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)
وَ اِذَا مَسَّ الۡاِنۡسَانَ الضُّرُّ دَعَانَا لِجَنۡۢبِہٖۤ اَوۡ قَاعِدًا اَوۡ قَآئِمًا ۚ فَلَمَّا کَشَفۡنَا عَنۡہُ ضُرَّہٗ مَرَّ کَاَنۡ لَّمۡ یَدۡعُنَاۤ اِلٰی ضُرٍّ مَّسَّہٗ ؕ کَذٰلِکَ زُیِّنَ لِلۡمُسۡرِفِیۡنَ مَا کَانُوۡا یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۳﴾
وَإِذَا مَسَّ ٱلۡإِنسَٰنَ ٱلضُّرُّ دَعَانَا لِجَنۢبِهِۦٓ أَوۡ قَاعِدًا أَوۡ قَآئِمٗا فَلَمَّا كَشَفۡنَا عَنۡهُ ضُرَّهُۥ مَرَّ كَأَن لَّمۡ يَدۡعُنَآ إِلَىٰ ضُرّٖ مَّسَّهُۥۚ كَذَٰلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلۡمُسۡرِفِينَ مَا كَانُواْ يَعۡمَلُونَ
a. 30:34; 39:9, 50. (close)
a. 30:34; 39:9, 50. (close)
1288. Important Words:
مسرفین (the extravagant) is the plural of مسرف which is the active participle from اسرف which again is derived from سرفmeaning, he was ignorant; or he was unmindful or heedless. سرف الطعام means, the wheat or food became cankered or eaten away. اسرف means, he exceeded or transgressed the just or right limit or measure; he acted extravagantly or immoderately. They say فلان اسرف فی ماله meaning, such a one was hasty in respect of his property i.e. he expended his property extravagantly without keeping within proper bounds. اسرف فی القتل means, he exceeded the due bounds or just limits in slaying. اسراف, which is the noun-infinitive from اسرف, also signifies the committing of many faults, offences, or crimes and sins. مسرف means, one exceeding or transgressing the right limit or measure; one acting extravagantly; one unmindful, negligent or heedless; one denying or disacknowledging the favours or benefits or the Unity or the Prophets or the Law of God; a disbeliever or an unbeliever (Lane & Aqrab).
This verse describes the different attitudes which a man assumes when he is stricken with distress. Sometimes the blow is so hard that he falls to the ground. This state is described in the words, lying on his side. Again, sometimes distress renders a man restless and uneasy. This state is described in the words, sitting or standing, because the constant changing of posture is a sure sign of restlessness.
The verse means that, although disbelievers continue to demand that if the Prophet of Islam is really sent by God, they should be visited with punishment for their rejection of him, yet when Divine punishment actually overtakes them, they are seized with despair. It thus embodies two important lessons. The first is that we should not be hasty in attacking the motives of other people, because the verse clearly says that the disbelievers do not commit evil deeds deliberately, knowing them to be so, but only do what appears good in their eyes, i.e. their evil deeds are the result of faulty reasoning and defective vision. It may be asked here, why then will disbelievers be punished for doing what appears good in their eyes. The answer to that question is that the verse does not say that the evil deeds of each and every individual appear good in his sight but that it is only to the extravagant that they so appear. The offence of the disbelievers lies in the fact that they become extravagant, and so they justly deserve to suffer the consequences of an extravagant life.
The second important lesson contained in this verse is that the plea of good motives is not always acceptable and therefore it cannot always save a person from the consequences of his actions. It is only when the motives themselves become vitiated on account of corrupt living or when it is in our power to rectify our motives but we fail to do so, that we become deserving of punishment. In the law of nature, as against the law of Shari‘ah, motives count for nothing, the consequences being invariably determined by the nature of one’s actions. He who takes a fatal dose of poison must die, no matter what his motives are and no matter what kind of life he leads. But in the law of Shari‘ah due allowance is made for the circumstances in which a certain deed is done and for the motives that prompt it. (close)
وَ لَقَدۡ اَہۡلَکۡنَا الۡقُرُوۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِکُمۡ لَمَّا ظَلَمُوۡا ۙ وَ جَآءَتۡہُمۡ رُسُلُہُمۡ بِالۡبَیِّنٰتِ وَ مَا کَانُوۡا لِیُؤۡمِنُوۡا ؕ کَذٰلِکَ نَجۡزِی الۡقَوۡمَ الۡمُجۡرِمِیۡنَ ﴿۱۴﴾
وَلَقَدۡ أَهۡلَكۡنَا ٱلۡقُرُونَ مِن قَبۡلِكُمۡ لَمَّا ظَلَمُواْ وَجَآءَتۡهُمۡ رُسُلُهُم بِٱلۡبَيِّنَٰتِ وَمَا كَانُواْ لِيُؤۡمِنُواْۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نَجۡزِي ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلۡمُجۡرِمِينَ
b. 6:7; 20:129; 32:27. (close)
1243. Punishments are of two kinds: (1) Those that are the result of the contravention of the laws of nature, and (2) those that come when the law of the Shari‘ah is flouted. The latter class of punishments overtake a people when they lead wicked lives, or when a Prophet appears among them and they reject him and put all sorts of obstacles in his way. Punishments of this kind are known by certain characteristics. Other class of punishments, such as the rise and fall of nations, come as the result of the contravention of the ordinary laws of nature. (close)
a. 6:7; 20:129; 21:12. (close)
1289. Important Words:
القرون (the generations) is the plural of القرن which gives a number of meanings: (1) part or division of time; (2) people of one time; (3) a generation coming after another; (4) a people that is destroyed so as to leave no remnant behind it; a century (Aqrab and Lane).
