Surah Al-Hijr Ayat 45-99 (end)

{45. Truly, those who have Taqwa, will dwell in Gardens and water springs. 

46. (It will be said to them): “Enter it in peace and security.” 

47. And We shall remove any deep feeling of bitterness from their breasts. (So they will be like) brothers facing each other on thrones. 

48. No sense of fatigue shall touch them, nor shall they be asked to leave it. 

49. Declare to My servants that I am truly the Forgiving, the Most Merciful. 

50. And that My torment is indeed the most painful torment.}

Description of the People of Paradise

Since Allah mentioned the condition of the people of Hell, He followed that by mentioning the people of Paradise. He tells us that they will dwell in Gardens and water springs. “Enter it in peace” meaning free of all problems. “and security.” meaning free from all fear and concern. They will not have any fear of expulsion, nor will they fear that their condition will be disrupted or end. “And We shall remove any deep feeling of bitterness from their breasts. (So they will be like) brothers facing each other on thrones.” Al-Qasim narrated that Abu Umamah said: “The people of Paradise will enter Paradise with whatever enmity is left in their hearts from this world. Then, when they come together, Allah will remove whatever hatred the world has left in their hearts.” (At-Tabari 17:107) Then he recited: “And We shall remove any deep feeling of bitterness from their breasts.” This is how it was narrated in this report, but Al-Qasim bin Abdur-Rahman is weak in his reports from Abu Umamah. However, this is in accord with the report in the Sahih where Qatadah says, “Abu Al-Mutawakkil An-Naji told us that Abu Said Al-Khudri told them that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“The believers will be removed from the Fire, and they will be detained on a bridge between Paradise and Hell. Then judgment will be passed between them concerning any wrong they have committed in this world against one another, until they are cleansed and purified. Then permission will be given to them to enter Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari 6535)

“No sense of fatigue shall touch them” meaning no harm or hardship, as was reported in the Sahihs:

“Allah commanded me to tell Khadijah the good news of a jeweled palace in Paradise in which there will be no toil and no fatigue.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:166, Muslim 4:1887)

“Nor shall they (ever) be asked to leave it.” As was reported in the hadith:

“It will be said, O dwellers of Paradise! You will be healthy and never fall sick; you will live and never die; you will be young and never grow old; you will stay here and never leave.” (Muslim 4:2182)

Allah says: “Wherein they shall dwell (forever). They will have no desire to be removed from it.” (18:108) “Declare to My servants, that I am truly the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful. And that My torment is indeed the most painful torment.” meaning, ‘O Muhammad, tell My servants that I am the source of mercy and I am the source of punishment.’ Similar Ayat to this have already been quoted above, which indicate that we must always be in a state between hope (for Allah’s mercy) and fear (of His punishment).

{51. And tell them about the guests (i. e., the angels) of Ibrahim. 

52. When they entered upon him, and said: “Salaman (peace!).” He said: “Indeed we are frightened of you.” 

53. They said: “Do not be afraid! We bring you the good news of a boy possessing much knowledge and wisdom.” 

54. He said: “Do you give me this good news while old age has overtaken me Of what then is your news about” 

55. They said: “We give you good news in truth. So do not be of those who despair.” 

56. He said: “And who despairs of the mercy of his Lord except those who are astray”}

The Guests of Ibrahim and their Good News of a Son for Him

Allah is saying: `Tell them, O Muhammad, about the story of [the guests of Ibrahim.] ”they entered upon him, and said: “Salaman (peace!).” He said: “Indeed we are frightened of you.” meaning that they were scared. The reason for their fear has been mentioned previously, which is that they noticed that these guests did not eat of the food that was offered, which was a fattened calf. “They said: “Do not be afraid!…” meaning, do not be scared. “We bring you the good news of a boy possessing much knowledge and wisdom.” this refers to Ishaq, as was previously mentioned in Surat Hud. Then “He said” meaning he spoke with wonder and astonishment, asking for confirmation, because he was old and his wife was old: “Do you give me this good news while old age has overtaken me Of what then is your news about?” They responded by confirming the good news they had brought, good news after good news: “They said: “We give you good news in truth. So do not be of those who despair.”

{57. He said: “What then is the business for which you have come, O messengers?” 

58. They said: “We have been sent to a guilty people.” 

59. “(All) except the family of Lut, all of whom we are to save (from the destruction).” 

