Surah al-A‘raf (26-56) (2/2)

Surah al-A‘raf (26-56) (2/2)


وَ بَیۡنَہُمَا حِجَابٌ ۚ وَ عَلَی الۡاَعۡرَافِ رِجَالٌ یَّعۡرِفُوۡنَ کُلًّۢا بِسِیۡمٰہُمۡ ۚ وَ نَادَوۡا اَصۡحٰبَ الۡجَنَّۃِ اَنۡ سَلٰمٌ عَلَیۡکُمۡ ۟ لَمۡ یَدۡخُلُوۡہَاوَ ہُمۡ یَطۡمَعُوۡنَ ﴿۴۶﴾ وَ اِذَا صُرِفَتۡ اَبۡصَارُہُمۡ تِلۡقَآءَ اَصۡحٰبِ النَّارِ ۙ قَالُوۡا رَبَّنَا لَا تَجۡعَلۡنَا مَعَ الۡقَوۡمِ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۴۷﴾ وَ نَادٰۤی اَصۡحٰبُ الۡاَعۡرَافِ رِجَالًا یَّعۡرِفُوۡنَہُمۡ بِسِیۡمٰہُمۡ قَالُوۡا مَاۤ اَغۡنٰی عَنۡکُمۡ جَمۡعُکُمۡ وَ مَا کُنۡتُمۡ تَسۡتَکۡبِرُوۡنَ ﴿۴۸﴾ اَہٰۤؤُلَآءِ الَّذِیۡنَ اَقۡسَمۡتُمۡ لَا یَنَالُہُمُ اللّٰہُ بِرَحۡمَۃٍ ؕ اُدۡخُلُوا الۡجَنَّۃَ لَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَیۡکُمۡ وَ لَاۤ اَنۡتُمۡ تَحۡزَنُوۡنَ ﴿۴۹﴾

There will be a wall[43] between these two groups and on the turrets of the wall there will be some prominent and distinguished people[44] who will recognize each person through his sign.[45] And they will cry out to the dwellers of Paradise: "Peace be upon you," – they will have yet to enter Paradise but would be contenders [to enter it].[46] When their sight will be turned to the dwellers of Hell,[47] they will [instinctively] say: "Lord! Do not make us the companions of these unjust people.[48] [After this,] these people of the turrets will call out some prominent people[49] [of Hell] who they would recognize through their signs. They will say to them: "What benefit did you gain from your groups and from the arrogance that you showed; [take a look at Paradise.] Are not these about whom you would repeatedly swear that these people cannot be worthy of any mercy from God?[50] [Dwellers of Paradise] remain[51] in [this] Paradise [of yours]; there is neither any fear for you now nor will you ever grieve." (46-49)

وَ نَادٰۤی اَصۡحٰبُ النَّارِ اَصۡحٰبَ الۡجَنَّۃِ اَنۡ اَفِیۡضُوۡا عَلَیۡنَا مِنَ الۡمَآءِ اَوۡ مِمَّا رَزَقَکُمُ اللّٰہُ ؕ قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّ اللّٰہَ حَرَّمَہُمَا عَلَی الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۵۰﴾ الَّذِیۡنَ اتَّخَذُوۡا دِیۡنَہُمۡ لَہۡوًا وَّ لَعِبًا وَّ غَرَّتۡہُمُ الۡحَیٰوۃُ الدُّنۡیَا ۚ فَالۡیَوۡمَ نَنۡسٰہُمۡ کَمَا نَسُوۡا لِقَآءَ یَوۡمِہِمۡ ہٰذَا ۙ وَ مَا کَانُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِنَا یَجۡحَدُوۡنَ ﴿۵۱﴾ وَ لَقَدۡ جِئۡنٰہُمۡ بِکِتٰبٍ فَصَّلۡنٰہُ عَلٰی عِلۡمٍ ہُدًی وَّ رَحۡمَۃً لِّقَوۡمٍ یُّؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ﴿۵۲﴾ ہَلۡ یَنۡظُرُوۡنَ اِلَّا تَاۡوِیۡلَہٗ ؕ یَوۡمَ یَاۡتِیۡ تَاۡوِیۡلُہٗ یَقُوۡلُ الَّذِیۡنَ نَسُوۡہُ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ قَدۡ جَآءَتۡ رُسُلُ رَبِّنَا بِالۡحَقِّ ۚ فَہَلۡ لَّنَا مِنۡ شُفَعَآءَ فَیَشۡفَعُوۡا لَنَاۤ اَوۡ نُرَدُّ فَنَعۡمَلَ غَیۡرَ الَّذِیۡ کُنَّا نَعۡمَلُ ؕ قَدۡ خَسِرُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَہُمۡ وَ ضَلَّ عَنۡہُمۡ مَّا کَانُوۡا یَفۡتَرُوۡنَ ﴿۵۳﴾

