Surah Ash-Shuara Ayat 123-199

{123. Ad denied the Messengers.

124. When their brother Hud said to them: “Will you not have Taqwa?”

125. “Verily, I am a trustworthy Messenger to you.”

126. “So, have Taqwa of Allah, and obey me.”

127. “No reward do I ask of you for it; my reward is only from the Lord of all that exists.”

128. “Do you build on every Rian Ayah for your amusement?”

129. “And do you get for yourselves Masani as if you will live therein forever?”

130. “And when you seize (somebody), seize you (him) as tyrants?”

131.”So have Taqwa of Allah, and obey me.”

132. “And have Taqwa of Him, fear Him Who has aided you with all (good things) that you know.”

133. “He has aided you with cattle and children.”

134. “And gardens and springs.”

135. “Verily, I fear for you the torment of a Great Day.”}

Hud’s preaching to His People Ad

Here Allah tells us about His servant and Messenger Hud, when he called his people Ad. His people used to live in the Ahqaf, curved sand-hills near Hadramawt, on the borders of Yemen. They lived after the time of Nuh, as Allah says in Surat Al-Araf: “And remember that He made you successors after the people of Nuh and increased you amply in stature” (7:69). This refers to the fact that they were physically strong and well-built, and very violent, and very tall; they had also been given a great deal of provisions, wealth, gardens, rivers, sons, crops and fruits. Yet despite all of that, they worshipped others besides Allah. So Allah sent Hud, one of their own, as a Messenger bringing them good news and delivering warnings. He called them to worship Allah alone, and he warned them of Allah’s wrath and punishment if they were to go against him and treating him harshly. He said to them, as Nuh had said to his people: “Do you build on every Rian Ayah for your amusement?” The scholars of Tafsir differed over the meaning of the word Rian. In brief, they said that it refers to an elevated location at a well-known crossroads, where they would build a huge, dazzling, sturdy structure, this is why he said: “Do you build on every Rian Ayah?” i.e., a well-known landmark, “for your amusement” meaning, ‘you are only doing that for the purpose of frivolity, not because you need it, but for fun and to show off your strength.’ So their Prophet, peace be upon him, denounced them for doing that, because it was a waste of time and exhausted people’s bodies for no purpose, and kept them busy with something that was of no benefit in this world or the next. He said: “And do you get for yourselves Masani as if you will live therein forever?” Mujahid said, “This means fortresses built up strong and high and structures that are built to last.” “as if you will live therein forever” means, ‘so that you may stay there forever, but that is not going to happen, because they will eventually cease to be, just as happened in the case of those who came before you.’ “And when you seize (somebody), seize you (him) as tyrants” They are described as being strong, violent and tyrannical. “So, have Taqwa of Allah, and obey me.” ‘Worship your Lord and obey your Messenger.’ Then Hud began reminding them of the blessings that Allah had bestowed upon them. He said: “And have Taqwa of Him, Who has aided you with all that you know. He has aided you with cattle and children, and gardens and springs. Verily, I fear for you the torment of a Great Day.” meaning, ‘if you disbelieve and oppose (your Prophet).’ So he called them to Allah with words of encouragement and words of warning, but it was to no avail.

{136. They said: “It is the same to us whether you preach or be not of those who preach.”

137. “This is no other than Khuluq of the ancients,”

138. “And we are not going to be punished.”

