Surah al-A‘raf (57-79)

Surah al-A‘raf (57-79)


Qur'anic Exegesis

وَ ہُوَ الَّذِیۡ یُرۡسِلُ الرِّیٰحَ بُشۡرًۢا بَیۡنَ یَدَیۡ رَحۡمَتِہٖ ؕ حَتّٰۤی اِذَاۤ اَقَلَّتۡ سَحَابًا ثِقَالًا سُقۡنٰہُ لِبَلَدٍ مَّیِّتٍ فَاَنۡزَلۡنَا بِہِ الۡمَآءَ فَاَخۡرَجۡنَا بِہٖ مِنۡ کُلِّ الثَّمَرٰتِ ؕ کَذٰلِکَ نُخۡرِجُ الۡمَوۡتٰی لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَذَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۵۷﴾ وَ الۡبَلَدُ الطَّیِّبُ یَخۡرُجُ نَبَاتُہٗ بِاِذۡنِ رَبِّہٖ ۚ وَ الَّذِیۡ خَبُثَ لَا یَخۡرُجُ اِلَّا نَکِدًا ؕ کَذٰلِکَ نُصَرِّفُ الۡاٰیٰتِ لِقَوۡمٍ یَّشۡکُرُوۡنَ ﴿۵۸﴾

It is He Who before [sending down] His mercy drives forth winds as glad tidings. Until when they lift clouds laden [with water] We propel it to a barren piece of land and send down rain there; then bring into existence various fruits from it. In this manner, We shall raise up the dead[1]so that you may be reminded.[2]The land which is fertile produces much fruit and flower and defective land produces nothing but defective. [Same is your case.[3]In the verses of this Qur'an,] We show are multifarious signs in such a variety of ways for those who want to be grateful.[4] (57-58)

لَقَدۡ اَرۡسَلۡنَا نُوۡحًا اِلٰی قَوۡمِہٖ فَقَالَ یٰقَوۡمِاعۡبُدُوا اللّٰہَ مَا لَکُمۡ مِّنۡ اِلٰہٍ غَیۡرُہٗ ؕ اِنِّیۡۤ اَخَافُ عَلَیۡکُمۡ عَذَابَ یَوۡمٍ عَظِیۡمٍ ﴿۵۹﴾ قَالَ الۡمَلَاُ مِنۡ قَوۡمِہٖۤ اِنَّا لَنَرٰىکَ فِیۡ ضَلٰلٍ مُّبِیۡنٍ ﴿۶۰﴾ قَالَ یٰقَوۡمِ لَیۡسَ بِیۡ ضَلٰلَۃٌ وَّ لٰکِنِّیۡ رَسُوۡلٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّ الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ ﴿۶۱﴾ اُبَلِّغُکُمۡ رِسٰلٰتِ رَبِّیۡ وَ اَنۡصَحُ لَکُمۡ وَ اَعۡلَمُ مِنَ اللّٰہِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۶۲﴾ اَوَ عَجِبۡتُمۡ اَنۡ جَآءَکُمۡ ذِکۡرٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ عَلٰی رَجُلٍ مِّنۡکُمۡ لِیُنۡذِرَکُمۡ وَ لِتَتَّقُوۡا وَ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تُرۡحَمُوۡنَ ﴿۶۳﴾ فَکَذَّبُوۡہُ فَاَنۡجَیۡنٰہُ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ مَعَہٗ فِی الۡفُلۡکِ وَ اَغۡرَقۡنَا الَّذِیۡنَ کَذَّبُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِنَا ؕ اِنَّہُمۡ کَانُوۡا قَوۡمًا عَمِیۡنَ ﴿۶۴﴾

[Your history also bears witness to these facts.][5] We had sent forth Noah as a messenger to his people; so, he called upon them: "O People of My Nation! Worship God. You have no other God than Him.[6]I fear for you the punishment of a horrible day."[7]The elders of His nation replied: "We see you in a manifest error."[8]He said: "O People of My Nation! I am not in any error. In fact, I am a messenger of the Lord of the worlds. I communicate to you the messages of my Lord. I am your well-wisher and know from God which you do not know. Do you express wonder on receiving God's reminder through a person from among yourselves so that he may warn you and so that you may fear [God] and so that mercy can be shown to you?"[9]Even then, they rejected him. So, We saved him and those who were with him in the ship and drowned all those who denied Our revelations.[10]Indeed they were blind [of heart and mind]. (59-64)

