Introduction of Hud
(Revealed before Hijrah)
This is a Meccan Surah. According to Ibn ‘Abbas, Al-Hasan, ‘Ikrimah, Mujahid, Qatadah and Jabir bin Zaid, the whole of it was revealed at Mecca. Ibn ‘Abbas, according to one report, however, makes an exception in the case of verse 13 which, he says, was revealed at Medina. According to Muqatil, the whole Surah belongs to the Meccan period, with the exception of vv.13, 18, & 115.
The Surah discusses at length one of the subjects dealt with in the previous Surah. In the latter it was said that God deals with the enemies of His Prophets in three ways: (1) Some are completely destroyed; (2) others are wholly spared; and (3) yet others are partly destroyed and partly spared. In the present chapter, the Quran discusses the first category and states how God completely destroyed certain people so that no trace of them was left and He raised in their place another people who did not constitute the continuation of any previous people but introduced a new era.
The Surah also points out that one of the attributes of God is that He watches the evil actions of men and deals with them according to their actions. It further says that He makes provision for the guidance of men as circumstances demand and, as that provision is made for the good of man himself, therefore when he does not benefit by it, he perishes spiritually just as he would perish physically for lack of food. Again, it is pointed out that just as mankind does not come to an end when one generation of men passes away because it is succeeded by another generation, similarly, when one religious movement perishes, its place is taken by another.
The Surah further tells us that though worldly progress is possible even when people keep away from God, yet only those people are granted permanence in the earth who are honest not only in their worldly affairs but are also true to God. In other words, it is only those who are obedient to God and maintain their connection with Him whose name is perpetuated in world history. Then the Surah proceeds to give reasons why believers triumph over disbelievers and why the latter invariably perish in their struggle against the former. It illustrates this Divine practice by referring to different peoples who were once mighty in power and strong in numbers, but who met with destruction when they rose against the apparently humble followers of God’s Messengers. Among them are mentioned the peoples of Noah, Hud, Salih, Lot and Shu‘aib. Pharaoh and his people, who behaved arrogantly towards Moses and oppressed the Israelites, have also been mentioned. Reference has also been made to the great Patriarch Abraham, but that only incidentally in the course of the story of Lot. This has been followed by a brief account of Moses in his relationship not with the Israelites but with Pharaoh, which resulted in the destruction of Pharaoh and his arrogant people.
Then the believers are warned against associating with the people for whom Divine punishment has been decreed; for an association with such people would naturally involve them in the punishment meant for the latter. Thereafter, the Holy Prophet has been comforted and asked not to worry about the destruction of his people; for if his people were going to be destroyed, the people of many a Prophet before him were also destroyed. Lastly, the Holy Prophet has been cheered by the prophecy that great prosperity awaits his followers.
So many instances of Divine punishment have been cited in this Surah and such emphasis has been laid on the great responsibilities of the Holy Prophet that he is reported to have said: "The chapter Hud has prematurely aged me" (Manthur), meaning that the contents of the Surah had weighed so heavily on his mind that he had begun to feel early signs of physical weakness.
یہ مکی سورت ہے اور بسم اللہ سمیت اس کی ایک سو چوبیس آیات ہیں۔