139. So they denied him, and We destroyed them. Verily, in this is indeed a sign, yet most of them are not believers.

140. And verily your Lord, He is indeed the Almighty, the Most Merciful.}

The Response of the People of Hud, and Their Punishment

Allah tells us how the people of Hud responded to him after he had warned them, encouraged them, and clearly explained the truth to them. “They said: “It is the same to us whether you preach or be not of those who preach.” meaning, ‘we will not give up our ways.’ “And we shall not leave our gods for your (mere) saying! And we are not believers in you” (11:53). This is how it was, as Allah says: “Verily, those who disbelieve, it is the same to them whether you warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe” (2:6). “Truly, those, against whom the Word of your Lord has been justified, will not believe” (10:96-97). And they said: “This is no other than Khuluq of the ancients.” Some scholars read this: “Khalq”. According to Ibn Masud and according to Abdullah bin Abbas – as reported from Al-Awfi – and Alqamah and Mujahid, they meant, “What you have brought to us is nothing but the tales (Akhlaq) of the ancients.” (At-Tabari 19:378) This is like what the idolators of Quraysh said: “And they say: “Tales of the ancients, which he has written down, and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon.” (25:5) And Allah said: “Those who disbelieve say: “This is nothing but a lie that he has invented, and others have helped him in it. In fact, they have produced an injustice and a lie.” And they say: “Tales of the ancients…” (25:4-5) “And when it is said to them: “What is it that your Lord has sent down” They say: “Tales of the ancient!” (16:24). Some other scholars recited it, “This is no other than Khuluq of the ancients,” “as Khuluq,” meaning their religion. What they were following was the religion of the ancients, their fathers and grandfathers, as if they were saying: “We are following them, we will live as they lived and die as they died, and there will be no resurrection and no judgement.” Hence they said: “And we are not going to be punished.” Allah’s saying; “So they denied him, and We destroyed them.” meaning, they continued to disbelieve and stubbornly oppose Allah’s Prophet Hud, so Allah destroyed them. The means of their destruction has been described in more than one place in the Qur’an: Allah sent against them a strong and furious wind, i.e., a fiercely blowing wind that was intensely cold. Thus the means of their destruction was suited to their nature, for they were the strongest and fiercest of people, so Allah overpowered them with something that was even stronger and fiercer than them, as Allah says: “Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with Ad of Iram Possesors of the pillars” (89:6-7). This refers to the former Ad, as Allah says: “And that it is He Who destroyed the former Ad” (53:50). They were descendents of Iram bin Sam bin Nuh, “Possesors of the pillars” They used to live among pillars. Those who claim that Iram was a city take this idea from Isra’iliyyat narrations, from the words of Ka`b and Wahb, but there is no real basis for that. Allah says: “The like of which were not created in the land” (89:8). meaning, nothing like this tribe was created in terms of might, power and tyranny. If what was meant was a city, it would have said, “The like of which was not built in the land.” And Allah says: “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) And Allah says: “And as for Ad, they were destroyed by a furious violent wind!” until His saying: “in succession” (69:6-7) meaning, consecutively (i.e., seven nights and eight days). “so that you could see men lying overthrown (destroyed), as if they were hollow trunks of date palms!” (69:7) means, they were left as headless bodies, because the wind would come and carry one of them, then drop him on his head, so that his brains were spilled out, his head was broken and he was thrown aside, as if they were uprooted stems of date-palms. They used to build fortresses in the mountains and caves, and they dug ditches half as deep as a man is tall, but that did not help them against the command of Allah at all. “Verily, the term given by Allah, when it comes, cannot be delayed” (71:4). Allah says here: “So they denied him, and We destroyed them.”

{141. Thamud denied the Messengers.

142. When their brother Salih said to them: “Will you not have Taqwa?”

143. “I am a trustworthy Messenger to you.”

144. “So, have Taqwa of Allah, and obey me.”

145. “No reward do I ask of you for it; my reward is only from the Lord of Al-Alamin.”}

Salih and the People of Thamud

Here Allah tells us about His servant and Messenger Salih, whom He sent to his people Thamud. They were Arabs living in the city of Al-Hijr – which is between Wadi Al-Qura and Greater Syria. Their location is well known. In our explanation of Surat Al-A`raf, we mentioned the Hadiths which tell how the Messenger of Allah passed by their dwelling place when he wanted to launch a raid on Syria. He went as far as Tabuk, then he went back to Al-Madinah to prepare himself for the campaign.

