وَ مَا نُؤَخِّرُہٗۤ اِلَّا لِاَجَلٍ مَّعۡدُوۡدٍ ﴿۱۰۵﴾ؕ
وَمَا نُؤَخِّرُهُۥٓ إِلَّا لِأَجَلٖ مَّعۡدُودٖ
1348. Ajal, meaning both a period and the end of a period, is of two kinds, (a) that which is revocable or cancellable, and (b) that which is not revoked or cancelled. The revocable "term" moves within a known circle within which it is liable to change according to circumstances. For instance, the age of a man has certain limits; it can decrease or increase within those limits. But the "term" which cannot be abrogated and is irrevocable concerns the destruction of a whole people. (close)
اجل (term) which means both a period and the end of a period, is of two kinds: (a) that which can be averted and (b) that which cannot be averted. The "term" that can be averted moves within a known circle which it cannot overstep; within its circle, however, this "term" is liable to change according to circumstances. For instance, the age of a man has certain limits; it can decrease or increase within those limits; but it cannot go beyond them. But the "term" which cannot be averted concerns the destruction of the world. This term is fixed and irrevocable. (close)
یَوۡمَ یَاۡتِ لَا تَکَلَّمُ نَفۡسٌ اِلَّا بِاِذۡنِہٖ ۚ فَمِنۡہُمۡ شَقِیٌّ وَّ سَعِیۡدٌ ﴿۱۰۶﴾
يَوۡمَ يَأۡتِ لَا تَكَلَّمُ نَفۡسٌ إِلَّا بِإِذۡنِهِۦۚ فَمِنۡهُمۡ شَقِيّٞ وَسَعِيدٞ
a. 78:39. (close)
a. 78:39. (close)
1486. Important Words:
شقی (unfortunate) means, unprosperous, unfortunate, unhappy or miserable; or in a state of straitness, distress, adversity or difficulty. According to Ar-Raghib شقاوة (unprosperousness, etc.) is of two kinds: (a) اخرویة i.e. that relating to the world to come, and (b) دنیویة i.e. that relating to the present world; and the latter is of three kinds: (1) نفسیة i.e. relating to the soul; (2) بدنیة i.e. relating to the body and (3) خارجیة i.e. relating to external circumstances (Lane).
سعید (fortunate) means, prosperous, fortunate, happy or in a state of felicity. Ar-Raghib also divides سعادة (prosperity, etc.) as he describes شقاوة for which see note on شقی above (Lane).
The verse signifies that the day referred to in v. 104 above is the Day of Retribution when judgement will be set up and none will dare speak in his defence except by the command of God, because on that awful day everyone will have fully realized that any pleading or protesting before the Omniscient God is useless. But God, out of His great mercy, will Himself ask the guilty to adduce excuses calculated to mitigate their own offences or the offences of their companions and to bring their virtuous deeds into greater relief. This will result in clearer classification of the wicked and the virtuous. (close)
فَاَمَّا الَّذِیۡنَ شَقُوۡا فَفِی النَّارِ لَہُمۡ فِیۡہَا زَفِیۡرٌ وَّ شَہِیۡقٌ ﴿۱۰۷﴾ۙ
فَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ شَقُواْ فَفِي ٱلنَّارِ لَهُمۡ فِيهَا زَفِيرٞ وَشَهِيقٌ
b. 21:101. (close)
1349. Zafir means, the beginning of the cry of an ass and Shahiq is the ending thereof (Lane). The disbelievers have been likened in the verse to an ass which is a timid and stupid animal, signifying that they have not the courage of their convictions and do not benefit by knowledge. (close)
a. 21:101. (close)
1487. Important Words:
زفیر (sighing) is the noun-infinitive from زفر which means, he drew in his breath vehemently, so that his ribs became pushed out; or he drew in his breath to the utmost by reason of distress; or he sent forth his breath with a prolonged sound; he sighed or uttered a long sigh or sighed vehemently; or he groaned; or he breathed, raising his voice like one moaning or in grief. They say زفرت النار i.e. the fire made a sound by its burning or its fierce burning. زفر الحمار means, the ass brayed. زفیر means, the sound of drawing in of breath by reason of distress; sighing; beginning of the cry of an ass; the sound of burning fire (Lane & Aqrab).
