Surah Maryam (2/2)

Surah Maryam (2/2)

Qur'anic Exegesis

فَلَمَّا اعۡتَزَلَہُمۡ وَ مَا یَعۡبُدُوۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ ۙ وَہَبۡنَا لَہٗۤ اِسۡحٰقَ وَ یَعۡقُوۡبَ ؕ وَ کُلًّا جَعَلۡنَا نَبِیًّا ﴿۴۹﴾ وَ وَہَبۡنَا لَہُمۡ مِّنۡ رَّحۡمَتِنَا وَ جَعَلۡنَا لَہُمۡ لِسَانَ صِدۡقٍ عَلِیًّا ﴿۵۰﴾

Then when he abandoned them and they also who they worshipped instead of God, We blessed him with Isaac and Jacob and made each of them a prophet[47] and granted them a share of Our mercy and gave them a lofty status, true and eternal.[48] (49-50)

وَ اذۡکُرۡ فِی الۡکِتٰبِ مُوۡسٰۤی ۫ اِنَّہٗ کَانَ مُخۡلَصًا وَّ کَانَ رَسُوۡلًا نَّبِیًّا ﴿۵۱﴾ وَ نَادَیۡنٰہُ مِنۡ جَانِبِ الطُّوۡرِ الۡاَیۡمَنِ وَ قَرَّبۡنٰہُ نَجِیًّا ﴿۵۲﴾ وَ وَہَبۡنَا لَہٗ مِنۡ رَّحۡمَتِنَاۤ اَخَاہُ ہٰرُوۡنَ نَبِیًّا ﴿۵۳﴾

And mention the name of Moses in this Book. He was a chosen person[49] and a messenger prophet.[50] We called him from the sacred side of Ṭur[51] and called him close while We were talking to him about some secrets. And with Our grace gave him his brother Aaron [as his helper] by making him a prophet. (51-53).

وَ اذۡکُرۡ فِی الۡکِتٰبِ اِسۡمٰعِیۡلَ ۫ اِنَّہٗ کَانَ صَادِقَ الۡوَعۡدِ وَ کَانَ رَسُوۡلًا نَّبِیًّا ﴿ۚ۵۴﴾ وَ کَانَ یَاۡمُرُ اَہۡلَہٗ بِالصَّلٰوۃِ وَ الزَّکٰوۃِ ۪ وَ کَانَ عِنۡدَ رَبِّہٖ مَرۡضِیًّا ﴿۵۵﴾

And mention the name of Ishmael in this Book. He was true to his promises[52] and a messenger prophet. He would urge his people to the prayer and the zakah[53] and was a likeable person to His Lord.[54] (54-55)

وَ اذۡکُرۡ فِی الۡکِتٰبِ اِدۡرِیۡسَ ۫ اِنَّہٗ کَانَ صِدِّیۡقًا نَّبِیًّا ﴿٭ۙ۵۶﴾ وَّ رَفَعۡنٰہُ مَکَانًا عَلِیًّا ﴿۵۷﴾

And mention Idris in this Book. Indeed, he was also upright and a prophet and [like Abraham] We had made him rise to a lofty status.[55] (56-57)

اُولٰٓئِکَ الَّذِیۡنَ اَنۡعَمَ اللّٰہُ عَلَیۡہِمۡ مِّنَ النَّبِیّٖنَ مِنۡ ذُرِّیَّۃِ اٰدَمَ ٭ وَ مِمَّنۡ حَمَلۡنَا مَعَ نُوۡحٍ ۫ وَّ مِنۡ ذُرِّیَّۃِ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ وَ اِسۡرَآءِیۡلَ ۫ وَ مِمَّنۡ ہَدَیۡنَا وَ اجۡتَبَیۡنَا ؕ اِذَا تُتۡلٰی عَلَیۡہِمۡ اٰیٰتُ الرَّحۡمٰنِ خَرُّوۡا سُجَّدًا وَّ بُکِیًّا ﴿ٛ۵۸﴾ فَخَلَفَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِہِمۡ خَلۡفٌ اَضَاعُوا الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اتَّبَعُوا الشَّہَوٰتِ فَسَوۡفَ یَلۡقَوۡنَ غَیًّا ﴿ۙ۵۹﴾ اِلَّا مَنۡ تَابَ وَ اٰمَنَ وَ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَاُولٰٓئِکَ یَدۡخُلُوۡنَ الۡجَنَّۃَ وَ لَا یُظۡلَمُوۡنَ شَیۡئًا ﴿ۙ۶۰﴾ جَنّٰتِ عَدۡنِۣ الَّتِیۡ وَعَدَ الرَّحۡمٰنُ عِبَادَہٗ بِالۡغَیۡبِ ؕ اِنَّہٗ کَانَ وَعۡدُہٗ مَاۡتِیًّا ﴿۶۱﴾ لَا یَسۡمَعُوۡنَ فِیۡہَا لَغۡوًا اِلَّا سَلٰمًا ؕ وَ لَہُمۡ رِزۡقُہُمۡ فِیۡہَا بُکۡرَۃً وَّ عَشِیًّا ﴿۶۲﴾ تِلۡکَ الۡجَنَّۃُ الَّتِیۡ نُوۡرِثُ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَا مَنۡ کَانَ تَقِیًّا ﴿۶۳﴾

