وَ اِذۡ قَالَ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمُ لِاَبِیۡہِ اٰزَرَ اَتَتَّخِذُ اَصۡنَامًا اٰلِہَۃً ۚ اِنِّیۡۤ اَرٰىکَ وَ قَوۡمَکَ فِیۡ ضَلٰلٍ مُّبِیۡنٍ ﴿۷۴﴾وَ کَذٰلِکَ نُرِیۡۤ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ مَلَکُوۡتَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ وَ لِیَکُوۡنَ مِنَ الۡمُوۡقِنِیۡنَ ﴿۷۵﴾
Narrate to them the incident of Abraham when he said to Azar, his father: "Have you made idols as your deities? I see you and your people in open error." In this way, We would make Abraham observe the kingdom of the heavens and the earth so that he may conclusively convey the truth to his people and also become among those who have full conviction. (74-75)
فَلَمَّا جَنَّ عَلَیۡہِ الَّیۡلُ رَاٰ کَوۡکَبًا ۚ قَالَ ہٰذَا رَبِّیۡ ۚ فَلَمَّاۤ اَفَلَ قَالَ لَاۤ اُحِبُّ الۡاٰفِلِیۡنَ ﴿۷۶﴾ فَلَمَّا رَاَ الۡقَمَرَ بَازِغًا قَالَ ہٰذَا رَبِّیۡ ۚ فَلَمَّاۤ اَفَلَ قَالَ لَئِنۡ لَّمۡ یَہۡدِنِیۡ رَبِّیۡ لَاَکُوۡنَنَّ مِنَ الۡقَوۡمِ الضَّآلِّیۡنَ ﴿۷۷﴾فَلَمَّا رَاَ الشَّمۡسَ بَازِغَۃً قَالَ ہٰذَا رَبِّیۡ ہٰذَاۤ اَکۡبَرُ ۚ فَلَمَّاۤ اَفَلَتۡ قَالَ یٰقَوۡمِ اِنِّیۡ بَرِیۡٓءٌ مِّمَّا تُشۡرِکُوۡنَ ﴿۷۸﴾اِنِّیۡ وَجَّہۡتُ وَجۡہِیَ لِلَّذِیۡ فَطَرَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضَ حَنِیۡفًا وَّ مَاۤ اَنَا مِنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ﴿ۚ۷۹﴾
So, [one day] when night came upon him, he saw a star [and directing the attention of people towards it,] said: "This is my Lord!" Then [at a similar instance] when the star faded away, he said: "I do not like those [as gods] who fade away." Then [one day] when he saw the moon shining, he said: "This is my Lord." But when it also set, he said: "If my Lord does not guide me, I shall surely be among those who go astray." Then [one day] when he saw the sun shining, he said: "This is my Lord. He is the greatest. But when it also set, he [while addressing his people] said: "My people! I disown all those whom you regard as [God's] partners. I have turned my face dedicatedly to Him who has created the heavens the earth and I am certainly not among the polytheists." (76-79)
وَ حَآجَّہٗ قَوۡمُہٗ ؕ قَالَ اَتُحَآجُّوۡٓنِّیۡ فِی اللّٰہِ وَ قَدۡ ہَدٰىنِ ؕ وَ لَاۤ اَخَافُ مَا تُشۡرِکُوۡنَ بِہٖۤ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ یَّشَآءَ رَبِّیۡ شَیۡئًا ؕوَسِعَ رَبِّیۡ کُلَّ شَیۡءٍعِلۡمًا ؕ اَفَلَاتَتَذَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۸۰﴾وَ کَیۡفَاَخَافُ مَاۤ اَشۡرَکۡتُمۡوَ لَا تَخَافُوۡنَ اَنَّکُمۡ اَشۡرَکۡتُمۡ بِاللّٰہِ مَا لَمۡ یُنَزِّلۡ بِہٖ عَلَیۡکُمۡ سُلۡطٰنًا ؕ فَاَیُّ الۡفَرِیۡقَیۡنِ اَحَقُّ بِالۡاَمۡنِ ۚ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿ۘ۸۱﴾اَلَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ لَمۡ یَلۡبِسُوۡۤا اِیۡمَانَہُمۡ بِظُلۡمٍ اُولٰٓئِکَ لَہُمُ الۡاَمۡنُ وَ ہُمۡ مُّہۡتَدُوۡنَ ﴿۸۲﴾
His people started to argue with him [on this]. He replied: "Do you argue with me about God even though He has guided me? I do not fear those who you regard as His partners. Yes, unless my Lord wills something. My Lord's knowledge encompasses all things. Then will you not pay attention? And how can I fear what you ascribe as partners [to God] when you are not afraid of ascribing partners not sanctioned by God? Which of us is more deserving of salvation? So, [speak up:] "Which of us two factions is more worthy of peace and comfort, if you know?" In reality, peace and comfort are for those who accepted faith and did not contaminate their faith with injustice and they will be the guided ones. (80-82)