Thamud came after Ad and before Ibrahim, peace be upon him. Their Prophet Salih called them to Allah, to worship Him alone with no partner or associate, and to obey whatever commands were conveyed to them, but they refused, rejecting him and opposing him. He told them that he did not seek any reward from them for his call to them, but that he would seek the reward for that with Allah. Then he reminded them of the blessings of Allah.

{146. “Will you be left secure in that which you have here?”

147. “In gardens and springs.”

148. “And crops and date palms with soft clusters.”

149. “And you hew out in the mountains, houses with great skill.”

150. “So, have Taqwa of Allah, and obey me.”

151. “And follow not the command of the extravagant,”

152. Who make mischief in the land, and reform not.”}

A Reminder to Them of their Circumstances and the Blessings

They enjoyed Salih preached to them, warning them that the punishment of Allah could overtake them and reminding them of the blessings that Allah had bestowed upon them, by giving them ample provision and making them safe from all kinds of dangers, giving them gardens and flowing springs, and bringing forth for them crops and fruits. “and date palms with soft clusters.” Al-Awfi narrated from Ibn Abbas, “Ripe and rich.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:731) Ali bin Abi Talhah narrated from Ibn Abbas that this meant growing luxuriantly. Ismail bin Abi Khalid narrated from Amr bin Abi Amr – who met the Companions – from Ibn Abbas that this means, “When it becomes ripe and soft.” This was narrated by Ibn Abi Hatim, then he said: “And something similar was narrated from Abu Salih.” “And you hew out in the mountains, houses with great skill.” Ibn Abbas and others said, “With great skill.” (At-Tabari 19:380) According to another report from him: “They were greedy and extravagant.” This was the view of Mujahid and another group. (At-Tabari 19:382) There is no contradiction between the two views, because they built the houses which they carved in the mountains as a form of extravagant play, with no need for them as dwelling places. They were highly skilled in the arts of masonry and stone-carving, as is well known to anyone who has seen their structures. So, Salih said to them: “So, have Taqwa of Allah, and obey me.” Pay attention to that which could benefit you in this world and the Hereafter; worshipping your Lord Who created you, who granted you provisions so that you could worship Him alone and glorify Him morning and evening. “And follow not the command of the extravagant, who make mischief in the land, and reform not.” meaning, their chiefs and leaders, who called them to Shirk, disbelief and opposition to the truth.

{153. They said: “You are only of those bewitched!”

154. “You are but a human being like us. Then bring us a sign if you are of the truthful.”

155. He said: “Here is a she-camel: it has a right to drink (water), and you have a right to drink (water) (each) on a day, known.”

156. “And touch her not with harm, lest the torment of a Great Day should seize you.”

157. But they killed her, and then they became regretful.

158. So, the torment overtook them. Verily, in this is indeed a sign, yet most of them are not believers.

159. And verily, your Lord He is indeed the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.}

The Response of Thamud, Their Demand for a Sign, and Their Punishment

Allah tells us how Thamud responded to their Prophet Salih, upon him be peace, when he called them to worship their Lord, may He be glorified.“They said: “You are only of those bewitched!” Mujahid said, “They meant he was one affected by witchcraft.” (At-Tabari 19:384) Then they said: “You are but a human being like us.” meaning, ‘how can you receive Revelation when we do not’ This is like the Ayah where they are described as saying: “Is it that the Reminder is sent to him alone from among us Nay, he is an insolent liar!” Tomorrow they will come to know who is the liar, the insolent one!” (54:26-27) Then they asked him for a sign to prove that what he brought to them from their Lord was the truth. A crowd of them gathered and demanded that he immediately bring forth from the rock a she-camel that was ten months pregnant, and they pointed to a certain rock in their midst. Allah’s Prophet Salih made them promise that if he responded to their request, they would believe in him and follow him. So they agreed to that. The Prophet of Allah Salih, peace be upon him, stood and prayed, then he prayed to Allah to grant them their request. Then the rock to which they had pointed split open, revealing a she-camel that was ten months pregnant, excactly as they had requested. So some of them believed, but most of them disbelieved. “He said: “Here is a she-camel: it has a right to drink (water), and you have a right to drink (water) (each) on a day, known.” meaning, ‘she will drink from your water one day, and on the next day you will drink from it.’ “And touch her not with harm, lest the torment of a Great Day should seize you.” He warned them of the punishment of Allah if they should do her any harm. The she-camel stayed among them for a while, drinking the water, eating leaves and grazing, and they benefitted from her milk which they took in sufficient quantities for every one to drink his fill. After this had gone on for a long time, and the time for their destruction drew near, they conspired to kill her: “But they killed her, and then they became regretful. So, the torment overtook them.” Their land was shaken by a strong earthquake, and there came to them an overwhelming Sayhah (shout) which took their hearts from their places. They were overtaken by events which they were not expecting, so they were left (dead), lying prostrate in their homes. “Verily, in this is indeed a sign, yet most of them are not believers. And verily your Lord, He is indeed the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.”