These are the people whom God blessed from among His messengers from among the progeny of Adam[56] and from the progeny of those whom We had boarded with Noah [on the Ark] and from the progeny of Abraham and Israel and from among those whom We had guided and chosen. When the revelations of the merciful God were recited to them, they would fall down in prostration and continue to weep.[57] Then, after them, those wicked succeeded them who squandered the prayer and followed their desires.[58] So, soon they will face the consequences of going astray. However, those who repent, accept faith and do righteous deeds, it is these people who will enter Paradise and will face not the slightest injustice. In eternal orchards that were promised to His servants by the merciful Lord in that world which is hidden from the eyes. His promise shall definitely be fulfilled. They will not hear any evil talk in it. Salutations of peace will be there for them everywhere.[59] Their sustenance will be available in it for them morning and evening.[60] This is the Paradise that We will give in inheritance to those among Our servants who fear God.[61] (58-63)

وَ مَا نَتَنَزَّلُ اِلَّا بِاَمۡرِ رَبِّکَ ۚ لَہٗ مَا بَیۡنَ اَیۡدِیۡنَا وَ مَا خَلۡفَنَا وَ مَا بَیۡنَ ذٰلِکَ ۚ وَ مَا کَانَ رَبُّکَ نَسِیًّا ﴿ۚ۶۴﴾ رَبُّ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ وَ مَا بَیۡنَہُمَا فَاعۡبُدۡہُ وَ اصۡطَبِرۡ لِعِبَادَتِہٖ ؕ ہَلۡ تَعۡلَمُ لَہٗ سَمِیًّا ﴿ ۶۵﴾

[We know[62] O Muhammad that you wait for us. But our matter is that] We descend only at the directive of your Lord. Whatever is in front of us and what is behind us all is in His authority and that all also which is in between. [Rest assured,] your Lord does not forget [anything].[63] He is the master of the heavens and the earth and all that lies in between them. So, worship Him alone and adhere to His worship.[64] Is there anyone similar to Him in your knowledge?[65] (64-65)

وَ یَقُوۡلُ الۡاِنۡسَانُ ءَ اِذَا مَا مِتُّ لَسَوۡفَ اُخۡرَجُ حَیًّا ﴿۶۶﴾اَوَ لَا یَذۡکُرُ الۡاِنۡسَانُ اَنَّا خَلَقۡنٰہُ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ وَ لَمۡ یَکُ شَیۡئًا ﴿۶۷﴾ فَوَ رَبِّکَ لَنَحۡشُرَنَّہُمۡ وَ الشَّیٰطِیۡنَ ثُمَّ لَنُحۡضِرَنَّہُمۡ حَوۡلَ جَہَنَّمَ جِثِیًّا ﴿ۚ۶۸﴾ ثُمَّ لَنَنۡزِعَنَّ مِنۡ کُلِّ شِیۡعَۃٍ اَیُّہُمۡ اَشَدُّ عَلَی الرَّحۡمٰنِ عِتِیًّا ﴿ۚ۶۹﴾ ثُمَّ لَنَحۡنُ اَعۡلَمُ بِالَّذِیۡنَ ہُمۡ اَوۡلٰی بِہَا صِلِیًّا ﴿۷۰﴾ وَ اِنۡ مِّنۡکُمۡ اِلَّا وَارِدُہَا ۚ کَانَ عَلٰی رَبِّکَ حَتۡمًا مَّقۡضِیًّا ﴿ۚ۷۱﴾

Man[66] says: "Will I be taken out and given life again after I die?" Does man not remember that We have created him before when he was nothing.[67] So, by your Lord! We will surely gather them and their devils also.[68] Then We will bring them forth around Hell such that they will be sitting on their knees [like criminals]. Then from each group We shall sort people by separating those who were the most rebellious against the merciful God.[69] Then it is We Who would be the most aware of those most worthy of entering Hell.[70] [O you who are being arrogant before the merciful God,] each of one you will surely enter it.[71] This is a matter decided [O Prophet] to fulfill which is the responsibility of your Lord. (66-71)

ثُمَّ نُنَجِّی الَّذِیۡنَ اتَّقَوۡا وَّ نَذَرُ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ فِیۡہَا جِثِیًّا ﴿۷۲﴾

Then We will save those[72] who feared God, and those who were unjust to their souls, We will leave them sitting in it on their knees.[73] (72)