وَ تِلۡکَ حُجَّتُنَاۤ اٰتَیۡنٰہَاۤ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ عَلٰی قَوۡمِہٖ ؕ نَرۡفَعُ دَرَجٰتٍ مَّنۡ نَّشَآءُ ؕ اِنَّ رَبَّکَ حَکِیۡمٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۸۳﴾وَ وَہَبۡنَا لَہٗۤ اِسۡحٰقَ وَ یَعۡقُوۡبَ ؕ کُلًّا ہَدَیۡنَا ۚ وَ نُوۡحًا ہَدَیۡنَا مِنۡ قَبۡلُ وَ مِنۡ ذُرِّیَّتِہٖ دَاوٗدَ وَ سُلَیۡمٰنَ وَ اَیُّوۡبَ وَ یُوۡسُفَ وَ مُوۡسٰی وَ ہٰرُوۡنَ ؕ وَ کَذٰلِکَ نَجۡزِی الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۸۴﴾وَزَکَرِیَّا وَ یَحۡیٰی وَ عِیۡسٰی وَ اِلۡیَاسَ ؕ کُلٌّ مِّنَ الصّٰلِحِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۸۵﴾وَ اِسۡمٰعِیۡلَ وَ الۡیَسَعَ وَ یُوۡنُسَ وَ لُوۡطًا ؕ وَ کُلًّا فَضَّلۡنَا عَلَی الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۸۶﴾وَ مِنۡ اٰبَآئِہِمۡ وَذُرِّیّٰتِہِمۡ وَ اِخۡوَانِہِمۡ ۚ وَ اجۡتَبَیۡنٰہُمۡ وَ ہَدَیۡنٰہُمۡ اِلٰی صِرَاطٍ مُّسۡتَقِیۡمٍ ﴿۸۷﴾ذٰلِکَ ہُدَی اللّٰہِ یَہۡدِیۡ بِہٖ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِہٖ ؕ وَ لَوۡ اَشۡرَکُوۡا لَحَبِطَ عَنۡہُمۡ مَّا کَانُوۡا یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۸۸﴾اُولٰٓئِکَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰتَیۡنٰہُمُ الۡکِتٰبَ وَ الۡحُکۡمَ وَ النُّبُوَّۃَ ۚ فَاِنۡ یَّکۡفُرۡ بِہَا ہٰۤؤُلَآءِ فَقَدۡ وَکَّلۡنَا بِہَا قَوۡمًا لَّیۡسُوۡا بِہَا بِکٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿۸۹﴾اُولٰٓئِکَ الَّذِیۡنَ ہَدَی اللّٰہُ فَبِہُدٰىہُمُ اقۡتَدِہۡ ؕ قُلۡ لَّاۤ اَسۡـَٔلُکُمۡ عَلَیۡہِ اَجۡرًا ؕ اِنۡ ہُوَ اِلَّا ذِکۡرٰی لِلۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ ﴿۹۰﴾
Such was the argument with which We provided Abraham against his people. We raise ranks after ranks of whomsoever We desire. In reality, Your Lord is Wise and All-Knowing. [Then not only this,] to Abraham, We gave Isaac and Jacob. We guided each of them. Before this, We had given the same guidance to Noah and [after Abraham] to his descendants David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron. Thus do we reward the righteous. And also [guided] Zacharias, John, Jesus and Elias All these were righteous. And also Ishmael, Elisha, Jonah and Lot. Each of them We exalted above the people of the world. Moreover, We also guided their forefathers, their children, and their brethren, chose them and guided them to [this] straight path [of monotheism]. This is God's guidance. He bestows it on those of His servants whom He chooses [according to His law]. However, had they too been incriminated with polytheism their deeds would have become fruitless. On these people, We bestowed the book, authority and prophethood. So, if these [addressees of yours] deny it, then [do not worry]. We have consignedthis favourto some others whowill not deny it. [These prophets whom We have mentioned] are the ones who were truly guided. So, follow their ways only. Tell these people however: "I do not want any recompense from you for this [message I am preaching so that if you do not accept it I will lose something]." (90)
وَ مَا قَدَرُوا اللّٰہَ حَقَّ قَدۡرِہٖۤ اِذۡ قَالُوۡا مَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰہُ عَلٰی بَشَرٍ مِّنۡ شَیۡءٍ ؕ قُلۡ مَنۡ اَنۡزَلَ الۡکِتٰبَالَّذِیۡ جَآءَ بِہٖ مُوۡسٰی نُوۡرًا وَّ ہُدًی لِّلنَّاسِ تَجۡعَلُوۡنَہٗ قَرَاطِیۡسَ تُبۡدُوۡنَہَا وَ تُخۡفُوۡنَ کَثِیۡرًا ۚ وَعُلِّمۡتُمۡ مَّا لَمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنۡتُمۡ وَ لَاۤ اٰبَآؤُکُمۡ ؕ قُلِ اللّٰہُ ۙ ثُمَّ ذَرۡہُمۡ فِیۡ خَوۡضِہِمۡ یَلۡعَبُوۡنَ ﴿۹۱﴾وَ ہٰذَا کِتٰبٌ اَنۡزَلۡنٰہُ مُبٰرَکٌ مُّصَدِّقُ الَّذِیۡ بَیۡنَ یَدَیۡہِ وَ لِتُنۡذِرَ اُمَّ الۡقُرٰی وَ مَنۡ حَوۡلَہَا ؕوَ الَّذِیۡنَ یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِالۡاٰخِرَۃِ یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِہٖ وَ ہُمۡ عَلٰی صَلَاتِہِمۡ یُحَافِظُوۡنَ ﴿۹۲﴾
[In reality,] they did not recognize the due importance of God when they said: "God has never revealed anything to mortals." Ask them: "Who, then, revealed the Book brought by Moses which was a light and a guidance for mankind – which they would show to them page by page but would hide most of it, and [through which] you were taught which neither you nor your forefathers knew." Say: "God!" Then leave them to amuse themselves with their quibbling. This is a Book [like that very Book] We have revealed, imbued with great blessings, confirming what came before it [so that you may give glad tidings to people through it] and that you may warn those who live in the mother city and around it. [Rest assured,] those who believe in the Hereafter, it is they who will believe in it and it is they who protect their prayers. (91-92)
