Surah al-A‘raf (26-56) (1/2)

Surah al-A‘raf (26-56) (1/2)


Qur'anic Exegesis

یٰبَنِیۡۤ اٰدَمَ قَدۡ اَنۡزَلۡنَا عَلَیۡکُمۡ لِبَاسًا یُّوَارِیۡ سَوۡاٰتِکُمۡ وَ رِیۡشًا ؕ وَ لِبَاسُ التَّقۡوٰی ۙ ذٰلِکَ خَیۡرٌ ؕ ذٰلِکَ مِنۡ اٰیٰتِ اللّٰہِ لَعَلَّہُمۡ یَذَّکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۲۶﴾ یٰبَنِیۡۤ اٰدَمَ لَا یَفۡتِنَنَّکُمُ الشَّیۡطٰنُ کَمَاۤ اَخۡرَجَ اَبَوَیۡکُمۡ مِّنَ الۡجَنَّۃِ یَنۡزِعُ عَنۡہُمَا لِبَاسَہُمَا لِیُرِیَہُمَا سَوۡاٰتِہِمَا ؕ اِنَّہٗ یَرٰىکُمۡ ہُوَ وَ قَبِیۡلُہٗ مِنۡ حَیۡثُ لَا تَرَوۡنَہُمۡ ؕ اِنَّا جَعَلۡنَا الشَّیٰطِیۡنَ اَوۡلِیَآءَ لِلَّذِیۡنَ لَا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ﴿۲۷﴾

Children of Adam![1] We have sent down attire[2] for you that hides your private parts and is also an embellishment[3] [for you]. And the attire of piety, that is better than this.[4] It is a sign from among the signs of God so that people may be reminded.[5] Children of Adam! This should not happen that Satan lures you the way he ousted your father and mother from that orchard [in which God made them dwell] by revealing their private parts to them by making them take off this attire.[6] [Bear in mind] he and his accomplices see you from where you cannot see them.[7] We have made these devils the companion of those who do not believe.[8] (26-27).

وَاِذَا فَعَلُوۡا فَاحِشَۃً قَالُوۡاوَجَدۡنَا عَلَیۡہَاۤ اٰبَآءَنَاوَ اللّٰہُ اَمَرَنَا بِہَا ؕ قُلۡ اِنَّاللّٰہَ لَا یَاۡمُرُ بِالۡفَحۡشَآءِؕ اَتَقُوۡلُوۡنَ عَلَی اللّٰہِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۲۸﴾ قُلۡ اَمَرَ رَبِّیۡ بِالۡقِسۡطِ ۟ وَ اَقِیۡمُوۡا وُجُوۡہَکُمۡ عِنۡدَ کُلِّ مَسۡجِدٍ وَّ ادۡعُوۡہُ مُخۡلِصِیۡنَ لَہُ الدِّیۡنَ ۬ؕ کَمَا بَدَاَکُمۡ تَعُوۡدُوۡنَ ﴿ؕ۲۹﴾ فَرِیۡقًا ہَدٰی وَ فَرِیۡقًا حَقَّ عَلَیۡہِمُ الضَّلٰلَۃُ ؕ اِنَّہُمُ اتَّخَذُوا الشَّیٰطِیۡنَ اَوۡلِیَآءَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ وَ یَحۡسَبُوۡنَ اَنَّہُمۡ مُّہۡتَدُوۡنَ ﴿۳۰﴾ یٰبَنِیۡۤ اٰدَمَ خُذُوۡا زِیۡنَتَکُمۡ عِنۡدَ کُلِّ مَسۡجِدٍ وَّ کُلُوۡا وَ اشۡرَبُوۡا وَ لَا تُسۡرِفُوۡا ۚ اِنَّہٗ لَا یُحِبُّ الۡمُسۡرِفِیۡنَ ﴿۳۱﴾ قُلۡ مَنۡ حَرَّمَ زِیۡنَۃَ اللّٰہِ الَّتِیۡۤ اَخۡرَجَ لِعِبَادِہٖ وَ الطَّیِّبٰتِ مِنَ الرِّزۡقِ ؕ قُلۡ ہِیَ لِلَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا فِی الۡحَیٰوۃِ الدُّنۡیَا خَالِصَۃً یَّوۡمَ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ ؕ کَذٰلِکَ نُفَصِّلُ الۡاٰیٰتِ لِقَوۡمٍ یَّعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۳۲﴾ قُلۡ اِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّیَ الۡفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَہَرَ مِنۡہَا وَ مَا بَطَنَ وَ الۡاِثۡمَ وَ الۡبَغۡیَ بِغَیۡرِ الۡحَقِّ وَ اَنۡ تُشۡرِکُوۡا بِاللّٰہِ مَا لَمۡ یُنَزِّلۡ بِہٖ سُلۡطٰنًا وَّ اَنۡ تَقُوۡلُوۡا عَلَی اللّٰہِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۳۳﴾ وَ لِکُلِّ اُمَّۃٍ اَجَلٌ ۚفَاِذَا جَآءَ اَجَلُہُمۡ لَا یَسۡتَاۡخِرُوۡنَ سَاعَۃً وَّ لَا یَسۡتَقۡدِمُوۡنَ ﴿۳۴﴾