وَ اِذَا تُتۡلٰی عَلَیۡہِمۡ اٰیٰتُنَا بَیِّنٰتٍ قَالَ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا لِلَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا ۙ اَیُّ الۡفَرِیۡقَیۡنِ خَیۡرٌ مَّقَامًا وَّ اَحۡسَنُ نَدِیًّا ﴿۷۳﴾ وَ کَمۡ اَہۡلَکۡنَا قَبۡلَہُمۡ مِّنۡ قَرۡنٍ ہُمۡ اَحۡسَنُ اَثَاثًا وَّ رِءۡیًا ﴿۷۴﴾ قُلۡ مَنۡ کَانَ فِی الضَّلٰلَۃِ فَلۡیَمۡدُدۡ لَہُ الرَّحۡمٰنُ مَدًّا ۬ۚ حَتّٰۤی اِذَا رَاَوۡا مَا یُوۡعَدُوۡنَ اِمَّا الۡعَذَابَ وَ اِمَّا السَّاعَۃَ ؕ فَسَیَعۡلَمُوۡنَ مَنۡ ہُوَ شَرٌّ مَّکَانًا وَّ اَضۡعَفُ جُنۡدًا ﴿۷۵﴾

When Our clear revelations are recited to them, these disbelievers say to the believers: "Tell us which among our two groups is better in status and more grand in gatherings?"[74] How many a nation before them have We destroyed who were far greater than them in possessions and in outer majesty. Tell them: "Those who persist in error, the practice of God [about them] is[75] that He grants them full respite until when they see the thing they are being promised – whether it is God's torment[76] or the hour of judgement – then at that time they will fully know whose status is evil and whose faction is weak.[77] (73-75)

وَ یَزِیۡدُ اللّٰہُ الَّذِیۡنَ اہۡتَدَوۡا ہُدًی ؕ وَ الۡبٰقِیٰتُ الصّٰلِحٰتُ خَیۡرٌ عِنۡدَ رَبِّکَ ثَوَابًا وَّ خَیۡرٌ مَّرَدًّا ﴿۷۶﴾

Contrary to this, those who adopt the path of guidance, God increases their guidance and good deeds[78] that remain are better before your Lord with regard to reward as well as their consequence.[79] (76)

اَفَرَءَیۡتَ الَّذِیۡ کَفَرَ بِاٰیٰتِنَا وَ قَالَ لَاُوۡتَیَنَّ مَالًا وَّ وَلَدًا ﴿ؕ۷۷﴾ اَطَّلَعَ الۡغَیۡبَ اَمِ اتَّخَذَ عِنۡدَ الرَّحۡمٰنِ عَہۡدًا ﴿ۙ۷۸﴾ کَلَّا ؕ سَنَکۡتُبُ مَا یَقُوۡلُ وَ نَمُدُّ لَہٗ مِنَ الۡعَذَابِ مَدًّا ﴿ۙ۷۹﴾ وَّ نَرِثُہٗ مَا یَقُوۡلُ وَ یَاۡتِیۡنَا فَرۡدًا ﴿۸۰﴾

Then have you seen that person[80] who rejected Our revelations and who claimed: "I shall definitely be blessed [in a similar way] with wealth and children [in the Hereafter]."[81] Has he peeped into the future or has he taken a promise from the merciful God? Certainly not! Whatever he says, We will write it down and [because of this claim of his] continue to increase the torment in his favour and We shall inherit the things he lays claim to and he shall come before us alone.[82] (77-80)

وَ اتَّخَذُوۡا مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ اٰلِہَۃً لِّیَکُوۡنُوۡا لَہُمۡ عِزًّا ﴿ۙ۸۱﴾ کَلَّا ؕ سَیَکۡفُرُوۡنَ بِعِبَادَتِہِمۡ وَ یَکُوۡنُوۡنَ عَلَیۡہِمۡ ضِدًّا ﴿ ۸۲﴾

These people have set up deities besides God so that they may be of support to them.[83] Certainly not! [There will be no supporter there]. All of them will deny their worship and, on the contrary, become their opponents. (81-82)

اَلَمۡ تَرَ اَنَّـاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنَا الشَّیٰطِیۡنَ عَلَی الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ تَؤُزُّہُمۡ اَزًّا ﴿ۙ۸۳﴾ فَلَا تَعۡجَلۡ عَلَیۡہِمۡ ؕ اِنَّمَا نَعُدُّ لَہُمۡ عَدًّا ﴿ۚ۸۴﴾

Have you not seen that We have let loose devils on these disbelievers.[84] They are enticing them a lot. So, do not show haste in the decision against them. We are only completing their count.[85] (83-84)

یَوۡمَ نَحۡشُرُ الۡمُتَّقِیۡنَ اِلَی الرَّحۡمٰنِ وَفۡدًا ﴿ۙ۸۵﴾ وَّ نَسُوۡقُ الۡمُجۡرِمِیۡنَ اِلٰی جَہَنَّمَ وِرۡدًا ﴿ۘ۸۶﴾ لَا یَمۡلِکُوۡنَ الشَّفَاعَۃَ اِلَّا مَنِ اتَّخَذَ عِنۡدَ الرَّحۡمٰنِ عَہۡدًا ﴿ۘ۸۷﴾