وَ مَنۡ اَظۡلَمُ مِمَّنِ افۡتَرٰی عَلَی اللّٰہِ کَذِبًا اَوۡ قَالَ اُوۡحِیَ اِلَیَّ وَ لَمۡ یُوۡحَ اِلَیۡہِ شَیۡءٌ وَّ مَنۡ قَالَ سَاُنۡزِلُ مِثۡلَ مَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰہُ ؕ وَ لَوۡ تَرٰۤی اِذِ الظّٰلِمُوۡنَ فِیۡ غَمَرٰتِ الۡمَوۡتِ وَ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃُ بَاسِطُوۡۤا اَیۡدِیۡہِمۡ ۚ اَخۡرِجُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَکُمۡ ؕ اَلۡیَوۡمَ تُجۡزَوۡنَ عَذَابَ الۡہُوۡنِ بِمَا کُنۡتُمۡ تَقُوۡلُوۡنَ عَلَی اللّٰہِ غَیۡرَ الۡحَقِّ وَ کُنۡتُمۡ عَنۡ اٰیٰتِہٖ تَسۡتَکۡبِرُوۡنَ﴿۹۳﴾وَ لَقَدۡ جِئۡتُمُوۡنَا فُرَادٰی کَمَا خَلَقۡنٰکُمۡ اَوَّلَ مَرَّۃٍ وَّ تَرَکۡتُمۡ مَّا خَوَّلۡنٰکُمۡ وَرَآءَ ظُہُوۡرِکُمۡ ۚ وَ مَا نَرٰی مَعَکُمۡ شُفَعَآءَکُمُ الَّذِیۡنَ زَعَمۡتُمۡ اَنَّہُمۡ فِیۡکُمۡ شُرَکٰٓؤُا ؕ لَقَدۡ تَّقَطَّعَ بَیۡنَکُمۡ وَ ضَلَّ عَنۡکُمۡ مَّا کُنۡتُمۡ تَزۡعُمُوۡنَ ﴿۹۴﴾
Who is more unjust than the person who fabricates a falsehood about God, or says: "Divine revelation has been sent to me," even though no divine revelation was sent to him and than the person who says: "I can reveal similar to what God has revealed?" And would that you had seen when these unjust people would be in the unconsciousness of death and angels with outstretched hands would demand from them: "Hand over your souls; today, you shall be meted out a humiliating punishment because of this [crime of yours] that you would fabricate falsehood about God and arrogantly evade His revelations. See, you have finally come to us alone as We created you the first time leaving behind all that We bestowed on you [in the previous world]. And We do not see with you your intercessors about whom you claimed they are Our partners in your affairs. All your ties have been broken, and the notions you had formed have turned out baseless. (93-94)
اِنَّ اللّٰہَ فَالِقُ الۡحَبِّ وَ النَّوٰی ؕیُخۡرِجُ الۡحَیَّ مِنَ الۡمَیِّتِ وَ مُخۡرِجُ الۡمَیِّتِ مِنَ الۡحَیِّ ؕ ذٰلِکُمُ اللّٰہُ فَاَنّٰی تُؤۡفَکُوۡنَ ﴿۹۵﴾فَالِقُ الۡاِصۡبَاحِ ۚ وَ جَعَلَ الَّیۡلَ سَکَنًا وَّ الشَّمۡسَ وَ الۡقَمَرَ حُسۡبَانًا ؕ ذٰلِکَ تَقۡدِیۡرُ الۡعَزِیۡزِ الۡعَلِیۡمِ ﴿۹۶﴾ وَ ہُوَ الَّذِیۡ جَعَلَ لَکُمُ النُّجُوۡمَ لِتَہۡتَدُوۡا بِہَا فِیۡ ظُلُمٰتِ الۡبَرِّ وَ الۡبَحۡرِؕ قَدۡ فَصَّلۡنَا الۡاٰیٰتِ لِقَوۡمٍ یَّعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۹۷﴾وَ ہُوَ الَّذِیۡۤ اَنۡشَاَکُمۡ مِّنۡ نَّفۡسٍ وَّاحِدَۃٍ فَمُسۡتَقَرٌّ وَّ مُسۡتَوۡدَعٌ ؕ قَدۡ فَصَّلۡنَاالۡاٰیٰتِ لِقَوۡمٍ یَّفۡقَہُوۡنَ ﴿۹۸﴾وَ ہُوَ الَّذِیۡۤ اَنۡزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً ۚ فَاَخۡرَجۡنَا بِہٖ نَبَاتَ کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ فَاَخۡرَجۡنَا مِنۡہُ خَضِرًا نُّخۡرِجُ مِنۡہُ حَبًّا مُّتَرَاکِبًا ۚ وَ مِنَ النَّخۡلِ مِنۡ طَلۡعِہَا قِنۡوَانٌ دَانِیَۃٌ وَّ جَنّٰتٍ مِّنۡ اَعۡنَابٍ وَّ الزَّیۡتُوۡنَ وَ الرُّمَّانَ مُشۡتَبِہًا وَّ غَیۡرَ مُتَشَابِہٍ ؕ اُنۡظُرُوۡۤا اِلٰی ثَمَرِہٖۤ اِذَاۤ اَثۡمَرَ وَ یَنۡعِہٖ ؕ اِنَّ فِیۡ ذٰلِکُمۡ لَاٰیٰتٍ لِّقَوۡمٍ یُّؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ﴿۹۹﴾
It is God who splits asunder the seed and the fruit-stone. It is He Who brings forth the living from the dead, and it is He Who brings forth the dead from the living. Such is God. So, where do you turn away? He brings forth the dawn. It is He Who has made the night for rest and placed the sun and the moon with a measure. These are the measures of the Mighty One, the All-knowing. It is He Who has made for you the stars so that you may be guided by them in the darkness of the desert and the sea. We have made evident Our revelations to those who want to know.It is He Who has created you from a single being; then for each there is a resting-place, and also a place of burial.We have fully explained Our signs to those who want to understand. It He who sends down water from the sky with which We bring forth the buds of every thing. Then from these We bring forth lush green foliage from which we made multi-layered grain. And also [created] palm-trees laden with clusters of dates, and [also created] orchards of grapes and[created] olives and pomegranates [for this very purpose] whose fruits are alike and also different. Look at the fruit [of each of them] when it grows and behold its ripening when it ripens. In these, there are extraordinary signs for those who want to believe. (95-99)