[Precisely, this is what has happened with your nation as well O Prophet! Consequently,] when they do something vulgar,[9] they say: "We found our forefathers on this way and to this God has directed us." Tell them: "God never directs [people to indulge] in vulgarity.[10] Do you say such things that you do not know by imputing falsehood on God." Tell them: "My Lord has directed me to fairness[11] [in every matter. He has said: 'Face him near every mosque[12] and call Him by showing obedience to Him only.'" You will return [to Him alone] the way He initiated you.[13] He guided one faction; [it believes in all these things] and another was led astray because leaving aside God they had made devils their companions and think that they are rightly guided.[14] Children of Adam! Come with your adornments at the time of your presence in each mosque.[15] And eat and drink but do not cross the limits.[16] God does not like those who cross limits.[17] Ask them [O God's Messenger]: "Who has forbidden you the adornments which the Almighty has created for His servants, and who has forbidden the wholesome among the edibles?"[18]Tell [them]: "They are for the believers in this world [but God has also given the disbelievers a share in them]; but on the Day of Judgement, they shall be theirs alone. [The disbelievers shall have no share in them.]"[19]Thus do We explain Our revelations for those who want to know. Tell [them]: "My Lord has only forbidden all lewd acts, whether overt or hidden[20]and usurping the rights of others and wrongful oppression[21]and that you worship with Him what He did not sanction[22]and that you fabricate something about God what you know not."[23][If in spite of your rebelliousness regarding all these prohibitions, the reason that God does not seize you is that] each nation has an appointed time. Then once the time ends, even for a moment it can neither be delayed nor brought forth earlier.[24] (28-34)