Remind them when We will bring together the pious towards the merciful God as guests and drive the wrongdoers towards Hell thirsty. On that day, they will not have authority to bring any recommendation except he who has taken a promise from the merciful God.[86] (85-87)

وَ قَالُوا اتَّخَذَ الرَّحۡمٰنُ وَلَدًا ﴿ؕ۸۸﴾ لَقَدۡ جِئۡتُمۡ شَیۡئًا اِدًّا ﴿ۙ۸۹﴾تَکَادُ السَّمٰوٰتُ یَتَفَطَّرۡنَ مِنۡہُ وَ تَنۡشَقُّ الۡاَرۡضُ وَ تَخِرُّ الۡجِبَالُ ہَدًّا ﴿ۙ۹۰﴾ اَنۡ دَعَوۡا لِلرَّحۡمٰنِ وَلَدًا ﴿ۚ۹۱﴾ وَ مَا یَنۡۢبَغِیۡ لِلرَّحۡمٰنِ اَنۡ یَّتَّخِذَ وَلَدًا ﴿ؕ۹۲﴾ اِنۡ کُلُّ مَنۡ فِی السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ اِلَّاۤ اٰتِی الرَّحۡمٰنِ عَبۡدًا ﴿ؕ۹۳﴾ لَقَدۡ اَحۡصٰہُمۡ وَ عَدَّہُمۡ عَدًّا ﴿ؕ۹۴﴾ وَ کُلُّہُمۡ اٰتِیۡہِ یَوۡمَ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ فَرۡدًا ﴿۹۵﴾ اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ سَیَجۡعَلُ لَہُمُ الرَّحۡمٰنُ وُدًّا ﴿۹۶﴾

They say: "The merciful God has children."[87] You have given a very grave statement.[88] It may well be that because of this the heavens tear apart, the earth is rent asunder and the mountains collapse to fall down that people have ascribed children to the merciful God.[89] It is not befitting for the Merciful to make someone His children. Whoever are in the heavens and the earth will be brought forth in the presence of the most Merciful as none but His servants.[90] He is embracing them and He has fully counted them.[91] Each of them will come forth before Him alone in the Hereafter. However, those who have accepted faith and done righteous deeds, for them the Merciful will soon create [an atmosphere of] love and affection [in His presence].[92] (88-96)

فَاِنَّمَا یَسَّرۡنٰہُ بِلِسَانِکَ لِتُبَشِّرَ بِہِ الۡمُتَّقِیۡنَ وَ تُنۡذِرَ بِہٖ قَوۡمًا لُّدًّا ﴿۹۷﴾ وَ کَمۡ اَہۡلَکۡنَا قَبۡلَہُمۡ مِّنۡ قَرۡنٍ ؕ ہَلۡ تُحِسُّ مِنۡہُمۡ مِّنۡ اَحَدٍ اَوۡ تَسۡمَعُ لَہُمۡ رِکۡزًا ﴿۹۸﴾

So, [O Prophet!] We have made this Qur'an[93] easy and apt for you in your language so that through it you may give glad tidings to those who are fearful to God and warn these stubborn people.[94] How many a nation have We destroyed before them. Do you hear any faint sound of any of them or hear their mention?[95] (97-98).

Kuala Lumpur

31st Dec 2012

(Translated by Dr Shehzad Saleem)

[47]. Once a messenger migrates from his people, he is generally given death but in the case of Abraham (sws) this did not happen. The Almighty deputed him on another mission of establishing centres of monotheism in the lands of Palestine and Arabia and in return for his sacrifices chose all subsequent prophets from his descendents. Thus all his progeny is his chosen ummah that is given the responsibility of communicating the truth in a conclusive manner to other nations till the Day of Judgement. It is a mention of this favour that after him, his son Isaac (sws) and after Isaac, his son Jacob (sws) and after Jacob (sws), his son Joseph (sws) all were made prophets. As a result, this ummah was initiated with the majesty and splendour its status entailed. This prophethood is of the same nature as the one given to Adam (sws) in the very beginning. It was not necessary for this that they be assigned to a particular nation.

The matter of Ishmael (sws), however, was different. He was the greatest and foremost blessing of Abraham's migration. Thus besides being assigned as a prophet he was also given the status of a messenger and was sent to people who inhabited the area around the Baytullah. It is for this reason that he is not mentioned here and referred to in detail independently ahead.

[48]. It is this fame for which Abraham (sws) had prayed. It is mentioned in verse 84 of Surah al-Shu'ara'. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... The implication is that God greatly augmented the effects of his preaching and he received such abiding respect and fame that thousands of years have passed ever since but it has not diminished. Hundreds and thousands of celebrated prophets and righteous people have arisen from this blessed clan and kept alive Abraham's mission. At the end, Muhammad (sws) was assigned as God's messenger from the progeny of Ishmael to revive the teachings of Abraham (sws). As a result, that fame and loftiness has become eternal. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 4, 662)

[49]. The actual words are: مُخْلَصًا. God interacted with Moses (sws) in a special way by directly talking to him. This word portrays this distinction of his. The expression قَرَبّنَاهُ نَجِيَّا ahead explains it. From among God's messengers, only he was chosen for direct conversation and a clandestine exchange. Being helped by a prophet is also another distinction which no other prophet had. This favour was bestowed on him at his own request because he was assigned to a tyrant like the Pharaoh. At the same time, he was also given the responsibility to organize a great nation as the Israelites which had reached the lowest mark as far as religion and ethics were concerned.