شھیق (sobbing) is derived from شھق which means, it rose high or became high or elevated or lofty; or he (an ass) uttered the ending of his braying or the final sounds thereof. They say شھق الرجل i.e. the sound of weeping became reiterated in his chest. شھق الحمار means, the ass uttered the ending of his braying or the final sound thereof; the ass brayed. شھیق signifies, the ending or final part of the crying or braying of an ass, whereas زفیر signifies the beginning thereof. شھیق also signifies a high-sounding moaning; a cry of distress (Lane & Aqrab).
By using about disbelievers the words زفیر and شھیق which are particularly used for the braying of an ass, the verse compares them to this timid and stupid animal. A big load of books carried on the back of an ass, says the Quran (62:6), does not make him learned. So do those who are indifferent to truth remain destitute of true knowledge and spirituality even if they are crammed with book lore. Similarly, like an ass which, according to the Quran, is a timid animal (74:51, 52), disbelievers have not the courage of their conviction. They fail to accept the truth either because they refuse to derive any benefit from God-given knowledge or because they have not the courage to accept what they believe to be the truth. The words زفیر and شھیق also signify sighing and moaning by reason of distress. (close)
خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡہَا مَا دَامَتِ السَّمٰوٰتُ وَ الۡاَرۡضُ اِلَّا مَا شَآءَ رَبُّکَ ؕ اِنَّ رَبَّکَ فَعَّالٌ لِّمَا یُرِیۡدُ ﴿۱۰۸﴾
خَٰلِدِينَ فِيهَا مَا دَامَتِ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتُ وَٱلۡأَرۡضُ إِلَّا مَا شَآءَ رَبُّكَۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ فَعَّالٞ لِّمَا يُرِيدُ
c. 78:24. (close)
1350. The Quranic expression is an idiom signifying a very prolonged period. The Qur’an teaches that the punishment of Hell is not eternal. (close)
a. 78:24. (close)
See next verse. (close)
وَ اَمَّا الَّذِیۡنَ سُعِدُوۡا فَفِی الۡجَنَّۃِ خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡہَا مَا دَامَتِ السَّمٰوٰتُ وَ الۡاَرۡضُ اِلَّا مَا شَآءَ رَبُّکَ ؕ عَطَآءً غَیۡرَ مَجۡذُوۡذٍ ﴿۱۰۹﴾
۞وَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ سُعِدُواْ فَفِي ٱلۡجَنَّةِ خَٰلِدِينَ فِيهَا مَا دَامَتِ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتُ وَٱلۡأَرۡضُ إِلَّا مَا شَآءَ رَبُّكَۖ عَطَآءً غَيۡرَ مَجۡذُوذٖ
d. 15:49. (close)
1351. According to the Hindu religion, both Heaven and Hell (i.e. rewards and punishments) possess a limited duration; and man, after undergoing the punishment, or reaping the reward of his deeds is sent back to this world. Of the Semitic religions, Judaism denies Paradise to non-Jews while Jews are regarded as almost free from the torture of Hell. According to Christians, both Heaven and Hell are eternal, although some of their sects hold the belief that Heaven will at last come to an end (Tafsir-e-Kabir). Islam fundamentally differs from all these religions in this respect. According to it Heaven is eternal and everlasting, while Hell is temporary and of limited duration. Imam Ahmad bin Hambal quotes a saying of the Holy Prophet, as reported by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin al-‘As to the effect: 'There will come on Hell a day when its shutters will strike against each other and there will be none left in it. That will happen after the inmates of Hell will have lived in it for centuries' (Musnad). According to this tradition, the word Khalidin (abiding) used with regard to Hell only means 'remaining for long centuries.' ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar and Jabir agree with Imam Hanbal. Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri also quotes an identical Hadith (Bukhari). Some eminent religious authorities, among them Ibn-e-Taimiyyah & Ibn-e-Qayyim, however, hold that though wicked disbelievers will deserve to be kept in Hell for ever, Hell itself will one day cease to exist through God’s mercy, and when there is no Hell, there will naturally be no inmates of Hell (Fath). The Qur’an has used the words, a reward that will never end (41:9; 84:26; 95:7) about Heaven but no such expression has been used with regard to Hell. Moreover, in vv. 101:10-12, Hell is compared to a mother, and the embryo remains in the mother’s womb until the child’s body is formed and its different organs become complete. Similarly, those unfortunate persons who are cast into Hell will remain there till their faculties are fully developed so as to enable them to see the beautiful face of the Lord. (close)
b. 15:49. (close)
1489. Important Words:
غیر مجذوذ (that shall not be cut off). مجذوذ is derived from جذ. They say جذہ i.e. he cut it off; or he cut it off utterly; or he cut it off utterly and quickly; or he cut it repeatedly or in many pieces; he broke it. غیر مجذوذ means, (a gift, etc.) not cut short or not interrupted i.e. continuous and everlasting (Lane & Aqrab).
