اَمۡ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ افۡتَرٰٮہُ ؕ قُلۡ فَاۡتُوۡا بِسُوۡرَۃٍ مِّثۡلِہٖ وَ ادۡعُوۡا مَنِ اسۡتَطَعۡتُمۡ مِّنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ صٰدِقِیۡنَ ﴿۳۹﴾
أَمۡ يَقُولُونَ ٱفۡتَرَىٰهُۖ قُلۡ فَأۡتُواْ بِسُورَةٖ مِّثۡلِهِۦ وَٱدۡعُواْ مَنِ ٱسۡتَطَعۡتُم مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ إِن كُنتُمۡ صَٰدِقِينَ
b. 2:24; 11:14; 17:89; 52:34, 35. (close)
1262. The verse challenges disbelievers that if a book with such excellences as the Qur’an possesses could be a human forgery, then why do they not produce a similar one themselves? This challenge stands for all time. See also 44. (close)
a. 2:24; 11:14; 17:89; 52:34-35. (close)
Notwithstanding the great excellences of the Quran mentioned in the preceding verse, disbelievers had the hardihood to allege that it was a fabrication of the Holy Prophet. The verse under comment asks, if a book with such excellences as the Quran possesses could be a human fabrication, then why do disbelievers not produce a similar one themselves? Similar challenges have been made in the Quran at different places, in different words. At one place the Quran calls upon disbelievers to produce a book like the whole of the Quran; at another it challenges them to produce ten chapters comparable to the Quranic Surahs; at yet another place it requires them to produce even a single Surah like those of the Quran. This shows that each of the passages containing these challenges deals with the subject from a different standpoint and offers a different challenge. In the verse under comment, for instance, the pronoun "it" in the expression مثله (like unto it) does not refer to the whole of the Quran but only to the previous verse of the present Surah. As we have seen, the previous verse has advanced five arguments to show that the Quran is the revealed word of God and in the present verse disbelievers are told that if they still persist in looking upon the Quran as the word of man, then let them produce a book which, let alone all the five arguments embodied in the previous verse, should possess only one of them. It is a patent fact, however, that not one of these five arguments about the Divine origin of the Quran is to be found in any work of man. This is a claim which nobody has ever dared to contradict, nor is there a possibility of future contradiction. The challenge stands for all time. The heavens and the earth may pass away, but no man will ever be able to produce a book like the Quran.
If the word Surah in this verse be taken to mean a chapter, then the verse would mean that disbelievers are called upon to produce even a chapter comparable with the Quran. But then the challenge will not be so pointed. For, in that case disbelievers would be called upon to bring a full chapter characterized by all the five qualities mentioned in the previous verse, while in the other case they are required to produce any composition containing only one of the five qualities. For a detailed treatment of this important subject see 2:24. (close)
بَلۡ کَذَّبُوۡا بِمَا لَمۡ یُحِیۡطُوۡا بِعِلۡمِہٖ وَ لَمَّا یَاۡتِہِمۡ تَاۡوِیۡلُہٗ ؕ کَذٰلِکَ کَذَّبَ الَّذِیۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِہِمۡ فَانۡظُرۡ کَیۡفَ کَانَ عَاقِبَۃُ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۴۰﴾
بَلۡ كَذَّبُواْ بِمَا لَمۡ يُحِيطُواْ بِعِلۡمِهِۦ وَلَمَّا يَأۡتِهِمۡ تَأۡوِيلُهُۥۚ كَذَٰلِكَ كَذَّبَ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِهِمۡۖ فَٱنظُرۡ كَيۡفَ كَانَ عَٰقِبَةُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
c. 27:85. (close)
a. 27:85. (close)
The verse means that it is no wonder that disbelievers look upon the Quran as a fabrication (see the preceding verse). When a man does not understand a thing fully, he is prone to deny it. As disbelievers did not comprehend the Quranic teaching and found it to be contradictory to many of their confirmed views and cherished notions, they rejected it forthwith. The words, they have rejected that the knowledge of which they did not compass, may also mean, "they hastened to reject the Quran before even trying to understand it or knowing its true significance."
