Surah Ash-Shurara Ayat 1-122

Surah Ash-Shurara

Chapter 26 

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

{1. Ta Sin Mim. 

2. These are Ayat of the Book Mubin. 

3. It may be that you are going Bakhi yourself, that they do not become believers. 

4. If We will, We could send down to them from the heaven a sign, to which they would bend their necks in humility. 

5. And never comes there unto them a Reminder as a recent revelation from the Most Gracious, but they turn away therefrom. 

6. So, they have indeed denied, then the news of what they mocked at will come to them. 

7. Do they not observe the earth – how much of every good kind We cause to grow therein 

8. Verily, in this is an Ayah, yet most of them are not believers. 

9. And verily your Lord, He is truly the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.}

The Qur’an and the Disbelievers turning away

They could be compelled to believe if Allah so willed At the beginning of the explanation of Surat Al-Baqarah we discussed the letters which appear at the beginning of some Surahs. Allah’s saying: “These are the Ayat of the Book Mubin.” means, these are the verses of the Clear Qur’an, i.e. the clear and unambiguous Book which distinguishes between truth and falsehood, misguidance and guidance. “It may be that you are going Bakhi yourself” means, destroy yourself – because of your keenness that they should be guided and your grief for them. “that they do not become believers.” Here Allah is consoling His Messenger for the lack of faith of those among the disbelievers who do not believe in him. This is like the Ayat: “So destroy not yourself in sorrow for them” (35:8). “Perhaps, you would Bakhi yourself, over their footsteps, because they believe not in this narration” (18:6). Mujahid, Ikrimah, Qatadah, Atiyyah, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan and others said that: “It may be that you are going Bakhi yourself,” means, ‘kill yourself.’ (At-Tabari 19:330)

Then Allah says: “If We will, We could send down to them from the heaven a sign, to which they would bend their necks in humility.” meaning, `if We so willed, We could send down a sign that would force them to believe, but We will not do that because We do not want anyone to believe except by choice.’ Allah says: “And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed, all of them together. So, will you then compel mankind, until they become believers.” (10:99) “And if your Lord had so willed, He could surely, have made mankind one Ummah…” (11:118) But Allah’s will has acted, His decree has come to pass, and His proof has been conveyed to mankind by mission of Messengers and the revelation of Books to them. Then Allah says: “And never comes there unto them a Reminder as a recent revelation from the Most Gracious, but they turn away therefrom.” meaning, every time a Scripture comes from heaven to them, most of the people turn away from it. As Allah says: “And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly.” (12:103) “Alas for mankind! There never came a Messenger to them but they used to mock at him.” (36:30) “Then We sent Our Messengers in succession. Every time there came to a nation their Messenger, they denied him…” (23:44). Allah says here: “So, they have indeed denied, then the news of what they mocked at will come to them.” meaning, they denied the truth that came to them, so they will come to know the news of the consequences of this denial after a while. “And those who do wrong will come to know by what overturning they will be overturned” (26:227).

Then Allah tells those who dared to oppose His Messenger and disbelieve in His Book, that He is the Subduer, the Almighty, the All-Powerful, Who created the earth and caused every good kind of crop, fruit and animal to grow therein. Sufyan Ath-Thawri narrated from a man from Ash-Sha`bi that people are a product of the earth. So whoever enters Paradise is good and noble, and whoever enters Hell is base and vile. (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 6:289)

“Verily, in this is an Ayah,” meaning an evidence of the power of the Creator of all things. He spread out the earth and raised the canopy of the heavens, yet despite that the majority of people do not believe, rather they deny Him, His Messengers, and His Books, and they go against His commands doing the things He had prohibited.

His saying: “And verily your Lord, He is truly the All-Mighty,” means, the One Who has power over all things, to subdue and control them, “the Most Merciful.” means, towards His creation, for He does not hasten to punish the one who sins, but He gives him time to repent, and if he does not, then He seizes him with a mighty punishment. Abu Al-`Aliyah, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Ibn Ishaq said: “He is Almighty in His punishment of those who went against His commands and worshipped others besides Him.” (At-Tabari 33:304) Said bin Jubayr said: “He is Most Merciful towards those who repent to Him and turn to Him.”

{10. And (remember) when your Lord called Musa (saying): “Go to the people who are wrongdoers.” 

11.”The people of Firawn. Will they not have Taqwa?” 

12. He said: “My Lord! Verily, I fear that they will deny me,” 

13. “And my breast straitens, and my tongue expresses not well. So send for Harun.” 

14.”And they have a charge of crime against me, and I fear they will kill me. ” 

15. (Allah) said: “Nay! Go you both with Our signs. Verily, We shall be with you, listening.” 

16. “And go both of you to Firawn, and say: `We are the Messengers of the Lord of Al-Alamin,’ 

17. ‘So allow the Children of Israel to go with us.”’ 

18. (Firawn) said (to Musa): “Did we not bring you up among us as a child And you did dwell many years of your life with us.” 

19. “And you did your deed, which you did. While you were one of the ingrates.” 

20. Musa said: “I did it then, when I was in error.” 

21. “So, I fled from you when I feared you. But my Lord has granted me Hukm, and made me one of the Messengers.” 