[50]. Ie., besides being a prophet of God, he was also his messenger. This meant that he was a court of justice for the people he was assigned to and would decide their fate in this world.

[51]. The actual word is الأَيْمَنْ. It means "the right (direction)" and "holy." I have preferred the second of the two meanings because it is substantiated by verse 12 of Surah Ṭaha.

[52]. This is a reference to the promise which he made with his father regarding his sacrifice and when the time came for its realization he placed his head under the knife without any hesitation. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

In apparent form, the expression صَادِقَ الْوَعْدِ is composed of only two words. However, it is a comprenhesive portrayal of a true believer who submits to God. A servant of God who is true to what he has promised to Him and is prepared to sacrifice his life for it has truly attained the pinnacle of faith and submission to God. As for those who are indulging in gaining worldly benefits because of being descendents of Abraham (sws) and Ishmael (sws) and bragging about their association with them, they should see their hideous fate in the reflection of the mirror which the Qur'an has placed before them. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 4, 665)

[53]. All the shari'ah is based on these two things. They are mentioned here because those whose accounts are being narrated here were the progeny of Abraham (sws) but had become indifferent to both the prayer and to the zakah.

[54]. Ie., he was precisely the same before his Lord the way He wants His servants to be. This is the ultimate status for a person to be just and fair. Nothing can be said beyond it in this regard.

[55]. He is from among the prophets from the pre-Noah period. The reason he is mentioned here is that the series of prophets that ended on Abraham (sws) probably began with Idris (sws). Viewed, thus he was similar to him. Thus the qualities which are cited with his reference are the same as the ones cited for Abraham (sws) earlier. By mentioning him, the Qur'an has actually comprehensively covered the pre and post Abrahamic periods of prophethood.

[56]. This indication substantiates the view just expressed regarding Idris. Thus the general opinion is that he is Enoch of the Bible.

[57]. This is a sarcastic remark on those who claimed to be adherents of the prophets but after listening to verses of the Qur'an would arrogantly deny them.

[58]. This is the real reason for which the above accounts were narrated. In other words, sorrow is expressed on the addressees that in spite of being from the progeny of Abraham (sws) and Jacob (sws) and other distinguished prophets they have ruined the religion bought by them. In this regard, wasting the prayer is specially mentioned. This is because the prayer reminds a person all the time of the covenant he has made with the Almighty. If the prayer is given up, then soon or late a person succumbs to the luring of Satan. After this, following of desires is mentioned the obvious consequence of which is deprivation of spending in the path of God. Thus the real hindrance is stated so that the prayer and the zakah are indicated as well as the reason which make them to go to waste and be ruined.

[59]. Ie., from one another and from God's angels as well who will welcome them and pay their salutations to them because of their success.

[60]. The word رِزْق is used in the verse. In the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, this includes the blessings of God as well as spiritual advancement. The implication is that there they will be continually bestowed with favour of body and soul, heart and mind.

[61]. Here at the end it is made evident to the addressees that contrary to what they may think and claim, it is the verdict of God that claimants and slaves of desires do not have any right to His Paradise. Only they will enter it who fear Him.

[62]. This paragraph is parenthetical in nature. Gabriel expresses his apology in it for his delayed arrival and also urges the Prophet (sws) to show patience on his hastiness and anxiety. It is known that conclusive communication of the truth to his people was his responsibility as a messenger of God. It was but natural for him to show haste in completing it as soon as possible and succeed in the eyes of God. At the same time, the Quraysh too repeatedly demanded why the Qur'an was not being revealed in one go. If a person is receiving such a matchless Book as the Qur'an from the king of the universe and the lord of the worlds, it is but natural for him to wish for the whole book to be completed quickly. He acquired all the power of his heart, vibrancy of his soul, guidance for his intellect and stability for his resolve from the Qur'an alone. These factors too contributed to his desire to get hold of this divine treasure as soon as possible. In these verses, he has been urged to exercise patience on the hastiness which must have emanated from him if a long interval elapsed before the next revelation. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi has directed our attention to some of its aspects. He writes:

The first thing worthy of note here is that Gabriel has actually presented a type of apology to the Prophet (sws) that his coming with divine revelation is based on God's command. In other words, if angels do not come in quick succession to quench the Prophet's (sws) desire and to end his wait, it is not because of some error on their part. Unless they are directed by God, they can neither descend to him nor bring down revelation to him. They have no say in this and are wholly under God's command.