یٰبَنِیۡۤ اٰدَمَ اِمَّا یَاۡتِیَنَّکُمۡ رُسُلٌ مِّنۡکُمۡ یَقُصُّوۡنَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ اٰیٰتِیۡ ۙ فَمَنِ اتَّقٰی وَ اَصۡلَحَ فَلَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَیۡہِمۡ وَ لَا ہُمۡ یَحۡزَنُوۡنَ ﴿۳۵﴾ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ کَذَّبُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِنَا وَ اسۡتَکۡبَرُوۡا عَنۡہَاۤ اُولٰٓئِکَ اَصۡحٰبُ النَّارِ ۚ ہُمۡ فِیۡہَا خٰلِدُوۡنَ ﴿۳۶﴾ فَمَنۡ اَظۡلَمُ مِمَّنِ افۡتَرٰی عَلَی اللّٰہِ کَذِبًا اَوۡ کَذَّبَ بِاٰیٰتِہٖ ؕ اُولٰٓئِکَ یَنَالُہُمۡ نَصِیۡبُہُمۡ مِّنَ الۡکِتٰبِ ؕ حَتّٰۤی اِذَا جَآءَتۡہُمۡ رُسُلُنَا یَتَوَفَّوۡنَہُمۡ ۙ قَالُوۡۤا اَیۡنَ مَا کُنۡتُمۡ تَدۡعُوۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ ؕ قَالُوۡا ضَلُّوۡا عَنَّا وَ شَہِدُوۡا عَلٰۤی اَنۡفُسِہِمۡ اَنَّہُمۡ کَانُوۡا کٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿۳۷﴾ قَالَ ادۡخُلُوۡا فِیۡۤ اُمَمٍ قَدۡ خَلَتۡ مِنۡ قَبۡلِکُمۡ مِّنَ الۡجِنِّ وَ الۡاِنۡسِ فِی النَّارِ ؕ کُلَّمَا دَخَلَتۡ اُمَّۃٌ لَّعَنَتۡ اُخۡتَہَا ؕ حَتّٰۤی اِذَا ادَّارَکُوۡا فِیۡہَا جَمِیۡعًا ۙ قَالَتۡ اُخۡرٰىہُمۡ لِاُوۡلٰىہُمۡ رَبَّنَا ہٰۤؤُلَآءِ اَضَلُّوۡنَا فَاٰتِہِمۡ عَذَابًا ضِعۡفًا مِّنَ النَّارِ ۬ؕ قَالَ لِکُلٍّ ضِعۡفٌوَّ لٰکِنۡ لَّا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۳۸﴾ وَ قَالَتۡ اُوۡلٰىہُمۡ لِاُخۡرٰىہُمۡ فَمَا کَانَ لَکُمۡ عَلَیۡنَا مِنۡ فَضۡلٍ فَذُوۡقُوا الۡعَذَابَ بِمَا کُنۡتُمۡ تَکۡسِبُوۡنَ ﴿۳۹﴾

Children of Adam! [On the very first day, I had informed you that] if messengers come to you from among your own selves while reciting to you My revelations, then those who feared God and reformed themselves will have nothing to dread nor will they be grieved.[25] [On the other hand,] those who denied Our revelations and arrogantly turned away from them[26] are from among the dwellers of Hell. They will abide therein forever. So who can be more unjust than they who impute falsehood to God or deny His revelations. What has been [written for them] in fate as their share [in the life of this world] shall reach them. Till when Our angels come to them to claim their souls, they will ask: "Where are those whom you worshipped besides God?"[27] They will reply: "All of them have been lost upon us," and will bear witness against themselves that they were in fact disbelievers. God will say: "Enter Hell with all those groups of men and jinn who lived before you."[28] Whenever a group from them will enter, it will curse its fellow group. Until when all are gathered there, their later ones will say about the earlier ones:[29] "Lord! It is these people who led us astray; so inflict a two-fold punishment on them." God will reply: "For each of you is a two-fold [punishment], but you know not."[30] [At this,] the earlier ones will say to the later ones: "If [we are wrongdoers] then you too have not become superior to us;[31] so taste punishment in retribution of what you did." (35-39)

اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ کَذَّبُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِنَا وَ اسۡتَکۡبَرُوۡا عَنۡہَا لَا تُفَتَّحُ لَہُمۡ اَبۡوَابُ السَّمَآءِ وَ لَا یَدۡخُلُوۡنَ الۡجَنَّۃَ حَتّٰی یَلِجَالۡجَمَلُ فِیۡ سَمِّالۡخِیَاطِ ؕ وَ کَذٰلِکَنَجۡزِی الۡمُجۡرِمِیۡنَ﴿۴۰﴾ لَہُمۡ مِّنۡ جَہَنَّمَ مِہَادٌ وَّ مِنۡ فَوۡقِہِمۡ غَوَاشٍ ؕ وَ کَذٰلِکَ نَجۡزِی الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۴۱﴾ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ لَا نُکَلِّفُ نَفۡسًا اِلَّا وُسۡعَہَاۤ ۫ اُولٰٓئِکَ اَصۡحٰبُ الۡجَنَّۃِ ۚ ہُمۡ فِیۡہَا خٰلِدُوۡنَ ﴿۴۲﴾ وَ نَزَعۡنَا مَا فِیۡ صُدُوۡرِہِمۡ مِّنۡ غِلٍّ تَجۡرِیۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِہِمُ الۡاَنۡہٰرُ ۚ وَ قَالُوا الۡحَمۡدُ لِلّٰہِ الَّذِیۡ ہَدٰىنَا لِہٰذَا ۟ وَ مَا کُنَّا لِنَہۡتَدِیَ لَوۡ لَاۤ اَنۡ ہَدٰىنَا اللّٰہُ ۚ لَقَدۡ جَآءَتۡ رُسُلُ رَبِّنَا بِالۡحَقِّ ؕ وَ نُوۡدُوۡۤا اَنۡ تِلۡکُمُ الۡجَنَّۃُ اُوۡرِثۡتُمُوۡہَا بِمَا کُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۴۳﴾

This is certain that those who denied Our revelations and arrogantly turned away from them,[32] for them the doors of the heavens will not be opened[33] and they will not enter Paradise unless a camel passes through the eye of a needle.[34] This is how we punish the wrongdoers. For them is the bedding of Hell and also their covering from above. This is how we punish the unjust. [On the other hand,] those who professed faith and who did righteous deeds – and [in this matter] we do not burden a soul beyond it capacity[35] – they are the companions of Paradise. They will abide in it forever. Every grievance of their hearts will be taken out by Us.[36] Rivers will flow beneath them and they will say: "Gratitude be to God who guided us to this path and had God not given us this guidance we would never have been able to reach this path."[37] Indeed, the messengers sent by Us brought the absolute truth. [At that time,] they will be called: "This is the Paradise that you have been made heirs of becauseof your deeds."[38] (40-43)

وَ نَادٰۤی اَصۡحٰبُ الۡجَنَّۃِ اَصۡحٰبَ النَّارِ اَنۡ قَدۡ وَجَدۡنَا مَا وَعَدَنَا رَبُّنَا حَقًّا فَہَلۡ وَجَدۡتُّمۡ مَّا وَعَدَ رَبُّکُمۡ حَقًّا ؕ قَالُوۡا نَعَمۡ ۚ فَاَذَّنَ مُؤَذِّنٌۢ بَیۡنَہُمۡ اَنۡ لَّعۡنَۃُ اللّٰہِ عَلَی الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۴۴﴾ الَّذِیۡنَ یَصُدُّوۡنَ عَنۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ وَ یَبۡغُوۡنَہَا عِوَجًا ۚ وَ ہُمۡ بِالۡاٰخِرَۃِ کٰفِرُوۡنَ ﴿ۘ۴۵﴾

[At this instance,] the dwellers of Paradise will call out and ask the dwellers of Hell: "We found that the promise God made with us was absolutely true; so, did you also find the promise your Lord made [with you] to be true?"[39] They will reply: "Yes." Then a caller will call out between them: "The curse of God be on these unjust people." – [God added:] on those who [today] stop [people] from the way of God,[40] want to deviate from it[41] and disbelieve in the Hereafter.[42] (44-45)

