اَکَانَ لِلنَّاسِ عَجَبًا اَنۡ اَوۡحَیۡنَاۤ اِلٰی رَجُلٍ مِّنۡہُمۡ اَنۡ اَنۡذِرِ النَّاسَ وَ بَشِّرِ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اَنَّ لَہُمۡ قَدَمَ صِدۡقٍ عِنۡدَ رَبِّہِمۡ ؕؔ قَالَ الۡکٰفِرُوۡنَ اِنَّ ہٰذَا لَسٰحِرٌ مُّبِیۡنٌ ﴿۳﴾
أَكَانَ لِلنَّاسِ عَجَبًا أَنۡ أَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَىٰ رَجُلٖ مِّنۡهُمۡ أَنۡ أَنذِرِ ٱلنَّاسَ وَبَشِّرِ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَنَّ لَهُمۡ قَدَمَ صِدۡقٍ عِندَ رَبِّهِمۡۗ قَالَ ٱلۡكَٰفِرُونَ إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَسَٰحِرٞ مُّبِينٌ
d. 7:64, 70; 50:3. (close)
1231. Qadam means, preference; rank; footing. They say la-hu ‘indi Qadamun, i.e. there is strength or rank for him with me (Lane). (close)
1231A. The verse brings to light the important fact that those, who become morally depraved, lose all sense of self-respect as well as all confidence in themselves, for here the disbelievers are represented as so degenerate that they could not imagine that anyone from among themselves could come and rescue them from the morass of degradation into which they had fallen, and that only someone from outside could improve their condition. (close)
a. 7:64, 70; 50:3 (close)
1278. Important Words:
قدم (rank) is the substantive noun from قدم. They say قدم القوم (qadama) i.e. he went before the people or he preceded them; or he took precedence of them; or he led them so as to set an example; قدم البلد (qadima) means, he came to or arrived at the town. قدمه علی غیرہ (qaddama-hu) means, he gave him precedence over another in time, place or rank; he preferred him to another or honoured or esteemed him above another. The expression لزید عند بکر قدم means, there is strength or rank or good footing for Zaid, with Bakr. They say فلان علی قدم عظیم i.e. such a one is on an excellent footing or foundation. فلان علی قدم فلان means, such a one is the successor of such a one (literally, such a one treads in the footsteps of such a one). قدم means, the human foot; precedence, or preference; rank, footing or foundation (Aqrab & Lane).
It is generally believed that the occasion for the revelation of this verse was when disbelievers taunted that God could find no one better to act as His Messenger than the orphan boy of Abu Talib. Though no great value can be attached to this or that incident as being the cause of the revelation of a particular verse, the incident referred to above at least throws some light on the treatment which the Meccans meted out to the Holy Prophet and the contempt in which he was held by them after he had laid claim to prophethood. To call the Holy Prophet the orphan boy of Abu Talib, who was his uncle and guardian, and not to call him after his own father, was intended to insinuate that a man who was the son of an unnamable person and who had been brought up by another could not be worthy of a Messenger of God.
The verse also brings to light the important fact that those who become morally depraved lose all sense of self-respect as well as all confidence in themselves, for here the disbelievers are represented as looking upon themselves as being so degenerate that they could not think that anyone from among them could come and rescue them from the morass of degradation into which they had fallen and that only someone from outside could reform them. This tragic fact also holds good in the case of present-day Muslims. They, too, are anxiously waiting for Jesus to come down from the heaven to take them out of the slough of despair and degradation and are refusing to accept the heavenly Reformer whom God raised from among themselves to lead them to moral perfection and spiritual glory.
The words, give glad tidings to those who believe that they have a true rank of honour with their Lord, embody a promise that whoever acts upon the teachings of the Holy Prophet will achieve all kinds of prosperity and glory. This was another cause of surprise for disbelievers. According to them, the followers of the Holy Prophet lacked those qualities that go to make a people great and prosperous. They, therefore, wondered how Muslims dared hope to succeed in their great aim of destroying the old order of things and building on its ashes a new and better order. The words, with their Lord, signify that Muslims would make not only moral and spiritual but also material progress. By referring to their connection with a Being Who has the power to bestow all forms of advancement, the Quran alludes to the complete glory and many-sided success of Muslims.