اس کا گزشتہ سورت سے جو تعلق ہے اسے گزشتہ سورت کے تبصرہ میں واضح کردیا گیا ہے۔ اس سورت کا یہ پہلو بہت نمایاں ہے کہ اس کی آیت نمبر ۱۱۳ فَاسْتَقِمْ کَمَا اُمِرْتَ وَمَنْ تَابَ مَعَکَ کی رُو سے آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم پر ایسی بھاری ذمہ داری آپڑی کہ آپؐ نے فرمایا: شَیَّبَتْنِیْ ھُوْدٌ کہ مجھے تو سورۃ ہودنے بوڑھا کردیا۔ نیز اس سورت میں ان قوموں کا ذکر ہے جو انکار کی وجہ سے ہلاک کردی گئیں۔ ان لوگوں کے غم کی وجہ سے بھی آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کو بہت دکھ پہنچا۔ اس سورت کی آیت نمبر۸ ۱ رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم کے حق میں آپؐ سے پہلے کی ایک گواہی کا بھی ذکر کرتی ہے یعنی حضرت موسیٰ علیہ الصلوٰۃ والسلام کی گواہی اور ایک ایسے گواہ کا بھی ذکر کرتی ہے جو آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم کے بعد پیدا ہونے والا ہے۔ اِس گواہ کا ذکر سورۃ البروج میں ان الفاظ میں ملتا ہے وَشَاھِدٍ وَّمَشْھُوْد کہ ایک زمانہ ہوگا جس میں ایک عظیم شاہد ایک عظیم تر مشہود یعنی رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم کے حق میں آپ کی صداقت کی گواہی دے گا۔ اس کے بعد چونکہ سورۃ یوسف کا آغاز اس آیت سے ہوتا ہے جس میں قَصص میں سے بہترین قصے کا بیان ہے اس لئے اس سورت کے اختتام پر اللہ تعالیٰ کا ارشاد ہے کہ انبیاء کے جو قصص بھی رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم کے سامنے بیان کئے جارہے ہیں وہ اس لئے ہیں کہ آپؐ کا دل ثبات پکڑے۔ اس میں اس طرف بھی اشارہ ہے کہ سورۃ ہود میں ان قصص کی وجہ سے رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم کے دل کو صدمہ پہنچانا مقصودنہیں تھا۔
بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ﴿۱﴾
بِسۡمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
a. 1:1. (close)
a. See1:1. (close)
See 1:1. (close)
الٓرٰ ۟ کِتٰبٌ اُحۡکِمَتۡ اٰیٰتُہٗ ثُمَّ فُصِّلَتۡ مِنۡ لَّدُنۡ حَکِیۡمٍ خَبِیۡرٍ ۙ﴿۲﴾
الٓرۚ كِتَٰبٌ أُحۡكِمَتۡ ءَايَٰتُهُۥ ثُمَّ فُصِّلَتۡ مِن لَّدُنۡ حَكِيمٍ خَبِيرٍ
b. 10:2; 12:2; 13:2; 14:2; 15:2. (close)
1293. I am Allah, the All-Seeing. See 16. (close)
c. 3:8; 10:2. (close)
1293A. Ahkama-hu means, he made it solid, sound, firm or free from defect or imperfection. Ahkamat-hut-Tajaribu means, experiments rendered him wise or sound in judgment (Lane). (close)
1294. The word Fussilat here has been substituted for Mutashabihat in 3:8 which word signifies the details of the Quranic teaching. The fundamental teachings of Islam are so unassailable that it is difficult to take exception to them. But, in order to know the whole truth about Islam, a study of both its fundamental teachings and their details is necessary but the details are subordinated to the fundamentals. (close)
b. 10:2; 12:2; 13:2; 14:2; 15:2. (close)
c. 3:8; 10:2. (close)
1383. Important Words:
الر (Alif Lam Ra). For these abbreviated letters see 2:2 and 10:2. احکمت (made unchangeable) is formed from احکمwhich is derived from حکم. They say حکمه i.e. he prevented or restrained him from acting in an evil manner; or he turned him from wrongdoing. احکمه means, he made it firm, stable, strong or sound; he put it into a firm, stable, strong, sound or good state; it made him characterized by wisdom. احکمته التجارب means, trials have rendered him firm or sound or wise in judgement (Lane). The expression احکمت ایاته would thus mean: the verses of this Book are rendered sound and firm by arguments and proofs; or they are prevented from being corrupted; or the verses of this Book are characterized by wisdom; or the teachings of this Book withhold people from evil. See also 3:8.
فصلت (expounded in detail) is derived from فصل (fasala) which means, he separated or divided a thing from another thing; he decided a dispute, etc. فصل الکلام (fassala) means, he explained; or he made the speech distinct, clear or perspicuous. فصل الشیء means, he made the thing to consist of (or he divided the thing into) distinct portions or sections. تفصیل means, explaining distinctly or in detail.
خبیر (All-Aware) is derived from خبر (khabura) or خبر (khabara) which means, he knew or had knowledge of a thing with respect to its real state. خبرہ (khabarahu) also means, he tried or tested or made experiment of it.
خبیر means, knowing; possessing knowledge or information or possessing much knowledge with respect to internal qualities of things; informed. It is one of the attributive names of God meaning, He Who knows what has been and what is and what will be; or He Who well knows the internal qualities of things (Lane).