[Seeing the] dwellers of Paradise, these dwellers of Hell will say: "Shower on us some [of your] water or grant us some sustenance which God has blessed you with." They will reply: "God has forbidden both these things to the disbelievers."[52] – [God added:][53] for those who have made their religion an entertainment and amusement and who were deceived by the life of the [previous] world.[54] So, today We will forget them[55] the way they forgot this day of meeting and the way they denied Our revelations[56] – [Now O Prophet!][57] We have brought forth [to your people] a Book which We have explained on the basis of certain knowledge,[58] as a means of guidance and mercy for those who believe.[59] Do they wait to see the reality [of what they are being informed]? The day its reality comes forth these people who had ignored it before will say: "Indeed, the messengers sent by our Lord brought the absolute truth. Then are there any intercessors who may intercede for us or [is there a possibility that] we may be returned so that we do the opposite to what we used to do?" [Alas,] these people inflicted themselves with loss and the falsehood they used to invent[60] has all vanished. (50-53)

اِنَّ رَبَّکُمُ اللّٰہُ الَّذِیۡ خَلَقَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضَ فِیۡ سِتَّۃِ اَیَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسۡتَوٰیعَلَی الۡعَرۡشِ ۟ یُغۡشِی الَّیۡلَ النَّہَارَ یَطۡلُبُہٗ حَثِیۡثًا ۙ وَّ الشَّمۡسَ وَ الۡقَمَرَ وَ النُّجُوۡمَ مُسَخَّرٰتٍۭ بِاَمۡرِہٖ ؕ اَلَا لَہُ الۡخَلۡقُ وَ الۡاَمۡرُ ؕ تَبٰرَکَاللّٰہُ رَبُّ الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ ﴿۵۴﴾ اُدۡعُوۡا رَبَّکُمۡ تَضَرُّعًا وَّ خُفۡیَۃً ؕ اِنَّہٗ لَا یُحِبُّ الۡمُعۡتَدِیۡنَ ﴿ۚ۵۵﴾وَ لَا تُفۡسِدُوۡافِی الۡاَرۡضِ بَعۡدَ اِصۡلَاحِہَا وَ ادۡعُوۡہُ خَوۡفًا وَّ طَمَعًا ؕ اِنَّ رَحۡمَتَ اللّٰہِ قَرِیۡبٌ مِّنَ الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ ﴿۵۶﴾

[People!] This is a reality that your Lord is the God Who created the heavens and the earth in six days[61] and then sat on His throne.[62] He covers the day with the night which comes running after it. And He has created the sun, the moon and the stars which continue to follow His orders.[63] Listen! He alone creates and He alone governs.[64] Very blessed is God, Lord of the worlds.[65] Invoke your Lord while beseeching Him and calling Him in private.[66] Indeed, He does not like those who cross limits.[67] And do not spread disorder[68] in the land after it has been set right and call Him alone both in the states of fear and of hope.[69] [This is the upright path.] Indeed, the mercy of God is close to those who act in a befitting manner.[70] (54-56)

(Translated by Dr Shehzad Saleem)

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[43].The actual word is: حِجَابٌ. It refers to the wall that will be erected between Paradise and Hell. Verse 13 of Surah al-Hadid mentions it.

