Surah Taha Ayat 95-114

{95. (Musa) said: “And what is the matter with you, O Samiri?” 

96. (Samiri) said: “I saw what they saw not, so I took a (Qabdah) handful (of dust) from the (hoof) print of the messenger and threw it. Thus my inner self suggested to me.” 

97. Musa said: “Then go away! And verily, your (punishment) in this life will be that you will say: ‘Touch me not;’ and verily, you have a promise that will not fail. And look at your god to which you have been devoted. We will certainly burn it, and scatter its particles in the sea.” 

98.Your God is only Allah, there is no God but Him. He has full knowledge of all things.}

How As-Samiri made the Calf

Musa said to As-Samiri, “What caused you to do what you did? What presented such an idea to you causing you to do this?” Muhammad bin Ishaq reported from Ibn Abbas that he said, “As-Samiri was a man from the people of Bajarma, a people who worshipped cows. He still had the love of cow worshipping in his soul. However, he acted as though he had accepted Islam with the Children of Israel. His name was Musa bin Zafar.” (Tarikh At-Tabari 1:424) Qatadah said, “He was from the village of Samarra.” (At-Tabari 18:363)

“(Samiri) said: “I saw what they saw not.” This means, “I saw Jibril when he came to destroy Firawn.” “so I took a handful (Qabdah) from the print of the messenger” This means from the hoof print of his (Jibril’s) horse. This is what is well-known with many of the scholars of Tafsir, rather most of them. Mujahid said, “so I took a handful (Qabdah) from the print of the messenger” “From under the hoof of Jibril’s horse.” (At-Tabari 18:362) He also said, “The word Qabdah means a palmful, and it is also that which is grasped by the tips of the fingers.” Mujahid said, “As-Samiri threw what was in his hand onto the jewellery of the Children of Israel and it became molded into the body of a calf, which made a light moaning sound. The wind that blew into it was the cause of its sound.” (At-Tabari 18:362)  Thus, he said, “and I threw it.” This means, “I threw it along with those who were throwing (jewellery).” “Thus my inner self suggested to me.” This means that his soul considered it something good and it was pleasing to his self.

The Punishment of As-Samiri and the Burning of the Calf 
Thereupon, “(Musa) said: “Then go away! And verily, your (punishment) in this life will be that you will say: ‘Touch me not.” This means, “Just as you took and touched what was not your right to take and touch of the messenger’s foot print, such is your punishment in this life, that you will say, “Do not touch (me).” This means, “You will not touch the people and they will not touch you.” “and verily, you have a promise” This means on the Day of Resurrection. “that will not fail.” you will have no way to escape it. Qatadah said, “that you will say: ‘Touch me not.” “This is referring to a punishment for them and their remnants (i.e. those who have their disease) today still say “Do not touch.” Concerning Allah’s statement, “and verily, you have a promise that will not fail.” Al-Hasan, Qatadah and Abu Nahik said, “You will not be absent from it.” (At-Tabari 18:364) “And look at your god” that which you worshipped, “to which you have been devoted.” that which you established worship of, which was the calf. “Your God is only Allah, there is no God but Him. He has full knowledge of all things.” Musa was saying to them, “This is not your god. Your God is only Allah, the One Whom there is no true God except Him. Worship is not befitting to anyone except Him. For everything is in need of Him and everything is His servant. Concerning the statement, “He has full knowledge of all things.” The word Ilm (knowledge) is in the accusative case for distinction. It means that He is the All-Knower of everything. “(Allah) surrounds all things in (His) knowledge.” (65:12) And He says, “And (He) keeps count of all things.” (72:28) Therefore, “Not even the weight of a speck of dust escapes His knowledge.” (34:3) He also says, “Not a leaf falls, but He knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record.” (6:59) And He says, “And no moving creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah. And He knows its dwelling place and its deposit. All is in a Clear Book.” (11:6) The Ayat that mention this are numerous.

{99. Thus We relate to you some information of what happened before. And indeed We have given you from Us a Reminder. 

100. Whoever turns away from it, verily, they will bear a heavy burden on the Day of Resurrection. 

101. They will abide in that – and evil indeed will it be that load for them on the Day of Resurrection.}

The Entire Qur’an is the Remembrance of Allah and Mentioning thePunishment of Those Who turn away from It

Allah, the Exalted, is saying to Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, ‘We have told you (O Muhammad) the story of Musa and what happened with him, Firawn and his armies, just as it actually happened. Likewise, We relate to you the information of the past just as it happened, without any increase or decrease. We also gave you a remembrance from Us, the Mighty Qur’an, no falsehood comes to it from before it or behind it.’ It is a revelation from One Most Wise, Most Praiseworthy. No Prophet was given any Book like it or more complete than it, since the time of the previous Prophets who were sent, until their being sealed off with the coming of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. No Prophet was given any Book containing as much information than the Qur’an about what has past and what would be. The judgement concerning the distinction between mankind is taken from it.