60. “Except for his wife, of whom We have* decreed that she shall be of those who remain behind.”}

 [* ‘Qaddarna’ meaning, ‘we have determined’ is interrupted by the scholars of Tafsir as it has been translated. They say that the angels speak in this form because of their closeness to Allah, a status of which other creatures do not have the honour.]

The Reason why the Angels came

Allah tells us that after Ibrahim had calmed down from the excitement of this good news, he started to ask them why they had come to him. They said, “We have been sent to a guilty people” meaning the people of Lut. They told him that they were going to save the family of Lut from among those people, except for his wife, because she was one of those who were doomed. Thus it was said, “Except for his wife, of whom We have decreed that she shall be of those who remain behind” i.e., she was one of those who would be left behind and will be destroyed.

{61. Then when the messengers (the angels) came to the family of Lut 

62. He (Lut) said: “Verily, you are people unknown to me.” 

63. They said: “Nay, we have come to you with that (torment) which they have been doubting.” 

64. “And we have brought you the truth and certainly we tell the truth.”}

The Angels coming to Lut

Allah tells us about when the angels came to Lut in the form of young men with handsome faces. When they entered his home, he said: “Verily, you are people unknown to me.” They said: “Nay, we have come to you with that (torment) which they have been doubting.” meaning that they were bringing the punishment and destruction that the people doubted they would ever suffer from. “And we have brought you the truth” is like the Ayah, “We do not send the angels down except with the truth” (15:8) and “and certainly, we tell the truth.” They said this in affirmation of the news that they brought him, that he would be saved and his people would be destroyed.

{65. “Then travel for a portion of the night with your family, and you go behind them in the rear, and let no one amongst you look back, but go on to where you are ordered.” 

66. And We made this decree known to him that those (sinners) would be rooted out in the early morning.}

Lut is ordered to leave with His Family during the Night

Allah tells us that His angels ordered Lut to set out after part of the night had passed. They told him to walk behind them, to protect them. Similarly, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, would walk in the rear of the army on military campaigns, in order to help the weak and carry those who had no means of transport. “and let no one amongst you look back” meaning – when you hear the people screaming from their torment, do not turn around to look at them; leave them to face whatever punishment and vengeance is coming to them. “but go on to where you are ordered.” – it is as if they had a guide with them to show them the way. “And We made this decree known to him” meaning – We already told him about that. “that those (sinners) would be rooted out in the early morning.” meaning in the morning, as in another Ayah: “Indeed, morning is their appointed time. Is not the morning near?” (11:81)

{67. And the inhabitants of the city came rejoicing. 

68. Lut said: “Verily, these are my guests, so do not shame me.” 

69. “And have Taqwa of Allah, and do not disgrace me.” 

70. They said: “Did we not forbid you from entertaining any of the Alamin” 

71. Lut said: “These are my daughters, if you must act (so)” 

72. Verily, by your life, in their wild intoxication, they were wandering blindly.}

The People of the City arrive upon the Angels, thinking that they are Men

Allah tells us about how Lut’s people came to him when they found out about his handsome guests, and they came happily rejoicing about them. “[Lut] said: “Verily, these are my guests, so do not shame me. And have Taqwa of Allah, and do not disgrace me.” This is what Lut said to them before he knew that his guests were messengers from Allah, as mentioned in Surat Hud, but here (in this Surah), we have already been told that they are messengers from Allah, and this is followed by an account of Lut’s people coming and his exchange with them. However, here the conjunction (wa, meaning “and”) does not imply the sequence of events, especially since there is something to indicate that this is not the case. They said answering him, “Did we not forbid you from entertaining (or protecting) any of the Alamin?” meaning, ‘did we not tell you that you should not have anyone as a guest?’ He reminded them about their womenfolk and what their Lord had created for them in the women of permissible sexual relationships. This issue has already been explained and is no need to repeat the discussion here. [See the Tafsir of Surah Hud] All of this happened while they were still unaware of the inevitable calamity and punishment that was about to befall them the following morning. Hence Allah, may He be exalted, said to Muhammad, “Verily, by your life, in their wild intoxication, they were wandering blindly.”