The second thing worthy of note is that the status of Gabriel and the whole group of angels becomes evident: everything that is in front of and behind them and in between them is under the total control and protection of God. There is not the slightest possibility that anyone of them dare exceed his limits or carry out a plan out of his own will. God is not forgetful that anyone of them can use this forgetfulness to his advantage and implement his own will and still remain unpunished. The reason for explaining this status of the angels was to refute the notion of the Arab polytheists who worshipped angels and thought that if ever the Hereafter came these daughters of God would save them from the wrath of their father by interceding for them. By reciting this statement of Gabriel, these foolish people are informed that when in the court of the Almighty, Gabriel – the leader of all angels – occupies this frail position, it can well be imagined what power other angels have. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 4, 675)

[63]. The implication is that if there is some delay, it is for some valid reason and it is not because of his Lord's forgetfulness.

[64]. The actual words are: وَاصْطَبِرْ لِعِبَادَتِهِ. The word عِبَاَدَة here is in its wider meaning and includes both worship and obedience. Similarly, the word إِصْطِبَار used is used in place of صَبْر which has a greater amount of stress in it. Moreover, when the preposition after it comes in this way, it encompasses the meaning of to wait. It is not easy to unfold these understood aspects of the verse in a translation. The implication is that the Prophet (sws) should patiently wait for the directive of God and with full steadfastness follow whatever he is directed to do. This is what is expected of him in his capacity of God's envoy.

[65]. Ie., when there is none who is a peer, equal or match, he should rest assured that no one can become a hindrance in the implementation of His will.

[66]. Gabriel's words end here and it is now the Almighty Who begins His speech. Though a general word إِنْسَان is used, concomitant indications show that it refers to the Idolaters of Arabia who would utter such contradictory statements about the Day of Judgement.

[67]. In the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, when God has been able to create them from nothing how can it be difficult for Him to create them from something?

[68]. Ie., the devils which they followed from among jinnkind and mankind.

[69]. So that now they are the foremost in being cast into Hell.

[70]. Ie., no one else will need to inform Him. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

This is a subtle sarcasm on the wrong belief of intercessionheld by the idolaters: only he can intercede before God who can claim that he is more informed than Him. Now who can be a bigger a megalomaniac than he who can tell God that he knows more about someone; that he is very pious; so do not say anything to him and send him to Paradise directly. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 4, 678)

[71]. The purpose here is to express extreme wrath. Hence the style of address has changed from indirect to direct.

[72]. Ie., save them from the Hell which would have become their abode – like it has for the wrongdoers mentioned here – if they had shown arrogance before God and not adhered to piety. This word has been used in the Qur'an at various places for the deliverance of God's messenger and his companions from the punishment that has continued to come in this world after conclusive communication of the truth.

[73]. Earlier, precisely the same words were used for the situation in which they will await judgement. Here they are used for the situation when after God's judgement they will be consigned to the keepers of Hell and will await going to their destination of punishment in accordance with the extent of their wrongdoings. The implication is that God will show His utter indifference to them by leaving them in this situation so that after all the humiliation they have suffered they are now in the grasp of those who will take them to their destination. Viewed thus, the word جِثِيَّاis used very aptly at both places because in the waiting phase criminals are generally made to sit in this manner.

[74]. Ie., it is very evident to them that if in this world they are better, they cannot become of no consequence in the next; when God has given them all this wealth here and deprived their opponents, in the next world too they will receive His favours.

[75]. The actual words are: فَلۡیَمۡدُدۡ لَہُ الرَّحۡمٰنُ مَدًّا. This style has been adopted here because it refers to God's established practice and His befitting way of doing things. The implication is that God's power, wisdom and efficient planning entails that since He has made this world for trial He should not seize people immediately for their misdoings; on the contrary, He should give them as much respite as possible so that they are able to do what they want to the ultimate extent and are left with no excuse when the punishment comes.

[76]. This is a mention of the torment which necessarily visits a nation if it denies its messenger.

[77]. Superlative tenses are employed in the verse. In accordance with linguistic principles of Arabic, they are not necessarily meant for comparison. They occur without it as well.

[78]. The actual words are: الۡبٰقِیٰتُ الصّٰلِحٰتُ. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... It is evident from this that only those deeds are righteous which are eternal and abiding. Deeds which are meant for a small period of time and are not eternal cannot be deemed as righteous. As for the question which deeds are eternal and which ones are not, the answer to this is that the latter are the ones which are done while keeping the objectives of this worldly life in mind; they are not eternal because this world is not eternal. Eternal deeds are only those which are done solely for God and the Hereafter because God is eternal and so is the Hereafter. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 4, 681)

[79]. This is an assurance sounded to the believers: if, instead of focusing on immediate benefits, they keep in mind things which are beneficial to them in the Hereafter, they should rest assured that the kingdom of God will await them.

[80]. The actual word is: اَفَرَءَیۡتَ. This style is adopted when the purpose is to point ahead to a megalomaniac or some very foolish statement.

[81]. This is not a reference to any particular person. It in fact portrays the mentality of a group which regards its worldly favours to be a product of its own abilities or personal entitlement. It does not regard them to be blessings from God. The Qur'an has adopted this style of comparison at many instances by using the demonstrative pronouns الَّذِي or اَلَّتِي. Deliberation shows that here it is true to the actual situation because all the leaders of the Quraysh were obsessed by this notion.