Therefore, Allah says about it, “Whoever turns away from it” This means whoever denies it and turns away from following its commands and instructions, while seeking guidance from other than it, then Allah will mislead him and send him on the path to Hell. This is why Allah says, “Whoever turns away from it, verily, they will bear a heavy burden on the Day of Resurrection”. Burden here means sin. This is as Allah says, “But those of the sects that reject it, the Fire will be their promised meeting place.” (11:17) This applies generally to whoever the Qur’an reaches of the Arabs, the non-Arabs, the People of the Book and others. This is as Allah says, “That I may therewith warn you and whomsoever it may reach.” (6:19) The Qur’an is a final warning for everyone it reaches. Whoever follows it, then he is rightly guided and whoever opposes it and turns away from it, then he is misguided. He will be wretched in this life, and he is promised that on the Day of Resurrection his abode will be the Hellfire. For this reason Allah says, “Whoever turns away from it, verily, they will bear a heavy burden on the Day of Resurrection. They will abide in that.” (20:100-101) They will not be able to avoid this or escape it. “And evil indeed will it be that load for them on the Day of Resurrection.”

{102. The Day when the Sur will be blown: that Day, We shall gather the criminals blue-eyed. 

103. They will speak in a very low voice to each other (saying): “You stayed not longer than ten.” 

104. We know very well what they will say, when the best among them in knowledge and wisdom will say: “You stayed no longer than a day!”}

The Blowing of the Sur and the Day of Resurrection

It has been confirmed in a Hadith that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was asked about the Sur and he replied,

“It is a horn that will be blown into.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 9:116)

It has been related in a Hadith about the Sur, on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that it is a huge horn that has a circumference as large as the heavens and the earth. The angel Israfil will blow into it. (At-Tabarani in At-Tawal no.36) Another Hadith has been related which states that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“How can I be comfortable when the one with the horn is holding it in his lips and his forehead is leaning forward, waiting to be given permission (to blow it)?” 

The people said, “O Messenger of Allah, what should we say” He said, “Say: Allah is sufficient for us and what a good protector He is. Upon Allah we place our trust.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 9:117) Concerning His statement, “And We shall gather the criminals blue-eyed.” It has been said that this means having blue eyes due to the severity of their horrifying situation. “They will speak in a very low voice to each other.” Ibn Abbas said, “This means whispering among themselves.” (At-Tabari 18:371)  This means that some of them will be saying to others, “You stayed not longer than ten.” meaning in the abode of the worldly life, you only tarried there for a little while. The time was equivalent to ten days or so. Allah, the Exalted, then says, “We know very well what they will say” This means in their condition of conversing amongst themselves. “when the best among them in knowledge and wisdom will say” the one with perfect intelligence amongst them, “You stayed no longer than a day!” This is because on the Day of Judgement they will sense the shortness of the worldly life within themselves. For the worldly life, with its repetitious time periods and successive nights, days and hours, is as if it is just one day. For this reason, on the Day of Resurrection the disbelievers will think the worldly life was very short. By this they mean to prevent the establishment of the evidence against them due to the shortness of time that they had. Allah says about this, “And on the Day that the Hour will be established, the criminals will swear that they stayed not but an hour” until His statement, “but you knew not.” (30:55-56) Allah also says, “Did We not give you lives long enough, so that whosoever would receive admonition could receive it? And the warner came to you.” (35:37) Allah, the Exalted, also says, “(Allah will say): What number of years did you stay on earth? They will say: “We stayed a day or part of a day. Ask of those who keep account.” He (Allah) will say: “You stayed not but a little, if you had only known!” (23:112-11) This means that you only remained in it (the earth) a little while. If you only knew, you would have preferred the eternal life over the temporal life. Yet, you conducted yourselves in an evil manner. You gave the present, temporary life precedence over the eternal and everlasting life.

{105. And they ask you concerning the mountains. Say: “My Lord will blast them and scatter them as particles of dust.” 

106. “Then He shall leave it as a level smooth plain.” 

107. “You will see therein no crookedness nor curve.” 

108. On that Day mankind will follow strictly (the voice of) Allah’s caller, no crookedness (that is without going to the right or left of that voice) will they show him (Allah’s caller). And all voices will be humbled for the Most Gracious (Allah), and nothing shall you hear except Hamsa. 