22. “And this is the past favor with which you reproach me, – that you have enslaved the Children of Israel.”}

Between Musa and Firawn

Allah tells us what He commanded His servant, son of Imran and Messenger Musa, peace be upon him, who spoke with Him, to do, when He called him from the right side of the mountain, and conversed with him, and chose him, sent him, and commanded him to go to Fir`awn and his people. Allah says: “And when your Lord called Musa: “Go to the people who are wrongdoers. The people of Firawn. Will they not have Taqwa?” He said: “My Lord! Verily, I fear that they will deny me, And my breast straitens, and my tongue expresses not well. So send for Harun. And they have a charge of crime against me, and I fear they will kill me.” So, Musa asked Allah to remove these difficulties for him, as he said in Surah Ta Ha: “Musa said: “O my Lord! Open for me my chest. And ease my task for me.” (20:25-26) until: “You are granted your request, O Musa!” (20:36) “And they have a charge of crime against me, and I fear they will kill me.” because he had killed that Egyptian, which was the reason that he left the land of Egypt. “(Allah) said: “Nay!…” Allah told him: do not be afraid of anything like that. This is like the Ayah, “Allah said: “We will strengthen your arm through your brother, and give you both power” meaning, proof; “so they shall not be able to harm you, with Our signs, you two as well as those who follow you will be the victors” (28:35), “Go you both with Our signs. Verily, We shall be with you, listening.” This is like the Ayah, “I am with you both, hearing and seeing” (20:46). Meaning, ‘I will be with you by My protection, care, support and help.’ “And go both of you to Fir`awn, and say: `We are the Messengers of the Lord of the all that exists.” This is like the Ayah, “Verily, we are both Messengers of your Lord” (20:47). which means, ‘both of us have been sent to you,’“So allow the Children of Israel to go with us.” Meaning, ‘let them go, free them from your captivity, subjugation and torture, for they are the believing servants of Allah, devoted to Him, and with you they are in a position of humiliating torture.’ When Musa said that to him, Fir`awn turned away and ignored him completely, regarding him with scorn and thinking little of him. Saying: “Did we not bring you up among us as a child?” meaning, we brought you up among us, in our home and on our bed, we nourished you and did favors for you for many years, and after all that you responded to our kindness in this manner: you killed one of our men and denied our favors to you.’ So he said to him: “While you were one of the ingrates.” meaning, one of those who deny favors. This was the view of Ibn `Abbas and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam, and was the view favored by Ibn Jarir. (At-Tabari 19:340)

“(Musa) said: “I did it then…” meaning, at that time, “when I was in error.” meaning, `before revelation was sent to me and before Allah made me a Prophet and sent me with this Message.’ “So, I fled from you when I feared you. But my Lord has granted me Hukm, and made me one of the Messengers.” means, `the first situation came to an end and another took its place. Now Allah has sent me to you, and if you obey Him, you will be safe, but if you oppose Him, you will be destroyed.’ Then Musa said: “And this is the past favor with which you reproach me, – that you have enslaved the Children of Israel.” meaning, `whatever favors you did in bringing me up are offset by the evil you did by enslaving the Children of Israel and using them to do your hard labor. Is there any comparison between your favors to one man among them and the evil you have done to all of them? What you have mentioned about me is nothing compared to what you have done to them.’

{23. Firawn said: “And what is the Lord of Al-Alamin?” 

24. (Musa) said: “The Lord of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, if you seek to be convinced with certainty.” 

25. (Firawn) said to those around: “Do you not hear (what he says)?” 

26. (Musa) said: “Your Lord and the Lord of your ancient fathers!” 

27. (Firawn) said: “Verily, your Messenger who has been sent to you is a madman!” 

28. (Musa) said: “Lord of the east and the west, and all that is between them, if you did but understand!”}