[44]. The actual words are: وَ عَلَی الۡاَعۡرَافِ رِجَالٌ. the word اَعْرَاف means "height." It is evident from the context and placement that here it refers to the turrets and observation posts that will be built on the wall between Paradise and Hell to take a look around. When the word occurs the way it occurs here, it refers to prominent and distinguished personalities. Here it refers to people of various nations who in this wolrd became vehement advocates of the truth and inviters to good.

[45].Ie., from the sign which will become evident from their faces because of their deeds. It is mentioned in various Ahadith (eg. Muslim, 503) that Muhammad (sws) will recognize the people of his ummah through the signs of wuḍu – with which their foreheads and faces will glisten. There are some indications to this in the Qur'an as well.

[46].These words are used with reference to their mental situation: in spite of witnessing this honour and respect for them, out of humility and modesty they think that until the final verdict from the Almighty is delivered, they can only be hopeful of His mercy.

[47].It is evident from the words of the verse that seeing them so engrossed in viewing Paradise, they will be asked to take a look at Hell as well. It needs to be kept in mind that they will be made to observe Paradise and Hell so that they can see the consequence of both good and evil with their eyes and give glad tidings to the truthful and scold those who were enemies of the truth.

[48].These are words that seek refuge with the Almighty and will be uttered by them as soon as they see the dwellers of Paradise. Evident from these words is both the horror of the scenes of Hell and the intense fear with which they will observe these scenes.

[49].Here too the actual word is: رِجَال. It has been stated earlier that when it occurs the way it occurs in these verses, it refers to the prominent people of a group. It is pointed out in the succeeding verses that their signs will distinguish them from others. Hence they will be recognized that this is the Pharaoh, this is Abu Jahal, this is Abu Lahab and this is such and such a person.

[50].It has been mentioned at several instances in the Qur'an that those who rejected their messengers generally viewed their followers' poverty and weakness in this manner. They would contend that those who had been given nothing in this world by God would be deprived by Him from His mercy in the Hereafter as well.

[51].The actual word is: اُدۡخُلُوا. It does not occur here in its initial meaning; it refers to remaining in some place. In verse 99 of Surah Yusuf also it is used thus. The implication is that God has given them Paradise. They should enjoy its blissful life and abounding favours.

[52].The implication is that God has decided with certainty to deprive them from these: so neither can favours reach them nor can they have access to them.

[53].From here onwards there is another insertion by the Almighty. He has explained who exactly are the disbelievers. He has added this explanation to the answer of the dwellers of Paradise in order to warn the Quraysh.

[54]. This is the reason because of which they had adopted an indifferent attitude: the respite they had been given in this world to live freely and luxuriously deceived them and they contended that this world has only been made for enjoyment.

[55].God does not forget anything. Thus the consequence – to ignore them – is intended.

[56].The actual words are: its coordination with the previous sentence has incorporated the meaning of كَمَا کَانُوۡا in this sentence. The translation keeps this aspect in consideration.

[57]. From here onwards, the discourse is addressed to the Quraysh. This is a surah of indhar (warning) and the discourse returns repeatedly to them.

[58].I.e. on the basis of knowledge which is all-embracing and is absolutely certain. The Arabic word used in the verse for this is عِلۡمٍ. It occurs as an undefined noun to magnify it. The implication is that in the form of the Qur'an a book has come to them in which God, in the light of certain knowledge, has expounded all issues the acceptance of which and practically following which is necessary for success in the Hereafter.

[59].The actual words are: لِّقَوۡمٍ یُّؤۡمِنُوۡنَ. Here the verb connotes intention i.e. those who want to believe, for them it is guidance in this world and, as a result of this, mercy for them in the Hereafter.

[60].I.e., by imputing falsehood to God they associate partners with Him and fabricate religious innovations.