The words, nor has the true significance thereof yet come to them, may lead some to think that if a long period must elapse before the reality and true significance of some of the things promised by the Prophets could be known, then it would not be wrong to disbelieve in them in the beginning when that reality could not yet be known. But such an inference would be manifestly wrong. The verse does not mean that in the beginning the Prophets do not possess those proofs and arguments which can help seekers after truth to know and recognize their truth. What it means is that those who, in spite of witnessing signs which go to establish the truth of a Prophet, attach importance to certain other matters to which they wrongly give undue weight, should not be in a hurry to deny the truth of the Prophet on that score only but should wait till those matters about which they entertain doubts are clarified.
The Rev. Mr. Wherry, quoting Brinkman, says that on the basis of this verse no blame could attach to the Meccans for rejecting the Quran, because, according to the Quran itself, they were not yet in full possession of the required knowledge. But the reverend gentleman did not trouble to consider that it is one thing to be unable to possess full knowledge about a certain thing and quite another not to try to acquire such knowledge. The Quran does not say that disbelievers were unable to get sufficient knowledge by which they could know the truth of the Holy Prophet, but that they never tried to acquire such knowledge and rejected him on the ground that he was a common man like themselves. (close)
وَ مِنۡہُمۡ مَّنۡ یُّؤۡمِنُ بِہٖ وَ مِنۡہُمۡ مَّنۡ لَّا یُؤۡمِنُ بِہٖ ؕ وَ رَبُّکَ اَعۡلَمُ بِالۡمُفۡسِدِیۡنَ ﴿٪۴۱﴾
وَمِنۡهُم مَّن يُؤۡمِنُ بِهِۦ وَمِنۡهُم مَّن لَّا يُؤۡمِنُ بِهِۦۚ وَرَبُّكَ أَعۡلَمُ بِٱلۡمُفۡسِدِينَ
a. 2:254; 4:56. (close)
a. 2:254; 4:56. (close)
The verse says that in spite of the hostile attitude of disbelievers, they will not all remain unguided. Some of them will change their minds and accept the truth. Only those who persist in their evil ways and continue to act corruptly to the last will deprive themselves permanently of faith and guidance. The verse gives the reason why Divine punishment was delayed, which is that there was not only the likelihood of some of the opponents of Islam eventually accepting it but that God knew for a fact that some of them would actually become sincere Muslims. He, therefore, refrained from sending His punishment earlier.
The verse constituted a powerful prophecy which was fulfilled in due course. If the Meccans had been destroyed immediately after they rejected the Holy Prophet, how would men like Khalid bin Walid, ‘Amr bin al-‘As, ‘Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl and many other brave and valiant champions of Islam, have accepted the true faith? (close)
وَ اِنۡ کَذَّبُوۡکَ فَقُلۡ لِّیۡ عَمَلِیۡ وَ لَکُمۡ عَمَلُکُمۡ ۚ اَنۡتُمۡ بَرِیۡٓـــُٔوۡنَ مِمَّاۤ اَعۡمَلُ وَ اَنَا بَرِیۡٓءٌ مِّمَّا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۴۲﴾
وَإِن كَذَّبُوكَ فَقُل لِّي عَمَلِي وَلَكُمۡ عَمَلُكُمۡۖ أَنتُم بَرِيٓـُٔونَ مِمَّآ أَعۡمَلُ وَأَنَا۠ بَرِيٓءٞ مِّمَّا تَعۡمَلُونَ
b. 2:140; 109:7. (close)
b. 2:140; 109:7. (close)
This verse throws interesting light on the catholicity and broad-mindedness of Islam. Disbelievers are told here that if they prefer to reject the Holy Prophet, they are at perfect liberty to do so. In fact, whenever there exists a difference of views between two parties, each party has the right to show the other to be in error. But this difference should not be allowed to go further, and one party should not compel the other party to accept its views.
The verse declares that when it is well known that believers and disbelievers are two distinct and separate parties and there is no likelihood of the one being mistaken for the other, and when their ways of working are also different, then there is no reason why compulsion should be resorted to. Compulsion may only be exercised when the conduct of one party is likely to bring discredit to the other party. But, situated as they are, the works of a Prophet and of his followers bring no discredit to disbelievers, nor do the actions of disbelievers bring any discredit to believers. Therefore, there is no justification for either of the two classes to bring compulsion to bear on the other.