The destruction of the Mountains, and the Earth becomes a Smooth Plain.}

Allah says, “And they ask you concerning the mountains.” This is a question, will they remain on the Day of Resurrection or will they cease to exist “Say: “My Lord will blast them and scatter them as particles of dust.” This means that He will take them away from their places, wipe them out and remove them completely. “Then He shall leave it” referring to the earth; “as a level smooth plain.” This means one expanse spread out. The word ‘Qa’ means a piece of land that is level and the word Safsafa is used to place emphasis on this meaning. It has also been said that Safsafa means that which has no vegetation growing in it. The first meaning is preferred, even though the second meaning is also included by necessity. In reference to this, Allah says, “You will see therein no crookedness nor curve.” meaning, ‘on that Day you will not see in the earth any valley, hill, or any place, whether low or elevated.’ Ibn Abbas, Ikrimah, Mujahid, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah and others of the Salaf all said the same. (At-Tabari 18:372)

The People will rush towards the Voice of the Caller

“On that Day mankind will follow strictly Allah’s caller, no crookedness will they show him.” On the Day, they see these conditions and these frightening sights, they will hastily respond to the caller. Wherever they are commanded to go, they will rush to it. If they had been like this in the worldly life, it would have been more beneficial for them, but here it does not benefit them. This is as Allah says, “How clearly will they see and hear, the Day when they will appear before Us!” (19:38) Allah also says, “hastening towards the caller.” Concerning Allah’s statement, “And all voices will be humbled for the Most Gracious” Ibn Abbas said, “This means they will be silent.” (At-Tabari 18:374) As-Suddi also said the same. “And nothing shall you hear except Hamsa.” Said bin Jubayr related that Ibn Abbas said, “This means the steps of feet.” (At-Tabari 18:374) Ikrimah, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi bin Anas, Qatadah, Ibn Zayd and others all said the same. (At-Tabari 18:375) Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn Abbas said, “And nothing shall you hear except Hamsa.” “Hamsa means a hidden voice.” (At-Tabari 18:375) This has also been reported from Ikrimah and Ad-Dahhak. Said bin Jubayr said, “And nothing shall you hear except Hamsa.” “Hamsa means the secret speech and the steps of feet.”

{109. On that day no intercession shall avail, except the one for whom the Most Gracious has given permission and whose word is acceptable to Him. 

110. He knows what happens to them, and what will happen to them, but they will never encompass anything of His knowledge. 

111. And (all) faces shall be humbled before the Ever Living, the Sustainer. And he who carried wrongdoing, will be indeed a complete failure. 

112. And he who works deeds of righteousness, while he is a believer, then he will have no fear of injustice, nor of any curtailment.}

The Intercession and the Recompense

Allah, the Exalted, says, “On that day” the Day of Resurrection, “no intercession shall avail.” meaning with Him (Allah). “except the one for whom the Most Gracious has given permission and whose word is acceptable to Him.” This is similar to His statement, “Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His permission?” (2:255) It is also similar to His statement, “And there are many angels in the heavens, whose intercession will avail nothing except after Allah has given leave for whom He wills and is pleased with.” (53:26) He also says, “And they cannot intercede except for him with whom He is pleased. And they stand in awe for fear of Him.” (21:28) He also says, “Intercession with Him profits not except for him whom He permits.” (34:23) And He says, “The Day that Ar-Ruh and the angels will stand forth in rows, they will not speak except him whom the Most Gracious allows, and he will speak what is right.” (78:38) In the Two Sahihs it is reported from the leader of the Children of Adam and the Noblest of all the creatures to Allah, Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him:

“I will come under the Throne and I will fall down into prostration. Then, I will be inspired to make praises (of Allah) that I am not able to recall them now. Allah will leave me in this condition as long as He wishes. Then, He will say, “O Muhammad, raise your head. Speak and you will be heard, intercede and your intercession will be accepted.” Then, a designated group will be allowed for me (to intercede on their behalf). Allah will then enter them into Paradise and I will return (to repeat the process again).” (Fath Al-Bari 8:247)

The Prophet mentioned doing this four times. May Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him and the rest of the Prophets as well. In another Hadith it also mentions that he said,

“Allah, the Exalted, will say, “Bring out of the Fire whoever has a seed’s weight of faith in his heart.” So a large number of people will be brought out. Then He will say, “Bring out of the Fire whoever has a half of a seed’s weight of faith in his heart. Bring out whoever has the weight of a speck of dust in his heart. Bring out whoever has the weight of the smallest and tiniest particle of dust of faith in his heart.” (Fath Al-Bari 13:481)