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[1].Though these words are addressed to the Quraysh yet deliberation shows that these words of address have great eloquence. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… the incidents and events that occur in the life of a father are the strongest means of learning a lesson for the children. This story is the story of the whole family. In the form of an indelible tradition, sincere children preserve the practice of friendship with the friends of the father and enmity with his foes. They keep this etched in their minds and transmit it to later generations and in fact urge them to carry on with this process. So dearly held is the tradition amongst the Arabs that they do not even distinguish the good and evil in it. The enemy of the forefathers will be considered an enemy if this enmity had some convincing basis. So it is a matter of great sorrow if human beings forget the enmity of Satan and his progeny with their progenitor – an enmity which was entirely based on malice and jealousy, which was not concealed but was fully exposed and which was not specifically meant for Adam (sws) and Eve but for all their progeny till the Day of Judgement. Moreover, the matter does not end on forgetting this fact; such is the extent of the insolence, defiance and wretchedness of the children that many among them have actually befriended this enemy and his associates. They regard them to be their confidants and well-wishers. At the bidding of Satan, they are leading themselves to ruin in precisely the same way as he had intended for Adam (sws). And Adam (sws) would have fallen into the pit of this ruin had not God's mercy saved him. Such is the unmatched eloquence of the Qur'an that just two words یٰبَنِیۡۤ اٰدَمَhave concealed all these implications in them. When every honourable and sincere son of Adam (sws) reads these words of address and the reminders they sound, his blood boils against Satan. It is only the dishonourable and the insolent who do not budge even after this address. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 245)

[2]. Every thing of the earth has been created at God's behest and as such has in fact been sent down by Him. Thus precisely the same words are used for iron in verse 25 of Surah al-Hadid.

[3].The first of these is a need and the second is completion of favour. Generally, both these aspects are found in everything God has created. Thus attire hides a person's private parts, protects him from heat and cold and is also a means of adornment. It also polishes our personality, beauty and gracefulness.

[4].The implication is that just as God has created things from which a person's external attire is made, in the same way He has inspired those facts in his soul with which his inner attire is made. This is the attire of piety which a human being is adorned with and then sent in this world. For this purpose, God has ingrained in him his fear, sense of worship and the feeling of modesty and chastity. This inner attire is composed from these elements and is far above the outer one. In fact, it is when the outer attire is made from motives that spring from the inner attire that it makes human beings truly human and humane. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... It is the person whom God out of His grace adorns with this garment who looks truly graceful and majestic. Such a person is an angel in human form. Whoever sees him, instantly cries out: مَا ہٰذَا بَشَرًا ؕ اِنۡ ہٰذَاۤ اِلَّا مَلَکٌ کَرِیۡمٌ (31:12) (this is not a human being; this is but a noble angel.) (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 245)

[5].Ie., they be reminded that a person's outer attire too should be in accordance with the inner one. The signs of God are found in the world outside a person and that within him as well. It is his responsibility to seek guidance from them. The revelations of the Qur'an at many places direct his attention to these signs.

[6].This is a reference to the attire of piety mentioned earlier. Satan wanted to expose the aspect of their private parts that was concealed from them. He achieved this very purpose of his by having it taken off from them. Thus this verse warns people to be on guard. Even today Satan uses this weapon against them. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... First, through latent suggestion, he deprives people of the attire of piety and fear. It was this attire which the Almighty had revealed with the outer attire; its purpose was to grant him a high status, as is mentioned earlier. When the internal attire is stripped off, a person's modesty – the real motive for his outer attire – no longer remains with him. It is then that the external attire becomes a burden for him. Lewdness induces a person to bare his private parts – the concealment of which is found in his nature. Then fashion sustains and supports this urge and he produces such innovations in his attire that the children of Adam in spite of wearing it seem to be without it. Its basic reason of covering the private parts is lost. After that, the only element left in clothing is embellishment. The purpose of that too is to expose the body as much as possible in an enticing way. Then gradually human intellect is overwhelmed and nudity is then dubbed as culture and covering the body is considered to be an old-fashioned act which exudes abhorrence. Then educated ruffians come to the scene and present the philosophy in the light of history that nudity is real human nature. Clothing has become in vogue because of restrictions of customs and etiquette. It is at this stage that shamelessness overcomes people and the whole society is poisoned with lust and licentiousness.(Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 246)