Allah tells us about the disbelief, rebellion, oppression and denial of Firawn, as He says: “(Firawn said:) “And what is the Lord of the Alamin?” This is because he used to say to his people: “I know not that you have a god other than me.” (28:28) “Thus he fooled his people, and they obeyed him.” (43:54) They used to deny the Creator, may He be glorified, and they believed that they had no other lord than Firawn. When Musa said to them: “I am the Messenger of the Lord of the worlds,” Firawn said to him, “Who is this who you are claiming is the Lord of Al-Alamin other than me?” This is how it was interpreted by the scholars of the Salaf and the Imams of later generations. As-Suddi said, “This Ayah is like the Ayah, “(Fir`awn) said: “Who then, O Musa, is the Lord of you two” He said: “Our Lord is He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright.” (20:49-50) Those among the philosophers and others who claimed that this was a question about the nature or substance [of Allah] are mistaken. Fir`awn did not believe in the Creator in the first place, so he was in no position to ask about the nature of the Creator; he denied that the Creator existed at all, as is apparent from the meaning, even though proof and evidence had been established against him. When Fir`awn asked him about the Lord of Al-Alamin, Musa said:“(Musa) said: “The Lord of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them…” meaning, the Creator, Sovereign and Controller of all that, their God Who has no partner or associate. He is the One Who has created all things. He knows the higher realms and the heavenly bodies that are in them, both those that are stationary and those that move and shine brightly. He knows the lower realms and what is in them; the oceans, continents, mountains, trees, animals, plants and fruits. He knows what is in between the two realms; the winds, birds, and whatever is in the air. All of them are servants to Him, submitting and humbling themselves before Him.“if you seek to be convinced with certainty.” means, if you have believing hearts and clear insight. At this, Fir`awn turned to the chiefs and leaders of his state around him, and said to them – mockingly expressing his disbelief in Musa: “Do you not hear?” meaning, ‘are you not amazed by what this man is claiming – that you have another god other than me?’ Musa said to them: “Your Lord and the Lord of your ancient fathers!” meaning, the One Who created you and your forefathers, those who came before Fir`awn and his time. “He said” that is, Fir`awn said: “Verily, your Messenger who has been sent to you is a madman!” meaning, there is no sense in his claim that there is any god other than me!’ “(Musa) said)” – to those in whose hearts Fir`awn had planted doubts: “Lord of the east and the west, and all that is between them, if you did but understand!” ‘He is the One Who made the east the place where the heavenly bodies rise, and made the west the place where they set; this is the system to which He has subjugated all the heavenly bodies, stationary and moving. If what Firawn claims is true, that he is your lord and your god, then let him turn things around so that the heavenly bodies set in the east and rise in the west.’ This is similar to the Ayah,“who disputed with Ibrahim about his Lord, because Allah had given him the kingdom When Ibrahim said: “My Lord is He Who gives life and causes death.” He said, “I give life and cause death.” Ibrahim said, “Verily, Allah brings the sun from the east. So cause it to rise from the west.” (2:258) So when Firawn was defeated in debate, he resorted to the use of his force and power, believing that this would be effective in dealing with Musa, peace be upon him, so he said, as Allah tells us:

{29. He said: “If you choose a god other than me, I will certainly put you among the prisoners.” 

30. He said: “Even if I bring you something manifest?” 

31. He said: “Bring it forth then, if you are of the truthful!” 

32. So he threw his stick, and behold, it was a serpent, manifest. 

33. And he drew out his hand, and behold, it was white to all beholders! 

34. He said to the chiefs around him: “Verily, this is indeed a well-versed sorcerer.” 

35. “He wants to drive you out of your land by his sorcery: what is it then that you command” 

36. They said: “Put him off and his brother (for a while), and send callers to the cities;” 

37. “To bring up to you every well-versed sorcerer.”}

After the Rational Proof, Firawn resorts to Force

When proof had been established against Firawn, clearly and rationally, he resorted to using force against Musa, thinking that after this there would no further room for discussion. So he said:“If you choose a god other than me, I will certainly put you among the prisoners.” To this, Musa responded:“Even if I bring you something manifest?” meaning, clear and definitive proof. “Fir`awn said: “Bring it forth then, if you are of the truthful!” So he threw his stick, and behold, it was a serpent, manifest.” meanig, it was very clear and obvious, with a huge body and a big mouth, terrifying in appearance.“And he drew out his hand,” meaning, from his sleeve, “and behold, it was white to all beholders!” It was shining like a piece of the moon. Since Fir`awn was already doomed, he hastened to stubborn denial, and said to the chiefs around him: “Verily, this is indeed a well-versed sorcerer.” One who knows a great deal of magic or witchcraft. Firawn was trying to convince them that this was sorcery, not a miracle. Then he provoked them against Musa, trying to make them oppose him and disbelieve in him, and said: “He wants to drive you out of your land by his sorcery…” meaning, ‘he wants to capture the people’s hearts and win them over by doing this, so that they will support him, and help him and follow him, and he will defeat you in your own land and take the land from you. So advise me, what should I do with him?’ “They said: “Put him off and his brother, and send callers to the cities; to bring up to you every well-versed sorcerer.” meaning, ‘delay him and his brother until you gather together all the sorcerers from every city and region of your kingdom so that they may confront him and produce something like he produces, then you will defeat him and have the victory.’ So Firawn did as they suggested, which is what Allah decreed would happen to them, so that all the people would gather in one place and the signs and proof of Allah would be made manifest before them all in one day.

{38. So, the sorcerers were assembled at a fixed time on a day appointed. 

39. And it was said to the people: “Are you (too) going to assemble” 

40. “That we may follow the sorcerers if they are the winners.” 

41. So, when the sorcerers arrived, they said to Fir`awn: “Will there surely be a reward for us if we are the winners” 

42. He said: “Yes, and you shall then verily be of those brought near (to myself).” 

43. Musa said to them: “Throw what you are going to throw!” 

44. So, they threw their ropes and their sticks, and said: “By the might of Fir`awn, it is we who will certainly win!” 

45. Then Musa threw his stick, and behold, it swallowed up all that they falsely showed! 

46. And the sorcerers fell down prostrate. 

47.Saying: “We believe in the Lord of Al-Alamin.” 