The present verse and that which precedes it throw light on an important question in which Islam differs from other religions, viz. the question of salvation.
According to the Hindu religion, both Heaven and Hell (i.e. reward and punishment) possess a limited duration; and man, after undergoing the punishment, or reaping the reward, of his deeds, is sent back to this world. Although some Hindu sects disagree among themselves regarding certain details, they are all agreed on the fundamental principle that both the punishments and rewards of the next world are temporary. Of the Semitic religions, Judaism denies Paradise to all non-Jews while Jews are regarded as almost free from the torture of Hell, for, according to Judaism, no Jew will remain in Hell for more than 11 months, whereas non-Jews will abide in it forever. According to Christians, both Heaven and Hell are eternal, although some of their sects hold the belief that Heaven will at last come to an end (Tafsir-e-Kabir). Islam, however, fundamentally differs from all these religions. The great leaders of Muslim religious thought in the past have generally believed and Hadrat Ahmad, the Promised Messiah, in our own age has particularly insisted that Heaven is eternal and everlasting, while Hell is temporary and of limited duration. The sayings of the Holy Prophet support this view. For instance, Ahmad bin Hanbal quotes a saying of the Holy Prophet, as reported by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin al-‘As to the effect:
لیاتین علی جھنم یوم تصفق فیه ابوابھا لیس فیه احد و ذلك بعد ما یلبثون فیھا احقابا
i.e. "There will come on Hell a day when its shutters will strike against each other and there will be none in it. That will happen after the inmates of Hell will have lived in it for centuries" (Musnad). Thus, according to this tradition, the word خالدین (abiding) used with regard to Hell only means "remaining for long centuries". The same view was held by Ibn Mas‘ud and Abu Hurairah. According to Ibn Taimiyyah, ‘Umar, Ibn ‘Abbas, Anas and many commentators are of the same opinion.
With reference to the word خالدین (abiding) used in the Quran in connection with Hell some eminent religious authorities think that it does mean "abiding forever". They however, hold that though wicked disbelievers will deserve to be kept in Hell forever, Hell itself will one day cease to exist through God’s mercy, and when there is no Hell, there will naturally be no dwellers in it. Among the supporters of this view are Ibn Taimiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim (Fath).
The saying of the Holy Prophet quoted above on the authority of ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr, is also reported by AbuHurairah, which fact adds to its weight and authenticity. In another tradition Ibn Mas‘ud says: لیاتین علیھا زمان تخفق ابوابھا i.e. "There will certainly come upon Hell a time when its shutters will strike against each other," meaning that it will be untenanted. Jabir, Abu Sa‘id Khudri and ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar are also reported to have made a similar statement (Fath).
Abu Sa‘id Khudri quotes a long hadith of the Holy Prophet which clearly shows that Hell is not eternal. According to this tradition the Holy Prophet is reported to have said that on the Day of Judgement God would give permission to different high-placed persons to intercede for sinners. At last common believers also will be given permission to intercede on their behalf. At first, they will intercede for those whom they know. Then, with God’s permission, they will also intercede for other sinners who have some faith left in their hearts, until at last they will intercede even for those who have only a grain of faith in their hearts. Then only those will be left behind in Hell who had never done anything good. Then will God say: "The angels have interceded, and the Prophets and the Faithful have interceded and now it is My turn, the Most Merciful of the merciful ones." Then will God take a handful from the Fire and take out of it even those who never had done any good deed (Bukhari & Muslim).