A comparison of this verse with 3:8 shows that the verses of the Quran which have been spoken of as متشابھات (susceptible of different interpretations) in the latter verse are here described by the word فصلت (have been expounded in detail). Thus the present verse helps to make clear that the term متشابھات in 3:8 represents the details of the Quranic teachings, and it is these detailed teachings which the opponents of Islam seek to criticize. The fundamental teachings of Islam are so unassailable that even its most inveterate enemy finds it difficult to take exception to them. But, in order to know the whole truth about Islam, a study of both its fundamental teachings and their details is necessary, and when the details are subordinated to the fundamentals, no ground is left for doubt or misgiving. For instance, the Quranic teaching about the punishment of various offences is sometimes criticized; but, when this question is considered in the light of its fundamental teachings, one is constrained to admit its absolute superiority. The fundamental teaching of Islam on this point is that the offender should be punished when punishment is calculated to produce good results, but that he may be pardoned and mercy shown to him when mercy is likely to lead to the desired results (42:41). This is the basic teaching of Islam about punishment, which may be inflicted or withheld as occasion demands. Similarly, Islam permits resort to arms in certain cases, which to some appears to be objectionable, but we cannot shut our eyes to the hard fact that sometimes war becomes unavoidable for the establishment and maintenance of justice and equity. The permission, on certain occasions, to have recourse to arms is thus like the surgeon’s operation which may superficially appear to be cruel but is in reality an act of mercy.
The expression, It is from One Wise and All-Aware, means that these teachings proceed from One Who is both Wise and Knowing and therefore they can be relied upon as really useful and beneficial. As this chapter contains repeated references to Divine punishments, therefore, in order to forewarn the reader that these punishments were meted out to offenders under the Divine attribute of "Wisdom" and were not inflicted unjustly, it opens with the Divine attribute of حکیم (Wise). Similarly, by mentioning the Divine attribute of خبیر (All-Aware), the Quran reminds the reader that the Divine Possessor of this attribute, being fully aware of the true reality of things, cannot forego the punishment which the wickedness of evildoers rightly demands. (close)
اَلَّا تَعۡبُدُوۡۤا اِلَّا اللّٰہَ ؕ اِنَّنِیۡ لَکُمۡ مِّنۡہُ نَذِیۡرٌ وَّ بَشِیۡرٌ ۙ﴿۳﴾
أَلَّا تَعۡبُدُوٓاْ إِلَّا ٱللَّهَۚ إِنَّنِي لَكُم مِّنۡهُ نَذِيرٞ وَبَشِيرٞ
d. 2:120; 5:20; 7:189; 25:57; 34:29; 35:25. (close)
a. 2:120; 5:20; 7:189; 25:57; 34:29; 35:25. (close)
The words, you should worship none but Allah, apparently show God to be selfish and standing in need of man’s worship. Nothing can be farther from truth than such an idea. God needs no worship from man. On the contrary, it is man himself who needs the worship of God for his own moral and spiritual benefit (29:7 & 49:18), because worship does not consist merely in certain outward acts but extends to all those spiritual strivings which help to make man reflect in his person Divine attributes. In fact, as the Arabic word عبادة (worship) means full and total obedience and submission to God’s will, it is clear that one who obeys God with thorough submissiveness and humility of heart and follows the will of his Creator fully and completely will not fail to imbibe Divine attributes and attain to the highest spiritual stature. This is something in which lies man’s own good. God gains nothing from it. The mention in the Bible of man having been created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27) also points to the same great truth, i.e. that man has been created so that he may develop in himself the attributes of God. The words of the Bible must not, however, be taken literally, for God is free from all form.
The injunction to worship God alone means that God should always be kept in view, because the complete picture of an object can be drawn only when that object is held constantly before the eye. Hence, worship means constant viewing of the attributes of God and the imprinting of them on the mind. It is clear that in so doing we benefit ourselves alone and do no good to God. A saying of the Holy Prophet also corroborates the above conception of worship. When asked what عبادة(worship) meant, he is reported to have replied that it meant that one should worship God as if one was actually seeing Him, i.e. that different attributes of God should stand embodied before the mind’s eye (Bukhari, ch. on Iman).
