easy for Him. He has the supplies for all things with Him. “and We do not send it down but in a known measure.” meaning, as He wills and as He wants. Doing so out of His great wisdom and mercy towards His servants, in a way that He is under no obligation to do. But He has decreed mercy for Himself. Yazid bin Abi Ziyad reported from Abu Juhayfah that Abdullah said: “No year has more rain than another, but Allah divides the rain between them as He wills, it rains here a year and there a year. Then he recited: “And there is not a thing, but the supplies for it are with Us…” Reported by Ibn Jarir. (At-Tabari 17:84)
Benefits of the Winds

“And We send the winds fertilizing.” i.e., fertilizing the clouds so that they give rain, and fertilizing the trees so that they open their leaves and blossoms. These winds are mentioned here in the plural form because they give results, unlike the barren wind (Ar-Rih Al-‘Aqim, see Adh-Dhariyat 51:41), which is mentioned in the singular and described as barren since it does not produce anything; because results can only be produced when there are two or more things. “And We sent the winds fertilizing.” Abdullah bin Masud said, “The wind is sent bearing water from the sky, then it fertilizes the clouds until rain begins to generously fall, just as the milk of the pregnant camel flows generously.” (At-Tabari 17:86) This was also the opinion of Ibn Abbas, Ibrahim An-Nakhai and Qatadah. (At-Tabari 17:87-88) Ad-Dahhak said: “Allah sends it to the clouds and it gets fertilized and becomes full of water.” (At-Tabari 17:88) Ubayd bin Umayr Al-Laythi said: “Allah sends the wind which stirs up the earth, then Allah sends the wind which raises clouds, then Allah sends the wind which forms clouds, then Allah sends the fertilizing wind which pollinates the trees. Then he recited,“And We sent the winds fertilizing” (ibid). 
Fresh Water is a Blessing from Allah

“and We give it to you to drink” This means, “and We send it down to you fresh and sweet, so that you can drink it; if We had wished, We could have made it salty “and undrinkable”, as Allah points out in another Ayah in Surat Al-Waqiah, where He says: “Tell Me! The water that you drink, is it you who cause it to come down from the rain clouds, or are We the cause of it coming down If We willed, We verily could make it salty (and undrinkable), why then do you not give thanks (to Allah)” (56:68-70). And Allah says: “He it is Who sends water down from the sky; from it you drink and from it (grows) the vegetation on which you send your cattle to pasture.” (16:10) “and it is not you who are the owners of its supply.” The meaning is, “You are not taking care of it; rather We send it down and take care of it for you, making springs and wells flourish on the earth. ” If Allah so willed, He could make it disappear, but by His mercy He sends it down and makes it fresh and sweet, maintaining the springs, wells, rivers and so on, so that they may drink from it all year long, water their livestock and irrigate their crops.

The Power of Allah to Initiate and Renew the Creation

“And certainly We! We it is Who give life, and cause death” Here Allah tells us of His power to initiate creation and renew it. He is the One Who brings life to creatures out of nothingness, then He causes them to die, then He will resurrect all of them on the Day when He will gather them together. He also tells us that He will inherit the earth and everyone on it, and then it is to Him that they will return. Then He tells us about His perfect knowledge of them, the first and the last of them. He says “And indeed, We know the first generations of you who had passed away…”. Ibn Abbas said, “The first generations are all those who have passed away since the time of Adam. The present generations and those who will come afterward refer to those who are alive now and who are yet to come, until the Day of Resurrection.” (At-Tabari 17:91) Something similar was narrated from Ikrimah, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Muhammad bin Kab, Ash-Shabi and others. (At-Tabari 17:90-92)

Ibn Jarir reported from Muhammad bin Abi Mashar, from his father, that he heard Awn bin Abdullah discussing the following Ayah with Muhammad bin Kab: “And indeed, We know the first generations of you who had passed away, and indeed, We know the present generations of you (mankind), and also those who will come afterwards”, and it was stated that it refers to the rows for prayer. Muhammad bin Kab said, “This is not the case. “And indeed, We know the first generations of you who had passed away” it refers to those who are dead or have been killed, and; “and also those who will come afterwards” meaning those who have yet to be created. “And verily your Lord will gather them together. Truly, He is Most Wise, (and) Knowing).”  Awn bin Abdullah said, “May Allah help you and reward you with good.” (At-Tabari 17:90)

{26. And indeed, We created man from dried (sounding) clay of altered mud. 