This hadith hints that finally a time will come when everyone will be taken out of Hell, for when even those who never did any good deed are removed from the Fire, who else will remain behind? Moreover, God’s handful is not a physical thing. The word implies indefinite comprehensiveness and nothing can be considered to have been left out of it. It also appears from this saying that sinners will be punished first for their sins and, when they have been washed of their sins, they will be rewarded for their good deeds which, till then, will have been kept in reserve. The verse, whoso does good an atom’s weight will see it (99:8), also points to the same conclusion.
The different traditions quoted above show that many Companions of the Holy Prophet and their immediate successors held the view that Hell is not eternal and the Quran also supports this view. The following are some of the Quranic proofs in support of it:
(1) Though the words, excepting what thy Lord may will, have been used with regard to both Heaven and Hell (vv. 108 & 109), in the case of Heaven the words, a gift that shall not be cut off, have been specifically added in v.109 in order to show that there is no limitation upon the eternity of Heaven. In the case of Hell, on the other hand, they are followed by the clause, Surely thy Lord does bring about what He pleases (v. 108). These words are very emphatic and imply that the inmates of Hell must necessarily be taken out of Hell one day. If they were not to be taken out of Hell at all it was unnecessary to make the declaration so emphatic by using three words of emphasis, viz. ان (surely) ربك (thy Lord) and فعال (does bring about), the last word being the intensive form of فاعل and meaning the Great Doer of things that others cannot do.
Again, if Hell, like Heaven, was to be eternal, then its mention should also have been followed by some such words as "a punishment that shall not be cut off". It is true that as about Hell, so with regard to Heaven, it has been said that its inmates will abide in it as long as God wills, but in the case of the dwellers of Heaven it has been clearly added that God’s eternal will is that they should never be deprived of this favour and that their stay in Heaven should know no end. But no such declaration has been made with regard to Hell. This differentiation is so clear that even Ibn Hajr, whose view is opposed to Ibn Taimiyyah’s with regard to Hell being not eternal, has been compelled to admit that whereas with regard to the inmates of Heaven God has made known His will which is that they shall abide therein forever, with respect to the dwellers of Hell He has remained silent. But even the statement that God has remained silent with regard to the inmates of Hell is not correct, for by saying, Surely thy Lord does bring about what He wills, the Quran declares that in the case of the inmates of Hell God will carry out His wish which is implied in the words, excepting what thy Lord may will.
(2) The second evidence of the limited duration of Hell is furnished by the words الا من رحم ربك و لذالک خلقھم i.e. except those to whom thy Lord shall show mercy and for this has He created them (11:120). It has been admitted by eminent authorities such as Ibn ‘Abbas, Ta’us, Mujahid, Dahhak, Qatadah, and ‘Ikrimah that the pronoun ذالك (this) in the above words refers to رحمة (mercy) meaning that God has created men in order to show mercy to them (Kathir, Manthur and Tahavi). Now, if it be supposed that some men will remain in Hell forever and will never be taken out of it, then these wretched people cannot be said to have been shown any mercy.
(3) Whereas elsewhere in the Quran one meets with such expressions about Heaven as, they will surely have a reward that will never end (41:9; 84:26; 95:7), no such expression has been used with regard to Hell, which points to a clear distinction between the duration of the rewards of Heaven and the punishment of Hell.
(4) The Quranic expression رحمتی وسعت کل شیء i.e. My mercy encompasses all things (7:157), also shows that the punishment of Hell is only an intermediate condition and a transitory state and that even those whom God punishes will in the end become covered by His mercy and will be forgiven. The above expression represents God’s mercy as comprehending not only all human beings, but also all other things. The same idea is expressed in 40:8, where it is said that God comprehends all things in His mercy and knowledge. If it be supposed that certain persons can remain out of the mercy of God by being subjected to everlasting punishment, it will have to be admitted that certain things can also escape the knowledge of God, for knowledge and mercy have been mentioned in the verse side by side. But it is absurd to suppose that anything can escape the knowledge of God; therefore it is equally absurd to believe that any thing will remain permanently deprived of God’s mercy.