(Translated from Al-Bayan by Dr Shehzad Saleem)
.Further ahead other prophets are also mentioned. However, Abraham (sws) has been specially mentioned because both the Ishmaelites and the Israelites regarded him to be their noble ancestor and religious leader. Both of them also claimed that the religion they followed was inherited by them from Abraham (sws).
.A study of Jewish literature shows that Abraham's father was not merely an idol worshipper, he also made and sold idols. Contrary to its general style, the Qur'an has specially cited the name of Abraham's father probably because it wanted to settle the difference between the Jews and Christians about his name.
.The actual words are: کَذٰلِکَ نُرِیۡۤ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ. The implied construction is: كُنَّا نُرِیۡۤ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ. According to a common Arabic style the incomplete verb is suppressed here. It is this observation of God's kingdom through which God blessed Abraham (sws) with the reasoning through which he conclusively communicated the truth to his people. This reasoning is mentioned further ahead. This sentence actually acts as a prelude to it. Abraham (sws) observed every single leaf of every tree, every speck of the earth and every star of the heavens in a manner that he was able to have a true comprehension of God. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
As far as deliberation on God's kingdom is concerned, a scientist also does so; however, he does this by making his own self or his limited environment as its focal point. He is only keen to see his immediate benefit. Hence he does not try to reach the facts that could divert his attention from the immediate benefit he seeks. He looks at the blossoming rose of an orchard to make sweet sugar or derive other benefits from it by making some other products. After this he does not care to look beyond to observe the wisdom, mercy and providence of the creator in the beauty, majesty, splendour and fragrance of the flower. He is not able to become so overwhelmed at this observation so as to be overcome with the beauty and the majesty of the Creator who created the rose. The fact of the matter is that for a man of insight, it is this aspect of a rose which is more attractive. He ponders over the question that if the purpose of a flower was to produce nectar, what then was the need for providence to carve such captivating patterns and design on the petals of the flower? Surely, this was done so that every petal of a flower could become a means to comprehend the Almighty. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 90)
.The co-ordinate clause of this sentence is suppressed. It has been revealed in the translation. It can also be determined from the following words that occur later in verse 84: تِلۡکَ حُجَّتُنَاۤ اٰتَیۡنٰہَاۤ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ عَلٰی قَوۡمِہٖ. The conviction which is mentioned in them is a status higher than belief. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… Belief is a general thing which can be acquired by an upright person through his intuition. However, conviction is acquired by reflection and deliberation and by observing and having knowledge of God's kingdom. There is no upper limit to this conviction. Thus further ahead in verse 84] the words نَرۡفَعُ دَرَجٰتٍ مَّنۡ نَّشَآءُ point to its high status. When this conviction is added to belief, its benefits become transitive and, at times, makes mountains and deserts resound with its blessings. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 92)
.From here onwards begins the mention of the argument which Abraham (sws) derived from the heavens and the earth after observing God's kingdom in them and presented to his people. The line of reasoning here is that what people worship are themselves subservient, bound by their fate and subject to God's laws and directives. None of these things can defy in the slightest these laws and principles.