The verse is also capable of another interpretation. It may mean that the works of the Holy Prophet are quite distinct from those of the disbelievers and there is no similarity between the two. This being so, the result would show whose works are right and whose wrong. When there is similarity between the works of two parties, it is difficult to determine definitely the cause of the progress or degeneration, as the case may be, of one party or the other. But when there exists absolutely no similarity between the works of two parties, everybody is in a position to fix responsibility for the result. (close)
وَ مِنۡہُمۡ مَّنۡ یَّسۡتَمِعُوۡنَ اِلَیۡکَ ؕ اَفَاَنۡتَ تُسۡمِعُ الصُّمَّ وَ لَوۡ کَانُوۡا لَا یَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿۴۳﴾
وَمِنۡهُم مَّن يَسۡتَمِعُونَ إِلَيۡكَۚ أَفَأَنتَ تُسۡمِعُ ٱلصُّمَّ وَلَوۡ كَانُواْ لَا يَعۡقِلُونَ
c. 6:26; 17:48. (close)
d. 27:81. (close)
a. 6:26; 17:48. (close)
b. 27:81. (close)
This and the following verses give the reason why disbelievers reject the truth. We are told that their rejection is not based on any sound ground or solid reason but is due only to their bigotry and perverseness. Disbelievers appear to listen to the Holy Prophet, but they listen merely with the intention of finding fault with him. The verse further says that even a deaf person who is otherwise intelligent may be made to understand a thing by means of signs but disbelievers are like a person who is both deaf and devoid of understanding. So they cannot be made to understand even by means of signs. (close)
وَ مِنۡہُمۡ مَّنۡ یَّنۡظُرُ اِلَیۡکَ ؕ اَفَاَنۡتَ تَہۡدِی الۡعُمۡیَ وَ لَوۡ کَانُوۡا لَا یُبۡصِرُوۡنَ ﴿۴۴﴾
وَمِنۡهُم مَّن يَنظُرُ إِلَيۡكَۚ أَفَأَنتَ تَهۡدِي ٱلۡعُمۡيَ وَلَوۡ كَانُواْ لَا يُبۡصِرُونَ
e. 7:199. (close)
1263. The disbelievers do not possess the perceptive understanding and intelligence. In the preceding verse, they were spoken of as devoid of 'understanding' in addition to their being devoid of 'the faculty of hearing,' and in the present verse they are spoken of as destitute of the 'perceptive faculty of the mind,' in addition to their being blind. (close)
c. 7:199. (close)
In this verse the expression لایبصرون (they see not) does not mean that disbelievers do not possess the faculty of sight, because a reference to this fact has already been made in the word "blind." What it means is that they do not also possess the perceptive faculty of the mind, i.e. understanding and intelligence. In the previous verse, disbelievers were spoken of as devoid of "understanding" in addition to their being devoid of "the faculty of hearing" and in the present verse they are spoken of as destitute of "perceptive faculty of the mind," in addition to their being blind. The two verses taken together thus point out that disbelievers cannot possibly find the right way when they are not only devoid of the power of hearing but also of spiritual sight.
The verse also implies that we should not judge others merely by their outward appearance. One judging only by appearance will be tempted to object why punishment does not seize the disbelievers at once. But God knows that there are among them some who are ultimately to become Muslims. On the other hand, there are some who appear as if they would accept the truth, but in spite of possessing ears they hear not and in spite of possessing eyes they see not, and always go on criticizing. But God knows who is going to believe and who not, and He knows also who deserves to be punished and who merits a good reward. So He has reserved to Himself the right when and whom to punish. This is how the present and the previous verses explain the words, thy Lord well knows those who act corruptly, occurring in v. 41. (close)
اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یَظۡلِمُ النَّاسَ شَیۡئًا وَّ لٰکِنَّ النَّاسَ اَنۡفُسَہُمۡ یَظۡلِمُوۡنَ ﴿۴۵﴾
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَظۡلِمُ ٱلنَّاسَ شَيۡـٔٗا وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱلنَّاسَ أَنفُسَهُمۡ يَظۡلِمُونَ
a. 4:41; 9:70; 18:50; 30:10. (close)
a. 4:41; 9:70; 18:50; 30:10. (close)
This verse forms a fitting sequel to the preceding ones. It says that God Who has sent the Prophet and should, on account of his rejection by disbelievers, naturally be disposed to inflict swift punishment on them, is granting them respite and does not desire to punish them soon, but disbelievers themselves demand a speedy punishment. God does not wish to do wrong to them, i.e. He does not like to destroy them while there is yet time for them to repent and accept guidance, but they themselves demand punishment and thus wrong their own souls.