48. “The Lord of Musa and Harun.”}

Between Musa, peace be upon him, and the Sorcerers 
Allah describes the actual encounter between Musa, peace be upon him, and the Egyptians in Surat Al-Araf, Surah Ta Ha, and in this Surah. The Egyptians wanted to extinguish the Light of Allah with their words, but Allah insisted that His Light should prevail even though the disbelievers disliked that. This is the issue of disbelief and faith; they never confront one another but faith always prevails: “Nay, We fling the truth against the falsehood, so it destroys it, and behold, it disappears. And woe to you for that which you ascribe.” (21:18) “And say: “Truth has come and falsehood has vanished.” (17:81) The sorcerers of Egypt were the most skilled in the art of illusion, but when a huge group of them gathered from all corners of the land, and the people came together on that day whose exact numbers are known to Allah Alone, one of them said: “That we may follow the sorcerers if they are the winners.” They did not say: `we will follow the truth, whether it rests with the sorcerers or with Musa;’ the people were followers of the religion of their king. “So, when the sorcerers arrived,” means, when they reached the court of Fir`awn, and a pavilion had been erected for him. There he gathered his servants, followers, administrators, and provincial leaders, and the soldiers of his kingdom. The sorcerers stood before Fir`awn, asking him to treat them well and bring them closer to him if they prevailed in this matter which he had brought them together for. They said: “Will there surely be a reward for us if we are the winners” He said: “Yes, and you shall then verily be of those brought near.” meaning, `and you will be given more than what you are asking for; I will make you among those who are close to me, those who sit with me.’ So they went back to their places: “They said: “O Musa! Either you throw first or we be the first to throw” (Musa) said: “Nay, throw you (first)!” (20:65-66). Here the incident is described more briefly. Musa said to them: “Throw what you are going to throw!” So, they threw their ropes and their sticks, and said: “By the might of Fir`awn, it is we who will certainly win!” This is what the ignorant masses say when they do something: `this is by the virtue of So-and-so!’ In Surat Al-A`raf Allah mentioned that they: “They bewitched the eyes of the people, and struck terror into them, and they displayed a great magic” (7:116). And in Surah Ta Ha He said: “Then behold! Their ropes and their sticks, by their magic, appeared to him as though they moved fast.” until Allah saying: “and the magician will never be successful, whatever the amount (of skill) he may attain” (20:69). And here Allah says:“Then Musa threw his stick, and behold, it swallowed up all that they falsely showed!” by snatching up and catching them from every corner and swallowing them up, and it did not leave any of them untouched. Allah says:“Thus truth was confirmed, and all that they did was made of no effect.” until “The Lord of Musa and Harun.” (7:118-122) This was a very serious matter, furnishing decisive proof leaving no room for any excuse. Fir`awn’s supporters, who sought and hoped that they would prevail over Musa, were themselves defeated. At that moment they believed in Musa and prostrated to Allah, the Lord of Al-Alamin Who sent Musa and Harun with the truth and an obvious miracle.
Firawn was defeated in a manner the likes of which the world had never seen, but he remained arrogant and stubborn despite the clear evidence, may the curse of Allah and the angels and all of mankind be upon him. He resorted to arrogance and stubbornness and propagating falsehood. He began to issue threats against them, saying: “Verily, he is your chief who has taught you magic” (20:71). “Surely, this is a plot which you have plotted in the city” (7:123).

{49. He said: “You have believed in him before I give you leave. Surely, he indeed is your chief, who has taught you magic! So verily, you shall come to know. Verily, I will cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, and I will crucify you all.” 

50. They said: “No harm! Surely, to our Lord we are to return.” 

51. “Verily, we really hope that our Lord will forgive us our sins, as we are the first of the believers.”}

Between Firawn and the Sorcerers

His threats against them resulted only in an increase in their faith and submission to Allah, for the veil of disbelief had been lifted from their hearts and the truth became clear to them because they knew something that their people did not: that what Musa had done could not have been done by any human being unless Allah helped him, making it proof and an evidence of the truth of what he had brought from his Lord. Then Firawn said to them: “You have believed in him before I give you leave.” meaning, ‘you should have asked my permission for what you did, and you did not consult with me; if I had given you permission you could have done it, and if I did not allow you, you should not have done it, for I am the ruler and the one to be obeyed.’ “Surely, he indeed is your chief, who has taught you magic!” This is stubborn talk, and anyone can see that it is nonsense, for they had never met Musa before that day, so how could he have been their chief who taught them how to do magic No rational person would say this. Then Firawn threatened to cut off their hands and feet, and crucify them. They said: “No harm!” meaning, ‘no problem, that will not harm us and we do not care.’“Surely, to our Lord we are to return.” means, ‘the return of us all is to Allah, may He be glorified, and He will never allow the reward of anyone who has done good to be lost. What you have done to us is not hidden from Him, and He will reward us in full for that.’ So they said: “Verily, we really hope that our Lord will forgive us our sins” ‘the sins we have committed and the magic you forced us to do.’ “as we are the first of the believers” means, because we are the first of our people, the Egyptians, to believe. So he killed them all.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 7 Pages 211-230

{52. And We revealed to Musa, saying: “Depart by night with My servants, verily, you will be pursued.” 

53. Then Firawn sent callers to (all) the cities. 

54. (Saying): “Verily, these indeed are but a small band.” 

55. “And verily, they have done what has enraged us.” 

56. “But we are a host all assembled, amply forewarned.” 