[61].These are the days of God about which the Qur'an has specified that they are equal to a thousand human years and also to fifty thousand human years in some cases. The implication is that the being who they believe to be the Creator is also the the Lord of the universe. After creating them, He has not consigned the affairs of this universe to their alleged associates and intercessors whom they regard to be the Lord and on this basis worship them. The Almighty Himself is looking after the affairs of this universe. He could have created this universe in the blink of an eye by His word kun. However, His wisdom entailed that He create this universe gradually and in six stages so that besides His perfect power the majesties of His providence and mercy became evident to them, and they were also able to recognize their Creator as their Lord also with all His eternal mercies. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... It was not beyond the power of God that He send down bread directly from the heavens.Then why do winds blow, clouds gather, rains descend, foliage sprout, crops grow and seeds be implanted and become lush green .... .... .... All this is because in this way each and every particle and object of this universe has become a treasure of the signs of God's creativity and lordship and of His marvels of power and wisdom. Wherever a person looks, he becomes cognizant of God's person if his mind and eyes are alert. A single object changes form and shape in so many ways in order to attract our attention and we are able to see in them the signs of God and learn a lesson from them. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 277)

[62].The actual words are ثُمَّ اسۡتَوٰی عَلَی الۡعَرۡشِ. This is an expression of God's authority and the preposition عَلَی with اسۡتَوٰی incorporates in it the meaning of ascending the throne. Evident from this is what was hidden in the previous sentence. God is not the cause of all causes so that He initiated movement as a prime mover and then sat aloof in a corner. Certainly not! He is sitting on the throne of governance of this world and directly looking after its affairs.

[63].This is an explanation of the governance rather concisely mentioned in the words اسۡتَوٰی عَلَی الۡعَرۡشِ. In other words, everything is carrying out the duty imposed on it in a very entusiastic manner. Neither is it negligent in this regard nor does it exceed the limits in the slightest way. The sun, the moon and the stars all are obedient to God and do not deviate from it in the minutest manner.

[64]. Ie., neither is anyone His partner in creating nor in governing the affairs of His creatures. He alone is the creator and He alone is the master. Every nook and corner of this universe is under His jurisdiction and control. No angel, jinn. Prophet or saint has any share in this matter. All of them are subject to His directives and are forced to obey Him.

[65].Thus there is no need to find out means and intermediaries to reach Him. Besides His exaltedness and power, He also has unfathomable mercy and blessings. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... This is meant to dispel the misconception that has often misled idolaterous nations because they increased the extent of God's loftiness and power so much that His mercy and blessings were sidelined as a result. The result of this misconception was that it was thought that it was impossible for human beings to access God and get in touch with Him. Therefore means were searched for that could become the source of presenting one's needs before God ... this erroneous concept about the attributes of God is a major factor in the creed of polytheism. The idolaters began worshipping many hypothetical deities, in particular the angels, thinking that they were favoured daugters of God. If they were pleased with them, then they would also be instrumental in making their father pleased with them and all the world would become merciful to them. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 279)

[66]. The implication is that when He is the creator and the governor, then there is no option of being arrogant before Him. After this, every upright person should regard it his obligation to plead to Him with utmost humility.His actions and ways should also reflect this and his words and utterances too. Moreover, this humility should also have dignity and sincerity. Thus, it is said that people should invoke God in private instead of showing it to others. He knows the state of their hearts and is also aware of their whispers. There is no need to shout before Him nor to be ostentatious in this regard. He hears and knows all.

[67].Ie., He does not like those who are arrogant and who regard themselves to be superior by crossing limits. It is only humility and pleading which is worthy before Him.

[68].The Qur'an uses this expression for rebelliousness against the collective state and also for showing rebelliousness against God and His messengers. Here it is used in the second of these meanings. When man began his life on this earth, it was without this disorder. Later also, it was repeatedly cleansed of this disorder when messengers conclusively communicated the truth to the people. Thus it is stated that people should not create disorder in it after it was set right.

[69].Ie., people should invoke Him for things they are desirous of and also seek His refuge about things they want to remain protected from. Earlier the manner in which God should be invoked is mentioned. Here its motive is cited: in every state of hope and fear, they should regard only Him to be their guardian, the being to whom they will return. In the same way, they should regard only Him to be the creator of the vast universe around them and also the governor of their affairs.

[70].It is evident from this that to be befitting and thorough, a person should devote himself to God in both fear and in hope and beseech and pray to Him only in every difficulty.

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