The Holy Prophet was a نذیر (Warner) in the sense that he cautioned and warned men to be on their guard against following evil ways and shunning good ones. And he was a بشیر (bearer of glad tidings) inasmuch as he pointed to them the way and provided for them the means of attaining both spiritual bliss and material prosperity. (close)
وَّ اَنِ اسۡتَغۡفِرُوۡا رَبَّکُمۡ ثُمَّ تُوۡبُوۡۤا اِلَیۡہِ یُمَتِّعۡکُمۡ مَّتَاعًا حَسَنًا اِلٰۤی اَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّی وَّ یُؤۡتِ کُلَّ ذِیۡ فَضۡلٍ فَضۡلَہٗ ؕ وَ اِنۡ تَوَلَّوۡا فَاِنِّیۡۤ اَخَافُ عَلَیۡکُمۡ عَذَابَ یَوۡمٍ کَبِیۡرٍ ﴿۴﴾
وَأَنِ ٱسۡتَغۡفِرُواْ رَبَّكُمۡ ثُمَّ تُوبُوٓاْ إِلَيۡهِ يُمَتِّعۡكُم مَّتَٰعًا حَسَنًا إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلٖ مُّسَمّٗى وَيُؤۡتِ كُلَّ ذِي فَضۡلٖ فَضۡلَهُۥۖ وَإِن تَوَلَّوۡاْ فَإِنِّيٓ أَخَافُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ عَذَابَ يَوۡمٖ كَبِيرٍ
e. 11:53, 62; 71:11. (close)
1295. The verse shows that the stage of Taubah comes after, and is higher than, Istighfar in the spiritual development of man. Taubah is an act of sincere and wholehearted turning to God after His protection has been sought against the evil effects of past sins. What better means than this can be imagined to attain God’s nearness? (close)
a. 11:53, 62; 71:11. (close)
1385. Important Words:
کبیر (dreadful) is derived from کبر which means, he or it was or became great in estimation or rank or dignity; or he or it became big or large in corporeal substance or in years. They say کبر الامر i.e. the affair was or became of great moment. کبر علیه الامر means, the affair was or became difficult, hard, severe, grievous, distressing or burdensome to him. کبیر means, great in corporeal substance; or in estimation or rank or dignity; great and noble; a lord or chief; greatest or oldest ancestor; old or advanced in age; also full-grown and adolescent; the most knowing or learned of a people; difficult, severe, grievous, distressing and burdensome. It is synonymous with عظیم with the difference that, whereas the latter word generally means great in comparison with others, the former means great in itself. الکبیر as an epithet applied to God is generally considered to be synonymous with العظیم which means, the Incomparably Great (Lane).
In the previous verse, the attention of man was drawn to the object of his creation. But as he has to face many obstacles and impediments which hinder the realization of his ideal, he has therefore been advised in the present verse to seek God’s help for the removal of those obstructions and hindrances which, in the form of the dross and rust of sin, continue to accumulate round his heart and eventually completely cover it. The Arabic word used here is استغفار (seeking forgiveness), which literally means "to pray to God that He should cover up". In this sense of the word the injunction embodied in the verse signifies that we should always pray to God that He should cover up and suppress those of our evil inclinations and desires which hinder us from attaining His nearness.
The expression, then turn to Him, means that when we have successfully suppressed and overcome our evil desires, we should turn to God that He may engender in our hearts such love for Himself as may help us to attain His nearness. This shows that it is only when evil desires, which excite the displeasure of God, have been successfully suppressed and the love of God becomes engendered in our hearts that we can truly turn to Him. Incidentally, the verse also shows that the stage of توبة (turning to God) comes after استغفار (seeking forgiveness and praying to God for the removal of the evil effects of our sins and the suppression of our evil inclinations).
Those who think that the Islamic doctrine of توبة (turning to God) encourages sin are utterly ignorant of its real significance. It is indeed foolish to think that the man who is engaged in making a sincere effort to remove the evil effects of his sins and to suppress his evil desires is making only a lip-profession. In fact, توبة (repentance) does not consist in merely uttering words of repentance. It is an act of sincere and whole-hearted turning to God after His protection has been sought against the evil effects of past sins. What better way than this can there be to attain the nearness of God? The words, an appointed term, mean the period ordained by God for the followers of a Prophet. The words, He will grant His grace to every one possessed of merit, refer to spiritual blessings in both this life and the life to come.