57. So, We expelled them from gardens and springs, 

58. Treasures, and every kind of honorable place. 

59. Thus and We caused the Children of Israel to inherit them.}

The Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt

After Musa stayed in Egypt for a long time, and the proof of Allah was established against Firawn and his chiefs, yet they were still arrogant and stubborn, then there was nothing left for them but punishment and vengeance. So Allah commanded Musa, peace be upon him, to take the Children of Israel out of Egypt by night, and take them wherever he would be commanded. So Musa, peace be upon him, did as he was commanded by his Lord, may He be glorified, and he led them forth after they had borrowed an abundance of jewelry from the people of Firawn. As more than one of the scholars of Tafsir have said, they left when the moon was rising, and Mujahid, may Allah have mercy on him, said that the moon was eclipsed that night. (At-Tabari 19:354) And Allah knows best. Musa asked about the grave of Yusuf (Prophet Joseph), peace be upon him, and an old woman from among the Children of Israel showed him where it was, so he took the remains with them, and it was said that they were among the things that were carried by Musa himself, may peace be upon them both. It was also said that Yusuf, peace be upon him, had left instructions in his will that if the Children of Israel ever left Egypt, they should take his remains with them. (At-Tabari 19:354)

The following morning, when there was nobody to be found in the Israelite quarters, Firawn became angry and his anger intensified since Allah had decreed that he was to be destroyed. So he quickly sent his callers to all his cities, i.e., to mobilize his troops and bring them together, and he called out to them: “Verily, these” meaning, the Children of Israel, “indeed are but a small band.” meaning, a small group. “And verily, they have done what has enraged us.” means, ‘every time we have heard anything about them, it has upset us and made us angry.’ “But we are a host all assembled, amply forewarned.” means, ‘we are constantly taking precautions lest they betray us.’ Some of the Salaf read this with the meaning, “we are constantly forewarned and forearmed. And I want to destroy them to the last man, and destroy all their lands and property.” So he and his troops were punished with the very things he sought to inflict upon the Children of Israel. Allah says: “So, We expelled them from gardens and springs, treasures, and every kind of honorable place.” meaning, they were thrown out of those blessings and into Hell, and they left behind the honorable places, gardens and rivers, wealth, provision, position and power in this world: “Thus and We caused the Children of Israel to inherit them.” This is like the Ayat: “And We made the people who were considered weak to inherit the eastern parts of the land and the western parts thereof which We have blessed” (7: 137). “And We wished to do a favor to those who were weak in the land, and to make them rulers and to make them the inheritors” The two Ayat thereafter: (28:5-6).

{60. So, they pursued them at sunrise. 

61. And when the two hosts saw each other, the companions of Musa said: “We are sure to be overtaken.” 

62. (Musa) said: “Nay, verily with me is my Lord. He will guide me.” 

63. Then We revealed to Musa (saying): “Strike the sea with your stick.” And it parted, and each separate part became like huge mountain. 

64. Then We brought near the others to that place. 

65. And We saved Musa and all those with him.

 66. Then We drowned the others. 

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

68. And verily your Lord, He is truly the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.}

Firawn’s Pursuit and Expulsion of the Children of Israel, and how He and His People were drowned

More than one of the scholars of Tafsir said that Fir`awn set out with a huge group, a group containing the leaders and entire government of Egypt at that time, i.e., the decision-makers and influential figures, princes, ministers, nobles, leaders and soldiers.“So, they pursued them at sunrise.” means, they caught up with the Children of Israel at sunrise. “And when the two hosts saw each other,” means, each group saw the other. At that point, “the companions of Musa said: “We are sure to be overtaken.” This was because Fir`awn and his people caught up with them on the shores of the Red Sea, so the sea was ahead of them and Fir`awn and his troops were behind them. Hence they said: “We are sure to be overtaken.” (Musa) said: “Nay, verily with me is my Lord. He will guide me.” meaning, ‘nothing of what you fear will happen to you, for Allah is the One Who commanded me to bring you here, and He does not go back on His promise.’ Harun, peace be upon him, was in the front, with Yusha` bin Nun and a believer from the family of Firawn, and Musa, peace be upon him, was in the rear.

More than one of the scholars of Tafsir said that they stood there not knowing what to do, and Yusha bin Nun or the believer from the family of Firawn said to Musa, peace be upon him, “O Prophet of Allah, is it here that your Lord commanded you to bring us” He said: “Yes.” Then Firawn and his troops drew near and were very close indeed. At that point Allah commanded his Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, to strike the sea with his staff, so he struck it, and it parted, by the will of Allah. Allah says: “And it parted, and each separate part became like huge mountain.” meaning, like mighty mountains. This was the view of Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Muhammad bin Ka`b, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah and others. (At-Tabari 19:358) Ata’ Al-Khurasani said, “It refers to a pass between two mountains.” Ibn Abbas said, “The sea divided into twelve paths, one for each of the tribes.” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 6:299) As-Suddi added, “And in it there were windows through which they could see one another, and the water was erected like walls.” (At-Tabari 19:357) Allah sent the wind to the sea bed to make it solid like the land. Allah says: “and strike a dry path for them in the sea, fearing neither to be overtaken nor being afraid” (20:77). And here He says: “Then We brought near the others to that place.” Ibn Abbas, Ata’ Al-Khurasani, Qatadah and As-Suddi said: “Then We brought near” means, “We brought Firawn and his troops near to the sea.” (At-Tabari 19:359) “And We saved Musa and all those with him. Then We drowned the others.” meaning: `We saved Musa and the Children of Israel and whoever followed their religion, and none of them were destroyed, but Fir`awn and his troops were drowned and not one of them remained alive, but was destroyed.’