[7].The implication is that they launch offensives on people from places they cannot even imagine. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... This is a reference to the cunning, wily and conniving nature of Satan and his accomplices: such is the multiplicity and variety of their garbs and the places of their onslaughts that people can neither recognize them in all these apparels nor can remain on guard regarding all these attacks. The army of Satan boasts both of jinn and mankind. They will sit in ambush at places where people will not be able to spot them. They will regard them to be friends, well-wishers, teachers, leaders and the like, while they are after cutting the roots of their faith. People will think that they are paving the way for development and advancement whereas they will be after mercilessly decimating them. They will know all the inner weaknesses of human beings and will try to inveigle them through evil suggestions. They will also try to spin a web of charm around them to make them get caught in it. In short, mankind should not take Satan's enmity lightly and always remain on guard. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 247)

[8].Ie., these temptations of Satan inveigleonly those who do not have faith in God and in His guidance. In verse 36 of Surah al-Zukhruf, precisely this topic is stated in the words: "Those who are indifferent to the Most Gracious, We depute a devil on them and then he becomes their companion." It is evident, as a result, that Satan is not successful in luring those who strongly adhere to faith and guidance. Their Lord protects them from his onslaughts and those of his companions. Thus, in verse 99 of Surah al-Nahl, the words used are: اِنَّہٗ لَیْسَ لَہٗ سُلْطٰنٌ عَلَی الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا وَعَلٰی رَبِّھِمْ یَتَوَکَّلُوْنَ.

[9]. The actual word is: فَاحِشَۃ. It is evident from the succeeding verses that it refers to those vulgar acts that are done in the name of religion. Such practices have remained very common in the places of worship of the Idolaters and the abodes and worship habitats of the followers of Sophistic religions. They come into being through the evil-doing of religious leaders and the custodians of graves. It is evident from historical narratives that one such religious innovation was also in currency in the Arab jahiliyyah: circumambulating the House of God in a naked state. People regarded this to be a religious practice and a directive of God. The Quraysh were the custodian chiefs of the House of God and they had issued an edict according to which all Arabs who did not belong to their tribe could not circumabulate it wearing their own clothes. They could only do it either by borrowing clothes from the people of Quraysh or being naked. In other words, the Quraysh thought that the clothes of others are a type of filth that such an extraordinary ritual of worship could not be carried out while wearing them.

[10].How can the pure God tolerate something which an upright person cannot, let alone direct people to follow it. All His directives are based on His attributes and on the requisites of human nature. He cannot direct people to do something vulgar.

[11].The actual word is: قِسْط. Ie., what is fair and just. Now what is fair and just can only be that which is in accordance with the attributes of God and the requisites of human nature, which is balanced and which fulfils the objectives for which people have been created. The whole sharia 'ah of God is based on fairness and justice. He Himself is someone who adheres to these principles and has also declared that the purpose of revealing His books is to make people adhere to justice in matters of religion. Thus all succeeding directives are based on this all important pillar.

[12]. The actual words are: وَ اَقِیۡمُوۡا وُجُوۡہَکُمۡ عِنۡدَ کُلِّ مَسۡجِدٍ. After them words to the effect: إلي اللّٰہِ وحده are suppressed. In the next sentence, the words مُخۡلِصِیۡنَ لَہُ الدِّیۡنَ occur in parallel to them. This is the foremost requisite of the justice and fairness mentioned above: every mosque should specifically be meant for God's worship and a believer too must turn his face towards God, the one and only, in every mosque. In the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, when God is the Creator and Master, then it is against justice and fairness to worship and prostrate before someone else.

[13]. This statement is a further attestation to monotheism: ie., just as a person comes in this world alone, he will return to God alone. None of those whom they regard to be their intercessors will be with them. The words used in the verse are: کَمَا بَدَاَکُمۡ تَعُوۡدُوۡنَ. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... It is a miracle of the Qur'an's eloquence that in two words it has not only explained the relationship between monotheism and the hereafter, it has also cited a very clear evidence of the hereafter. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 250)

[14].It is evident from this how the topic above had emerged from the words اِنَّا جَعَلۡنَا الشَّیٰطِیۡنَ اَوۡلِیَآءَ of verse 27 and also the fact that God makes only those Satan's companions who want to become his companions leaving God aside.