A thing is said to be کبیر (lit. great) both with regard to its extensiveness and its intensity and gravity. Hence the words, the punishment of a dreadful (lit. great) day, mean that in case the people rejected God’s teaching, they would be visited with a punishment which would not only be of long duration but would also be most distressing, so that it would indeed be hard for disbelievers to bear. (close)
اِلَی اللّٰہِ مَرۡجِعُکُمۡ ۚ وَ ہُوَ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ قَدِیۡرٌ ﴿۵﴾
إِلَى ٱللَّهِ مَرۡجِعُكُمۡۖ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ قَدِيرٌ
a. 10:5. (close)
a. See10:5. (close)
The expression, To Allah is your return, means that since you have finally to return to God and render your account to Him, there is no reason why you should not make preparation for that great meeting now. The words, He has power over all things, hint that since God has the power to give reward as well as to inflict punishment, there is no reason why you should not make yourselves deserving of His reward rather than of His punishment. (close)
اَلَاۤ اِنَّہُمۡ یَثۡنُوۡنَ صُدُوۡرَہُمۡ لِیَسۡتَخۡفُوۡا مِنۡہُ ؕ اَلَا حِیۡنَ یَسۡتَغۡشُوۡنَ ثِیَابَہُمۡ ۙ یَعۡلَمُ مَا یُسِرُّوۡنَ وَ مَا یُعۡلِنُوۡنَ ۚ اِنَّہٗ عَلِیۡمٌۢ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُوۡرِ ﴿۶﴾
أَلَآ إِنَّهُمۡ يَثۡنُونَ صُدُورَهُمۡ لِيَسۡتَخۡفُواْ مِنۡهُۚ أَلَا حِينَ يَسۡتَغۡشُونَ ثِيَابَهُمۡ يَعۡلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعۡلِنُونَۚ إِنَّهُۥ عَلِيمُۢ بِذَاتِ ٱلصُّدُورِ
1296. The disbelievers keep their doubts and objections hidden in their minds and do not disclose them and have them removed. The reason why they are debarred from accepting the truth is their refusal to open their hearts and have their doubts satisfied. (close)
b. 2:78; 16:24; 27:75; 28:70; 36:77. (close)
b. 2:78; 16:24; 27:75; 28:70; 36:77. (close)
1387. Important Words:
یثنون (fold up) is derived fromثنی . They say ثنی الشیء i.e. he doubled or folded or bent the thing; he turned one part of it upon the other; he drew one of its two extremities to the other; he joined or adjoined one of the things to the other. ثنا زیداmeans, he turned Zaid away or back from his course, or from the object of his want. ثنا صدرہ (lit. he folded his breast or bosom) means, he concealed enmity in his breast or bosom; or he folded up what was in it, in concealment. The expression انھم یثنون صدورھم means, surely they infold and conceal in their bosoms enmity and hatred; or they bend their breasts or bosoms and fold up and conceal what is therein (Lane & Aqrab).
یستغشون ثیابھم (they cover themselves with their garments). یستغشون is derived from استغشی which is again derived from غشیwhich means, it covered or concealed or overwhelmed. استغشی ثوبه or استغشی بثوبه means, he covered himself with his garment in order that he might not see or hear; or he put his garment as a covering over his ears—a phrase denoting a refusal to hearken, or, as some say, an allusion to running (Lane).
In the previous verse, mention was made of the obstacles which of themselves happen to come in the way of men, and of the means to remove them, while the present verse speaks of the obstacles which men themselves put in their way and which can be removed only if they desire to have them removed.
The expression یثنون صدورھم (they fold up their breasts) means that disbelievers keep their doubts and objections hidden in their minds and do not disclose them to others and have them removed. This is why they cannot see the right way. Unless one seeks the satisfaction of doubts by disclosing them to others who are in a position to remove them, one can never attain to truth.
The expression یستغشون ثیابھم (they cover themselves with their garments) is used when a person turns a deaf ear to another man and refuses to see the truth. Thus the second reason why disbelievers were debarred from accepting the truth was that they refused to listen to the Holy Prophet. They not only themselves abstained from listening to the Holy Prophet but also prevented others from doing so, declaring that what he preached was magic and would captivate their hearts if they hearkened to it (see 21:4; 41:27; 46:8; 74:25). This attitude of disbelievers in refusing to listen to the Holy Prophet was even more injurious for them than their keeping doubts hidden in their hearts, because there is a possibility, however remote, that a person who does not disclose his doubts to others may sometimes happen to listen to a discourse dealing with the subject about which he entertains doubts and may thus have them removed by chance, but there is no hope for a person who refuses to listen to the truth.
The verse points to the fact that disbelievers have to deal with a Being Who knows even their secret ideas and therefore they cannot take shelter under the false plea that, as the truth
was not explained to them, they deserved to be excused if they did not accept it. A person who tries to evade the truth and deliberately shuts his eyes to it cannot excuse himself on the score of ignorance. Such men are as guilty as those who refuse to accept the truth after it has been fully explained to them. They alone can legitimately bring forward the plea of ignorance who make an honest effort to understand and arrive at the truth, but somehow or other fail to do so, or whom the Message of truth does not reach though they are ready to welcome it.