Then Allah says: “Verily, in this is indeed a sign,” meaning, this story with its wonders and tales of aid to the believing servants of Allah is definitive proof and evidence of Allah’s wisdom. “yet most of them are not believers. And verily your Lord, He is truly the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.” The explanation of this phrase has already been discussed above. [See Ayah 9 of this Surah]

{69. And recite to them the story of Ibrahim. 

70. When he said to his father and his people: “What do you worship?” 

71. They said: “We worship idols, and to them we are ever devoted.” 

72. He said: “Do they hear you when you call” 

73. “Or do they benefit you or do they cause harm” 

74. They said: “(Nay) but we found our fathers doing so.” 

75. He said: “Do you observe that which you have been worshipping-” 

76. “You and your ancient fathers” 

77. “Verily, they are enemies to me, save the Lord of Al-Alamin,”}

How the Close Friend of Allah, Ibrahim spoke out against Shirk

Here Allah tells us about His servant, Messenger and Close Friend, Ibrahim, upon him be peace, the leader of the pure monotheists. Allah commanded His Messenger Muhammad to recite this story to his Ummah so that they could follow this example of sincerity towards Allah, putting one’s trust in Him, worshipping Him Alone with no partner or associate, and renouncing Shirk and its people. Allah granted guidance to Ibrahim before, i.e., from a very early age he had denounced his people’s practice of worshipping idols with Allah, may He be exalted. “When he said to his father and his people: “What do you worship?” meaning: what are these statues to which you are so devoted “They said: “We worship idols, and to them we are ever devoted.” meaning: we are devoted to worshipping them and praying to them. “He said: “Do they hear you when you call Or do they benefit you or do they cause harm” They said: “(Nay) but we found our fathers doing so.” They knew that their idols could not do anything, but they had seen their fathers doing this, so they made haste to follow in their footsteps. So Ibrahim said to them: “Do you observe that which you have been worshipping – you and your ancient fathers Verily, they are enemies to me, save the Lord of Al-Alamin.” meaning, ‘if these idols mean anything and have any influence, then let them do me any kind of harm, for I am an enemy to them and I do not care about them or think anything of them.’ This is akin to the way Allah described Nuh:“So devise your plot, you and your partners” (10:71). And Hud, upon him be peace, said: “I call Allah to witness and bear you witness that I am free from that which you ascribe as partners in worship. So plot against me, all of you, and give me no respite. I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature but He has the grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the straight path” (11:54-56). Similarly, Ibrahim denounced their gods and idols and said: “And how should I fear those whom you associate in worship with Allah, while you fear not that you have joined in worship with Allah” (6:81). And Allah said: “Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibrahim” until His saying; “until you believe in Allah Alone” (60:4). “And (remember) when Ibrahim said to his father and his people: “Verily, I am innocent of what you worship, except Him Who created me; and verily, He will guide me.” And he made it a Word lasting among his offspring, that they may turn back” (43:26-28). meaning: “La Ilaha Illallah.”

{78. Who has created me, and it is He Who guides me. 

79. And it is He Who feeds me and gives me to drink. 

80. And when I am ill, it is He Who cures me. 

81. And Who will cause me to die, and then will bring me to life.  

82. And Who, I hope, will forgive me my faults on the Day of Recompense.}

Ibrahim mentions Allah’s Kindness towards Him

Ibrahim said, “I will not worship any but the One Who does these things: “Who has created me, and it is He Who guides me.” He is the Creator Who has decreed certain things to which He guides His creation, so each person follows the path which is decreed for him. Allah is the One Who guides whomsoever He wills and leaves astray whomsoever He wills. “And it is He Who feeds me and gives me to drink.” He is my Creator Who provides for me from that which He has made available in the heavens and on earth. He drives the clouds and causes water to fall with which He revives the earth and brings forth its fruits as provision for mankind. He sends down the water fresh and sweet so that many of those whom He has created, animals and men alike, may drink from it. “And when I am ill, it is He Who cures me.” Here he attributed sickness to himself, even though it is Allah Who decrees it, out of respect towards Allah. By the same token, Allah commands us to say in the prayer, “Guide us to the straight way” (1:6) to the end of the Surah. Grace and guidance are attributed to Allah, may He be exalted, but the subject of the verb with reference to anger is omitted, and going astray is attributed to the people. This is like when the Jinn said: “And we know not whether evil is intended for those on earth, or whether their Lord intends for them a right path” (72:10) Similarly, Ibrahim said: “And when I am ill, it is He Who cures me.” meaning, ‘when I fall sick, no one is able to heal me but Him, Who heals me with the means that may lead to recovery’. “And Who will cause me to die, and then will bring me to life.” He is the One Who gives life and causes death, and no one besides Him is able to do that, for He is the One Who originates and repeats. “And Who, I hope, will forgive me my faults on the Day of Recompense.” means, no one is able to forgive sins in this world or the Hereafter except Him. Who can forgive sins except Allah For He is the One Who does whatever He wills.

