فَقَالَ الۡمَلَاُ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا مِنۡ قَوۡمِہٖ مَا نَرٰٮکَ اِلَّا بَشَرًا مِّثۡلَنَا وَ مَا نَرٰٮکَ اتَّبَعَکَ اِلَّا الَّذِیۡنَ ہُمۡ اَرَاذِلُنَا بَادِیَ الرَّاۡیِ ۚ وَ مَا نَرٰی لَکُمۡ عَلَیۡنَا مِنۡ فَضۡلٍۭ بَلۡ نَظُنُّکُمۡ کٰذِبِیۡنَ ﴿۲۸﴾
فَقَالَ ٱلۡمَلَأُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِن قَوۡمِهِۦ مَا نَرَىٰكَ إِلَّا بَشَرٗا مِّثۡلَنَا وَمَا نَرَىٰكَ ٱتَّبَعَكَ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ هُمۡ أَرَاذِلُنَا بَادِيَ ٱلرَّأۡيِ وَمَا نَرَىٰ لَكُمۡ عَلَيۡنَا مِن فَضۡلِۭ بَلۡ نَظُنُّكُمۡ كَٰذِبِينَ
a. 23:25. (close)
b. 26:112. (close)
1310. The expression Badiyur-Ra’yi meaning, at first thought; apparently; without proper consideration (Lane), the words Aradhiluna Badiyar-Ra’yi signify that the followers of Noah (a) are mean to all outward appearance; (b) their faith is insincere; (c) it is the result of only superficial thinking. It is a pity that men test the claims of a Heavenly Messenger by their self-devised standards and, when he does not satisfy those standards, they deceive themselves with the idea that they had weighed his claims dispassionately and with an open mind and had found them to be false. (close)
b. 23:25. (close)
c. 26:112. (close)
1409. Important Words:
بادی الرأی (to all outward appearance) is made up of two Arabic words بادی and الرأی. The word بادی has two possible derivations. It may be derived from بدأ (bad’a) which means, he or it began or he or it came into existence. بدأ به means, he began with it; he made it to be the first. Or the word بادی may be derived from بدأ (of which the aorist is یبدو) which means, it appeared or it showed itself. According to these two different roots the word بادی would mean: (1) that which or he who is first or that which or he who begins; (2) that which or he who appears. And the word الرأی means sight or perception or opinion. So the compound expression بادی الرأی would mean: (1) at first thought or on the first opinion; (2) at the appearance of opinion or according to the appearance of opinion, which may mean either inconsiderately or insincerely (Lane, under بدا & بدأ).
The Arabic expression بادی الرأی (to all outward appearance) is capable of three interpretations according to the rules of Arabic grammar. First, it may be taken as referring to the words ونراك (and we see). In this case, the verse would mean that the followers of Noah appear to us to be the meanest of us at first thought or on the first opinion, i.e. so far as our opinion is concerned we consider them to be mean. If, however, there is any hidden good in them, it may be known to Noah only.
Secondly, the expression بادی الرأی may be taken to refer to the words اراذلنا (the meanest of us). In this case the verse would mean that the followers of Noah were apparently low and mean.
Thirdly, the expression بادی الرأی may be taken as qualifying the words اتبعك (have followed thee). In this case the verse would mean that those who have accepted Noah have done so only outwardly or without proper thinking i.e. their faith was either insincere or inconsiderate, being based on mere cursory thinking.
To sum up, the words اراذلنا بادی الرأی mean: (1) the followers of Noah are mean to all outward appearance; or (2) their faith in Noah is insincere; or (3) their faith is the result of only superficial thinking.
The words, We see in thee nothing but a man like ourselves, mean, "There is nothing extraordinary in your outward appearance to distinguish you from us. You are just a human being like any other mortal. When therefore, there is nothing extraordinary in your outward appearance, how should we know that inwardly you have been endowed with exceptional powers which have helped you to gain access to Divine presence, while we cannot ?"
This is the common objection raised by the opponents of the Prophets. The enemies of Noah purported to say that if he possessed some special inward power from God, that ought to have caused some difference in his outward appearance and as a result of it he should have acquired knowledge of some worldly sciences also, but they saw no evidence of this. How could they then believe that his internal powers were different from, and superior to, theirs. In support of this argument the opponents of Noah might possibly have shown to him pictures of their holy men having extraordinary exteriors, such as the Hindu saints are believed to possess, for instance, a number of heads and several hands. In olden days, men could not conceive that a Prophet was like ordinary mortals in appearance. So the enemies of Noah, arguing that the outward must correspond with the inward and that there must be harmony between the two, raised against him the objection that if he was really a true Prophet, his outward appearance must have been different from theirs. Silly though the argument is, it must have won endorsement from the contemporaries of Noah.