{160. The people of Lut denied the Messengers.

161. When their brother Lut said to them: “Will you not have Taqwa?”

162. “Verily, I am a trustworthy Messenger to you.”

163. “So, have Taqwa of Allah, and obey me.”

164. “No reward do I ask of you for it; my reward is only from the Lord of all that exits.”}

Lut and His Call

Here Allah tells us about His servant and Messenger Lut, peace be upon him. He was Lut bin Haran bin Azar, the nephew of Ibrahim Al-Khalil, upon him be peace. Allah sent him to a mighty nation during the lifetime of Ibrahim, peace be upon them both. They lived in Sadum (Sodom) and its environs, where Allah destroyed them and turned the area into a putrid, stinking lake, which is well-known in the land of Al-Ghur [the Jordan Valley], bordering the mountains of Jerusalem, between the mountains and the land of Al-Karak and Ash-Shawbak. He called them to Allah, to worship Him alone with no partner or associate, and to obey the Messenger whom Allah sent to them. He forbade from disobeying Allah and committing the sin that they had invented which was unknown on earth before their time; intercourse with males instead of with females. Allah said:

{165. “Go you in unto the males of Al-Alamin (people),”

166. “And leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your wives Nay, you are a trespassing people!”

167. They said: “If you cease not, O Lut, verily, you will be one of those who are driven out!”

168. He said: “I am indeed of those who disapprove with severe anger and fury your behavior.”

169. “My Lord! Save me and my family from what they do.”

170. So, We saved him and his family, all,

171. Except an old woman among those who remained behind.

172. Then afterward We destroyed the others.

173. And We rained on them a rain, and how evil was the rain of those who had been warned!

174. Verily, in this is indeed a sign, yet most of them are not believers.

175. And verily your Lord, He is indeed the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.}

Lut’s Denunciation of His People’s Deeds, Their Response and Their Punishment

The Prophet of Allah forbade them from committing evil deeds and intercourse with males, and he taught them that they should have intercourse with their wives whom Allah had created for them. Their response was only to say: “If you cease not, O Lut,” meaning, ‘if you do not give up what you have brought,’ “Verily, you will be one of those who are driven out!” meaning, ‘we will expel you from among us.’ This is like the Ayah, “There was no other answer given by his people except that they said: “Drive out the family of Lut from your city. Verily, these are men who want to be clean and pure!” (27:56). When he saw that they would not give up their ways, and that they were persisting in their misguidance, he declared his innocence of them, saying: “I am, indeed, of those who disapprove with severe anger and fury” ‘Of those who are outraged, I do not like it and I do not accept it, and I have nothing to do with you. ‘ Then he prayed to Allah against them and said: “My Lord! Save me and my family from what they do.” Allah says: “So, We saved him and his family, all. Except an old woman among those who remained behind.” This was his wife, who was a bad old woman. She stayed behind and was destroyed with whoever else was left. This is similar to what Allah says about them in Surat Al-Araf and Surah Hud, and in Surat Al-Hijr, where Allah commanded him to take his family at night, except for his wife, and not to turn around when they heard the Sayhah as it came upon his people. So they patiently obeyed the command of Allah and persevered, and Allah sent upon the people a punishment which struck them all, and rained upon them stones of baked clay, piled up. Allah says: “Then afterward We destroyed the others. And We rained on them a rain” [a storm of stones] until Allah’s saying; “And verily, your Lord, He is indeed the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.”