It should, however, be remembered that temporary punishment is not inconsistent with Divine mercy. The very fact that punishment is to last for a limited period shows that it will be reformatory; and it is clear that punishment which is meant to be reformatory is only a manifestation of Divine mercy, from which no human being can remain deprived even for a single moment. This is contradictory to the belief in the eternity of Hell.
(5) The following verses of the Quran also support this view: I have created the jinn and men only that they may serve Me (51:57), and Enter then among My servants and enter then My garden (89:30, 31). Now if all men in the end are to become God’s servants, for man cannot permanently be kept away from the object for which he has been created, and if all God’s servants will eventually enter Heaven the falsity of the view that Hell is eternal becomes quite clear.
(6) The sixth evidence of the limited character of Hell is to be found in the verse, Whoso does an atom’s weight of good will see it (99:8). Now a mere alleviation of punishment cannot be truly called the "seeing" of one’s good works. Hence, in order that men should see their works in completion i.e. should meet with the reward of their good actions, it is necessary that they should first be punished for their evil deeds by way of reformation and should afterwards receive the reward of their good actions.
(7) The verse, As for him whose scales are light, Hell will be his mother (101:9,10), constitutes further strong evidence in support of the view that Hell is not eternal. In this verse Hell is compared to a mother and it is well known that the child does not remain in the mother’s womb forever. It only remains there until the formation of its body and organs become complete. Similarly, those unfortunate persons who are cast into Hell will remain there until the time when the faculties which fit them for seeing the beautiful face of the Lord have become fully developed. This verse thus makes it clear that Hell is not eternal and that the word خالدین (abiding) in the verse under comment does not denote an unending time but only a long time as is also clear from the verse, who will tarry therein for ages (78:24).
The words, So long as the heavens and the earth endure, only mean "so long as the heaven and the earth of Paradise and Hell last"; so when Hell came to an end, heaven and earth will also naturally cease to exist. (close)
فَلَا تَکُ فِیۡ مِرۡیَۃٍ مِّمَّا یَعۡبُدُ ہٰۤؤُلَآءِ ؕ مَا یَعۡبُدُوۡنَ اِلَّا کَمَا یَعۡبُدُ اٰبَآؤُہُمۡ مِّنۡ قَبۡلُ ؕ وَ اِنَّا لَمُوَفُّوۡہُمۡ نَصِیۡبَہُمۡ غَیۡرَ مَنۡقُوۡصٍ ﴿۱۱۰﴾٪
فَلَا تَكُ فِي مِرۡيَةٖ مِّمَّا يَعۡبُدُ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِۚ مَا يَعۡبُدُونَ إِلَّا كَمَا يَعۡبُدُ ءَابَآؤُهُم مِّن قَبۡلُۚ وَإِنَّا لَمُوَفُّوهُمۡ نَصِيبَهُمۡ غَيۡرَ مَنقُوصٖ
The words, So be not in doubt concerning that which these people worship, have two meanings:
(1) Do not wonder at their worshipping gods other than Allah, i.e. do not think that it is impossible for these people to worship any other being beside God, for a man is apt to commit such folly in respect of beliefs which he inherits from his forefathers and to which he does not give his personal consideration. Taking the words in this sense, they will be understood to have been addressed to the people of the age and will be taken as speaking of the time when shirk (idol-worship) will have disappeared from the world and belief in the Unity of God will have prevailed everywhere. Thus the words contain a prophecy that a time will come when belief in the Unity of God will become so paramount that it will become difficult to believe that people were ever given to idolatry.