The words, what they conceal and what they reveal, may also refer to the concealed hatred which disbelievers harbour in their minds against the heavenly Messenger and to their open acts of hostility towards him.
The expression, ذات الصدور (what is in their breasts), refers to the hidden thoughts that dominate men. As the uppermost part of anything is called its صدر (Lane) and as the thoughts of a man naturally occupy the highest position in him—all his actions being subordinate to them—therefore, they are represented as being seated in his صدر of which the plural is صدور. The verse thus means that God has sent His Messenger because He knew the innermost corrupt condition of the minds of disbelievers, which demanded that a heavenly reformer should come. Therefore, they cannot say that they needed no reformer. (close)
وَ مَا مِنۡ دَآبَّۃٍ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ اِلَّا عَلَی اللّٰہِ رِزۡقُہَا وَ یَعۡلَمُ مُسۡتَقَرَّہَا وَ مُسۡتَوۡدَعَہَا ؕ کُلٌّ فِیۡ کِتٰبٍ مُّبِیۡنٍ ﴿۷﴾
۞وَمَا مِن دَآبَّةٖ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ إِلَّا عَلَى ٱللَّهِ رِزۡقُهَا وَيَعۡلَمُ مُسۡتَقَرَّهَا وَمُسۡتَوۡدَعَهَاۚ كُلّٞ فِي كِتَٰبٖ مُّبِينٖ
c. 11:57. (close)
1297. God has provided sustenance for all His creatures. He has even provided the means of subsistence for worms and reptiles that dwell in the bowels of the earth. Human reason is at a loss to know how and whence the worms and insects found in such unlimited numbers on and inside the earth get their food. Man who presumes to have solved the mysteries of the universe is not yet fully acquainted with all forms of life, to say nothing of the different kinds of food on which they subsist. But God has made ample provision for them all. The verse points out that God, having supplied the physical needs of the meanest of His creatures, certainly could not have neglected to make similar provision for the moral and spiritual needs of man who is the acme of His creation. The verse refers not only to the temporary and permanent abode of every living thing but also to the utmost limit to which its powers can develop. (close)
1298. Mustaqarr and Mustauda‘ signify not only a place of temporary settlement and of permanent abode but also final or determined limit of a thing both as regards time or place; appointed term; end of one’s course (Lane). (close)
a. 11:57. (close)
1388. Important Words:
مستقر (lodging) and مستودع (home) not only mean a place of temporary settlement and of permanent abode but also final or determined limit of a thing both as regards time or place; appointed term; end of one’s course (Lane). See also 6:99.
The verse declares that God has provided sustenance for all His creatures but it rests with them to make proper use of it. He has provided the means of subsistence for even the worms and reptiles that dwell in the bowels of the earth. Human reason is at a loss to know how and whence the worms and insects found in such unlimited numbers on and inside the earth get their food. There are many insects about the nature of even whose food man is in the dark, but all are getting their sustenance from nature. An interesting instance of how God makes provision for animals is furnished by the crops which men sow. While wheat makes an article of food for man, its stalk, leaves and husks provide food for animals. If God had not produced these things along with the grains of wheat, most men might have neglected their own ulterior interests and starved the dumb cattle.
God has created nothing without purpose. Even prickly shrubs form food for the camel and the goat, while the worms that grow in the human body get their food in the body itself. In fact, every species of worm, insect and animal has its particular food provided for it in nature. Even beasts of prey, which live on different kinds of animal diet seldom go hungry. Man who presumes to have solved the mysteries of the universe is not yet fully acquainted with all forms of life, to say nothing of knowing the different kinds of food on which they subsist. But God has made ample provision for them all.
What the Quran points out in this verse is that, when God has supplied the physical needs of the meanest of His creatures, He could certainly not have neglected to make provision for the moral and spiritual needs of the noblest of His creatures—man, who is the acme of His creation. It is unthinkable that when man was a mere clot of blood in the womb of his mother God supplied all his needs, but when he grew up to perfection and stood in need of guidance for the cultivation of his moral and spiritual faculties, He left him to his fate. Most assuredly God has provided both physical and spiritual sustenance for man; but it is for man to get it and make a proper use of it.