27. And the Jinn, We created earlier from the smokeless flame of fire.}

The Substances from which Mankind and Jinns were Created

Ibn Abbas, Mujahid and Qatadah said that Salsal means dry mud. (At-Tabari 17:90) The apparent meaning is similar to the Ayah: “He created man (Adam) from sounding clay like the potter’s clay, And He created the Jinns from a smokeless flame of fire.” (55:14-15)

It was also reported from Mujahid that,“dried (sounding) clay” means “putrid”, (At-Tabari 17:97)  but it is more appropriate to interpret an Ayah with another Ayah.“of altered mud” means the dried clay that comes from mud, which is soil. “Altered” here means smooth.“And the Jinn, We created earlier” means before creating humans. “from the smokeless flame of fire.” Ibn Abbas said, “It is the smokeless flame that kills.” (At-Tabari 17:99) Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi said that Shubah narrated to them from Abu Ishaq, who said: “I visited Umar Al-Asamm when he was sick, and he said: ‘Shall I not tell you a Hadith that I heard from Abdullah bin Masud He said: ‘This smokeless flame is one of the seventy parts of the smokeless fire from which the Jinn where created. Then he recited,“And the Jinn, We created earlier from the smokeless flame of fire.” (At-Tabari 16:21) The following is found in the Sahih,The angels were created from light, the Jinn were created from a smokeless flame of fire, and Adam was created from that which has been described to you.” (Muslim 4:2294)  The Ayah is intended to point out the noble nature, good essence and pure origin of Adam.

{28. And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: “I am going to create a man (Adam) from dried (sounding) clay of altered mud. ” 

29. “So, when I have fashioned him completely and breathed into him (Adam) of My spirit (the soul which I created for him,) then fall down, prostrating yourselves before him.” 

30. So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together. 

31. Except Iblis (Shaytan) – he refused to be among the prostrate. 

32. Allah said: “O Iblis! What is your reason for not being among the prostrate?” 

33. Iblis said: “I am not one to prostrate myself to a human, whom You created from dried (sounding) clay of altered mud.”}

The Creation of Adam, the Command to the Angels to prostrate to Him, and the Rebellion of Iblis

Allah informs us of how He mentioned Adam to His angels before He created him, and how He honored him by commanding the angels to prostrate to him. He mentions how His enemy Iblis, amidst all the angels, refused to prostrate to him out of envy, disbelief, stubbornness, arrogance, and false pride. This is why Iblis said: “I am not one to prostrate myself to a human, whom You created from dried (sounding) clay of altered mud.” this is like when he said, “I am better than him (Adam), You created me from Fire and him You created from clay.”(7:12) and “Do you see this one whom You have honored above me…” (17:62)

{34. (Allah) said: “Then leave, for verily, you are an outcast. ” 

35. “And verily, the curse shall be upon you until the Day of Recompense.” 

36. [Iblis] said: “O my Lord! Then give me respite until the Day they (the dead) will be resurrected.” 

37. Allah said: “Then verily, you are of those reprieved,”

 38. “Until the Day of the time appointed.”}

The Expulsion of Iblis from Jannah, and His Reprieve until the Day of Resurrection

Allah tells us how He issued an unconditional command to Iblis to leave the position he held among the highest of heights. He told him that he was an outcast, i.e., cursed, and that he would be followed by a curse that would hound him until the Day of Resurrection. It was reported that Said bin Jubayr said: “When Allah cursed Iblis, his image into something different from that of the angels, and he made a sound like a bell. Every bell that rings on this earth until the Day of Resurrection is part of that. This was reported by Ibn Abi Hatim.

{39. [Iblis] said: “O my Lord! Because You misled me, I shall indeed adorn the path of error for them (mankind) on the earth, and I shall mislead them all.” 