(2) Or the verse may be taken to be addressed to every reader of the Quran, who is told here not to think that those people who are associating gods with Allah will escape punishment, for they are following in the footsteps of their predecessors and when the latter were punished for their guilt, there is no reason why their successors should escape punishment. In this case the clause would read somewhat like this: "Be not in doubt concerning (the punishment of) that which these people worship." (close)
وَ لَقَدۡ اٰتَیۡنَا مُوۡسَی الۡکِتٰبَ فَاخۡتُلِفَ فِیۡہِ ؕ وَ لَوۡ لَا کَلِمَۃٌ سَبَقَتۡ مِنۡ رَّبِّکَ لَقُضِیَ بَیۡنَہُمۡ ؕ وَ اِنَّہُمۡ لَفِیۡ شَکٍّ مِّنۡہُ مُرِیۡبٍ ﴿۱۱۱﴾
وَلَقَدۡ ءَاتَيۡنَا مُوسَى ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ فَٱخۡتُلِفَ فِيهِۚ وَلَوۡلَا كَلِمَةٞ سَبَقَتۡ مِن رَّبِّكَ لَقُضِيَ بَيۡنَهُمۡۚ وَإِنَّهُمۡ لَفِي شَكّٖ مِّنۡهُ مُرِيبٖ
a. 41:46. (close)
1352. So serious was the guilt of men that if there had not been a decree preordained that mankind had been created for spiritual progress and that eventually they would become the object of Divine mercy (7:157; 11:120; 51:57), they would have been destroyed long ago. (close)
Towards the end of the Surah the Quran reverts to the theme with which it began and declares that God continued to send down His word in the ages so that people might benefit by it but they always failed to do so. God gave a book to Moses and that book spoke of another book (i.e. the Quran) which was to be revealed later, but people raised doubts about it and did not pause to think that their attitude would produce grave results.
The words, Surely the matter would have been decided between them long before, mean that so serious was their guilt that if there had not been a decree pre-ordained, that mankind had been created for spiritual progress by becoming the object of Divine mercy (7:157; 11:120; 51:57), they would have long been destroyed. (close)
وَ اِنَّ کُلًّا لَّمَّا لَیُوَفِّیَنَّہُمۡ رَبُّکَ اَعۡمَالَہُمۡ ؕ اِنَّہٗ بِمَا یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ خَبِیۡرٌ ﴿۱۱۲﴾
وَإِنَّ كُلّٗا لَّمَّا لَيُوَفِّيَنَّهُمۡ رَبُّكَ أَعۡمَٰلَهُمۡۚ إِنَّهُۥ بِمَا يَعۡمَلُونَ خَبِيرٞ
a. 3:58; 16:97; 39:11. (close)
a. 3:58; 16:97; 39:11. (close)
There is no difference of opinion as to the meaning of the verse, but grammarians have differed as to the significance of the particle لـما (not yet). Different authorities have expressed different opinions as to the use of this particle here, but the correct opinion seems to be the one expressed by Ibn Hajib and supported by such eminent authorities as Ibn Hisham, and Abu Hayyan. According to these authorities لـما as used here is the particle known as Jazimah in Arabic grammar, meaning "not yet" with a verb understood after it. This verb may be deduced from the context. According to Ibn Hisham, the verb understood is یوفوا اعمالھم (i.e. their works have not yet been requited), and this appears to be the most suitable interpretation. With this interpretation of the particle لـما the verse would mean that although the evil works of disbelievers have not yet been requited and God is granting them respite, the day will surely come when He will repay them in full. (close)
فَاسۡتَقِمۡ کَمَاۤ اُمِرۡتَ وَ مَنۡ تَابَ مَعَکَ وَ لَا تَطۡغَوۡا ؕ اِنَّہٗ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ بَصِیۡرٌ ﴿۱۱۳﴾
فَٱسۡتَقِمۡ كَمَآ أُمِرۡتَ وَمَن تَابَ مَعَكَ وَلَا تَطۡغَوۡاْۚ إِنَّهُۥ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ بَصِيرٞ
b. 42:16. (close)
1353. The Holy Prophet alone was not required to mould his own life in accordance with Divine Will. He had to see that all those who believed in him also followed his example. It was the realization of this grave dual responsibility which weighed so heavily upon him as to have rendered him prematurely aged (Baihaqi). (close)
b. 42:16. (close)
This verse shows that mere outward observance of the commandments of God is not productive of good results; it must be in full accord with Divine will. The offering of the prescribed Prayers and the observance of Fasts, for instance, are not the object of religion. The real object of religion is that man should live in accordance with God’s will. Unless this is done and all actions of man are actuated by a desire to please God, he cannot hope to win His favour.
The verse also shows that it was not the Holy Prophet only who was required to mould his own life in harmony with Divine will. It was also his duty to see that all those who believed in him followed his example. This dual responsibility equally lay on his Successors, even on all the Faithful who are not only themselves required to act upon Divinecommandments but are expected to make others attain a high standard of spiritual progress.