This verse also furnishes an explanation of all such verses from which some people conclude that men are prevented from accepting guidance because they are predestined to be misguided and that it is God Who makes men commit all the sins they commit. All such conclusions are based on the supposition that God acts unjustly towards His creatures. The present verse contradicts this baseless supposition by expressly stating that God never acts unjustly towards His creatures. On the contrary, He affords them all possible opportunities to accept the truth. (close)
وَ یَوۡمَ یَحۡشُرُہُمۡ کَاَنۡ لَّمۡ یَلۡبَثُوۡۤا اِلَّا سَاعَۃً مِّنَ النَّہَارِ یَتَعَارَفُوۡنَ بَیۡنَہُمۡ ؕ قَدۡ خَسِرَ الَّذِیۡنَ کَذَّبُوۡا بِلِقَآءِ اللّٰہِ وَ مَا کَانُوۡا مُہۡتَدِیۡنَ ﴿۴۶﴾
وَيَوۡمَ يَحۡشُرُهُمۡ كَأَن لَّمۡ يَلۡبَثُوٓاْ إِلَّا سَاعَةٗ مِّنَ ٱلنَّهَارِ يَتَعَارَفُونَ بَيۡنَهُمۡۚ قَدۡ خَسِرَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بِلِقَآءِ ٱللَّهِ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُهۡتَدِينَ
b. 30:56; 46:36. (close)
1264. Several times disbelievers have been spoken of in the Qur’an as having stayed in the world only for an hour of a day. In all such verses it is not the actual time of their staying in the world that is meant, but their being engrossed in worldly affairs and idle pursuits that is condemned by implication. As they wasted their lives in idle pursuits they may rightly be said to have lived in the world only for a day, even though they may have actually lived for many years. (close)
c. 6:32; 30:9; 32:11. (close)
a. 30:56; 46:36. (close)
b. 6:32; 30:9; 32:11. (close)
Disbelievers have been several times spoken of in the Quran as having stayed in the world only for an hour of a day. In all such verses it is not the actual time of their staying in the world that is meant. It is only their being engrossed in worldly affairs and idle pursuits that is implied. The day is primarily meant for work and, inasmuch as disbelievers spend most of their time in earning the paltry goods of the world or pass their time in hunting after enjoyment and do not make any effort to win the pleasure of God, it may be rightly said of them that they have lived in the world only for a day, even though they may have actually lived for thousands of years, for they do not benefit by their lives and do not put their days to the right use for which they are meant. If it had been meant to give the actual period of time for which disbelievers stayed on earth, there was no need of specifying the time of the day, for time can be measured by night also.
The words, who deny the meeting with Allah, supply the reason why disbelievers pass their life in negligence. It was due to their lack of faith in meeting with God, which indeed is a great incentive to good works. Both those who obey through fear and those who obey from motives of love are prompted to do good works because they know that one day they will stand before God when they will have to render an account of their deeds. When this faith is wanting, negligence is the natural consequence. (close)
وَ اِمَّا نُرِیَنَّکَ بَعۡضَ الَّذِیۡ نَعِدُہُمۡ اَوۡ نَتَوَفَّیَنَّکَ فَاِلَیۡنَا مَرۡجِعُہُمۡ ثُمَّ اللّٰہُ شَہِیۡدٌ عَلٰی مَا یَفۡعَلُوۡنَ ﴿۴۷﴾
وَإِمَّا نُرِيَنَّكَ بَعۡضَ ٱلَّذِي نَعِدُهُمۡ أَوۡ نَتَوَفَّيَنَّكَ فَإِلَيۡنَا مَرۡجِعُهُمۡ ثُمَّ ٱللَّهُ شَهِيدٌ عَلَىٰ مَا يَفۡعَلُونَ
d. 13:41; 40:78. (close)
1265. The verse lays down an important principle that the prophecies comprising threats and warnings about an impending punishment are liable to be cancelled, while those containing promises of a general character, not applying to a particular Prophet but embodying a general rule that applies to all the Prophets, are not cancelled or revoked. The verse further implies that it is not necessary that all prophecies should have a time limit for their fulfilment. (close)
c. 13:41; 40:78. (close)
1322. Important Words:
اما was originally ان ما, the particle ما having been added to ان which means "If." The added particle ما is technically known as زائدة (redundant). But these so-called redundant words are not without purpose. They are used to emphasize or intensify the meaning of the word to which they are added. The change effected in the sense of the particle ان by the addition of the particle ما is that whereas ان alone expresses a mere contingency or possibility which is not necessarily accompanied by hope, the addition of the particle ما makes the contingency not only more emphatic but also expressive of hope.