وَ اِلٰی عَادٍ اَخَاہُمۡ ہُوۡدًا ؕ قَالَ یٰقَوۡمِ اعۡبُدُوا اللّٰہَ مَا لَکُمۡ مِّنۡ اِلٰہٍ غَیۡرُہٗ ؕ اَفَلَا تَتَّقُوۡنَ ﴿۶۵﴾ قَالَ الۡمَلَاُ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا مِنۡ قَوۡمِہٖۤ اِنَّا لَنَرٰىکَ فِیۡ سَفَاہَۃٍ وَّ اِنَّا لَنَظُنُّکَ مِنَ الۡکٰذِبِیۡنَ ﴿۶۶﴾ قَالَ یٰقَوۡمِ لَیۡسَ بِیۡ سَفَاہَۃٌ وَّ لٰکِنِّیۡ رَسُوۡلٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّ الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ ﴿۶۷﴾ اُبَلِّغُکُمۡ رِسٰلٰتِ رَبِّیۡ وَ اَنَا لَکُمۡ نَاصِحٌ اَمِیۡنٌ ﴿۶۸﴾ اَوَ عَجِبۡتُمۡ اَنۡ جَآءَکُمۡ ذِکۡرٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ عَلٰی رَجُلٍ مِّنۡکُمۡ لِیُنۡذِرَکُمۡ ؕ وَ اذۡکُرُوۡۤا اِذۡ جَعَلَکُمۡ خُلَفَآءَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ قَوۡمِ نُوۡحٍ وَّ زَادَکُمۡ فِی الۡخَلۡقِ بَصۜۡطَۃً ۚ فَاذۡکُرُوۡۤا اٰلَآءَ اللّٰہِ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تُفۡلِحُوۡنَ ﴿۶۹﴾ قَالُوۡۤا اَجِئۡتَنَا لِنَعۡبُدَ اللّٰہَ وَحۡدَہٗ وَ نَذَرَ مَا کَانَ یَعۡبُدُ اٰبَآؤُنَا ۚ فَاۡتِنَا بِمَاتَعِدُنَاۤ اِنۡ کُنۡتَ مِنَ الصّٰدِقِیۡنَ ﴿۷۰﴾ قَالَ قَدۡ وَقَعَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ مِّنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ رِجۡسٌ وَّ غَضَبٌ ؕ اَتُجَادِلُوۡنَنِیۡ فِیۡۤ اَسۡمَآءٍ سَمَّیۡتُمُوۡہَاۤ اَنۡتُمۡ وَ اٰبَآؤُکُمۡ مَّا نَزَّلَ اللّٰہُ بِہَا مِنۡ سُلۡطٰنٍ ؕ فَانۡتَظِرُوۡۤا اِنِّیۡ مَعَکُمۡ مِّنَ الۡمُنۡتَظِرِیۡنَ ﴿۷۱﴾ فَاَنۡجَیۡنٰہُ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ مَعَہٗ بِرَحۡمَۃٍ مِّنَّا وَ قَطَعۡنَا دَابِرَ الَّذِیۡنَ کَذَّبُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِنَا وَ مَا کَانُوۡا مُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿۷۲﴾

To 'Ad, We had [similarly] sent their brother Hud.[11]He called upon them: "O People of My Nation! Worship God. You have no other God than Him. So do you not have fear?"[12]The elders of his nation who had disbelieved replied: "We certainly see you inflicted with foolishness and We surely think that you are a liar."[13]He said: "O People of My Nation! I am not inflicted with any foolishness. In fact, I am a messenger of the Lord of the worlds. I communicate to you the messages of my Lord. And I am a sincere well-wisher of yours. Do you express wonder on receiving God's reminder through a person from among yourselves so that he may warn you? Remember when He granted you sovereignty[14]after the people of Noah and made you strong and mighty[15]So keep in mind the majesties of God so that you may succeed."[16]They replied: "Have you come to us so that we worship only one God and leave aside those who our forefathers worshipped?[17]If this is the case, then bring on us the punishment you are threatening us with, if you are truthful." He said: "Filth has come upon you from your Lord and [His] wrath is seething.[18]Do you quarrel with me about those names which your forefathers kept[19]about which God has revealed no sanction.[20]Wait then; I will also wait with you." Finally, We saved him and his companions through Our mercy and sliced the root of those who denied Our revelations and were not prepared to believe. (65-72)