Allah swore by the life of His Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, which is an immense honor reflecting his high rank and noble status. Amr bin Malik An-Nakari reported from Abu Al-Jawza’ that Ibn Abbas said: “Allah has never created or made or formed any soul that is dearer to him than Muhammad. I never heard that Allah swore by the life of anyone else. Allah says, “Verily, by your life, in their wild intoxication, they were wandering blindly.” meaning, by your life and the length of your stay in this world, “in their wild intoxication, they were wandering blindly.” (At-Tabari 17:118) This was reported by Ibn Jarir. Qatadah said: “in their wild intoxication” “It means – in their misguided state; “they were wandering blindly” means – they were playing. ” (At-Tabari 17:119) Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said: “Verily, by your life” means by your life, and “in their wild intoxication, they were wandering blindly.” means that they were confused.” (Similar is recorded in At-Tabari)

{73. So the Sayhah overtook them at the time of sunrise. 

74. And We turned them upside down and rained stones of baked clay upon them. 

75. Surely, in this are signs for those who see. 

76. And verily, they were right on the highroad. 

77. Surely, there is indeed a sign in that for the believers.}

The Destruction of the People of Lut

Allah said; “So the Sayhah overtook them” This is the piercing sound that came to them when the sun rose, which was accompanied by the city being flipped upside down, and stones of baked clay (As-Sijjil) raining down upon them. The discussion of As-Sijjil in Surah Hud is a sufficient explanation. Allah said: “Surely, in this are signs for those who see.” meaning that the traces of the destruction of that city are easily visible to any one who ponder about it, whether they look at it with physical eyesight or mental and spiritual insight, as Mujahid said concerning the phrase, “those who see” he said, “those who have insight and discernment.” (At-Tabari 17:120)

It was reported from Ibn Abbas and Ad-Dahhak that it referred to those who look. (At-Tabari 17:121) Qatadah said: “those who learn lessons”. (At-Tabari 17:121) “those who see” therefore the meaning is “those who ponder”.

The City of Sodom on the Highroad

And verily, they were right on the highroad.” meaning that the city of Sodom, which was physically and spiritually turned upside down, and pelted with stones until it became a foul smelling lake (the Dead Sea), is on a route that is easily accessible until the present day. This is like the Ayah, “Verily, you pass by them in the morning, and at night. Will you not then reflect” (37:137-138). “Surely, there is indeed a sign in that for the believers.” meaning, ‘All that We did to the people of Lut, from the destruction and the vengeance, to how We saved Lut and his family, these are clear signs to those who believe in Allah and His Messengers.’

{78. And the Dwellers of Al-Aykah, were also wrongdoers. 

79. So, We took vengeance on them. They are both on an open route, plain to see.}

The Destruction of the Dwellers of Al-Aykah, the People of Shuayb

The Dwellers of Al-Aykah, were the people of Shuayb. Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah and others said that Al-Aykah refers to intertwined trees. (At-Tabari 17:125) Their evildoing included associating partners with Allah (Shirk), banditry and cheating in weights and measures. Allah punished them with the Sayhah (the awful cry or torment), the earthquake, and the torment of the Day of Shadow. [Ibn Kathir explains this later in the Tafsir of Surat Ash-Shuara] They lived near the people of Lut, but at a later time, and the people of Lut were known to them, which is why Allah says, “They are both on an open route, plain to see.” Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak and others said, “a visible route.” (At-Tabari 17:125) This is why, when Shuayb warned his people, he said to them, “And the people of Lut are not far off from you!” (11:89)

{80. And verily, the Dwellers of Al-Hijr denied the Messengers. 

81. And We gave them Our signs, but they were averse to them. 

82. And they used to hew out dwellings from the mountains, (feeling) secure. 

83. But the Sayhah (torment – awful cry) overtook them in the early morning. 

84. And all that they used to earn availed them not.}

The Destruction of the Dwellers of Al-Hijr, Who are the People called Thamud

The Dwellers of the Al Hijr were the people of Thamud who rejected their Prophet, Salih. Whoever denies even one Messenger, then he has disbelieved in all of the Messengers, thus they are described as rejecting “the Messengers”. Allah tells us that he (Salih) brought them signs to prove that what he was telling them was true, such as the she-camel which Allah created for them out of a solid rock in response to the supplication of Salih. This she-camel was grazing on their lands, and the people and the camel took water on alternate days that were well-known. When they rebelled and killed it, he said to them, “Enjoy yourselves in your homes for three days. This is a promise which will not be belied.” (11:65) Allah said: “And as for Thamud, We showed them and made the path of truth clear but they preferred blindness to guidance.” (41:17) Allah tells us that, “And they used to hew out dwellings from the mountains, (feeling) secure.” meaning, they were without fear and they had no real need for those houses; it was merely a form of extravagance and work without a purpose. This could be seen from their work in the houses in the Al-Hijr through which the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, passed on his way to Tabuk. He covered his head and urged his camel to go faster, saying to his Companions:

“Do not enter the dwellings of those who were punished unless you are weeping, and if you do not weep then make yourself weep out of fear that perhaps what struck them may also strike you.” (Ahmad 2:91)

“But the Sayhah (torment – awful cry) overtook them in the early morning.” meaning in the morning of the fourth day. “And all that they used to earn availed them not.”meaning all of the benefits that they used to gain from their crops and fruits, and the water which they did not want to share with the she-camel that they killed so that it would not reduce their share of the water – all of that wealth would not protect them or help them when the command of their Lord came to pass.

{85. And We did not create the heavens and the earth and all that is between them except with the truth, and the Hour is surely coming, so overlook their faults with gracious forgiveness. 

86. Verily, your Lord is the Knowing Creator.}

The World has been created for some Purpose, then the Hour will come

Allah says, “And We did not create the heavens and the earth and all that is between them except with the truth, and the Hour is surely coming”, i.e., with justice to – “requite those who do evil with that which they have done” (53:31) Allah says, “And We did not create the heaven and the earth, and all that is between them without purpose! That is what those who disbelieve think! Then let those who disbelieve be warned of the Fire!” (38:27) “Did you think that We created you in play, and that you would not be brought back to Us?” So exalted be Allah, the Truth, the King, none has the right to be worshipped but He, the Lord of the Honored Throne!” (23:115-116). Then Allah informed His Prophet about the Hour, and that it will be the faults of the idolators when they insult him and reject the Message that he brings to them. This is like the Ayah, “So turn away from them, and say: “Salam (Peace!).” But they will come to know” (43:89). Mujahid, Qatadah and others said: “This was before fighting was prescribed”. It is as they said, because this Surah was revealed in Makkah and fighting was prescribed after the Hijrah.“Verily, your Lord is the Knowing Creator” (15:86). This is a confirmation of the Day of Resurrection and that Allah, may He be exalted, is able to bring the Hour to pass. He is the Creator and nothing is beyond Him. He is the Knowing, Who knows what has been dispersed from people’s bodies and scattered throughout the regions of the earth, as He says: “Is not He, Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like of them Yes, indeed! He is the Knowing, Creator. Verily, His command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, “Be!” – and it is! So glorified and exalted is He above all that they associate with Him, and in whose Hands is the dominion of all things, and to Him you shall return.”(36:81-83).

{87. And indeed, We have bestowed upon you seven of the Mathani*, and the Grand Qur’an. 

88. Look not with your eyes ambitiously at what We have given to certain classes of them, nor grieve over them. And lower your wings to the believers.}

[*Mathani means “often recited”]

A Reminder of the Blessing of the Qur’an and the Command to focus on its Message

Allah is saying to His Prophet: Since We have given you the Grand Qur’an, then do not look at this world and its attractions, or the transient delights that we have given to its people in order to test them. Do not envy what they have in this world, and do not upset yourself with regret for their rejection of you and their opposition to your religion. “And lower your wings to the believers who follow you” (26:215) meaning – be gentle with them, like the Ayah,“Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger from among yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He is anxious for you, for the believers – he is full of pity, kind and merciful” (9:128).

There were some differences among the scholars over the meaning of “seven of the Mathani”. Ibn Masud, Ibn Umar, Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Said bin Jubayr, Ad-Dahhak and others said that they are the seven long (Surahs), meaning Al-Baqarah, Al- Imran, An-Nisa’, Al-Ma’idah, Al-Anam, Al-Araf and Yunus. There are texts to this effect reported from Ibn Abbas and Said bin Jubayr. Said said: “In them, Allah explains the obligations, the Hudud (legal limits), stories and rulings.” Ibn Abbas said, “He explains the parables, stories and lessons.” (At-Tabari 17:130-132)