[15].Ie., whether it is the Baytullah or any other mosque, people should come with their clothes on. Simplicity and ascetic tendencies in dressing are among the eitquette of wearing ihram and has been adopted in hajj and 'umrah till the extent needed. Other than these two instances, the directive is to come to the mosque wearing clothes one normally wears. There is no mosque in the world that requires people to come to it naked.

[16].The implication is that whether eating or dressing, none of them is prohibited. The only thing prohibited in the shari'ah of God is over-spending and people must abstain from it in all circumstances. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... God adheres to justice and hence He likes people who adhere to justice and are balanced. He does not like those who exceed the limits in justice and moderation. An unbalanced attitude can be excessive as well as deficient and both these extremes are not liked by God. Neither does He like that a person make eating and drinking his objective in life and spend all his time in these activities nor does He like that people forsake and give up these activities like ascetics. Both are ways of Satan. God likes that people lead a moderate and balanced life in every sphere. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 251)

[17].These are not ordinary words. This is because people He does not like are the ones He necessarily hates.

[18]. The Arabic word zinat (translated as adornments) refers to an object which a person uses to embellish something to satisfy his aesthetic taste. Thus, dress and jewellery are the zinat of the body; curtains, sofas, carpets, rugs, sculptures, portraits and paintings are the zinat of the house; orchards, gardens and buildings and other similar things are the zinat of the city; music is the zinat of the voice and poetry is the zinat of words. The sufistic interpretation of religion and sufistic religions consider these things to be an optical illusion, and generally regard them to be prohibited, undesirable, worthy of being forsaken and impediments to spiritual advancement. However, the Qur'an does not subscribe to this view. It refutes all these religions, and vehemently says that all these things are lawful; in fact, in this verse, it chidingly inquires of the person who dares regard as unlawful what God has created for man? These last words are in fact a statement of argument that none of God's acts are meaningless. If He has created these things, then the purpose is that people use them while giving due regard to His limits. Their mere existence shows that there is no undue restriction on their use.

[19].The parallel words in these sentences are suppressed in accordance with linguistic principles. I have expressed them in the translation. It is further evident from these words that benefiting from God's favours is neither against faith, nor religiosity nor piety. God has in fact created all these things for the believers. The rejecters of God receive these through them as a by-product and because of the period of trial which they have to endure in this world. Thus, in the Hereafter, they shall solely be reserved for the believers; the rejecters will have no share in them; they shall be deprived of them forever:

This is an amazing declaration of the Qur'an. Contrary to general religious concepts and teachings of sufistic religions, it presents a completely different aspect of religious life. Instead of urging people to forego the pleasures of this world in order to attain the nearness of God and union with Him, it urges the believers to abstain from being spendthrifts but to benefit without any hesitation from all the objects of zinat within the limits prescribed by God and to show gratitude for His favours.

[20]. Ie., vulgar acts whether committed openly or in secret are forbidden under all circumstances. It is used in the plural so that it includes fornication, homosexuality, bestiality and all other sins of similar nature. The word فَوَاحِشَcomprehensively includes exposing the private parts before others, spreading details of sexual nature or fornication.

[21]. Qualifying the word "oppression" with "wrongful" is meant to portray its heinous nature. It does not mean that there are some types of oppression which are not wrongful. Every type of oppression is wrongful per se. Thus this word is also used to qualify the crime of killing prophets of God.

[22].This is stated because no argument – whether intellectual, scriptural or natural – in favour of polytheism has ever been presented nor will it ever be presented.

[23].The actual words are: وَ اَنۡ تَقُوۡلُوۡا عَلَی اللّٰہِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ. It is evident from the preposition after that the verb encompasses a meaning. The actual construction is to the effect: مُفْتَرِيْنَ عَلَی اللّٰہِ. In other words, if edicts regarding the lawful and unlawful are given on personal preferences, if in accordance with personal desires religious innovations are invented or if shari'ah directives are fabricated and then ascribed to God – then all these practices come under this expression.