The magnitude and heaviness of this responsibility is self-evident. It is tremendous both as regards its depth and vastness. It is no easy task to observe faithfully all the commandments of God and at the same time to make one’s companions do the same. But the importance of this injunction becomes all the more augmented when the fact is taken into consideration that the commandments are to be acted upon in the way in which God requires, as hinted at in the words, as thou hast been commanded.
Another inference which can be drawn from this verse is that the Faithful are to take the Holy Prophet as their model and to follow his example. The words, So stand thou upright as thou hast been commanded, and also those who have turned to God with thee, mean that the Faithful are to act uprightly in the same way as the Holy Prophet is commanded to do. The high moral standard to which believers are required to rise is thus the one set up for the Holy Prophet himself. It is clear that the verse does not say that believers are to be upright in the way in which they themselves are commanded but that they have to act uprightly in the way in which the Prophet is commanded. This definitely shows that believers are to take the Holy Prophet as their exemplar and have to try to come up to his standard.
The far-reaching effect which this verse had on the Holy Prophet himself is clear from his own words. He is reported to have said: "The Surah Hud and its sister-Surahs have rendered me aged before my time" (Manthur). Abu ‘Ali Sirri is reported to have said that he once saw the Prophet in a dream and asked him whether he had really said that the SurahHud had made him old? The Holy Prophet replied in the affirmative, upon which Abu ‘Ali further asked whether it was the stories of the Prophets and the destruction of their peoples that had aged him. The Holy Prophet said: "No, but the words, So stand thou upright as thou hast been commanded, have done it" (Baihaqi). The reason why this verse weighed so heavily on the Holy Prophet’s mind was that it was not only his immediate followers but the generations that were to come long afterwards whose spiritual progress he was made responsible for. It was the full realization of this grave responsibility that weighed heavily on him and rendered him old prematurely. But it appears that this high sense of responsibility so pleased God that He took upon Himself the fulfilment of this responsibility and promised the Prophet that He would continue to raise from among his followers men who, by following in his footsteps, would attain nearness to Him and would reform his people in his name.
The verse also points out how necessary it is that Muslims should become organized into a homogeneous and evenly advanced community. A Muslim can easily exhort his neighbours to virtue, but he cannot convey his exhortation to Muslims scattered all over the world. It is only through a perfect organization that this supreme and stupendous task can be accomplished. By helping to maintain such an organization, a Muslim becomes part of it and a sharer in the work carried on by it in any part of the world. The Ahmadiyya Movement is, by the grace of God, the living example of such an organization in the world today.
The injunction to see that our fellow-men should, like us, follow the right way also implies the need of the proper upbringing of our children as well as the care of future generations. (close)
وَ لَا تَرۡکَنُوۡۤا اِلَی الَّذِیۡنَ ظَلَمُوۡا فَتَمَسَّکُمُ النَّارُ ۙ وَ مَا لَکُمۡ مِّنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ مِنۡ اَوۡلِیَآءَ ثُمَّ لَا تُنۡصَرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۱۴﴾
وَلَا تَرۡكَنُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ فَتَمَسَّكُمُ ٱلنَّارُ وَمَا لَكُم مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ مِنۡ أَوۡلِيَآءَ ثُمَّ لَا تُنصَرُونَ
1354. As man is influenced by his environments and, if his surroundings are corrupt, the corruption thereof is sure to affect him sooner or later, so, in the present verse the believers are enjoined to sever all connections with the wicked and the unjust even though they are their own kith and kin. (close)
In the previous verse we were told that we should not only reform ourselves but also our fellow-men because man is influenced by his environment, and if our surroundings are corrupt, the corruption thereof is sure to affect us sooner or later. So in the present verse we are enjoined to sever all connexion with the wicked and the unjust even though they may be our own kith and kin.
The present verse is also connected with the words, exceed ye not the bounds, occurring in the previous verse. In the light of the verse under comment these words do not mean that we exceed the bonds only when we have actually committed an act of injustice, but we are equally guilty of injustice if we are accessory to another man’s unjust act in any way or if we defend him when he happens to commit an offence. (close)