The second opinion is that they (the seven of the Mathani) are Al-Fatihah, which is composed of seven Ayat. This was reported from Ali, Umar, Ibn Masud and Ibn Abbas. Ibn Abbas said: “The Bismillah, is completing seven Ayah, which Allah has given exclusively to you (Muslims).” [Surah Fatihah] (At-Tabari 17:133) This is also the opinion of Ibrahim An-Nakhai, Abdullah bin Umayr, Ibn Abi Mulaykah, Shahr bin Hawshab, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and Mujahid. (At-Tabari 17:135)

Al-Bukhari, may Allah have mercy on him, recorded two Hadiths on this topic. (The first) was recorded from Abu Said bin Al-Mualla, who said: “The Prophet passed by me while I was praying. He called out for me but I did not come until I finished my prayer. Then I came to him, and He asked,

“What stopped you from coming to me?”

I said, ‘I was praying’.

He said, “O you who believe! Answer Allah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he calls you…” (8:24) “Shall I not teach you the most magnificent Surah before I leave the Masjid?”

Then the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, went to leave the Masjid, and I reminded him, so he said, “Al-Hamdu Lillahi Rabbil-‘Alamin [All praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of all that exists]” (1:2).

“This is the seven of the Mathani and the Qur’an which I have been given.”

(The second Hadith) was reported from Abu Hurayrah who said that the Messenger of Allah said:

“Umm Al-Qur’an (the Mother or the Essence of the Qur’an) is the seven Mathani, and the Grand Qur’an.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:232)

This means that Al-Fatihah is the seven Mathani and the Grand Qur’an, but this does not contradict the statement that the seven Mathani are the seven long Surahs, because they also share these attributes, as does the whole Qur’an. As Allah says, “Allah has sent down the best statement, a Book (this Qur’an), its parts resembling each other in goodness and truth, oft-recited” (39:23). So it is oft-recited in one way, and its parts resemble one another in another way, and this is also the Grand Qur’an. “Look not with your eyes ambitiously at what We have given to certain classes of them” (20: 131) meaning, be content with the Grand Qur’an that Allah has given to you, and do not long for the luxuries and transient delights that they have. “Look not with your eyes ambitiously” Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said: “He [in this Ayah] forbade a man to wish for what his companion has.” (At-Tabari 17:141)  “at what We have given to certain classes of them” Mujahid said: “This refers to the rich.” (At-Tabari 17:141)

{89. And say (O Muhammad): “I am indeed a plain warner.” 

90. As We have sent down on the Muqtasimin (conspiring confederates), 

91. Who have made the Qur’an into parts. 

92. So, by your Lord, We shall certainly call all of them to account. 

93. For all that they used to do.}

The Messenger is a Plain Warner

Allah commanded His Prophet to tell the people: “I am indeed a plain warner”coming to warn the people of a severe punishment that they will suffer if they reject him, as happened to those nations before them who disbelieved in their Messengers, upon whom Allah sent His punishment and vengeance. In the two Sahihs it is reported from Abu Musa that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“The parable of myself and that with which Allah has sent me is that of a man who came to his people and said, ‘O people! I have seen the [invading] army with my own eyes, and I am a naked warner, so escape, escape!’ Some of his people obeyed him and set out at nightfall, setting off at a slow pace and managing to escape. Others did not believe him and stayed where they were until the next morning when the [invading] army overtook them and destroyed them, wiping them out. This is the parable of the one who obeys me and follows what I have brought, and the example of the one who disobeys me and rejects the truth that I have brought.” (Fath Al-Bari 13:264, Muslim 1788)

Explanation of “Al-Muqtasimin”

“The Muqtasimin” refers to those who had made a pact to oppose, deny, and insult the Prophets. Similarly, Allah tells us about the people of Salih: “They said, “Swear to one another [Taqasamu] by Allah that we shall make a secret night attack on him and his household” (27:49) i.e., they plotted to kill him at night. Mujahid said “Taqasamu means they swore an oath.” “And they swear by Allah with their strongest oaths, that Allah will not raise up one who dies” (16:38). “(It will be said): “Did you not before swear that you would not leave (the world for the Hereafter)” (14:44) “Are they those, of whom you swore that Allah would never show them mercy” (7:49) It is as if they took an oath for every single thing that they denied in this world, so they are called the Muqtasimin. “Who have made the Qur’an into parts.” meaning, they have split up the Books that were revealed to them, believing in parts of them and rejecting parts of them. Al-Bukhari reported that Ibn Abbas said, “Who have made the Qur’an into parts.” “They are the People of the Book, who divided the Book into parts, believing in some of it, and rejecting some of it.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:233) Some have said that Al-Mutaqasimin refers to the Quraysh, that the Qur’an means this Qur’an [as opposed to the Scriptures of the People of the Book], and that “made it into parts” referred to what Ata’ said that some of them said that he (the Prophet) was a sorcerer, some said he was crazy, or a soothsayer. These various allegations were the parts. This opinion was also reported from Ad-Dahhak and others.