40. “Except Your chosen (guided) servants among them.” 

41. (Allah) said: “This is the way which will lead straight to Me.” 

42. “Certainly, you shall have no authority over My servants, except those of the astray who follow you.” 

43. And surely, Hell is the place promised for them all. 

44. It has seven gates, for each of those gates is a class assigned.}

The Threat of Ibis to tempt Mankind, and Allah’s Promise of Hell for Him

Allah informed about the rebellion and arrogance of Iblis, in that he said to the Lord: “Because You misled me” i.e., because You misled me and misguided me. “I shall indeed adorn the path of error for them” meaning, for the progeny of Adam. “on the earth” meaning – I will make sin dear to them, and will encourage, provoke and harass them to commit sin.“and I shall mislead them all.” meaning – just as You have misled me and have ordained that for me. “Except Your chosen, (guided) servants among them.” This is like the Ayah: “Do you see this one whom You have honored above me, if You give me respite until the Day of Resurrection, I will surely seize and mislead his offspring, all but a few!” (17:62).“(Allah) said”, i.e., threatening and warning Iblis. “This is the way which will lead straight to Me.” means, ‘all of you will return to Me, and I will reward or punish you according to your deeds: if they are good then I will reward you, and if they are bad then I will punish you.’ This is like the Ayah:“Verily, your Lord is ever watchful.” (89:14) and “And it is up to Allah to show the right way.” (16:9) “Certainly, you shall have no authority over My servants” meaning, ‘you will have no way to reach those for whom I have decreed guidance.”except those of the astray who follow you.”

Ibn Jarir mentioned that Yazid bin Qusayt said: “The Prophets used to have Masjids outside their cities, and if a Prophet wanted to consult with his Lord about something, he would go out to his place of worship and pray as Allah decreed. Then he would ask Him about whatever was concerning him. Once while a Prophet was in his place of worship, the enemy of Allah – meaning Iblis – came and sat between him and the Qiblah (direction of prayer). The Prophet said, ‘I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytan.’ [The enemy of Allah said, ‘Do you know who you are seeking refuge from? Here he is!’ The Prophet said, ‘I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytan’], and he repeated that three times.

Then the enemy of Allah said, ‘Tell me about anything in which you will be saved from me.’ The Prophet twice said, ‘No, you tell me about something in which you can overpower the son of Adam’ Each of them was insisting that the other answer first, then the Prophet said, Allah says,“Certainly, you shall have no authority over My servants, except those of the astray who follow you.” The enemy of Allah said, ‘I heard this before you were even born.’ The Prophet said, ‘And Allah says,“And if an evil whisper comes to you from Shaytan then seek refuge with Allah. Verily, He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing” (7: 200). By Allah, I never sense that you are near but I seek refuge with Allah from you.’ The enemy of Allah said, ‘You have spoken the truth. In this way you will be saved from me.’ The Prophet said, ‘Tell me in what ways you overpower the son of Adam.’ He said, ‘I seize him at times of anger and times of desire.’ (At-Tabari 17:105) “And surely, Hell is the place promised for them all.” meaning, Hell is the abode designated for all those who follow Iblis, as Allah says in the Qur’an: “but those of the sects (Jews, Christians and all the other non-Muslim nations) that reject it (the Qur’an), the Fire will be their promised meeting place.” (11:17)

The Gates of Hell are Seven

Then Allah tells us that Hell has seven gates: “for each of those gates is a (special) class (of sinners) assigned.” means, for each gate a portion of the followers of Iblis have been decreed, and they will have no choice in the matter. May Allah save us from that. Each one will enter a gate according to his deeds, and will settle in a level of Hell according to his deeds.

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Samurah bin Jundub reported from the Prophet about, “for each of those gates is a class assigned.”  He said, “Among the people of Hell are those whom the Fire will swallow up to the ankles, and those whom it will swallow up to the waist, and those whom it will swallow up to the collarbone.”

The degree of which will depend upon their deeds. This is like the Ayah;“for each of those gates is a class assigned.”

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 5 Pages 378-399

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