{176. The companions of Al-Aykah denied the Messengers.

177. When Shuayb said to them: “Will you not have Taqwa?”

178. “I am a trustworthy Messenger to you.”

179. “So, have Taqwa of Allah, and obey me.”

180. “No reward do I ask of you for it; my reward is only from the Lord of Al-Alamin.”}

Shuayb and His Preaching to the Dwellers of Al-Aykah

The companions of Al-Aykah were the people of Madyan, according to the most correct view. The Prophet of Allah Shuayb was one of them, but it does not say here, their brother Shuayb, because they called themselves by a name denoting their deification of Al-Aykah, which was a tree which they used to worship; it was said that it was a group of trees which were tangled, like trees in a thicket. For this reason, when Allah said that the companions of Al-Aykah denied the Messengers, He did not say, “When their brother Shuayb said to them.” Rather, He said: “When Shuayb said to them” He is not described as belonging to them because of the meaning that was inherent in the name given to them even though he was their brother by blood. Some people did not notice this point, so they thought that the dwellers of Al-Aykah were different from the people of Madyan, and claimed that Shu`ayb was sent to two nations; some said that he was sent to three. “The companions of Al-Aykah” were the people of Shuayb. This was the view of Ishaq bin Bishr. (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 6:318) Someone besides Juwaybir said, “The dwellers of Al-Aykah and the people of Madyan are one and the same.” (At-Tabari 19:390) And Allah knows best.

Although there is another opinion that they were different nations with two identities, the correct view is that they were one nation, but they are described differently in different places. Shu`ayb preached to them and commanded them to be fair in their weights and measures, the same as is mentioned in the story of Madyan, which also indicates that they were the same nation.

{181. “Give full measure, and cause no loss (to others).”

182. “And weigh with the true and straight balance.”

183. “And defraud not people by reducing their things, nor do evil, making corruption and mischief in the land.”

184. “And have Taqwa of Him Who created you and the generations of the men of old.”}

The Command to give Full Measure

Allah commanded them to give full measure, and forbade them to give short measure. He said: “Give full measure, and cause no loss.” meaning, ‘when you give to people, give them full measure, and do not cause loss to them by giving them short measure, while taking full measure when you are the ones who are taking. Give as you take, and take as you give.’ “And weigh with the true and straight balance.” The balance is the scales. “And defraud not people by reducing their things,” means, do not shortchange them. “nor do evil, making corruption and mischief in the land.” means, by engaging in banditry. This is like the Ayah, “And sit not on every road, threatening” (7:86). “And have Taqwa of Him Who created you and the generations of the men of old.” Here he is frightening them with the punishment of Allah Who created them and created their forefathers. This is like when Musa, peace be upon him, said: ”Your Lord and the Lord of your ancient fathers!” (26:26). Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, As-Suddi, Sufyan bin Uyaynah and Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said: “the generations of the men of old.” means, He created the early generations. And Ibn Zayd recited: “And indeed he (Shaytan) did lead astray a great multitude of you” (36:62). (At-Tabari 19:392)

{185. They said: “You are only one of those bewitched!”

186. “You are but a human being like us and verily, we think that you are one of the liars!”

187. “So, cause a piece of the heaven to fall on us, if you are of the truthful!”

188. He said: “My Lord is the Best Knower of what you do.”

189. But they denied him, so the torment of the Day of Shadow (a gloomy cloud) seized them. Indeed that was the torment of a Great Day.