Muhammad bin Ishaq reported from Ibn Abbas that Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah – holding a noble position among the people – rallied a group of Quraysh behind him when Al-Mawsim (the time for pilgrims to meet in Makkah for Hajj) had come. He said to them, “O people of Quraysh! The time of Al-Mawsim has come, and delegations of Arabs will come to you during this time. They will have heard some things about this companion of yours (meaning the Prophet ), so agree on one opinion, let there be no contradicting or denials of each other’s sayings”. They said, “And you, O Abu Abd Shams, give us an opinion and we will say that.” He said, “No, you make the suggestions and I will listen.” They said, “We say he is a soothsayer.” He said, “He is not a soothsayer.” They said, “We say he is crazy.” He said, “He is not crazy.” They said, “We say he is a poet.” He said, “He is not a poet.” They said, “We say he is a sorcerer.” He said, “He is not a sorcerer.” They said, “So what should we say” He said, “By Allah, what he says is as palatable [to the average person] as something sweet, so you cannot say anything against it without it being obviously false. Therefore the most appropriate thing you can say is that he is a sorcerer.” So they left having agreed upon that, and Allah revealed concerning them: “Who have made the Qur’an into parts.” meaning, of different types, and “So, by your Lord, We shall certainly call all of them to account. For all that they used to do” Those were the group who said that about the Messenger of Allah .” [Sirah Ibn Hisham 1:288. This narration is not authentic due to the narrators being unknown.]  “So, by your Lord, We shall certainly call all of them to account. For all that they used to do.”

Abu Jafar reported from Ar-Rabi that Abu Al-Aliyah said, “All the people will be asked about two things on the Day of Resurrection: what they used to worship, and what their response was to the Messengers.” (At-Tabari 17:150) Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said, “So, by your Lord, We shall certainly call all of them to account. For all that they used to do.” then he said: “So on that Day no question will be asked of man or Jinn as to his sin” (55:39). He said, “They will not be asked, ‘Did you do such and such?’ Because Allah knows better than they do about that. But He will say, ‘Why did you do such and such?” (At-Tabari 17:150)

{94. Therefore openly proclaim what you have been commanded, and turn away from the idolators. 

95.Truly, We will suffice you against the mockers, 

96. Who make another god along with Allah; but they will come to know. 

97. Indeed, We know that your breast becomes tight because of what they say.  

98. So glorify the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him). 

99. And worship your Lord until the certainty (i.e. death) comes to you.}

The Command to proclaim the Truth openly

Allah commanded His Messenger to convey what He sent him with, to proclaim and spread the Message, which means confronting the idolators with it. Ibn Abbas said that the Ayah, “Therefore openly proclaim that what you have been commanded”means, “Go ahead with it.” (At-Tabari 17:151) According to another report it means, “Therefore proclaim that which you commanded.” Mujahid said, “It is reciting the Qur’an aloud during prayer.” (At-Tabari 17:151) Abu Ubaydah reported that Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, “The Prophet was still practicing and preaching Islam secretly until this Ayah was revealed: “Therefore openly proclaim that which you are commanded” then he and his Companions came out into the open.” (At-Tabari 17:152)

The Command to turn away from the idolators, and the Guarantee of protection against the Mockers