وَ اِلٰی ثَمُوۡدَ اَخَاہُمۡ صٰلِحًا ۘ قَالَیٰقَوۡمِ اعۡبُدُوا اللّٰہَ مَا لَکُمۡ مِّنۡ اِلٰہٍ غَیۡرُہٗ ؕ قَدۡ جَآءَتۡکُمۡ بَیِّنَۃٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ ؕ ہٰذِہٖ نَاقَۃُ اللّٰہِ لَکُمۡ اٰیَۃً فَذَرُوۡہَا تَاۡکُلۡ فِیۡۤ اَرۡضِ اللّٰہِ وَ لَا تَمَسُّوۡہَا بِسُوۡٓءٍ فَیَاۡخُذَکُمۡ عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۷۳﴾ وَ اذۡکُرُوۡۤا اِذۡ جَعَلَکُمۡ خُلَفَآءَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ عَادٍ وَّ بَوَّاَکُمۡ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ تَتَّخِذُوۡنَ مِنۡ سُہُوۡلِہَا قُصُوۡرًا وَّ تَنۡحِتُوۡنَ الۡجِبَالَ بُیُوۡتًا ۚ فَاذۡکُرُوۡۤا اٰلَآءَ اللّٰہِ وَ لَا تَعۡثَوۡا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ مُفۡسِدِیۡنَ ﴿۷۴﴾ قَالَ الۡمَلَاُ الَّذِیۡنَ اسۡتَکۡبَرُوۡا مِنۡ قَوۡمِہٖ لِلَّذِیۡنَ اسۡتُضۡعِفُوۡا لِمَنۡ اٰمَنَ مِنۡہُمۡ اَتَعۡلَمُوۡنَ اَنَّ صٰلِحًا مُّرۡسَلٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّہٖ ؕ قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّا بِمَاۤ اُرۡسِلَ بِہٖ مُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ﴿۷۵﴾ قَالَ الَّذِیۡنَ اسۡتَکۡبَرُوۡۤا اِنَّا بِالَّذِیۡۤ اٰمَنۡتُمۡ بِہٖ کٰفِرُوۡنَ ﴿۷۶﴾ فَعَقَرُوا النَّاقَۃَ وَ عَتَوۡا عَنۡ اَمۡرِ رَبِّہِمۡ وَ قَالُوۡا یٰصٰلِحُ ائۡتِنَا بِمَا تَعِدُنَاۤ اِنۡ کُنۡتَ مِنَ الۡمُرۡسَلِیۡنَ ﴿۷۷﴾ فَاَخَذَتۡہُمُ الرَّجۡفَۃُ فَاَصۡبَحُوۡا فِیۡ دَارِہِمۡ جٰثِمِیۡنَ ﴿۷۸﴾ فَتَوَلّٰی عَنۡہُمۡ وَ قَالَ یٰقَوۡمِ لَقَدۡ اَبۡلَغۡتُکُمۡ رِسَالَۃَ رَبِّیۡ وَ نَصَحۡتُ لَکُمۡ وَ لٰکِنۡ لَّا تُحِبُّوۡنَ النّٰصِحِیۡنَ ﴿۷۹﴾

[In a similar way,] to the Thamud[21]We had sent their brother Ṣalih. He called upon them: "O People of My Nation! Worship God. You have no other God than Him. A clear sign has come to you from your Lord, this she-camel of God, as a sign for you. So leave it that it may graze in the land of God and do not touch it with any evil intention otherwise a painful torment will visit you.[22]Remember when after the nation of 'Ad God gave you sovereignty and granted you ascendancy in the land: you make grand forts in its lands and carve houses from mountains.[23]So, remember the majesties of God and do not spread disorder in the land.[24]The arrogant elders of that nation said to the subservient[25] among them who had accepted faith: "Do you think that Ṣalih has been sent by his Lord?"[26]They replied: "We believe in the message with which he has been sent."[27]At this, those arrogant people said: "[But] We do not believe in whom you have believed."[28]Then they hamstrung the she-camel and defied the directive of their Lord with full defiance[29]and said: "Ṣalih! If you have been sent by God, bring on us the torment you are threatening us with. At last, a shudder[30]overtook them and they were left lying face down in their homes. At that time,[31]Ṣalih walked off from them, saying: "O People of My Nation! I have delivered to you the message of My Lord and showed my full concern to you. But you do not like people who have concern."[32](73-79)

(Translated by Dr Shehzad Saleem)

[1].Earlier, it was stated that people should totally devote themselves to God because His mercy is in close proximity to those who do so. These words now depict a parable to this effect: people should not regard the day to be far off when God's mercy will manifest itself for the whole universe. Very soon this event will take place in which God's mercy will be apparent in full splendour. The dead will be raised back to life by God to benefit from it in the very manner He brings back a dead piece of land to life by sending rain.