[82]. Ie., everything including their means, assets, helpers, associates as well as their splendour and majesty will be left behind. They will appear before God empty handed.

[83]. All the Idolaters had this belief. The Quraysh of Makkah worshipped the angels, regarding them to be daughters of God. Thus they expected that those beloved daughters of God would save them by interceding for them before Him.

[84]. This is stated in accordance with the established practice of God mentioned in verse 36 of Surah al-Zukhruf: devils are deputed on people who turn blind to God's reminders.

[85]. It is evident from this that the enmity of the enemies had reached the extent that the Prophet (sws) too was waiting for God's verdict.

[86]. Obviously, no such promise has been taken by anyone. Hence there is also no possibility of intercession for such criminals. This sentence is similar to when a person says: no one can know when the Day of Judgement will come except he who is informed by God.

[87]. After refuting the baseless notion of intercession, in the succeeding verses the gravest form of polytheism is refuted that emanates from this baseless notion. All three among the addressees of the Qur'an – the Jews, the Christians and the Idolaters of Arabia – were incriminated in it in some form or another and the driving cause for each of them was that they wanted some beings who could save them from God's grasp through their intercession.

[88]. This is a change of address from indirect to direct and is done to express the severity of anger, as we have seen earlier in verse 71.

[89]. Ie., such is the grave nature of this statement that neither can it be tolerated by the sense of honour the Almighty has nor can any of His creatures bear it for their Lord. If God does not stop the earth, the heavens and the towering mountains, they would not tolerate it for a second and seethe with wrath and fall apart.

[90]. Ie., not in the capacity of sons and daughters but in that of humble servants they will be brought forth before God.

[91]. The implication is that neither is there any possibility of any error nor of the fact that anyone will escape from His grasp.

[92]. Ie., on the Day of Judgement when the angels will welcome them through salutations, they themselves will also be congratulating one another and their Lord too will express His pleasure through His mercy and affection. It is as if the atmosphere of love and liking will be created everywhere for them by the Merciful God.

In this section of verses, the Almighty has been repeatedly mentioned by His attribute al-Rahman (the Most Merciful). It is because wrong concepts about this attribute of God have produced many misled notions. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi has explained this. He writes:

The Christians are mentioned the foremost in the surah. Let us first see how they were led away from the truth.The reason was that they thought that since human beings were eternal sinners and had remained so ever since their inception, hence there was no possibility of their salvation. It was the merciful God Who sent His son out of His grace who atoned for the sins of all those who would believe in him by sacrificing his own life.

Though the misguided beliefs of the Jews are not directly mentioned in this surah but it is evident from the Qur'an that in order to hide their wrongdoings they took the pretext of God's mercy. They thought that they were the progeny of prophets and the righteous and hence could not be cast into Hell and if ever they were, it would be only for a few days. After punishing them for a short time, the merciful God would forgive them.

The Idolaters of Arabia worshipped the angels, regarding them to be the daughters of God. They thought that the Day of Judgement was a mere fantasy but if there was any reality in it, the daughters of the merciful God would earn salvation for them through their intercession. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 4, 688)

It is because of these misconceived and misguided notions that the word Rahman is mentioned repetitively. Thus the Almighty has made it evident that mercy and justice necessarily lead to one another. The mercy of God does not negate His justice; in fact, His justice manifests itself as a consequence of His mercy.

[93]. Actually a pronoun is used. However, its antecedent is so clear that a listener understands what it is referring to without any hesitation. In the opinion of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, such a style evidences the grandeur of the antecedent: even though it is not stated, a person knows it without it being mentioned.

[94]. The addressees of the surah are the Quraysh of Makkah. This is a reference to them. People living in tribal societies who are far removed from intellectual traditions often end up in such stagnation, crudeness and prejudice. The word لُدّ alludes to these traits.

[95]. The implication is that just as these nations have been utterly wiped out, these people too who deny the Prophet (sws) will reach this fate. Hence he should rest assured that his task is to warn people and to give them glad tidings, and for this purpose the Book that has been revealed to him is extremely appropriate, logical and well-reasoned. If his addressees want to understand, they have no excuse left for them. Thus nothing further is now required. It is sufficient that after reminding through it and conclusively delivering the truth through its means the Almighty delivers His verdict.