Allah’s statement, “and turn away from idolators. Truly, We will suffice you against the mockers.” meaning – convey that which has been revealed to you by your Lord, and do not pay attention to the idolators who want to turn you away from the signs of Allah.“They wish that you should compromise for them, so that they would compromise for you” (68:9). Do not fear them because Allah will suffice you against them, and He will protect you from them. This is like the Ayah: “O Messenger! Proclaim that which has been revealed to you from your Lord. And if you do not do it, then you have not conveyed His Message. Allah will protect you from mankind.” (5:67) Muhammad bin Ishaq said: “The great ones of the mockers were five people, who were elders and noblemen among their people. From Bani Asad bin Abd Al-Uzza bin Qusayy there was Al-Aswad bin Al-Muttalib Abu Zamah. According to what I heard, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, had supplicated against him because of the pain and mockery he had suffered at his hands. He had said, “O Allah, make him blind and take (the life of) his son.” From Bani Zahrah there was Al-Aswad bin Abd Yaghuth bin Wahb bin Abd Manaf bin Zahrah. From Bani Makhzum there was Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah bin Abdullah bin Umar bin Makhzum. From Bani Sahm bin Amr bin Husays bin Kab bin Lu’ayy there was Al-As bin Wa’il bin Hisham bin Sa`id bin Sad. From Khuza`ah there was Al-Harith bin At-Talatilah bin Amr bin Al-Harith bin Abd Amr bin Malkan. When their evil went to extremes and their mockery of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, went too far, Allah revealed: “Therefore openly proclaim that which you are commanded, and turn away from the idolators. Truly, We will suffice you against the mockers, who make another god along with Allah; but they will come to know.”

“Who make another god along with Allah; but they will come to know.” This is a strong warning and grave threat against those who have other deities along with Allah.

Encouragement to hear Difficulties, and the Command to glorify and worship Allah until Death

Allah said,“Indeed, We know that your breast becomes tight because of what they say. So glorify the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him).” meaning ‘We know, O Muhammad, that you are distressed by their insults towards you, but do not let that weaken your resolve or cause you to give up conveying the Message of Allah. Put your trust in Him, for He will suffice you and will support you against them. Keep yourself busy with remembering Allah, praising Him, glorifying Him, and worshipping Him (which means Salah, or prayer)’ Hence Allah says: “So glorify the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him)”

Imam Ahmad reported from Nuaym bin Hammar that he heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, say:”Allah said, “O son of Adam! It is not too difficult for you to perform four Rak’at at the beginning of the day, (and if you do them,) I will take care of you until the end of it.” (Ahmad 5:286)

“And worship your Lord until the certainty comes to you” (15: 99). Al-Bukhari said: “Salim said, ‘(This means) death.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:235) This Salim is Salim bin Abdullah bin Umar. Ibn Jarir also recorded from Salim bin Abdullah,”And worship your Lord until the Yaqin comes to you.) He said, “Death.” (At-Tabari 17:160)  It is reported in the Sahih from Umm Al-Ala’- one of the women of the Ansar – that when the Messenger of Allah entered upon Uthman bin Mazun after he had died, Umm Al-Ala’ said, “May the mercy of Allah be upon you, Abu As-Saib. My testimony over you is that Allah has honored you.” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“How do you know that Allah has honoured him?” 

I said, “May my father and mother be sacrificed for you, O Messenger of Allah! If not him, then who else?” He said,

“As far as he is concerned, the death has come to him, and I hope for good for him.” (Fath Al-Bari 3:137)

This is evidence that the meaning of this Ayah,“And worship your Lord until the certainty comes to you.” is that acts of worship, such as prayer and the like, are obligatory on man so long as his mind is sound, so he should pray according to his best ability.

It was reported in Sahih Al-Bukhari from Imran bin Husayn that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Pray standing, and if you cannot, then sitting, and if you cannot, then on your side.”(Fath Al-Bari 2:684)

From this we may understand that it is a mistake to interpret Yaqin (the certainty) as Marifah (“spiritual knowing”) as some of the Sufis do. According to them, when one of them attains the level of Marifah, they consider him to be free of these obligations. This is disbelief, misguidance and ignorance. The Prophets – peace be upon them – and their companions, were the most knowledgeable of people about Allah, about His rights, His attributes, and the glorification that He deserves. But at the same time, they were the people who worshipped Him the most, continuing in good deeds until the time they died. Therefore, what is meant by Yaqin here is death, as we have stated above.

To Allah be praise and thanks. Praise be to Allah for His guidance. It is to Him that we turn for help and it is in Him that we put our trust. He is the One Whom we ask to help us to reach the best of circumstances, for He is the Most Generous and Kind.

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Hijr. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all that exists.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir Abridged (Vol 5) Pages 398-427