190. Verily, in this is indeed a sign, yet most of them are not believers.

191. And verily your Lord, He is indeed the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.}

The Response of Shuayb’s People, Their Disbelief in Him and the coming of the Punishment upon Them

Allah tells us how his people responded, and how it was like the response of Thamud to their Messenger – for they were of like mind – when they said: “You are only one of those bewitched!” meaning, ‘you are one of those who are affected by witchcraft.’ “You are but a human being like us and verily, we think that you are one of the liars!” means, ‘we think you are deliberately lying to us in what you say, and Allah has not sent you to us.’ “So cause a piece of the heaven to fall on us,” Ad-Dahhak said: “One side of the heavens.” (At-Tabari 19:393) Qatadah said: “A piece of the heaven.” (At-Tabari 19:485) As-Suddi said: “A punishment from heaven.” This is like what the Quraysh said, as Allah tells us: “And they say: “We shall not believe in you, until you cause a spring to gush forth from the earth for us” until: “Or you cause the heaven to fall upon us in pieces, as you have pretended, or you bring Allah and the angels before (us) face to face.” (17:90-92) “And (remember) when they said: “O Allah! If this is indeed the truth from You, then rain down stones on us from the sky….” (8:32). Similarly, these ignorant disbelievers said: “So, cause a piece of the heaven to fall on us, if you are of the truthful!” “He said: “My Lord is the Best Knower of what you do.” means, ‘Allah knows best about you, and if you deserve that, He will punish you therewith, and He will not treat you unjustly.’ So this is what happened to them – as they asked for – an exact recompense. Allah says: “But they denied him, so the torment of the Day of Shadow seized them. Indeed that was the torment of a Great Day.” This is what they asked for, when they asked for a part of the heaven to fall upon them. Allah made their punishment in the form of intense heat which overwhelmed them for seven days, and nothing could protect them from it. Then He sent a cloud to shade them, so they ran towards it to seek its shade from the heat. When all of them had gathered underneath it, Allah sent sparks of fire and flames and intense heat upon them, and caused the earth to convulse beneath them, and He sent against them a mighty Sayhah which destroyed their souls. Allah says: “Indeed that was the torment of a Great Day.” Allah has mentioned how they were destroyed in three places in the Qur’an, in each of which it is described in a manner which fits the context. In Surat Al-Araf He says that the earthquake seized them, and they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes.

This was because they said: “We shall certainly drive you out, O Shuayb, and those who have believed with you from our town, or else you (all) shall return to our religion.” (7:88). They had sought to scare the Prophet of Allah and those who followed him, so they were seized by the earthquake. In Surah Hud, Allah says: “And As-Sayhah seized the wrongdoers” (11:94). This was because they mocked the Allah’s Prophet when they said: “Does your Salah command that we give up what our fathers used to worship, or that we give up doing what we like with our property Verily, you are the forbearer, right-minded!” (11:87). They had said this in a mocking, sarcastic tone, so it was befitting that the Sayhah should come and silence them, as Allah says: “So As-Saihah overtook them” (15:73). “And As-Saihah seized the wrongdoers” (11:94). And here, they said: “So, cause a piece of the heaven to fall on us,” in a stubborn and obstinate manner. So, it was fitting that something they never thought would happen should befall them: “so the torment of the Day of Shadow seized them. Indeed that was the torment of a Great Day.” Muhammad bin Jarir narrated from Yazid Al-Bahili: “I asked Ibn Abbas about this Ayah: “so the torment of the Day of Shadow seized them.” He said: ‘Allah sent upon them thunder and intense heat, and it terrified them’ so they entered their houses and it pursued them to the innermost parts of their houses and terrified them further﴾, and they ran fleeing from their houses into the fields. Then Allah sent upon them clouds which shaded them from the sun, and they found it cool and pleasant, so they called out to one another until they had all gathered beneath the cloud, then Allah sent fire upon them.’ Ibn Abbas said, `That was the torment of the Day of Shadow, indeed that was the torment of a Great Day.” (At-Tabari 19:394) “Verily, in this is an Ayah, yet most of them are not believers. And verily, your Lord, He is truly, the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.” (26:8-9) meaning, He is All-Mighty in His punishment of the disbelievers, and Most Merciful towards His believing servants.