The question that arises after reading the directive regarding zinat above is: what then is forbidden in the shari'ah? The verse under discussion has answered this question: besides some edibles, only five things are unlawful: lewd acts, usurping the rights of others, wrongful oppression, polytheism and religious innovations.

Only these five things are unlawful and prohibited in the shari'ah of God. Nothing else is unlawful in it. This is a divine declaration on what is unlawful; thus, no one has the right to declare anything as unlawful besides these. Consequently, now something can only be regarded as unlawful if it contains traces of any of the unlawful things mentioned above. Narratives of the Prophet (sws) and of the Companions (rta), historical reports and the statements of previous scriptures will be understood in the light of this verdict of the Qur'an. Anything which deviates from it or is against it shall not be accepted.

[24].It is evident from this that just as people have an appointed time after which they die, nations too have an appointed time after which they fizzle away. This time is fixed in accordance with their backwardness in knowhow and morality. If in this situation, the truth is conclusively communicated to them by messengers and they still do not mend their ways, then God sends down His scourge on them. If this conclusive communication does not take place, then after reaching the lowest point in knowhow and morality they die just as people die. On this very basis, it is stated in verse 58 of Surah Bani Isra'il that there is no such nation which God does not destroy before the Day of Judgement or does not send down stern punishment on them. This has been ordained by God. History tells us that first the progenies of the Hamites and then the Semites faced this law and now the progeny of Japeth are facing it. These are last peoples on which history will end. The Qur'an says that after this the Day of Judgement will come. Here the Quraysh are addressed. This decision was passed for them when after Muhammad (sws) conclusively communicated the truth to them, Muslims were asked in Surah Tawbah to rout them.

[25].This is a reminder of the promise mentioned in verse 38 of Surah al-Baqarah. Since the Quraysh are the addressees here, so the purport of the verse is that since a messenger has been sent to them, they should follow him if they want to be secured from the trials of Satan.

[26].The actual word is: إِسْتِكْبَار. The preposition occurs with it which shows that an appropriate verb is suppressed here. My translation gives consideration to this aspect.

[27].This is an explanation of the افۡتَرٰی عَلَی اللّٰہِ mentioned earlier.

[28].Ie., these followers of Satan will be their companions and with them their abode too will be Hell. In the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, the companions will also be the worst and the residing place will also be the worst.

[29]. The actual words are: حَتّٰۤی اِذَا ادَّارَکُوۡا فِیۡہَا جَمِیۡعًا ۙ قَالَتۡ اُخۡرٰىہُمۡ لِاُوۡلٰىہُمۡ. In accordance with linguistic principles, the word ادَّارَکُوۡا is actually a changed form of تدَارَكُوْا. In the expression قَالَتۡ اُخۡرٰىہُمۡ لِاُوۡلٰىہُمۡ the particle لactually connotes the meaning of في. The purport of the verse is that when they when they see each other for the first time, they will curse one another and when they are gathered together the later generations will beseech God for the earlier ones. The next part of the verse states this.

[30]. Ie., the first punishment was because they preferred to go astray themselves and the second punishment is because they led others astray and left a legacy of wrongdoing for them. The reason for this is that both vice and virtue are transferrable by nature. Their effects are transferred from earlier generations to later ones. Thus just as every act of killing is written in the account of the killer, it is also automatically written in the account of Cain, the son of Adam (sws) who committed the first murder. Then this murderer becomes a Cain for those who come later and this process continues in this way from earlier to later generations. It is for this reason that it is said that there is a two-fold punishment for each. Besides his own share of sins, a person will also undergo the punishment for sins of others in which he set an evil example for them. If the earlier generations cannot save themselves from the bad legacy that they leave behind, the later generations too cannot be secure in this regard because of the seeds of evil deeds they planted for others. In this way, each group has predecessors and successors in this regard.

[31]. This is because they too had committed the same crime. They would have been worthy of preference had they set a good example. But if they are no different, what preference or concession can they demand?

[32].The preposition used with إِسْتِكْبَار is عن. The implication of this usage has already been delineated above.




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