{83. My Lord! Bestow Hukm on me, and join me with the righteous. 

84. And grant me an honorable mention in later generations. 

85. And make me one of the inheritors of the Paradise of Delight. 

86. And forgive my father, verily, he is of the erring. 

87. And disgrace me not on the Day when they will be resurrected. 

88. The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, 

89. Except him who brings to Allah a clean heart.}

The Prayer of Ibrahim for Himself and for His Father

Here Ibrahim, upon him be peace, asks his Lord to give him Hukm. Ibn Abbas said, “This is knowledge.” (Al-Baghawi 3:390) “and join me with the righteous.” means, ‘make me one of the righteous in this world and the Hereafter.’ This is like the words the Prophet said three times when he was dying: “O Allah, with the Exalted Companion (of Paradise)”. (Fath Al-Bari 7:743) “And grant me an honorable mention in later generations.” meaning, ’cause me to be remembered in a good manner after my death, so that I will be spoken of and taken as a good example.’ This is like the Ayah, “And We left for him (a goodly remembrance) among the later generations: “Salam (peace) be upon Ibrahim. Thus indeed do we reward the good doers.” (37:108-110) “And make me one of the inheritors of the Paradise of Delight.” meaning, ‘bless me in this world with honorable mention after I am gone, and in the Hereafter by making me one of the inheritors of the Paradise of Delight.’ “And forgive my father,” This is like the Ayah, “My Lord! Forgive me, and my parents” (71:28). But this is something which Ibrahim, peace be upon him, later stopped doing, as Allah says: “And Ibrahim’s supplication for his father’s forgiveness was only because of a promise he had made to him” (9:114) until: “Verily, Ibrahim was Awwah and was forbearing” (9:114). Allah stopped Ibrahim from asking for forgiveness for his father, as He says: “Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibrahim and those with him”, until His saying: “but I have no power to do anything for you before Allah.” (60:4), “And disgrace me not on the Day when they will be resurrected” means, `protect me from shame on the Day of Resurrection and the Day when all creatures, the first and the last, will be raised.’ Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet said:

Ibrahim will see his father on the Day of Resurrection, covered with dust and darkness.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:357)

According to another narration, also from Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Ibrahim will meet his father and will say: “O Lord, You promised me that You would not disgrace me on the Day when all creatures are resurrected.” And Allah will say to him: “I have forbidden Paradise to the disbelievers.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:357)

He also recorded this in the Hadiths about the Prophets, upon them be peace, where the wording is: 

“Ibrahim will meet his father Azar on the Day of Resurrection, and there will be dust and darkness on Azar’s face. Ibrahim will say to him, “Did I not tell you not to disobey me” His father will say to him: “Today I will not disobey you.” Ibrahim will say: “O Lord, You promised me that You would not disgrace me on the Day when they are resurrected, but what disgrace can be greater than seeing my father in this state” Allah will say to him: “I have forbidden Paradise to the disbelievers.” Then it will be said: “O Ibrahim! Look beneath your feet.” So he will look and there he will see (that his father was changed into) a male hyena covered in dung, which will be caught by the legs and thrown in the Fire.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:445)

This was also recorded by Abu Abdur-Rahman An-Nasa’i in the Tafsir of his Sunan Al-Kubra. (An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 6:22) “The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail” means, a man’s wealth will not protect him from the punishment of Allah, even if he were to pay a ransom equivalent to an earthful of gold. “nor sons” means, ‘or if you were to pay a ransom of all the people on earth.’ On that Day nothing will be of any avail except faith in Allah and sincere devotion to Him, and renunciation of Shirk and its people. Allah says: “Except him who brings to Allah a clean heart.” meaning, free from any impurity or Shirk. Ibn Sirin said, “The clean heart knows that Allah is true, that the Hour will undoubtedly come and that Allah will resurrect those who are in the graves.” (At-Tabari 19:366) Said bin Al-Musayyib said, “The clean heart is the sound heart.” (Al-Baghawi 3:390) This is the heart of the believer, for the heart of the disbeliever and the hypocrite is sick. Allah says: “In their hearts is a disease” (2:10). Abu Uthman An-Nisaburi said, “It is the heart that is free from innovation and is content with the Sunnah.”

{90. And Paradise will be brought near to those who had Taqwa. 

91. And the (Hell) Fire will be placed in full view of the astray. 

92. And it will be said to them: “Where are those that you used to worship.” 

93.”Instead of Allah Can they help you or help themselves” 

94. Then they will be thrown on their faces into it (the Fire), they and the astray. 

95. And all of the hosts of Iblis together. 

96. They will say while contending therein, 

97. “By Allah, we were truly in a manifest error, 

98. “When we held you as equals with the Lord of all that exists;” 

99. “And none has brought us into error except the criminals.” 

100.”Now we have no intercessors,” 

101. “Nor a close friend.” 

102. “(Alas!) If we only had a chance to return, we shall truly be among the believers!” 