The enemies of Noah further reinforce their argument by saying that while he himself possessed no special powers, and was a mortal like themselves, his followers were even worse than him. What success could he achieve, they asked, with adher-ents who, to all outward appearance, were the meanest of the society? The enemies of Noah thus argued that neither his own personal qualities nor those of his followers gave him the appearance of "superiority" over them.
The words, we believe you to be liars, embody the result of the arguments brought forward by Noah’s opponents, which is that he was a liar, for he had asserted his truth and superiority without any basis or proof.
It is a pity that men test the claims of a heavenly Messenger by their self-devised standards and, when he does not satisfy those standards, they deceive themselves with the idea that they had weighed up his claims dispassionately and with an open mind and had found them to be false. Even in the present age when man has made great progress in knowledge, science and culture and has known many Prophets, he presumes to test the claims of God’s Messengers’ not by criteria laid down by Him but by his own false standards. (close)
قَالَ یٰقَوۡمِ اَرَءَیۡتُمۡ اِنۡ کُنۡتُ عَلٰی بَیِّنَۃٍ مِّنۡ رَّبِّیۡ وَ اٰتٰٮنِیۡ رَحۡمَۃً مِّنۡ عِنۡدِہٖ فَعُمِّیَتۡ عَلَیۡکُمۡ ؕ اَنُلۡزِمُکُمُوۡہَا وَ اَنۡتُمۡ لَہَا کٰرِہُوۡنَ ﴿۲۹﴾
قَالَ يَٰقَوۡمِ أَرَءَيۡتُمۡ إِن كُنتُ عَلَىٰ بَيِّنَةٖ مِّن رَّبِّي وَءَاتَىٰنِي رَحۡمَةٗ مِّنۡ عِندِهِۦ فَعُمِّيَتۡ عَلَيۡكُمۡ أَنُلۡزِمُكُمُوهَا وَأَنتُمۡ لَهَا كَٰرِهُونَ
c. 11:64; 47:15. (close)
a. 11:64; 47:15. (close)
1410. Important Words:
انلزمکموھا (shall we force it upon you) is derived from الزم which is derived from لزم. They say لزم الشیء i.e. he kept close or held fast to the thing. لزم الامر means, the order became binding. الزمه الشیء means, he made him cleave to the thing. الزمه العملmeans, he obliged or compelled him to do the deed (Lane).
The words, which has been rendered obscure to you, mean that "the clear proof" and the "great mercy" have come to me in such a form that you cannot see them unless you ponder over them in the right spirit and on the right lines.
It is clear from this verse that in order to understand truth, one should think over it on right lines. Disbelievers cannot understand the truth because they reject it at the outset, without giving it the least consideration. In such circumstances, there can be no possibility of the truth being accepted except under compulsion. But compulsion, as the last portion of the verse makes clear, cannot be resorted to. (close)
وَ یٰقَوۡمِ لَاۤ اَسۡئَلُکُمۡ عَلَیۡہِ مَالًا ؕ اِنۡ اَجۡرِیَ اِلَّا عَلَی اللّٰہِ وَ مَاۤ اَنَا بِطَارِدِ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا ؕ اِنَّہُمۡ مُّلٰقُوۡا رَبِّہِمۡ وَ لٰکِنِّیۡۤ اَرٰٮکُمۡ قَوۡمًا تَجۡہَلُوۡنَ ﴿۳۰﴾
وَيَٰقَوۡمِ لَآ أَسۡـَٔلُكُمۡ عَلَيۡهِ مَالًاۖ إِنۡ أَجۡرِيَ إِلَّا عَلَى ٱللَّهِۚ وَمَآ أَنَا۠ بِطَارِدِ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْۚ إِنَّهُم مُّلَٰقُواْ رَبِّهِمۡ وَلَٰكِنِّيٓ أَرَىٰكُمۡ قَوۡمٗا تَجۡهَلُونَ
d. 10:73; 26:110. (close)
a. 26:115. (close)
a. 10:73; 26:110. (close)
b. 26:115. (close)
After referring to the prejudiced attitude of his opponents, Noah now proceeds to defend himself and his followers. In the first place, he asks what purpose he could possibly have in fabricating lies. Was it self-interest or personal aggrandizement that he was seeking? They knew that he asked for no reward from them. Then why should he have resorted to the abominable practice of forging lies? It might be argued that though Noah asked for no reward, he at least commanded the allegiance of his followers and that in itself constituted sufficient motive for his activities. But this objection, too, stands on no solid ground, because the Prophets of God are always the first to act upon the commandments which they enjoin upon others and they subject themselves to a greater discipline than they demand from their followers. They do not exult in the authority they enjoy. Theirs is only a life of sacrifice and service and not of dictatorial authority over others.