This verse lays down the important principle that prophecies containing warnings and threats of coming punishment are subject to revocation. The verse shows that prophecies are of two kinds: (1) those that are conditional, as appear from the words اما (if) and او (or) used in the verse; (2) those that are revocable or subject to cancellation, as hinted at in the words بعض (some) and نرینك (We show thee in thy lifetime). The word بعض (some) definitely shows that the present verse speaks of only those prophecies that were meant to be fulfilled during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, for the prophecies which related to the time subsequent to his death, were obviously not meant to be fulfilled during his lifetime and therefore did not need to be mentioned in the present context. Incidentally, the verse also points to the possibility that no prophecy of punishment might be fulfilled in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, for it was possible that all those to whom he preached his Message might believe in him and thus there might be no occasion for punishment. The verse is so worded as to show the absolute power of God; otherwise, ordinarily, all men do not believe.
The verse also shows that it is not necessary that prophecies should have a time-limit, for the time given for the fulfilment of the prophecies referred to here is unrestricted, extending even to the period subsequent to the death of the Holy Prophet. Nay, even if an apparent time-limit is prescribed, which in the present case is the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, the time-limit is only of secondary importance, for the verse definitely admits the possibility of some of these prophecies remaining unfulfilled during the lifetime of the Prophet.
It further emerges from this verse that only such prophecies are liable to be revoked or cancelled as relate to matters of detail, for the prophecies which concern fundamental principles and are general in character are never revoked. An instance of the prophecies of this class is to be had in the well-known verse, Allah has decreed: of a certainty I will prevail, I and My Messengers (58:22); while the prophecies which are liable to be cancelled, are those to which the verse under comment relates, for here the words are, the things with which We have threatened them. This shows that the prophecies comprising threats and warnings about impending punishment are liable to be cancelled, while those containing promises of a general character not applying to a particular Prophet but embodying a general rule that applies to all the Prophets of God can never be cancelled and must be fulfilled. (close)
وَ لِکُلِّ اُمَّۃٍ رَّسُوۡلٌ ۚ فَاِذَا جَآءَ رَسُوۡلُہُمۡ قُضِیَ بَیۡنَہُمۡ بِالۡقِسۡطِ وَ ہُمۡ لَا یُظۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۴۸﴾
وَلِكُلِّ أُمَّةٖ رَّسُولٞۖ فَإِذَا جَآءَ رَسُولُهُمۡ قُضِيَ بَيۡنَهُم بِٱلۡقِسۡطِ وَهُمۡ لَا يُظۡلَمُونَ
a. 16:37; 35:25. (close)
1266. The verse seems to refer to a Law-giving Prophet, for all religious Dispensations are founded by Law-giving Prophets. (close)
a. 16:37; 35:25. (close)
It is wrong to infer from this verse that only one Messenger is sent to a people. It is the appearance of a Messenger and not the number of such Messengers that is meant here. In other words, the verse tells us that no people is left without a Divine Messenger. Moreover, to interpret this verse as meaning that every nation has only one Messenger sent to them contradicts the established facts of history. Both Moses and Aaron, who were real brothers, were sent not only to the same people but in the same age. In fact, what is intended here is that every religious community takes its birth from the advent of a heavenly Messenger. Obviously it refers to a Law-giving Prophet, for all religious dispensations are founded by Law-giving Prophets.
The latter portion of the verse means that those who show themselves deserving of inclusion among the followers of a Prophet get the opportunity to do so, while those who reject the Divine Messenger are destroyed. Thus no people can become heirs to God’s blessings and favours unless they follow the Messenger of God who is sent to them. (close)