The words, He knows its lodging and its home, refer not only to the temporary and the permanent abode of every living thing but also to the utmost limit to which its powers can develop (see Important Words). The expression is thus intended to point out that only the Being Who knows the place where a thing lives and the utmost limits of its faculties can devise and provide the food best suited for it. To explain this point we may take the example of the body and the soul. We find that in teachings devised by human beings, either only the needs of the permanent abode, which relates to the human soul, have been taken into consideration, and the needs of the body, which serves as a shell for the soul and is thus man’s temporary abode, have been neglected; or the betterment of the temporary abode i.e. the body, has received the whole attention and the requirements of the soul have been lost sight of. The truth is that with the help of his intellect alone it is not possible for man to provide for both his material and spiritual needs; for he does not know what will happen after death, and his spiritual needs concern primarily his life in the Hereafter. It is only God Who does so. (close)
وَ ہُوَ الَّذِیۡ خَلَقَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضَ فِیۡ سِتَّۃِ اَیَّامٍ وَّ کَانَ عَرۡشُہٗ عَلَی الۡمَآءِ لِیَبۡلُوَکُمۡ اَیُّکُمۡ اَحۡسَنُ عَمَلًا ؕ وَ لَئِنۡ قُلۡتَ اِنَّکُمۡ مَّبۡعُوۡثُوۡنَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ الۡمَوۡتِ لَیَقُوۡلَنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡۤا اِنۡ ہٰذَاۤ اِلَّا سِحۡرٌ مُّبِیۡنٌ ﴿۸﴾
وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِي خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٖ وَكَانَ عَرۡشُهُۥ عَلَى ٱلۡمَآءِ لِيَبۡلُوَكُمۡ أَيُّكُمۡ أَحۡسَنُ عَمَلٗاۗ وَلَئِن قُلۡتَ إِنَّكُم مَّبۡعُوثُونَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ ٱلۡمَوۡتِ لَيَقُولَنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ إِنۡ هَٰذَآ إِلَّا سِحۡرٞ مُّبِينٞ
a. 7:55; 10:4; 25:60. (close)
1299. See 984. (close)
1300. As water has been repeatedly described in the Qur’an as the source of all life (21:31; 25:55; 77:21 & 86:7), the words, His throne rests on water, signify that the great Divine attributes find their manifestation through living creatures, above all through man, who is the culminating point of all creation. These words may also mean that the attributes of God depend for their manifestation on His Word which has been compared to water at several places in the Qur’an. In the words, you shall surely be raised after death, it is pointed out that this system of creation itself shows that man should have a life after death, for the creation of such a vast universe in which a being with volition and independent will should live, makes it clear that the creation of that being is intended to serve a great purpose. But the life of this world is short-lived, a temporary existence of tests and trials so that, after this temporary abode of tests and trials man must pass on to his permanent or eternal abode of recompense. (close)
b. 5:49; 6:166; 67:3. (close)
a. 7:55; 10:4; 25:60. (close)
This verse reminds us how God has created things by a gradual process of evolution to bring man into existence and to make provision for his progress. This gradual process of evolution has culminated in the creation of man. This shows that the real object of the creation of the whole universe was that man should come into being. Man is the real object of the creation of the universe because he has been endowed with an unlimited capacity for spiritual progress. It is, therefore, inconceivable that God, having endowed man with unlimited powers, should have neglected to provide means for his unending spiritual growth and development. For an explanation of the expression ستة ایام (six periods) see 7:55 and 10:4.
As water has been repeatedly described in the Quran as the source of all life (see 21:31; 25:55; 77:21 and 86:7) the words, His Throne rests on water, signify that all the great attributes of God have found their manifestation through "life" (i.e. living creatures) and above all through man, who is the culminating point of all life. The words that follow, viz. that He might prove you to know which of you is best in conduct, also corroborate the above explanation; otherwise, how can the works of man be tested by the resting of the Throne of God on material water? Indeed the passage can bear no other interpretation than this that it is through living creatures that God’s attributes are manifested and that God desires to see who benefits most by His attributes.
The words, His Throne rests on water, may also mean that the attributes of God are dependent for their manifestation on His word, which has been compared at several places in the Quran to water. Water stands, therefore, here for "the Word of God" and the verse means that God has bound up the manifestation of His attributes with His Word, which indeed is the source of all spiritual life. This subject is further explained in 58:22 where it is laid down that God’s Messengers on whom His word descends and their followers who benefit by the Divine Word are granted power and dominion over their enemies.