The antecedent of the pronoun in سُقْنَاهُ is for سَحَاب. Though it is plural yet is singular as far as its structure is concerned. Hence a singular pronoun has been used for it. The letter ب in أَنْزَلْنَا بِهِ is an adverb of place (zarf). The translation keeps in account this aspect.

[2].Ie., be reminded from these signs on the earth of the Day of Judgement on which the dead will be raised to life.

[3]. Here the parable has been extended and a reference is made to God's mercy which has been revealed in the form of the Qur'an: not every one will receive its benefit in the same proportion. If the lands of the hearts are fertile, they will produce lush green orchards and if they are barren then, if at all, they will only produce weeds and nothing more. The words at the end are: لاَيَخْرُجُ إِلاَّ نَكِدَا. In the previous part of the sentence the word parallel to نَكِدَا is suppressed in accordance with linguistic principles. The translation has tried to keep this aspect in consideration.

While explaining how effective this parable is and how magnificentlyit depicts the eloquence of the Qur'an, Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... how many facts are revealed by just the single parable of rain: it lays credence to the belief of tawhid; a parallel is also furnished of the possibility of the Hereafter and the manifestation of the Day of Judgement; similarly, the practice of God about providing guidance also becomes evident. In other words, all the topics that were raised in this surah from its beginning till here are, in principle, alluded to ... this universe has been made by the Almighty in such a way that if a person has a keen eye, then every object in it bears witness to the facts the Qur'an is calling them to profess faith in. Alas! Where do we find insightful eyes and ears! (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 285)

[4]. The actual words are: لِقَوْمٍ يَشْكُرُوْن. The verb here expresses intention. The essence of gratitude is giving regard. The implication is that it is God's great favour that in the Qur'an He has directed our attention to His signs in so many ways. They should give due regard to it and as a result if they want to become grateful to Him, their hearts will also become vibrant.

[5].Since the addressees of this surah are the Quraysh, hence for the purpose of reasoning, in the coming verses, the anecdotes of nations which were well known to them are narrated. In these anecdotes too, only the part necessary to sound a warning to them is related. The implication is that if they do not profess faith as a result of arguments drawn from reason and intellect, then after conslusive communication of the truth from God's messengers, they will reach the same fate as was met by previous nations of God.

[6].The Quraysh too was given the same invitation earlier. The purpose of all the efforts of God's messengers was the enforcement of the belief of monotheism. They were sent to divert people from worshipping others into worshipping God. It is this belief which the Qur'an has explained and emphasized the foremost. So much so, the last surah of the Qur'an with which its last group ends with respect to the topic is a firm declaration of monotheism. In it, God has directed His prophet to openly declare before people that God is the one and only and peerless. He is the rock of refuge for all. He is neither father nor son and none in the heavens and the earth can claim to be His equal. This belief of monotheism requires that people totally consign themselves to God, acknowledge oneness in His being, attributes and rights, ask for His help alone, thank Him only for favours, beseech Him alone in times of affliction, call upon Him in both hope and despair and never regard as an angel, jinn, prophet, saint or any other person to be His equal.

[7].This is a warning issued forth about the punishment that necessarily visits a people if they intentionally reject their messenger. It wipes them out from the face of the earth. It is evident from the Qur'an that this is in fact the manifestation of God's reward and punishment in this world. As a result of this a lesser day of judgement is brought about in this world that bears witness to that great Day of Judgement. The nature of proof furnished is the same in its extent as how scientific facts are validated in a laboratory.

[8].Their implication is that the Prophet Noah (sws) has deviated from the path of his forefathers; he is belittling their religion and furthermore even threatening of them of torment; thus he has gone far astray.