The words, Surely, this is a manifest enchanter, signify that when disbelievers heard the above announcement, they said that Muhammad had succeeded in representing falsehood as truth, because he knew how to take advantage of the weakness of man. He had inspired the cowardly with fear and had held out false hopes to the greedy, and had thus managed to bring people over to his side. This is the very criticism which is levelled at the Holy Prophet by modern Christian writers. They also allege that Muhammad converted the ignorant Arabs to his faith by threatening with punishment those of them who disbelieved and tempting those who were credulous and greedy with promises of bliss and happiness. If that was indeed a stratagem, where is the religion which does not promise Heaven to its believers
and Hell to disbelievers? If speaking of blessings—which are the inevitable result of accepting truth—be called tempting a people with false promises, then no religion is safe from the charge of holding out such temptation. And what will Christian critics say of Jesus, who promised the keys of Paradise to Peter and to his other followers and threatened disbelievers with deprivation of the kingdom of God? (Matt. 16:15-19; 18:3 & 19:28, 29). (close)
اِنَّ رَبَّکُمُ اللّٰہُ الَّذِیۡ خَلَقَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضَ فِیۡ سِتَّۃِ اَیَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسۡتَوٰی عَلَی الۡعَرۡشِ یُدَبِّرُ الۡاَمۡرَ ؕ مَا مِنۡ شَفِیۡعٍ اِلَّا مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ اِذۡنِہٖ ؕ ذٰلِکُمُ اللّٰہُ رَبُّکُمۡ فَاعۡبُدُوۡہُ ؕ اَفَلَا تَذَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۴﴾
إِنَّ رَبَّكُمُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِي خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٖ ثُمَّ ٱسۡتَوَىٰ عَلَى ٱلۡعَرۡشِۖ يُدَبِّرُ ٱلۡأَمۡرَۖ مَا مِن شَفِيعٍ إِلَّا مِنۢ بَعۡدِ إِذۡنِهِۦۚ ذَٰلِكُمُ ٱللَّهُ رَبُّكُمۡ فَٱعۡبُدُوهُۚ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ
a. 7:55; 11:8; 25:60; 32:5. (close)
1232. See 984. (close)
b. 13:3; 20:6; 32:5. (close)
1232A. See 54. (close)
1233. The word ‘Arsh represents God’s transcendent attributes which are His exclusive prerogatives. These attributes are manifested through God’s attributes of similitude which have been described in 69:18 as 'the bearers of God’s Throne.' See 986. (close)
c. 32:6. (close)
1234. The words, He governs everything, point to the working of the universe and to the means which God uses to fulfil his decree and manifest His Will. (close)
d. 2:256; 32:5. (close)
a. 7:55; 11:8; 25:60; 32:5. (close)
b. 13:3; 20:6. (close)
d. 2:256. (close)
1279. Important Words:
عرش (Throne). See under 7:55.
یدبر (He governs) is derived from دبر (dabbara) which again is derived from دبر (dabara). They say دبرہ i.e. he followed behind his back or he simply followed him with respect to time, place or rank. دبر الامر (dabbara) means, (1) he considered the issues or results of the affair or the case; (2) he performed or executed the affair with thought or consideration; (3) he devised or planned the affair; (4) he governed, managed, conducted or regulated the affair (Lane, Taj & Aqrab).
In the verse under comment, the word ایام (periods), of which the singular is یوم, does not refer to the period which is determined by the rising and setting of the sun, for the obvious reason that the verse speaks of a time when the sun had not yet come into existence. The word is used here in the sense of time absolutely (see 1:4). Many eminent authorities (e.g. Mujahid, Ahmad bin Hanbal and Ibn ‘Abbas) have held that here یوم (period) stands for a thousand years (see Kathir & Ma‘ani, under 7:55). They have drawn this inference from 22:48 where a day is spoken of as equal to a thousand years. They are certainly right in holding that the word یوم in this verse does not denote the period of time determined by the rotation of the earth, but they are not right in holding that it stands here for a thousand years, for according to the Quran there is also a یوم (period) which is equal to fifty thousand years (70:5). If we compute the period of six days by this standard, it will mean that the creation of the heavens and the earth was completed in 300,000 years. But we cannot presume that God has disclosed to us the extent of all His days. If some of God’s days extend over a thousand years, and others over fifty thousand years, there may be still others which extend over millions or billions of years. Science has discovered the fact that it took the heavens and the earth millions of years to be evolved into their present shape. A vision of the eminent Muslim scholar Muhy-ud-Din Ibn ‘Arabi also leads to a similar conclusion (see under 2:31). Hence, the truth is that we cannot determine with certainty the length of the "six days" during which the creation of the heavens and the earth was completed. All that we can say is that God brings about different changes in different periods, some taking a thousand years, others fifty thousand years, and yet others even longer periods, but that, taken all together, the creation of heavens and earth was completed in six periods. See also 7:55.
It will be invariably seen that when a certain verse of the Quran is found liable to objection, the very next verse or passage provides an answer to that objection. Often the question is not mentioned and only the answer is given. These answers serve as a link between what passes in the mind of the reader and the contents of the Quran. Thus the reader finds that as soon as a question arises in his mind, he is given the answer there and then. Those who are not acquainted with this psychological trait of the Quran are inclined to say that there exists no order or arrangement in the Quranic verses, while the fault is all their own, for they do not care to ponder over the Quranic verses. The verse under comment answers a question that arises from the previous verse. That question is, how can Muslims prosper when there are no outward signs of their prosperity? In fact, the previous verse had given promise of lasting success to Muslims—and that at a time when they enjoyed no peace even in their own homes and were surrounded on all sides by powerful enemies. The objection was bound to arise, how could Muslims prosper in such adverse circumstances, and disbelievers naturally thought that promises about the future prosperity of Muslims were nothing but a delusion and a mirage. This implied objection has been answered in the present verse, in which it is pointed out that signs of future developments need not be visible at the outset, and that in this respect the spiritual system resembles the physical system. So attention is drawn to the creation of the heavens and the earth in six periods, and it is hinted that, if it were necessary for the Divine Word to be fulfilled all at once, then the heavens and the earth should also have come into existence all at once. But the fact is that their creation took six long cycles to become perfect and complete. If the creation of the heavens and the earth out of invisible atoms in a period extending over millions of years does not belie that God is their architect, how can the fact that means for the full expansion of Islam did not come into existence with the very announcement of his mission by the Holy Prophet, show that its triumph is doubtful, or that its foundations have not been laid by God? Divine works are brought about through a perfectly planned system and often have their bases hidden from the human eye.