This verse brings to light some eternal divine truths. One is that it is always a life of wrongdoing i.e. the contravention of the law of nature or that of Shari‘ah that brings about the downfall and destruction of a people. The entire history of the world bears eloquent testimony to this great truth. The other divine law hinted at in this verse is that Divine punishment does not overtake a people unless a Prophet of God first appears among them to warn them of their evil ways and of the Divine punishment that will come upon them, if they do not follow him and give up their wicked practices. Thus it is the mercy of God and not His punishment that is meant to be emphasized in this verse, because we are told that when God sees that a certain people have made themselves deserving of His punishment on account of their evil lives, He, out of His great mercy, sends to them a Prophet so that they may follow him and, by reforming themselves, escape the impending punishment and become heirs to His favours. It is only when they reject the Divine Messenger and instead of mending their ways, begin to persecute him that God sends down punishment on them.
Punishments again are of two kinds: (1) those that are the result of contravention of the laws of nature, and (2) those that come when the law of Shari‘ah is flouted. The latter class of punishments never occur unless a people begin to lead wicked lives and unless a Prophet is first made to appear among them. Punishments of this kind are known by certain characteristics. For instance, (a) their occurrence is generally foretold by previous announcements based on Divine revelation; (b) they assume the form of an unusual and extraordinary upheaval in nature such as a succession of earthquakes or the widespread outbreak of virulent epidemics; and (c) they occur after a Warner has made his appearance. The other class of punishments, such as the rise and fall of nations from natural causes, are due only to the contravention of the ordinary laws of nature. These must always be distinguished from the first-mentioned class of punishments. (close)
ثُمَّ جَعَلۡنٰکُمۡ خَلٰٓئِفَ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِہِمۡ لِنَنۡظُرَ کَیۡفَ تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵﴾
ثُمَّ جَعَلۡنَٰكُمۡ خَلَـٰٓئِفَ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِمۡ لِنَنظُرَ كَيۡفَ تَعۡمَلُونَ
c. 2:31; 7:130. (close)
a. 2:31; 7:130. (close)
1290. Important Words:
خلائف (successors) is the plural of خلیفة which is the active participle from خلف. They say خلفه i.e. he came after, succeeded or remained after him. خلیفة means, a successor; a vicegerent or deputy; one appointed to take the place of another who has been before him (Lane). See also 2:31; 7:70 & 7:170.
The verse gives rise to a natural question, viz. when a people is made to succeed another people only when the former is superior to the latter who have met with a merited downfall, what is the significance of the words, that We might see how you would act? The answer to this question is that good works are of two kinds: (1) those that bring about and lead to the glory of a people; and (2) those that are needed to maintain that glory. There are people who acquit themselves excellently in the acquisition of greatness but, once they have attained it they fail to maintain a high standard of national morality and fall victim to sloth and lack of discipline. Moreover, the works of a people are further divided into two more categories. Some actions are virtuous by themselves, while others serve only as a basis for, and help to maintain, good deeds. By adding the clause, that We might see how you would act, the Quran means to say that God made you heirs to His favours on account of such of your initial good deeds as were needed to merit greatness, and now He will see how you do those deeds which guard and perpetuate your good actions. The truth is that the latter kind of good deeds are far more difficult to perform than the former. One of the principal causes of the decline of nations is that, while they are ready to undergo all sorts of sacrifices in order to attain honour and greatness, they do not make similar efforts to preserve and perpetuate the same willingness for sacrifice and the same love for righteousness among their posterity. The result is that with the passing of one or more deserving generations the process of decay and degeneration sets in, till at last the doomed nation falls into the abyss of ruin and destruction.
If Muslims had borne this great truth in mind, they would not have sunk to their present degradation. If even now they hearken to the voice of God and His Messenger and act upon the great truth embodied in this verse, they may yet regain their lost glory. (close)