.This was the real point Abraham (sws) wanted to make. However, giving due regard to the temperament of his people, he adopted a gradual sequence. Thus on the first day the first of his statements was uttered to himself in a gathering. This was re-assuring to his star-worshipping people who reckoned that a person who was so averse to their idols was perhaps getting ready to accept them. Thus after making this comment before his nation he remained silent for some days. Then on another morning when the stars disappeared, he again addressed himself while intending to convey it to others that he did not consider those who disappeared to be gods. The implication was that after their rising, they should also see their setting. They bore witness by their very existence that they abided by the law they were subjected to and could not deviate from it the slightest. So how could a learned person make them his god? This status was only befitting to Him who was ever-living, instrumental in bringing others into existence, who was there forever and would remain forever.
.Here a further step was taken by Abraham (sws) in his teaching. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… Here it does not merely become evident that those that set or fade away are not worthy of being worshipped. What becomes evident is that to make deities out of objects that set or fade away is open error. What becomes further evident is that this error is not small. It is a matter of great sorrow and yearning. Moreover, it becomes evident that the source of guidance is God alone. If He does not provide guidance, people can be misled by going after things on their face-value. Since all these statements were made by Abraham (sws) to himself, hence there is no reason for those who overheard them to get offended. In fact, those among them who had even a slight ability to deliberate must have reflected on the fact that on the one hand was this person anxious to receive guidance and on the other are they who were affixed to their place like a rock. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 95)
.It is quite evident that this was an expression of sarcasm and derision from him. This is a specific feature of Abraham's temperament: he would communicate his message to others through various styles without annoying them. This included stating something with two meanings, gradually leading his addressees to an answer and decent humour. This style can also be seen in his sentence which he uttered after smashing the idols in response to the questioning of his people. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… The various styles and forms of reasoning and methodology adopted by prophets of God are all very natural and based on human nature. These include gradual reasoning, humour, sarcasm, using words and sentences with double-meaning etc. Each of these styles has its own occasion and place. At times, a pause which apparently is a stoppage is instrumental in carrying us through a journey thousands of miles, and affectionate sarcasm which is sarcasm on the face of it surpasses thousands of arguments. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 99)
.The لِ of لِلَّذِیۡ in وَجَّہۡتُ وَجۡہِیَ لِلَّذِیۡ فَطَرَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضَ evidences the fact that the word وَجَّہۡتُ also encompasses the meaning of أسلمت in it. After uttering his statements in gradual progression without addressing his people, it is at this juncture that Abraham (sws) turned to them directly and declared his faith. This in fact was an invitation to Islam and monotheism put forth. The conviction referred to earlier, was then expressly adopted. Every word of it tells us the emphasis and stress with which this declaration has been made. After the setting of the sun, when the reality of their greatest deity became evident, was the best time to present his invitation to them. In the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, the most effective time to point out the baselessness and intransience of those regarded as deities because of their transient grandeur is when the their corpse is lying before their worshippers. Abraham (sws) chose that exact moment. The gist of his speech was that only the the creator of the heavens and the earth could be regarded a deity. A person could consign himself to such a being only. What could those who themselves were subservient and compliant to the laws of the universe give others, and why would anyone consign himself to them? For this reason, together with the declaration about monotheism it was equally essential to declare that a believer disowned polytheism and he could never be among the polytheists.
.Ie., they argued about the God whom they also acknowledged to be the creator of the heavens and the earth. Abraham (sws) stated this because his people were not God's rejecters and in fact like all other nations of those times ascribed partners to Him. The last part of the sentence shows that this was after Abraham (sws) was made a Prophet.
.It is evident from this that instead of responding to his argument, Abraham's (sws) people started to intimidate him through their superstitions. Stated here is Abraham's (sws) answer to these threats. What could be these threats? Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi has explained them. He writes:
... Since polytheism is based ... entirely on fear and superstitions, for this reason his people started to threaten him in various ways some of which were that if they declared their acquittal of these deities, they would be seized by them, they would inflict them with blindness and make them physically handicapped andstrike them with lightning and give them a painful death. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 99)
.This exception is meant to express trust in God. The implication is that whatever the Prophet (sws) is saying is on God's trust. However much his intention be pure and determination be strong, they can only materialize with the grace of God. Every path has its own trials and tribulations, and a believer cannot succeed in them without His help and support.
.Hence the Prophet (sws) has no fear that someone will harm him without this being in God's notice.
.Ie., they must fear God's anger and wrath because they ascribe partners to Him without any sanction and fabricate a lie about Him.
.This injustice refers to the polytheism which Abraham's nation was afflicted with.
.Here the Qur'an has explained itself that what was said earlier about the rising and setting of the stars, the moon and the sun was not his own evolution in thinking. It is a statement of the argument he made to invite people to monotheism. The words عَلٰی قَوۡمِہٖ in the verse bear explicit testimony to this.
.The actual words are: دَرَجٰتٍ. It is both a plural and an undefined form. This aspect has been kept in consideration in the translation.
.The implication is that God's will and desire is not without a basis. It is based on His knowledge and wisdom. He grants these ranks of nearness to Himself to those who are worthy of them.
.This refers to the Prophet whose scripture is mentioned in the Bible as Elijah.
.Two prophets mentioned in the Bible whose names are similar to this are Elisha. Of these, the pronunciation Elisha is closer to the Qur'an. He prophesied around 832-892 BC. The other one is Isaiah whose period is 740 BC.