It appears from this and other verses of the Quran that it is a law of God, working both in the physical and the spiritual world, that all things find their completion and consummation at the seventh stage. They pass through six stages of development and then become perfect and complete at the seventh stage. The movement set on foot by the Holy Prophet was likewise to pass through six stages of development and was to see its completion in the seventh stage and so it actually came to pass (for details and fuller discussion see Tafsir-e-Kabir by Hadrat Khalifatul Masih II, under 10:4).
The words, then He settled Himself on the Throne, point to the fact that, just as after the creation of the physical universe, God settled Himself on the Throne and all its affairs began to be conducted through the set laws of nature, so, after the establishment of Islam on earth, all spiritual progress will be attainable only through Islam.
The words, He governs everything, have been added to show how God governs the universe and conducts its affairs. Elsewhere the Quran says, When He decrees a thing He does only say to it, 'Be' and it is (2:118). These words do not mean that after God ordains a certain thing, it at once comes into being in its full-fledged form and that there is no intervening period between God’s decree and the coming into being of the decreed thing in its fully developed form. It only means that when God decrees a thing, nothing can stop its fulfilment. Indeed, God’s decree is often fulfilled in subtle ways. The words, He governs everything, thus point to the working of the universe and to the means which God uses to fulfil His decree and will. For, as explained under Important Words, تدبیر (governing) gives a number of meanings including consideration or, performance of a thing with a well thought-out and planned regulation.
The word عرش (Throne), for which see 7:55, needs some explanation. On careful consideration of all relevant verses and facts it becomes clear that this word represents the transcendent attributes of God, i.e. such attributes as are not found in any other being and are technically known as صفات تنزیھیة. These attributes are eternal and unchangeable and are manifested through God’s other attributes known as صفات تشبیھیة i.e. such attributes as are found more or less in other beings also. The former attributes are said to be the bearers of the عرش (Throne). In 69:18, we read that eight (attributes) shall bear the Throne of the Lord above them on that day. The number "eight" in this verse refers to the eight attributes through which God will manifest Himself on the Day of Judgement, just as He is manifesting Himself through His four attributes (mentioned in 1:2-4) in the present world. These four attributes, which belong to the group of صفات تشبیھیة are رب العالمین (Lord of all the worlds), الرحمان (Gracious), الرحیم (Merciful) and مالك یوم الدین (Lord of the Day of Judgement). On the Day of Judgement the four corresponding transcendent attributes, i.e. صفات تنزیھیة will also come into operation. The صفات تشبیھیة may be called attributes of similitude, because these attributes are similar to the attributes manifested by human beings. For instance, as kings display their majesty by seating themselves on their thrones, similarly the glory of God lies in His being the "Lord of the Throne." But on the Day of Judgement, this attribute will manifest its transcendent phase and no other being will bear to God the slightest resemblance in that respect.
Some scholars have erroneously inferred from certain verses of the Quran that عرش (Throne) is something created. This inference, among other verses, is drawn from 69:18, in which angels are represented as "bearing" the Throne of God. It is wrongly considered that, having been represented as being "borne" by angels, the عرش must be something material. But the truth is that the word حمل (bearing) is used not merely to denote the bearing of a material thing in the physical sense but also figuratively. Thus in 33:73 man is spoken of as "bearing" the Law which was offered to him by God as a trust; but the Law of God is not a material thing. The expression only means that man accepted and acted upon the Law of God and thereby helped to bear it aloft by revealing its manifold beauties and excellences. Similarly, the bearing of the عرش (Throne) by angels means only that its true reality is disclosed and manifested through them. It is evident that man cannot understand and realize the transcendent attributes of God except through His attributes of similitude, i.e. such as are manifested in relation to His creatures and are shared by them. Thus the attributes of God as are manifested in relation to His creatures are, as it were, the bearers of His transcendent attributes, which means that the former kind of attributes help man to understand and realize the latter kind of attributes.
Another verse giving rise to the idea that the عرش is created is 23:87, in which God is spoken of as "the Lord of the seven heavens and the Lord of the Great Throne." It is argued that as God is the رب (Lord) of the عرش (Throne), therefore He must be its Creator, for the word رب (Lord) also means Creator. But رب (Lord) does not necessarily mean Creator; it also means Owner or Possessor. So رب العرش would mean "the Possessor or Owner of the Throne." God has been spoken of as ذو الرحمة (the Possessor of mercy) in 18:59. But mercy is an attribute of God and has not been created by Him. The description of God as the Possessor of "mercy" or as the Owner of عرش (Throne) does not therefore imply His creation of either of them.
It may be asked, if the word رب (Lord) has been used in the sense of ذو or صاحب (Owner or Possessor), why has not either of the two latter words been used instead of رب (Lord)? The answer is that the use of the word رب fulfils an additional purpose. Some philosophers look upon God only as the First Cause. According to them, the attributes of God are working spontaneously and automatically and are not subject to the will of God. The Quran has, therefore, used the word رب (Lord) in relation to عرش in order to show that the attributes of God do not work involuntarily but according to His will, for the word رب conveys the idea of control coupled with ownership.