The verse may also be said to embody what may be called the Islamic theory of evolution. In this case، the word کان(is) will be rendered as "was" (for which see 2:35) and the verse would mean that God placed His Throne on water, viz. on the manifestation of life in this universe, so that the capacities of various animals might be compared and it might eventually become evident which of them deserved to be the aim and end of the whole of creation. In fact, the real and ultimate object of God in creating life was to bring into existence a being who might prove to be the best and highest manifestation of life fit to receive the impress of his Maker. This shows that the creation of man who was to prove the best of all creation, took place in the last cycle of life. Thus, although Islam does not accept the theory of evolution as commonly understood—that man is a development of a lower animal––yet it does teach that the creation of man formed the culminating point in the creation of life which began with the lower form of life and ended with the higher one, finding its consummation in man, and that this system of creation was from the very beginning intended to lead finally to the creation of man.
It is pointed out in the words, You shall surely be raised after death, that this system of creation itself shows that man should have a second life after death, for the creation of such a vast universe in which a being with a volition and independent will should live, makes it clear that the creation of that being is intended to serve a great purpose. But the life of this world is short-lived, a temporary place of tests and trials like the examination hall, over which hangs a veil of mystery and doubts, so much so that even the existence of God is sometimes denied. All this goes to prove beyond reasonable doubt that after this temporary abode of tests and trials man must pass on to his permanent or eternal abode of recompense. Hence (the verse says) how strange it is that, when people are told that creation has passed through a gradual process of development they readily admit it (even atheists accept the evolution theory) but when they are told what is but the natural sequence of this process, viz. that the life of man cannot come to a stop in this world, but must continue into another and higher life after death, they deny it. (close)
وَ لَئِنۡ اَخَّرۡنَا عَنۡہُمُ الۡعَذَابَ اِلٰۤی اُمَّۃٍ مَّعۡدُوۡدَۃٍ لَّیَقُوۡلُنَّ مَا یَحۡبِسُہٗ ؕ اَلَا یَوۡمَ یَاۡتِیۡہِمۡ لَیۡسَ مَصۡرُوۡفًا عَنۡہُمۡ وَ حَاقَ بِہِمۡ مَّا کَانُوۡا بِہٖ یَسۡتَہۡزِءُوۡنَ ٪﴿۹﴾
وَلَئِنۡ أَخَّرۡنَا عَنۡهُمُ ٱلۡعَذَابَ إِلَىٰٓ أُمَّةٖ مَّعۡدُودَةٖ لَّيَقُولُنَّ مَا يَحۡبِسُهُۥٓۗ أَلَا يَوۡمَ يَأۡتِيهِمۡ لَيۡسَ مَصۡرُوفًا عَنۡهُمۡ وَحَاقَ بِهِم مَّا كَانُواْ بِهِۦ يَسۡتَهۡزِءُونَ
a. 21:42; 46:27. (close)
a. 21:42; 46:27. (close)
1390. Important Words:
امة (time) is derived from ام (amma). They say امه (ammahu) i.e. he repaired or directed his course to him or it; he sought or aimed at it. امة means, way, course or manner of acting; religion; a people or nation; a generation of men. It also means a time or a period of time as in 12:46 (Lane).
The verse points out that just as most people are in doubt about the life after death, similarly they labour under a delusion with regard to Divine punishment in this life. If punishment is delayed a little, they become impatient and begin to criticize and find fault with Divine Messengers, although the nature of this world as being an abode of trials demands that Divine punishment should be late in coming; for if there were no delay, the abode of trials would turn into a veritable abode of recompense.
It is strange that on the one hand people deny the existence of an abode of recompense and, on the other, by demanding from the Prophets of God a decisive punishment, admit that there should be such a thing as an abode of requital. The words, that which they used to mock at shall encompass them, show that disbelievers, while demanding the speedy arrival of punishment, do not do so in earnest, but only ridicule the warnings of Prophets about the impending punishment. They should know that their scoffing and jeering shall recoil on themselves and will serve only to expedite the threatened punishment. (close)
وَ لَئِنۡ اَذَقۡنَا الۡاِنۡسَانَ مِنَّا رَحۡمَۃً ثُمَّ نَزَعۡنٰہَا مِنۡہُ ۚ اِنَّہٗ لَیَـُٔوۡسٌ کَفُوۡرٌ ﴿۱۰﴾
وَلَئِنۡ أَذَقۡنَا ٱلۡإِنسَٰنَ مِنَّا رَحۡمَةٗ ثُمَّ نَزَعۡنَٰهَا مِنۡهُ إِنَّهُۥ لَيَـُٔوسٞ كَفُورٞ
b. 41:52. (close)
a. 41:52. (close)
See the next verse. (close)