.This is a mention of the general superiority which prophets of God have over other human beings.
.This word occurs as an undefined noun. It is undefined to connote its exaltedness.
.Ie., even if people of that status were incriminated with polytheism, they would have met the same fate. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
... Their chosen status merely because they were the descedents of Noah (sws) or Abraham (sws) would not have remained intact. This admonition was for the Arabs and for the Israelites as well: those who after deviating from monotheism were dreaming of being the chosen ones because they belonged to the progeny of Abraham were living in a fool's Paradise. Not to speak of the fact that, had they succumbed to polytheism, their deeds would not have borne any fruit before God. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 102)
.This refers to the political authority these noble people were invested with in some status or the other and because of which they had the opportunity to decide both their individual and collective affairs in accordance with the Book of God.
.The actual words are: وَکَّلۡنَا بِہَا قَوۡمًا. The particle ب in this is an indication that the word وَکَّلۡنَا (to make someone responsible for something) also encompasses the meaning of to make someone a guarantor. The word قَوۡمًا refers to the faction of the Companions of the Prophet (sws) who came to inhabit Yathrib and was blessed with guidance and through whose efforts a nation was instituted which became the proponent of monotheism for the whole world. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
... These words predict the perseverance which will be shown by the Prophet (sws)and the abundance of the ummah, and viewed thus they form glad tidings for the Prophet (sws). They were given to him when he was passing through the storm of opposition. Evident from the words is the unassailable verdict of God that the preaching struggle of the Prophet (sws) will be successful. Also apparent from them is that people should not look at the small numbers of the people in whom God has reposed responsibility. They would be the advocates of the message, and those very drops would one day become an ocean. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 103)
.The actual word used is: ذِکۡرٰی. It refers to the Qur'an and alludes to two facts. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… The first of these facts is that whatever the Qur'an was presenting was not something unknown or unique: it was a reminder of the realities ingrained in human nature but people had buried them beneath their desires and religious innovations. The second of them is that the Qur'an was reminding them of the very guidance which was brought forth by Noah (sws), Abraham (sws) and all prophets. However, those who claimed to associate themselves to these prophets had invented some wrong concepts in relation to some names and then regarded these wrong concepts as the religion of their forefathers. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 104)
.It will become evident from the succeeding verses that this is a reference to the statements of the Jews who in those times were trying to instigate the Quraysh and were raising various objections in their minds. The Jews must have decided that after the Torah there was no need for a new book or shari'ah, and hence God would reveal nothing to any human being. However, the way they gave this statement did not challenge the collective pride of the Arabs and at the same time it achieved its required objective. The Qur'an has first commented while keeping in view the apparent connotation of this statement: those who regard their creator to be so aloof from his creation that after creating a strong urge for guidance in them, does not provide an answer to it, then it can only be said about them that after remaining the recipients of God's guidance for centuries, they did not recognize the true importance of God and expressed an extremely wrong view about an all-knowing and all-wise being.
.This is an expression of the disregard shown by the Jews for the Torah and also an answer of the inner aspect of their statement that after what they did with the Book of God it was imperative that a new Book and shari'ah be revealed so that people were able to come into the light from darkness and able to get back on the right path. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
... The Jews never compiled the Torah the way Muslims have compiled it between two covers.They had, on the contrary, divided it into various parts and had written each part separately. In this manner, they could easily hide the teachings and prophecies which they found against their desires and interests. When a book is written in parts on separate sheets and it is also in the custody of a specific group, then the group can easily conceal any part of it that it wants from the eyes of people beyond a specific set of followers. This was a very grave form of the crime of concealment of God's Book and the Qur'an has accused the Jews of it. It is also evident from the words of the Qur'an that a greater part of the Torah had been concealed from common people and a lesser one had been exposed to them. It is evident from the words تُبۡدُوۡنَہَا وَ تُخۡفُوۡنَ کَثِیۡرًا that the part hidden was more. It is thus evident that the part exposed was less. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 108)
.Earlier, only a hint was given. From here onwards the independent status of the Qur'an is explained with regard to the need of revealing it.
.This is a reference to the universal blessings which manifested themselves with the advent of Muhammad (sws) and the revelation of the Qur'an, and whose glad tidings had been given to Abraham when he prepared to sacrifice his son at God's behest. It is recorded thus in the Bible:
The angel of theLordcalled to Abraham (sws) from heaven a second timeand said, "I swear by myself,declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,I will surely bless youand make your descendantsas numerous as the stars in the skyand as the sand on the seashore.Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me." (Genesis, 22:15-18)
.Ie., in confirmation of the prophesies about it found in the previous scriptures and has been revealed so that it can become a conclusive argument on the veracity of the series of Prophets that came after the revelation of the Torah.
.This part is co-ordinated to the meaning that emanates from the first sentence. Since the indication was very prominent, it was suppressed. This need for the Qur'an has been mentioned with reference to the Quraysh. It was revealed to conclusively communicate the truth to them. As a result of its revelation the blessings referred to above manifested themselves for the whole world.
.This is a reference to the pious among the People of the Book. The Qur'an has praised them at various places, and at every place has stated that they can be recognized by their adherence to the prayer and their recital of the revelations of God by night and day.