{192. And truly, this is a revelation from the Lord of all that exists,

193. Which the trustworthy Ruh (Jibril) has brought down.

194. Upon your heart that you may be (one) of the warners,

195. In the plain Arabic language.}

The Qur’an was revealed by Allah

Here Allah tells us about the Book which He revealed to His servant and Messenger Muhammad. “And truly, this” refers to the Qur’an, which at the beginning of the Surah was described as “and never comes there unto them a Reminder as a recent revelation from the Most Gracious…” (26:5). “is a revelation from the Lord of Al-`Alamin.” means, Allah has sent it down to you and revealed it to you. “Which the trustworthy Ruh has brought down.” This refers to Jibril, peace be upon him. This was the view of more than one of the Salaf: Ibn `Abbas, Muhammad bin Ka`b, Qatadah, `Atiyyah Al-`Awfi, As-Suddi, Ad-Dahhak, Az-Zuhri and Ibn Jurayj. (At-Tabari 19:396) This is an issue concerning which there is no dispute. Az-Zuhri said, “This is like the Ayah: “Say: “Whoever is an enemy to Jibril – for indeed he has brought it down to your heart by Allah’s permission, confirming what came before it…” (2:97). “Upon your heart” ‘O Muhammad, free from any contamination, with nothing added or taken away.’ “that you may be of the warners,” means, ‘so that you may warn people with it of the punishment of Allah for those who go against it and disbelieve in it, and so that you may give glad tidings with it to the believers who follow it.’ “In the plain Arabic language.” meaning, `this Qur’an which We have revealed to you, We have revealed in perfect and eloquent Arabic, so that it may be quite clear, leaving no room for excuses and establishing clear proof, showing the straight path.’

{196. And verily, it is in the Zubur of the former people.

197. Is it not a sign to them that the learned scholars of the Children of Israel knew it

198. And if We had revealed it unto any of the non-Arabs,

199. And he had recited it unto them, they would not have believed in it.}

The Qur’an was mentioned in the Previous Scriptures

Allah says: this Qur’an was mentioned and referred to in the previous Scriptures that were left behind by their Prophets who foretold it in ancient times and more recently. Allah took a covenant from them that they would follow it, and the last of them stood and addressed his people with the good news of Ahmad: “And (remember) when `Isa, son of Maryam, said: “O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah unto you, confirming the Tawrah before me, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.” (61:6) Zubur here refers to Books; Zubur is the plural of Az-Zabur, which is also the name used to refer to the Book given to Dawud. Allah says: “And everything they have done is noted in the Az-Zubur.” (54:52), meaning, it is recorded against them in the books of the angels. Then Allah says: “Is it not a sign to them that the learned scholars of the Children of Israel knew it?” meaning, is it not sufficient witness to the truth for them that the scholars of the Children of Israel found this Qur’an mentioned in the Scriptures which they study? The meaning is: the fair-minded among them admitted that the attributes of Muhammad and his mission and his Ummah were mentioned in their Books, as was stated by those among them who believed, such as Abdullah bin Salam, Salman Al-Farisi and others who met the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Allah said: “Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write …” (7:157)

The Intense Disbelief of Quraysh

Then Allah tells us how intense the disbelief of Quraysh was, and how stubbornly they resisted the Qur’an. If this Book with all its eloquence had been revealed to a non-Arab who did not know one word of Arabic, they still would not have believed in him. Allah says: “And if We had revealed it unto any of the non-Arabs, And he had recited it unto them, they would not have believed in it.” And Allah says: “And even if We opened to them a gate from the heaven and they were to keep on ascending thereto. They would surely say: “Our eyes have been dazzled…” (15:14-15) “And even if We had sent down unto them angels, and the dead had spoken unto them…” (6:111) “Truly, those, against whom the Word of your Lord has been justified, will not believe.” (10:96)

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 253-279

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