And the Hadith continues. Concerning Allah’s statement, “He knows what happens to them and what will happen to them” He encompasses all creation with His knowledge. “but they will never encompass anything of His knowledge.” This is like His statement, “And they will never encompass anything of His knowledge except that which He wills.” (2:255) Concerning Allah’s statement, “And (all) faces shall be humbled before the Ever Living, the Sustainer.” Ibn Abbas and others said, “This means that the creatures will be humbled, submissive and compliant to their Compeller, the Ever Living, Who does not die, the Sustainer of all, Who does not sleep.” (At-Tabari 18:377)  He is the maintainer of everything. He determines the affairs of everything and preserves everything. He is perfect in His Self. He is the One Whom everything is in need of and whom nothing could survive without. Concerning His statement, “And he who carried wrongdoing, will be indeed a complete failure.” meaning on the Day of Resurrection. For verily, Allah will give every due right to the one who deserved it. Even the ram who lost its horn will be given revenge against the one who had horns. In the Sahih, it is recorded that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Beware of wrongdoing (or oppression), for verily, wrongdoing will be darknesses on the Day of Resurrection.” 

And the true failure is for whoever meets Allah while associating partners with Him. Allah the Exalted says, “Verily, associating partners with Me is the great wrongdoing.”  (Ahmad 2:106) Allah’s statement, “And he who works deeds of righteousness, while he is a believer, then he will have no fear of injustice, nor of any curtailment.” After Allah mentions the wrongdoers and their threat, He then commends the pious people and mentions the judgement they receive. Their judgement is that they will not be wronged nor oppressed. This means that their evils will not be increased and their good deeds will not be decreased. This was stated by Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and others. (At-Tabari 18:379) Zulm means an increase that comes from the sins of others being placed upon the person, and Hadm means a decrease.

{113. And thus We have sent it down as a Qur’an in Arabic, and have explained therein in detail the warnings, in order that they may have Taqwa, or that it may cause them to have a lesson from it. 

114.Then High above all be Allah, the True King. And be not in haste with the Qur’an before its revelation is completed to you, and say: “My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.”}

The Qur’an was revealed so that the People would have Taqwa and reflect

After Allah, the Exalted, mentions that on the Day of Judgement both the good and the evil will be recompensed and there is no avoiding it, He then explains that the Qur’an was revealed as a bringer of glad tidings and a warner in the clear and eloquent Arabic language. There is no confusion or deficiency in it. “And thus We have sent it down as a Qur’an in Arabic, and have explained therein in detail the warnings, in order that they may have Taqwa of,” This means: so that they will leave off sins, forbidden things and lewd abominations. “or that it may cause them to have a lesson from it.” This means: to produce acts of obedience and deeds that will bring one closer to Allah. “Then High above all be Allah, the True King.” This means: Most Holy and Majestic is He, the True King, Who is Himself the Truth and His promise is true. Likewise, His threat is true, His Messengers are true, the Paradise is true, the Hellfire is true and everything from Him is true. His justice is that He does not punish anyone before warning them, sending Messengers to them and granting excuses to His creatures, so that no one will have any argument or doubt (on Judgment Day).

The Command to the Prophet to listen to the Qur’an when it is revealed without making haste to recite it

Concerning Allah’s statement, “And be not in haste with the Qur’an before its revelation is completed to you,” This is similar to Allah’s statement, “Move not your tongue to make haste therewith. It is for Us to collect it and to give you the ability to recite it. And when We have recited it to you, then follow its recital. Then it is for Us to made it clear (to you).” (75:16-19) It is confirmed in the Sahih on the authority of Ibn Abbas, who said that the Messenger of Allah used to go through great pains to retain the revelation. In doing so he used to move his tongue rapidly with its recital. (Fath Al-Bari 1:39) Then, Allah revealed this Ayah. This means that whenever Jibril would say an Ayah, the Prophet would say it with him due to his eagerness to memorize it. Then, Allah guided him to that which was easier and lighter in this matter, to relieve him of this difficulty. Allah said, “Move not your tongue to make haste therewith. It is for Us to collect it and to give you the ability to recite it.” (75:16-17) Meaning, “We will gather it in your chest, then you will recite it to the people without forgetting anything of it.” “And when We have recited it to you, then follow its recital. Then it is for Us to made it clear (to you).” (75:18-19) And He said in this Ayah, “And be not in haste with the Qur’an before its revelation is completed to you” This is a command to the Prophet to listen quietly: ‘Then, when the angel (Jibril) completes reciting to you, you recite it after him.’ “and say: “My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” meaning, “Give me more knowledge from You.” Ibn Uyaynah said, “The Prophet did not cease increasing (in knowledge) until Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, took him (i.e. he died).”

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 6 Pages 381-399