Another verse from which it has been erroneously inferred that the عرش is something created is 11:8. It has been argued that as in that verse عرش is spoken of as "being on water", which is a created element, therefore it must itself be something created. But it must be remembered that the word "water" in 11:8 does not mean material water. The عرش(Throne) could not be said to have been resting on water before the creation of the heavens and the earth, for water forms part of the earth and evidently could not have existed before the creation of the latter. Again, for a material throne to be represented as resting on the surface of water after the creation of the heavens and the earth appears to be quite absurd. Moreover, as all words of the Wise God are full of deep wisdom, what possible purpose can be served by the mention of a thing which does not, in any way, concern or interest us? The disclosure that the Throne of God rested on water does not even reveal the glory or majesty of God, because we are kept in the dark as to the nature and reality of this resting of the Throne on water. So neither does "water" here mean material water nor does "Throne" mean a material throne. In fact, "water" in the language of revealed Scriptures often means the word of God. In this sense, the verse would signify that the Throne of God rests on the word of God, which means that it is beyond man fully to comprehend and realize the majesty and glory of God except with the help of His word.
That the عرش really represents the transcendent attributes of God is also clear from 23:117, where we read: There is no God but He, the Lord of the Exalted Throne. These words show that the "Unity of God" and "His Exalted Throne" are intimately connected, for it is the transcendent attributes of God which constitute the real proof of Divine Unity. It requires a good deal of reasoning to convince a person of ordinary intelligence of Divine Unity by means of the other attributes which are shared by man in different degrees.
In the words, There is no intercessor with Him save after His permission, some light is thrown on the subject of intercession which has been dealt with at some length in 2:49 and 2:256. Suffice it here to say that the word شفیع (intercessor) is derived from شفع which means the connecting or the joining together of two like things. In view of this meaning, it would be wrong to say that belief in intercession can in any way encourage a sinner to sink deeper in sin. Nothing is farther from the Islamic conception of شفاعة (intercession) than this baseless notion. According to Islamic teaching only those good people who lack a requisite number of good works to make them heirs to the grace and mercy of God but who, at the same time, have a true spiritual connection with His Prophet can avail themselves of intercession; and not those habitual sinners who deliberately break the commandments of God and have no true connection with His Prophet. (close)
اِلَیۡہِ مَرۡجِعُکُمۡ جَمِیۡعًا ؕ وَعۡدَ اللّٰہِ حَقًّا ؕ اِنَّہٗ یَبۡدَؤُا الۡخَلۡقَ ثُمَّ یُعِیۡدُہٗ لِیَجۡزِیَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ بِالۡقِسۡطِ ؕ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا لَہُمۡ شَرَابٌ مِّنۡ حَمِیۡمٍ وَّ عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌۢ بِمَا کَانُوۡا یَکۡفُرُوۡنَ ﴿۵﴾
إِلَيۡهِ مَرۡجِعُكُمۡ جَمِيعٗاۖ وَعۡدَ ٱللَّهِ حَقًّاۚ إِنَّهُۥ يَبۡدَؤُاْ ٱلۡخَلۡقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُۥ لِيَجۡزِيَ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَٰتِ بِٱلۡقِسۡطِۚ وَٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ لَهُمۡ شَرَابٞ مِّنۡ حَمِيمٖ وَعَذَابٌ أَلِيمُۢ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَكۡفُرُونَ
e. 6:165; 11:5; 39:8. (close)
f. 10:35; 27:65; 29:20; 30:12, 28. (close)
1235. Not only after death will man be given a new life in which his actions in this worldly life will be judged and requited; but in the present life also one generation of men is succeeded by another so that the good works of the former may not be wasted and may benefit the latter. Salihat, besides meaning good and righteous works, means works done in conformity with the exigencies of specific occasions and circumstances. (close)
a. 6:165; 11:5; 21:94; 39:8. (close)
b. 10:35; 27:65; 29:20; 30:12, 28. (close)
The purpose for which man has been created is that he should attain nearness to God. It is to this fact that the words, The promise of Allah is true, refer; and we are told that at last all men will attain nearness to God and thus will be fulfilled the real object for which man has been created.
In the words, He originates the creation, then He reproduces it, the reproduction spoken of refers firstly, to the fact that, after death, man will be given a new life in which his actions in this life will be rewarded; and, secondly, that even in the present life one generation of men will succeed another so that the good deeds of a preceding generation may not be wasted and may benefit their successors.
The word صالحات (good) which, besides meaning good and righteous, also means proper and suitable to the occasion (see 2:26), points to a great secret of individual as well as national progress. It is not only good works that lead to the material and moral well-being of individuals and communities but deeds done at suitable occasions conforming to the exigencies of time and circumstances are also essential. The present-day degradation of Muslims supplies an apt through tragic illustration of the neglect of this hard truth. At a time when strong intellectual effort was needed, Muslim divines confined their attention to mere outward acts of religious devotion and neglected other activities which were equally essential for the advancement of the community. It was their duty to inspire Muslims with a passion for work, to make them active and energetic, to improve their standard of morality, to induce them to attain proficiency in modern sciences, and to teach them how to work in collaboration with others in matters of common interest. But they failed to do so, with the result that their religious devotions alone could not save them. It is mostly by صالحات i.e. good works done in conformity with the exigencies of occasion and circumstances, that nations rise and prosper. Muslims ignored this immutable divine law and came to grief.