[9].The Qur'an has raised the question but not answered it. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... This is because the style of the discourse reflects sorrow and longing. What is concealed in this style is that if they had reflected and not been overcome by arrogance and egotism, then this phenomenon would have instilled gratitude in them instead of amazement and haughtiness in that God has sent a person from among themselves to them who guides them regarding the path of salvation. The messenger is not alien to them; his past and present and his character and conduct are right before their eyes. He speaks the same tongue as they and his heart is a representative of their nature. So would it be better that an angel descend on them after conclusive communication of the truth to them or that a well wisher from among themselves bear witness to them? All these details are concealed in these words and this suppression at this instance is the need of eloquence. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 295)

[10]. It is evident from this that the punishment descended only in the area and only on the people to whom Noah (sws) had conclusively communicated the truth. It is the area between Tigris and Euphrates. Thus at the borders of Armenia around mount Ararat even today people can see some signs and vestiges of Noah (sws). It is evident from the details of his preaching mission mentioned in the Qur'an that he continued to urge and exhort his nation to the truth for nine hundred and fifty years; however, in spite of this prolonged effort when his people rejected him and were not ready to reform themselves, the Almighty directed him to make a boat. This was in fact an ultimatum to the people that as soon as the boat was built, the respite they had been given would end. Consequently, when the boat was made and all the believers embarked on it, a tumultuous storm ensued. The earth was directed to expel all its water to the surface and the sky was directed to rain down all its water. The water rose and stopped at the appointed mark and all of his people were drowned in it. Even Noah's son, Canaan, drowned because of his stubbornness. The whole scene served as a great warning to onlookers. Winds blew all around. Rain thumped down. Waves as high as the mountains rose up. Noah's boat was battling against these gigantic waves when suddenly Noah (sws) saw his son standing in front of him overwhelmed with awe and wonder. Paternal love stirred at this sight and he called out to him that there was still a chance to board the boat and leave the rejecters. However, even this dreadful scenario was not enough for him to give up his stubbornness. He replied that he would seek refuge in some mountain. Noah (sws) warned that it was not mere water that he was facing: it was the wrath of God and no one except God could save him from it. While this conversation was going on, a huge wave suddenly came and swept his son away.

[11].The 'Ad were the oldest nation of Arabia. They belonged to the semitic race. Their abode was the land of Ahqaf which lies between Hijaz, Yemen and Yamamah to the south west of al-Rub' al-Khali. In the literature of the Arabs, this land is exemplary for both its antiquity and majesty. Hud (sws) was a person who belonged to them and was assigned to them as God's messenger. In order to remind the 'Ad of God's favour, the Qur'an states that Hud (sws) who belonged to them was sent to them. He was no stranger to them. The purpose was that the truth be conclusively communicated to them.

[12].Ie., do they not fear the fate they will meet if they insist on polytheism even after a messenger of God has conclusively conveyed the truth to them?

[13].The implication is that he is observing their splendour, majesty and advancement and still threatening them of punishment. They meant that their messenger had totally lost his senses and was trying to bluff them through false warnings.

[14].The actual word used is: خُلَفَاء. Just as it means "successor" it also means a person vested with authority while being divested of its meaning of succession. It is used in this sense in verse 26 of Surah Ṣu'ad. It has been translated as "sovereignty" keeping in view this second meaning. There are several examples in Arabic in which a word becomes divested of some aspect of its meaning.

[15].I.e., made them with sound intellect and strong physiques. The actual words used are: زَادَکُمۡ فِی الۡخَلۡقِ بَصۜۡطَۃً. The word خَلۡق here means "form" which can refer to both internal and external forms. Historical traditions of the Arabs also substantiate this fact that the 'Ad were prominent with regard to both these aspects.

[16].It is evident from this sentence that what is said earlier has both assurance and warning in it.

[17].These words carry both anger and sarcasm. The implication is: have you become a messenger so that we leave the religion of our forefathers and become your followers?

[18].Ie., that they have decided to remain in the filth of disbelief and polytheism and as a result become worthy of God's wrath. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... The implication is that if they are demanding to see the torment of God, then not much time is left for it. They should consider that it is about to come. This is because the filth and dirt that rouses God's anger the most has been fully embraced by them; after accumulating such a huge heap of it they should not regard God's thunderous punishment to be far off. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 299)

[19].The beings whom people have made their deities and seek help from to fulfil their needs are merely names that they have invented. They do not exist. They invent such names themselves in such an elaborate manner as if these deities were running the affairs of this universe. In reality, there is neither any Lord of rain in them, nor any Lord of wind nor any Lord of wealth nor any Lord of health. Neither is any deity responsible for providing them with help or grant them their wishes or bless them with riches.