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

104. And verily your Lord, He is truly the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.}

Those Who have Taqwa and the Astray on the Day of Resurrection, and the Arguments and Sorrow of the Erring 
“And Paradise will be brought near” means, it will be brought close to its people, adorned and decorated for them to behold it. Its people are the pious who preferred it to whatever was in this world, and strove for it in this world. “And the (Hell) Fire will be placed in full view of the astray.” meaning, it will be shown to them and a neck will stretch forth from it, moaning and sighing, and their hearts will reach their throats. It will be said to its people by way of reproach and rebuke: “Where are those that you used to worship instead of Allah? Can they help you or help themselves?” meaning, ‘the gods and idols whom you used to worship instead of Allah cannot help you today, and they cannot even protect themselves. You and they are fuel for Hell today, which you will surely enter.’ “Then they will be thrown on their faces into it (the Fire), they and the astray.” Mujahid said, “This means, they will be hurled into it.” (At-Tabari 19:367)  Others said: “They will be thrown on top of one another, the disbelievers and their leaders who called them to Shirk. ”
“And all of the hosts of Iblis together.” they will all be thrown into it. “They will say while contending therein, “By Allah, we were truly in a manifest error, when we held you as equals with the Lord of all that exists.” The weak ones among them will say to their arrogant leaders: `Verily, we were following you; can you avail us anything from the Fire’ Then they will realize that themselves are to blame and will say: “By Allah, we were truly in a manifest error, when we held you as equals with the Lord of all that exists.” meaning, `we obeyed your commands as we should have obeyed the commands of the Lord of the all that exits, and we worshipped you along with the Lord of all that exits.’ “And none has brought us into error except the criminals.” meaning, ‘nobody called us to do that except the evildoers.’ “Now we have no intercessors.” This is like the Ayah which tells us that they will say: “…now are there any intercessors for us that they might intercede on our behalf Or could we be sent back so that we might do deeds other than those deeds which we used to do” (7:53). Similarly, in this Surah, Allah tells us that they will say: “Now we have no intercessors, nor a close friend.” “(Alas!) If we only had a chance to return, we shall truly be among the believers!” They will wish that they could come back to this world so that they could do deeds of obedience to their Lord — as they claim — but Allah knows that if they were to come back to this world, they would only go back to doing forbidden things, and He knows that they are liars. Allah tells us in Surah Sad about how the people of Hell will argue with one another, as He says: “Verily, that is the very truth — the mutual dispute of the people of the Fire!” (38:64) Then He says: “Verily, in this is indeed a sign, yet most of them are not believers.” meaning, in the dispute of Ibrahim with his people and his proof of Tawhid there is a sign, i.e., clear evidence that there is no God but Allah. “yet most of them are not believers. And verily, your Lord, He is truly the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.”

{105. The people of Nuh denied the Messengers. 

106. When their brother Nuh said to them: “Will you not have Taqwa” 

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

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

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

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

Nuh’s preaching to His People, and Their Response

Here Allah tells us about His servant and Messenger Nuh, peace be upon him, who was the first Messenger sent by Allah to the people of earth after they started to worship idols. Allah sent him to forbid that and to warn people of the consequences of idol worship. But his people belied him and continued their evil practice of worshipping idols besides Allah. Allah revealed that their disbelieving in him was akin to disbelieving in all the Messengers, So Allah said: “The people of Nuh belied the Messengers. When their brother Nuh said to them: “Will you not have Taqwa” meaning, ‘do you not fear Allah when you worship others instead of Him’ “I am a trustworthy Messenger to you.” means, ‘I am the Messenger of Allah to you, faithfully fulfilling the mission with which Allah has sent me. I convey the Messages of my Lord to you, and I do not add anything to them or take anything away from them. “So have Taqwa of Allah, and obey me. No reward do I ask of you for it” means, ‘I do not want any payment for the advice I give you; I will save my reward for it with Allah. ‘ “So have Taqwa of Allah, and obey me.” ‘It is clear to you that I am telling the truth and that I am faithfully fulfilling the mission with which Allah has entrusted me.’

{111. They said: “Shall we believe in you, when the inferior follow you” 

112. He said: “And what knowledge have I of what they used to do” 

113. “Their account is only with my Lord, if you could (but) know.” 

114. “And I am not going to drive away the believers.” 

115. “I am only a plain warner.”}

The Demand of the People of Nuh and His Response

They said: “We do not believe in you, and we will not follow you and become equal to the meanest of the people, who follow you and believe in you, and they are the lowest among us.’ ‘They said: “Shall we believe in you, when the inferior follow you” He said: “And what knowledge have I of what they used to do” meaning, `what does it have to do with me if they follow me No matter what they used to do before, I do not have to check on them and examine their background; all I have to do is accept it if they believe in me; whatever is in their hearts is for Allah to know.’ “Their account is only with my Lord, if you could (but) know. And I am not going to drive away the believers.” It seems that they asked him to drive these people away, then they would follow him, but he refused to do that, and said: “And I am not going to drive away the believers. I am only a plain warner.” meaning, ‘I have been sent as a warner, and whoever obeys me and follows me and believes in me, then he belongs to me and I to him, whether he is noble or common, upper-class or lower-class.’

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