.This refers to indulgence in polytheism. It is regarded as a false blame because the polytheists would concoct deities and then claim that God had made them His partners. This was the greatest crime of the Prophet (sws). Hence after mentioning the mischief mongers of the People of the Book, the Qur'an has directed its attention to them and mentioned this crime the foremost.
.This is a reference to the nonsensical talk uttered by the leaders of the Quraysh so that people were not influenced by the claim made by the Prophet (sws) that he was speaking on behalf of God and that the words had been revealed to him by an angel. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi:
… It is a general principle that when a truth manifests itself, those whose arrogance is struck by it feel helpless against it. Then through such imposing statements they try to secure their position so that the common masses who have been deceived by them do not lose confidence in them and accept the truth. However, how and till when can such artificial show of courage and its proclamation evade reality? Finally, these boasters have to concede defeat. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 111)
.This is a conditional statement. Its answer has been suppressed. This is because words fail to portray the horrific scene that is meant to be portrayed.
.The reason for this humiliating punishment is that these arrogant people had become rebellious and haughty before God.
.The actual words are: وَ کُنۡتُمۡ عَنۡ اٰیٰتِہٖ تَسۡتَکۡبِرُوۡنَ. The preposition عَنۡ in them evidences the fact that the word تَسۡتَکۡبِرُوۡنَ encompasses the meaning of evasion.
.Earlier the style of the discourse was indirect. Now it has become direct. Deliberation shows that this direct style has brought forth the horror of the Day of Judgement before one's eyes as if it has actually arrived and one was being addressed.
.The actual words are: لَقَدۡ تَّقَطَّعَ بَیۡنَکُمۡ. The fa'il in them has been suppressed. The actual construction is to the effect: لَقَدۡ تَّقَطَّعَ بَیۡنَکُمۡ الحَبْلُ.
.Ie., the view that God has partners and they will intercede on their behalf has turned out baseless.
.Ie., people should look at the small seed and the fruit-stone. Who is it that makes it burst forth from the depths of the earth and then causes the shoots of trees and plants to sprout from them? It is only God's power that has bestowed a seed and the fruit-stone with such potential. Moreover, it is He Who directs all the elements of nature to help in nurturing them. Do people see anything but the hand of God in this? Certainly not! They full well know that it is God alone Who, from a seed and a fruit-stone to everything in the universe is governing them without any partners. If anyone had the slightest authority, then nothing of these would either have been created or played its role.
.A verb is employed to convey the meaning of bringing forth the living from the dead. The purpose is to portray the situation. However, an adjective (in this case a fa'il) is used to convey the meaning of bringing forth the dead from the living. This incorporates in it the meaning of decision and strong intention. The implication is that whether anyone wants or not, God transforms life into death. Such is the inexorable nature of this law that a person once given life, holds it dearest to him; however, when the decision of God arrives, a person is forced to hand over his dearest possession to God. The reality to which this law of life and death directs our attention is explained thus by Amin Ahsan Islahi:
... From the lifeless fruit-stones and from the lifeless seeds of wheat a luxuriant tree and a lush green plant sprouts, and then the luxuriant tree and lush green plant become yellow and start to decay and finally wither away. The same observation can be made in human beings and animals. So much so, it is the same with nations and peoples: they follow a perpetual pattern of rise and fall. A nation suddenly emerges out of nothingness and dominates the whole world. A time comes when this very nation vanishes into nothingness. No one can escape this law of life and death, rise and fall. If someone besides God was also governing this universe, why can he not annul this law in even a part of the universe. If it is supposed that God does not even exist and this cosmos is a manifestation of matter or an unbridled power, then this manifestation should have continued and perpetuated. It should not have discontinued and no change in its direction should have occurred and it should not have changed. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 117)
.Ie., they see this majesty of God and still go about ascribing partners to Him.
.Ie., the grandeur of He who tears apart the seeds and fruit-seeds buried in the earth to make vegetation and trees emerge from them should also be seen in the heavens above: it is He who brings forth the dawn after tearing apart the curtain of the night.
.It becomes evident of its own accord from this that the night provides comfort to people because after it the day has to come in which they will become engaged in earning their livelihood and financial activities.
.I.e., prescribe a principle and a time-table for them so that in spite of being in the heaven they cause weather for the inhabitants of the earth and also determine the duration of the day, the month and the year.
.It is as if this sentence is the call of every upright person that has been spontaneously expressed by the tongue.
.The actual words are: لِقَوۡمٍ یَّعۡلَمُوۡنَ. Here the verb is meant to express intention. The implication is that if they demand signs, then they can see that God has fully explained all His signs for true seekers of the truth
.Ie., created them from Adam (sws). After directing a person's attention to the world around him, here his attention is being directed at his own creation: in spite of different appearances, physiques, languages and dialects, man's being through his instincts and natural urges bears witness that they are the progeny of a single being: Adam (sws), and that their Creator is one also. The words used for this are اَنۡشَاَکُمۡ. This does not merely means to create; it also means that God nourished and nurtured man and brought him up and developed him in such a manner that he became a miracle of the power and wisdom of God.