For an explanation of حمیم (boiling water) see under 6:71. (close)
ہُوَ الَّذِیۡ جَعَلَ الشَّمۡسَ ضِیَآءً وَّ الۡقَمَرَ نُوۡرًا وَّ قَدَّرَہٗ مَنَازِلَ لِتَعۡلَمُوۡا عَدَدَ السِّنِیۡنَ وَ الۡحِسَابَ ؕ مَا خَلَقَ اللّٰہُ ذٰلِکَ اِلَّا بِالۡحَقِّ ۚ یُفَصِّلُ الۡاٰیٰتِ لِقَوۡمٍ یَّعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۶﴾
هُوَ ٱلَّذِي جَعَلَ ٱلشَّمۡسَ ضِيَآءٗ وَٱلۡقَمَرَ نُورٗا وَقَدَّرَهُۥ مَنَازِلَ لِتَعۡلَمُواْ عَدَدَ ٱلسِّنِينَ وَٱلۡحِسَابَۚ مَا خَلَقَ ٱللَّهُ ذَٰلِكَ إِلَّا بِٱلۡحَقِّۚ يُفَصِّلُ ٱلۡأٓيَٰتِ لِقَوۡمٖ يَعۡلَمُونَ
a. 25:62; 71:17. (close)
1236. Diya’ means, light; bright or brilliant light. The word is synonymous with Nur though, according to some, it has a more intensive signification than Nur. Some lexicologists consider Diya’ as signifying the rays that are diffused by what is termed Nur. According to others Diya’ signifies that light which subsists by itself as that of the sun or of fire, and Nur that which subsists by some other thing as the light of the moon, i.e. reflected light (Lane & Aqrab). The fact appears to be that whereas Diya’ signifies strong light, Nur is a more general term denoting light as opposed to darkness. This is why Nur is one of the names of God. It is also more extensive and more penetrating as well as more lasting in its significance (Muhit). (close)
b. 17:13. (close)
1237. The verse points to a very wise natural law. We can judge the size of space traversed by a body only by the change of its position relative to other bodies. God has appointed stages for the sun and the moon that we may be able to make a reckoning of time. In other words, He has caused these heavenly bodies to move and has appointed stages for their motion so that by observing the motion we may be able to know that a certain amount of time has passed and that we have moved on from our original position. All reckoning and all calendars depend on the movements of the sun and the moon. The moon moves round the earth and thereby we are able to know the measures of months. The earth moves round the sun and also rotates on its own axis, thus enabling us to measure our years as well as our days. (close)
a. 25:62; 71:17. (close)
b. 17:13 (close)
1281. Important Words:
ضیاء (brilliant light) is the substantive noun from ضاء i.e. it became bright. اضاءت النار means, the fire burned brightly or, transitively, the fire lit up (the surroundings, etc.). ضیاء means, light; bright or brilliant light. It is synonymous with نورthough, according to some, it has a more intensive signification than نور. Some lexicologists consider ضوء or ضیاء as signifying the rays that are diffused by what is termed نور. According to others these two words are synonymous in their original application but ضوء or ضیاء is more forcible according to usage. According to yet others ضوء or ضیاء signifies that light which subsists by itself, as that of the sun or fire, and نور that which subsists by some other thing as does the light of the moon i.e. reflected light (Lane & Aqrab). The truth appears to be that whereas ضیاء or ضوء signifies strong light, نور is a more general term denoting light as opposed to darkness. This is why نور is one of the names of God. نور is also more extensive and more penetrating as well as more lasting in its significance (Muhit).
The verse points to a very wise natural law. We can judge the amount of space traversed by a body only by the change of its position relative to other bodies. So this verse purports to say that God has appointed stages for the sun and the moon that we may be able to make a reckoning of time. In other words, He has caused these heavenly bodies to move and has appointed stages for their motion so that by observing the motion of these bodies we may be able to know that a certain amount of time has passed and that we have moved on from our original position. All reckoning and all calendars depend on the movements of the sun and the moon. The moon moves round the earth and thereby we are able to know the measure of months. The earth moves round the sun and also rotates on its own axis, thus enabling us to measure our years as well as our days. The Arabic words rendered here as, that you might know the number of years and the reckoning of time, may also be translated as "that you might know the number of years and the principles of mathematics." In fact all fundamental principles and basic rules of mathematics are based on and derived from the movements of heavenly bodies like the sun and the moon.
The verse is also pregnant with a deep spiritual import. Just as in the physical world the sun and the moon enable us to prepare our calendars and make a right estimate of our works and their results, similarly through the suns and moons of the spiritual universe, i.e. the Prophets, we can measure the value of our labour and its results. Without the Prophets of God there can be no true awakening and no realization of the spiritual progress made by man, just as without the sun and the moon it would be impossible to form an idea about time or to measure it. The Prophets of God are like the sun and the moon in the spiritual world. They reveal the capacity for spiritual progress that lies latent in human nature and make men understand and realize their inborn faculties and capabilities and the limitless field of spiritual progress that lies before them. Without Prophets, there could be no real spiritual progress in the world.