[20].This is stated because no argument in favour of polytheism drawn from reason or scripture has ever been presented or can be presented. The same goes for arguments that emanate from human nature.

[21].The Thamud are the remnants of the 'Ad. For this reason, they are also called the second 'Ad. Among the ancient nations of the Arabs, this was the second nation after the 'Ad that gained extra-ordinary fame. They inhabited the the land of Hijr that lies in the north west of Arabia. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... It is possible that some among the 'Ad were protected from the divine scourge and they migrated to the north west from the south and came to inhabit the area of Hijr. Both the Qur'an and Arab traditions mention the same traits and attributes of both the 'Ad and the Thamud. Some poets mention them in such a manner as if there is absolutely no difference between them. Qayl and Qidar, the leaders of both these nations because of which both these nations were destroyed have become proverbs in Arabic literature and it seems that both nations were very similar to one another. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 300)

[22]. This was the answer given by the Prophet Ṣalih (sws) when the Thamud asked him for a sign of divine punishment. He told them that he had nominated a she-camel. It had been dedicated to God; viewed thus, it was God's she-camel. It was a sign of God's punishment for them. If they harmed her, they would lose God's protection. After that, nothing would be able to stop the storm of God's wrath from entering their cities.

[23].The height of adeptness they had attained in this art can be witnessed even today in the Mada'in Ṣalih. These signs are spread on thousands of acres of land and are similar to the ones found in India at Ellora and Ajanta and at some other places.

[24].I.e., considering this development, advancement and power as a manifestation of God's majesty, they should be grateful to Him and not show arrogance and rebelliousness to Him. It is evident from this that material development is no crime and neither building sky-scrapers a sign of disorder and disruption. Disorder ensues in them when, instead of seeing God's majesty in these great feats, they forget Him and become arrogant and rebellious by crossing the limits set by Him. If this does not happen then like Solomon's صَرْحٌ مُمَرَّدٌ مِنْ قَوَارِيرَ these buildings too would become a sign of comprehending God.

[25].In general, it is the poor, the weak and the oppressed who have taken the lead in responding to the call of God's messengers. This is so they do not have conceit because of wealth and power that can become a hindrance in their acceptance of the truth.

[26].This question is meant to elict a negative answer. The implication is that do they really regard him to be God's messenger. This means that foolishness has got the better of them.

[27].This meant that they not only regarded Ṣalih to be God's messenger but also had whole-heartedly accepted the message which God sent through him and were bearing witness to it with full emphasis and determination. They meant that the powerful arguments offered by the message were enough for them and like those leaders did not await miracles thereby misfortune taking them to the brink of ruin where these leaders stood.

[28]. This is an expression of final jitteriness in them. They told Ṣalih that it does not make any difference if he believes until they decide to believe. This is because only they matter and they have decided not to believe.

[29].The actual word is عَتَوْا. The preposition used with it is عَنْ. This incorporates the meanings of both defiance and arrogance in it. Though a defiant leader of their nation killed the she-camel, the Qur'an attributes its killing to the whole nation. The reason for this is that the rest of the defiant among them were also inclined to it. The she-camel was a barometer of the defiance of the nation. It became evident from the killing of the she-camel that if they were given a further respite they would try to kill Ṣalih (sws).

[30].This word does not necessitate that the torment was in the form of an earthquake. It is evident from various indications from the Qur'an that like the torment that visited the people of the 'Ad, this too was a torment that consisted of thunder and lightning in which a tempestuous northern wind blew for many days and the deafening roar of the clouds jolted everyone. In the exegesis of Surah al-Dhaiyat, Imam Hamid al-Din al-Farahi has discussed this in detail.

[31].Ie., when his nations hamstrung the she-camel just before torment visited them. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi states:

Here a question arises about the sequence of narration. Why is this statement of Ṣalih mentioned after the torment. The answer to this question is that this sequence of narration has much to do with the requisites of eloquence. To highlight the immediate consequence of the crime, the torment is mentioned right after the killing of the she-camel and the mention of Ṣalih's (sws) migration is deferred. In other words, as soon as they challenged God by harming the she-camel, the torment visited them. The immediate and forthwith arrival of the punishment could not have been demonstrated if its mention was deferred by stating something in between. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 305)

[32].This is the last limit of the decadence of a nation after which no possibilty of reform remains. At that time, the well-wishers become a target of their jeers and rebukes and the evil-wishers become their heroes and leaders.

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