Articles by this author

Sūrah Shūrā

Surah Ha Mim al-Sajdah

Surah al-Mu’min

Surah al-Zumar

Surah Saffat

Surah Yasin

Surah Saba

Surah al-Qasas

Ghamidi on Farahi

Surah Luqman

Surah Ahzab

Sūrah al-Rūm

Surah al-‘Ankabut

Surah al-Naml (2/2)

Surah al-Naml (1/2)

Surah al-Shu‘ara’ (2/2)

Surah al-Shu‘ara’ (1/2)

Surah al-Furqan

People of Paradise

Surah al-Ra‘d

People of Paradise

Surah al-Ra‘d

Indications of Islam, Faith, Virtue and the Day of Judgement

Surah al-Nur (2/2)

Surah al-Nur (1/2)

Surah Mu’minun (2/2)

Surah Mu’minun (1/2)

Surah al-Hajj (2/2)

Surah al-Hajj (1/2)

Surah al-Anbiya (2/2)

Surah al-Anbiya (1/2)

Surah Taha (3/3)

Surah Taha (2/3)

Surah Taha (1/3)

Surah Maryam (2/2)

Surah Maryam (1/2)

Surah al-Kahf (2/2)

Surah al-Kahf (1/2)

Surah Bani Isra’il (1/3)

Surah al-Nahl (2/2)

Surah al-Nahl (1/2)

Surah Ibrahim – Surah al-Hijr (2/2)

Surah Ibrahim – Surah al-Hijr (1/2)

Surah Yusuf (3/3)

Surah Yusuf (2/3)

Surah Yusuf (1/3)

Surah Hud (3/3)

Surah Hud (2/3)

Surah Hud (1/3)

Surah Yunus (2/2)

Surah Yunus (1/2)

Surah al-Tawbah (61-129) (2/2)

Surah al-Tawbah (61-129) (1/2)

Surah al-Tawbah (38-60)

Surah al-Tawbah (1-37) (2/2)

Surah al-Tawbah (1-37) (1/2)

Is Democracy Compatible with Islam?

Surah al-Anfal (41-75) (2/2)

Surah al-Anfal (41-75) (1/2)

Surah al-Anfal (31-40)

Surah Nisa’ (153-176)

Surahs Muzzammil and Muddaththir

Surah al-Anfal (1-30)

Surah al-A’raf (184-205)

Surah al-A’raf (163-183)

Islamic Punishments

Surah al-A’raf (152-162)

Surah al-A‘raf (123-153)

Surah al-A‘raf (80-122)

Surah al-A‘raf (57-79)

Surah al-A‘raf (26-56) (2/2)

Surah al-A‘raf (26-56) (1/2)

Surah al-A‘raf (1-25)

Surah An‘am (128-165) (2/2)

Surah An‘am (128-165) (1/2)

Surah An‘am (100-127)

Surah An‘am (74-99)

Surah An‘am (46-73)

Surah An‘am (25-45)

The Noble Wives of the Prophet (sws)

Surah An‘am (1-24)

Islamic Punishments

Surahs Falaq-Nas

Surahs Lahab-Ikhlas

Surahs Kafirun-Nasr

Surahs Ma‘un-Kawthar

Surah Fil – Surah Quraysh

Surah ‘Asr – Surah Humazah

Surah Qari‘ah – Surah Takathur

Surah Zilzal – Surah ‘Aadiyat


Surahs Qadr-Bayyinah

Surahs Tin – ‘Alaq

State and Government

Surahs Duha-Alam Nashrah

Surahs Shams-Layl

Islam and the State: A Counter Narrative

Surahs Fajr-Balad

The Basis of Legislation

The Shari‘ah of Preaching

Surahs A‘la - Ghashiyah

Variant Readings

Surahs Mutaffifin - Inshiqaq

Surahs Buruj – Tariq

Itmam al-Hujjah [1] of God’s Messengers

Theory of Evolution (2)

Surahs ‘Asr-Humazah

Theory of Evolution (2)

Surahs Nazi‘at-‘Abas

Surahs Mursalat-Naba

Dealings and Practices of God

Is Democracy Compatible with Islam?

Wudū and Nail Polish

Surahs Qiyamah-Dahr

Surahs Takwir - Infitar

Sūrahs Muzzammil and Muddaththir

Downfall of the Muslims

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi on Hadith

Your Questions Answered

Surahs Nuh and Jinn

Birth Control

An Interview with the Indian Media

Surahs Haqqah and Ma‘arij

Roles and Responsibilities of Muslims in the West

Surahs Mulk - Qalam

The Punishment of Intentional Murder

Hajj and ‘Umrah

Sūrahs Hashr – Mumtahinah

Religious Extremism

Sūrahs Hadīd – Mujādalah

The Right to make a Will

Talks of the Prophet Muhammad (sws)

Surah Waqi‘ah

The General and the Specific

Sūrah Qamar and Sūrah Rahmān

Surah Tur and Surah Najm

Inheritance of an Orphaned Grandchild

The Sharī‘ah of Preaching

The Source of Religion

Sūrah Mā’idah (90-120)

The Prayer

Sūrahs Qāf and Dhāriyāt (Part 2/2)

Sūrahs Qāf and Dhāriyāt (Part 1/2)

Sūrah Mā’idah (32-63) part (1/2)

Sūrah Mā’idah (32-63) part (2/2)

Dealings and Practices of God

Age of ‘Ā’ishah (rta) at her Marriage

Sūrah Mā’idah (1-31) part (1/2)

Sūrah Mā’idah (1-31) part (2/2)

Sūrah Nisā’ (153-176)