The words بالحق (in truth) signify that God has not created the heavens and the earth only to satisfy a caprice. He has created them to fulfil an eternal and noble object. The Prophets and Messengers of God are as much needed for the spiritual growth of man as are the sun and moon for that of the physical world. (close)
اِنَّ فِی اخۡتِلَافِ الَّیۡلِ وَ النَّہَارِ وَ مَا خَلَقَ اللّٰہُ فِی السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ لَاٰیٰتٍ لِّقَوۡمٍ یَّتَّقُوۡنَ ﴿۷﴾
إِنَّ فِي ٱخۡتِلَٰفِ ٱلَّيۡلِ وَٱلنَّهَارِ وَمَا خَلَقَ ٱللَّهُ فِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ لَأٓيَٰتٖ لِّقَوۡمٖ يَتَّقُونَ
c. 2:165; 3:191; 23:81. (close)
1238. In the present verse the words, for a God-fearing people, have been substituted for the expression, for a people who possess knowledge, in the preceding verse. This is because though the natural phenomenon of the alternation of day and night is known even to an ignorant person, it is only the God-fearing that derive real spiritual benefit from a reverential study of it. Also, the ordaining of various stages for the moon and the sun, to which the preceding verse referred was not so easy a thing as to be perceived and understood by each and every person and therefore only those endowed with knowledge could benefit by it. Moreover, the phenomenon of the alternation of day and night resembles the rise and fall of nations. The days of their glory and prosperity are followed by the nights of their decline and degradation. No nation has ever enjoyed perpetual glory, nor has any people for ever floundered and groped in the darkness of degradation and decline. A people may make their day of prosperity long and shorten their night of decline. It is also within their power to delay the coming of their night. (close)
a. 2:165; 3:191; 23:81. (close)
In the present verse the words, for a God-fearing people, have been substituted for the expression, for a people who have knowledge, occurring in the previous verse. This has been done because though the natural phenomenon of the alternation of day and night is known even to the most ignorant person, it is only the God-fearing that derive real spiritual benefit from a reverent study of it. Similarly, the ordaining of various stages for the moon and the sun, of which the previous verse spoke, was not so easy a thing as to be perceived and understood by each and every person and therefore only those endowed with knowledge could benefit from it. Hence it is that where the Quran speaks of the alternation of day and night, it uses the words "God-fearing people"; and where it refers to the stages of the moon and the sun it uses the words "a people who have knowledge".
The phenomenon of the alternation of day and night continues without interruption. Day is followed by night and night by day. This phenomenon resembles the rise and fall of nations. The days of their glory and prosperity are followed by the nights of their decline and degradation. No nation has ever enjoyed perpetual glory, nor has any people forever floundered and groped in the darkness of degradation and decline. But the analogy must not be too far stretched, for the verse does not speak of the "length" of days and nights but only of their "alternation". A people may make their day of prosperity long and shorten their night of decline. So let no people delude themselves with the idea that, because periods of light and darkness or, for that matter, of prosperity and decline, must follow one another, therefore, if they are overtaken by spiritual night it is only inevitable and that soon the day will dawn. For the night may become long or even too long. Similarly, it is in the power of man to postpone the coming of the night. Indeed, although nations are subject to the law of growth and decay, this does not mean that they should make no effort to check and arrest the process of decay and retrieve their lost prosperity. By implication the Meccans are told in this verse that God has caused the day of glory to dawn upon them through the Holy Prophet and it is now for them to work out their destiny and carve a bright future for themselves while it is yet day and before the darkness of night again overtakes them. (close)
اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ لَا یَرۡجُوۡنَ لِقَآءَنَا وَ رَضُوۡا بِالۡحَیٰوۃِ الدُّنۡیَا وَ اطۡمَاَنُّوۡا بِہَا وَ الَّذِیۡنَ ہُمۡ عَنۡ اٰیٰتِنَا غٰفِلُوۡنَ ۙ﴿۸﴾
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَرۡجُونَ لِقَآءَنَا وَرَضُواْ بِٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَٱطۡمَأَنُّواْ بِهَا وَٱلَّذِينَ هُمۡ عَنۡ ءَايَٰتِنَا غَٰفِلُونَ
a. 10:12, 46; 25:22. (close)
1239. The study of human nature reveals the important fact that all human progress is bound up with the instincts of hope and fear. Our best efforts are inspired by one or other of these two instincts. Some persons labour and sweat, actuated by hope of acquisition and aggrandizement; others work out of fear. The present verse makes an appeal to both these classes of men by using the word Raja which means, he hoped; he feared (Lane). (close)
a. 10:12, 46; 25:22. (close)
1283. Important Words:
یرجون (look for) is derived from رجا which has two contrary meanings i.e. (1) he hoped, and (2) he feared. They say رجوته I hoped for him or it; and مارجوتك i.e. I feared not thee (Lane & Aqrab).
It is a characteristic of the style of the Quran that it uses words and expressions that are apparently simple but embody a vast variety of meanings. As the Arabic language is most adapted to serve this purpose, God has bestowed upon it the honour of being the language of the Quran. رجا (looking for) is one such word and means both hope and fear. The use of this word in the present verse has therefore made it rich with deep meaning.
The study of human nature reveals the important fact that all human progress is bound up with the instincts of hope and fear. Our best efforts are inspired by one or other of these two instincts. Some persons labour and sweat, actuated by hopes of acquisition and aggrandizement; others work out of fear lest they should come to grief. The present verse contains an appeal to both classes. To those for whom the incentive to work is hope, the verse says, "Why don’t you hope to meet God and shape your conduct according to, and in anticipation of, that meeting; because on the hope of that meeting depends all your material prosperity as well as your moral and spiritual advancement." To those whom fear alone can incite to action, it says, "Why don’t you fear and try to escape God’s punishment which, if it overtakes you, will destroy you outright." Thus in one single word the Quran has exhorted to action both and, for that matter, all classes of men.
In the words, are content with the life of this world and feel at rest therewith, is beautifully given the Islamic point of view with regard to material progress. Islam is not opposed to the search for, or attainment of, material prosperity. What it disapproves is that one should make the acquisition of the things of this world the aim and end of one’s existence and should have no thought for the Hereafter. Secondly, Islam disapproves the idea that after one has attained prosperity, one should give up all further effort at making still more progress. As a matter of fact, the good of the Hereafter, coupled with material prosperity, is spoken of in the Quran as one of the favours of God and every Muslim is exhorted to pray for it (2:202).