.Ie., a place to dwell and live where he necessarily spends the time ordained for him. It is here that he benefits from the sustenance predestined for him and then departs. This shows that this dwelling place has been given by the very being who has created him. No one else has any role in it.
.The actual word is: مُسۡتَوۡدَعٌ. It means a place where something is protectively entrusted. The implication is that God has determined the place where people will be kept after their demise so that whenever He wants He can ask the earth to return them to Him.
.Earlier, in verse 98 it had been said: "who want to know." The desire to know directs a person's attention to the reality and the desire to understand engenders the courage in him to look beyond what can be felt and behold the reality.
.This change of address from the indirect to direct has a great element of affection in it. It is as if with great warmth and fondness God has directed man's attention to Himself: he should look and see that it is God Who creates so many diverse things from water. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… It has an expression of affection, care and providence in it and also a reference to the fact that it is God Who rules everywhere in the heavens and the earth, air and clouds. If the heavens were ruled by one power and the earth by another, how could harmony have resulted in that the heavens would rain down water and the earth expel its treasures as a consequence? (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 124)
.Ie., first they produce lush spikes and bunches and then God places multi-layered grains on them.
.After grain, fruits are mentioned and dates are referred to the foremost because they were the common fruit in Arabia. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… Dates are mentioned in a way that attention is focused on their trees, on buds being created in these trees and from these buds heavy hanging bunches coming into beingso that man is able to behold the creativity of God found in their initial appearance till the time they ripen. Merely by reflecting on this creativity, a person can comprehend the Creator and has some idea of His power, wisdom, mercy and providence. The obvious reason of this is that people are able to have cognizance of God otherwise as far as the need of dates as a means of sustenance is concerned it is not essential that a small fruit seed gradually become a large tree, then at one stage buds and then spikes come into being; after that fruitlings develop which gradually mature into fruits whose bunches because of their weight hang low and all this by its very existence invites people to deliberate on them. Our hearts bear witness that all this elaborate arrangement is for the reason that the secrets of God's power, providence and wisdom are revealed to people. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 125)
.These were the commonly found fruits in Arabia. Hence only they have been mentioned and in them too the variety and diversity that highlights the majesty of God's providence, mercy, generosity, power and wisdom is referred to.
.The actual words are: اُنۡظُرُوۡۤا اِلٰی ثَمَرِہٖۤ اِذَاۤ اَثۡمَرَ وَ یَنۡعِہٖ.In accordance with linguistic principles, the word اِذَا اَيْنَعَ have been suppressed after یَنۡعِہٖ.The antecedent of the pronoun in اِلٰی ثَمَرِہٖۤ is all things mentioned above. The pronoun occurs in the singular so that it points to each of these things separately and directs people to reflect on each of them. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
The verse states that people should reflect on all the phases of each of these things that begin with their inception and end on their ripening. If they do so they will witness so many signs of God's power, wisdom, providence, creativity, micro-management, benevolence and beauty that they will not be able to count them. They ask for a single sign and a single miracle. If they have eyes, each branch, each flower and each fruit is no less than a miracle. Even the smallest of things has thousands of manifestations of God's inimitable power writ large on it. It has been alluded to earlier that this world did not need all these marvels and majesties for its survival. It could have been created in a very simple and monotonous form and could have existed in this form; however, the creator of the heavens and the earth wanted that each every petal and each and every flower reflect His great power and wisdom and His unfathomable mercy and providence so that man is able to comprehend Him. It is a great misfortune of man that, on the one hand, when he discovers a broken piece of pottery from the archeological remains of the Moenjodaro and Harappa, from the crooked lines sketched on it, he fashions out a complete interpretation and history of the art, culture, civilization and religion and in short everything of that age; however, on the other hand, such is his thick-headedness and lack of taste that he is not able to comprehend the wisdom of the Almighty etched in abundance on every petal in this universe nor is he able to receive any guidance from them. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 127)
.Ie., these people are not stubborn and obdurate. If they understand something, they believe it. Besides knowledge and understanding, shunning stubbornness is the third thing that is also essential. In the absence of this attitude, a person rejects facts that they stare him in the face. The verse says that for such people there exist extra-ordinary signs of monotheism in this universe: had there been many deities and gods governing their own territories, even a mustard seed would not have been able to develop and grow; it would not have been possible for this world to continue for a day the way it has been continuously going on while following a certain discipline; the harmony between night and day would never have resulted in that one of them provide sleep and comfort to man and the other provide him with the opportunities of livelihood; the stars in the heavens would not have been able to provide light; human beings together with the distinctive features of their respective nations and tribes would not have shown progress in culture and civilization; no conformity would have resulted between life, sustenance and means and resources; the elements of nature would not have been able to cater for the existence of man with such planning and wisdom. All these facts bear witness that the sun, the moon, the stars, winds and clouds, light and darkness, heat and cold, autumn and spring, earth and sky – in short, every object of this universe is under the governance of the One God, the Powerful and the Cherisher. No one is His associate in running the affairs of this universe. اَلَا لَہُ الۡخَلۡقُ وَ الۡاَمۡرُ ؕ تَبٰرَکَ اللّٰہُ رَبُّ الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ (7: 54) (Beware! Creation and command belongs to Him; blessed is God, Lord of the universe, (7:54)).