The words, those who are heedless of Our Signs, throw further light on the subject, viz. that God is displeased with only those who are wholly engrossed in the pursuit of material things and consign all spiritual things to oblivion. (close)
اُولٰٓئِکَ مَاۡوٰٮہُمُ النَّارُ بِمَا کَانُوۡا یَکۡسِبُوۡنَ ﴿۹﴾
أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ مَأۡوَىٰهُمُ ٱلنَّارُ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَكۡسِبُونَ
The verse uses the words یکسبون (they earn) and not یعملون (they do) to point to the philosophy of sin. Only a wrongful act done deliberately or repeatedly deserves to be punished. He is not a sinner, delaying punishment, who in a state of passing forgetfulness and with no deliberate intention is guilty of a temporary moral lapse, nor is that person a sinner in the true sense of the word who falters and commits a sin but is immediately after seized with sincere remorse and repents of his action, and at once sets about mending his conduct. The subject has also been dealt with in 53:33.
Speaking of the punishment of sinners, the verse says, It is these whose abode is Fire. The word ماوی (abode) is used to signify a place which a person repairs to for lodging and which he looks upon as a refuge and an asylum (see 79:42). It seems strange that "Fire" should be spoken of as a refuge and an asylum, but the Quran has used this word in order to point to the real significance and true nature and purpose of Divine punishment, which is that the punishment of God is not meant to inflict pain but to heal. According to Islam, Hell is not a place of torture but a sort of reformatory or hospital. And just as a man, though disliking the pain caused by a surgical operation, submits to it gladly because he sees his own good in it. Similarly when sinners come to realize the real purpose of Divine punishment, they will look upon it as a place of refuge, i.e. a means of deliverance from the real punishment which is the displeasure of God and estrangement from Him. Thus, by using the word ماوی (abode) with regard to the fire of Hell the Quran means to point out that it is not with the intent of torture but a necessary means of purification. (close)
اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ یَہۡدِیۡہِمۡ رَبُّہُمۡ بِاِیۡمَانِہِمۡ ۚ تَجۡرِیۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِہِمُ الۡاَنۡہٰرُ فِیۡ جَنّٰتِ النَّعِیۡمِ ﴿۱۰﴾
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَٰتِ يَهۡدِيهِمۡ رَبُّهُم بِإِيمَٰنِهِمۡۖ تَجۡرِي مِن تَحۡتِهِمُ ٱلۡأَنۡهَٰرُ فِي جَنَّـٰتِ ٱلنَّعِيمِ
b. 2:278; 4:176; 13:30; 14:24; 22:15, 24. (close)
1240. The word, taht (beneath), is used here figuratively denoting subordination. In this sense of the word the expression, beneath them, would signify that the inmates of Heaven will be the masters and owners of its streams and not merely their users as tenants or occupiers. (close)
a. 2:278; 4:176; 13:30; 14:24; 22:15, 24. (close)
The words, their Lord shall guide them, show that true guidance is achieved only through true faith. Mere actions are of no value, unless they are accompanied by the purification of the heart. The man who has a mind to steal but who finds no opportunity to do so cannot be called honest. Similarly, if a person’s heart is inspired by fear of anyone other than Allah, even though he does not outwardly worship them, he cannot be called a true worshipper of God. But it would be wrong to infer from this that Islam attaches no importance to the doing of good actions and holds "faith" to be sufficient. What Islam emphasizes is that good works should be accompanied by faith, which is another name for the purification of the heart. It is impossible for a man with a pure heart to fail to do good works. The heart of man is beyond all external control. His actions can be controlled, but not his heart; God has, therefore, made guidance dependent on something which is entirely in one’s own power and totally beyond the control of others. So, by adding the words, because of their faith, the Quran alludes to the fact that a man’s actions will be rewarded according to the degree of his faith. The deeds of two persons may be equal and analogous to all outward appearance, but their rewards may be entirely different according to the measure of the faith, sincerity and love which inspire their actions. This is indeed a point worth remembering.
The word تحت (beneath) is also used figuratively, denoting subordination. Taken in this sense, the expression, beneath them, would signify that the inmates of Heaven will be masters and owners of its rivers and not merely their users as tenants or occupiers. It may also be incidentally noted here that the word تحت (beneath) is also used as a noun meaning a person of low status and poor origin. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said,
لا تقوم الساعة حتی تظھر التحوت و تھلك الوعول
i.e. "the Hour of Resurrection will not come until those belonging to the poor and labouring class shall prevail and the rich classes shall perish," which means that the truth of the Promised Messiah whose time has been stated as marking the approach of the "Hour of Resurrection," shall not prevail unless workers and labourers have ascendency over the rich and wealthy (Taj under the word تحت). This prophecy has been wonderfully fulfilled by the rise of the labour class in most countries, particularly in Soviet Russia. (close)
دَعۡوٰٮہُمۡ فِیۡہَا سُبۡحٰنَکَ اللّٰہُمَّ وَ تَحِیَّتُہُمۡ فِیۡہَا سَلٰمٌ ۚ وَ اٰخِرُ دَعۡوٰٮہُمۡ اَنِ الۡحَمۡدُ لِلّٰہِ رَبِّ الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ ﴿٪۱۱﴾
دَعۡوَىٰهُمۡ فِيهَا سُبۡحَٰنَكَ ٱللَّهُمَّ وَتَحِيَّتُهُمۡ فِيهَا سَلَٰمٞۚ وَءَاخِرُ دَعۡوَىٰهُمۡ أَنِ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ
1241. The glorification of God will be spontaneous and instinctive, because in Heaven the reality of things will become manifest to men and they will realize that every work of God was based on deep wisdom. This realization will make them exclaim instinctively and spontaneously, Glory be to Thee, O Allah. The verse also indicates that the ultimate end of the believers is always happy. They give expression to their joy by proclaiming the glory of God. (close)
a. 14:24; 36:59. (close)
The verse purports to say that on having been endowed with the rewards of Heaven and on experiencing its supreme bliss, the believers will at once cry out, Glory be to Thee, O Allah. This glorification will be spontaneous and instinctive, because in Heaven the true reality of things will become manifest to all. Even in this life a true believer praises and glorifies God whenever he sees a praiseworthy thing, the inward reality of which he does not know. He does so because he knows that no work of God is devoid of wisdom. But in Heaven, the reality of all things will become apparent to man. He will come to realize on the basis of his personal observation and experience that every work of God is founded in deep wisdom. The realization of this eternal truth will make him exclaim instinctively and involuntarily, Glory be to Thee, o Allah.
The verse proceeds to say that believers in Heaven will salute each other with the greeting of peace. In fact, all our sufferings (i.e. lack of peace) in this world are due to our ignorance of the true reality and properties of things and, as these will be disclosed to us in Heaven, we shall attain there complete and real peace, for we shall then become secure against all harm by knowing the true properties of all things and will get complete freedom from pain and suffering. Hence, after glorifying God on learning the realities of things and experiencing the complete bliss of Heaven, believers will go about exclaiming, "There is peace here, nothing but peace", for, after attaining perfect knowledge of things, they will no longer suffer by making wrong use of them.
Finally, when believers will see perfect peace reigning in Heaven and will have vented their happy feelings to one another, they will turn again to God and the conclusion of their prayer will be, "All praise be to Allah, Who has placed us in such a place of perfect bliss." (close)
وَ لَوۡ یُعَجِّلُ اللّٰہُ لِلنَّاسِ الشَّرَّ اسۡتِعۡجَالَہُمۡ بِالۡخَیۡرِ لَقُضِیَ اِلَیۡہِمۡ اَجَلُہُمۡ ؕ فَنَذَرُ الَّذِیۡنَ لَا یَرۡجُوۡنَ لِقَآءَنَا فِیۡ طُغۡیَانِہِمۡ یَعۡمَہُوۡنَ ﴿۱۲﴾
۞وَلَوۡ يُعَجِّلُ ٱللَّهُ لِلنَّاسِ ٱلشَّرَّ ٱسۡتِعۡجَالَهُم بِٱلۡخَيۡرِ لَقُضِيَ إِلَيۡهِمۡ أَجَلُهُمۡۖ فَنَذَرُ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَرۡجُونَ لِقَآءَنَا فِي طُغۡيَٰنِهِمۡ يَعۡمَهُونَ
b. 17:12. (close)
1242. The word Khair also meaning wealth (Lane), the verse means that disbelievers direct all their energies to the earning of wealth, and neglect God altogether. Their conduct demands that evil should overtake them. But God is slow to punish. If He had been as quick in punishing them as their conduct deserves, they would have been destroyed long ago. If the word Khair be taken in the sense of 'good' as in the text, the verse would mean that if God were as quick to inflict punishment on disbelievers for their evil deeds as He is to bestow good, then they would already have been destroyed. (close)
c. See 10:8. (close)
a. 17:12. (close)
b. See 10:8. (close)
1287. Important Words:
الخیر (wealth) is a common Arabic word giving among others the following meanings: (1) good, moral or physical, actual or potential; (2) a thing that all desire, being profitable or useful; (3) wealth or property; (4) good fortune, happiness or prosperity (Lane).
Some difference of opinion exists among commentators as to the meaning of the first part of this verse. This difference has arisen owing to the word خیر (wealth) being misconstrued as "good" or "virtue", which it does not always mean. The word خیر as shown under Important Words, also means wealth or property, and it is in this sense that it has been used in the present verse. The verse thus means that disbelievers have directed all their energies to the earning of wealth and have altogether neglected God. Their conduct demands that evil should overtake them. But God is slow to punish. If He had been as quick in punishing as their conduct deserves, they would have been destroyed long ago. But God gives people respite to repent and mend their ways. If, however, the word خیر be taken in the sense of "good", then the pronoun ھم in the expression استعجالـھم would be taken as the object of the word استعجال and not as the subject, and in this case the verse would mean that if God had been as quick to inflict punishment as He is to bestow good, then they would already have been destroyed; but God, being Forgiving and Merciful, gives them time to repent.
The words, But We leave those who look not for the meeting with Us to wander distractedly in their transgression, do not mean that God desires to leave the transgressors in their transgression, but that, in spite of their transgression, He grants them respite so that they may not die in a state of transgression but may have a chance to correct themselves and escape punishment.
As already pointed out in 10:4 above, the Quran sometimes omits to mention a question and only indirectly alludes to it by giving the answer. Thus this verse shows that 10:4 was a reply to the demand of the disbelievers for a speedy decision. All these verses therefore occur in a perfectly natural order and contain a reply to an implied question. (close)