After having defended himself, Noah goes on to defend his followers. He repudiates the strictures of his opponents against them by saying that, as they had professed to believe in him, he had no right to drive them away merely on the basis of groundless mistrust and suspicion. Again, as he asked for no reward or recompense from anybody, the distinction of rich and poor did not exist for him and therefore he could not reject or spurn his followers on account of their being of humble origin. Only true and sincere faith carried weight with him, and that his followers possessed in abundance. Therefore, the objection that those who believed in him were poor and lowly was, besides being absurd, quite irrelevant.
Another objection which Noah’s opponents levelled at his followers was that their faith was insincere. Noah rebutted this charge by saying that just as he did not demand any material benefit from them, they also did not demand anything from him. They only sought the favour of God Whom they were sure to meet, and He to Whom nothing is hidden would deal with them according to their faith. So, why should he question or doubt their sincerity?
The words, They shall certainly meet their Lord, also contain an answer to the taunt of disbelievers that Noah’s followers had acquired no superiority over them by believing in him. Noah asked what greater superiority there could be than that his followers had attained nearness to God and had made great moral and spiritual progress, so much so that heavenly light shone in their faces. If in their ignorance his enemies could not see so patent a fact, the fault was their own.
The clause, But I consider you to be a people who act ignorantly, may refer to the sacrifices which the followers of Noah made in the cause of truth, for to believe in a Prophet in the beginning is not an easy matter. It is like plunging into fire. So Noah drew the attention of his opponents to the sacrifices of his followers and pointed out how unreasonable it was to hold their faith to be insincere in view of their great sacrifices for the sake of their faith. (close)
وَ یٰقَوۡمِ مَنۡ یَّنۡصُرُنِیۡ مِنَ اللّٰہِ اِنۡ طَرَدۡتُّہُمۡ ؕ اَفَلَا تَذَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۳۱﴾
وَيَٰقَوۡمِ مَن يَنصُرُنِي مِنَ ٱللَّهِ إِن طَرَدتُّهُمۡۚ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ
Noah says that his opponents wanted him to drive away his followers on account of their humble origin. But he could not displease God in order to win his opponents’ pleasure by repelling away those who had believed in him for His sake. God was his help and support and without Him he could not acquit himself of the great task with which He had entrusted him. He therefore dared not incur God’s displeasure by driving away his followers. (close)
وَ لَاۤ اَقُوۡلُ لَکُمۡ عِنۡدِیۡ خَزَآئِنُ اللّٰہِ وَ لَاۤ اَعۡلَمُ الۡغَیۡبَ وَ لَاۤ اَقُوۡلُ اِنِّیۡ مَلَکٌ وَّ لَاۤ اَقُوۡلُ لِلَّذِیۡنَ تَزۡدَرِیۡۤ اَعۡیُنُکُمۡ لَنۡ یُّؤۡتِیَہُمُ اللّٰہُ خَیۡرًا ؕ اَللّٰہُ اَعۡلَمُ بِمَا فِیۡۤ اَنۡفُسِہِمۡ ۚۖ اِنِّیۡۤ اِذًا لَّمِنَ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۳۲﴾
وَلَآ أَقُولُ لَكُمۡ عِندِي خَزَآئِنُ ٱللَّهِ وَلَآ أَعۡلَمُ ٱلۡغَيۡبَ وَلَآ أَقُولُ إِنِّي مَلَكٞ وَلَآ أَقُولُ لِلَّذِينَ تَزۡدَرِيٓ أَعۡيُنُكُمۡ لَن يُؤۡتِيَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ خَيۡرًاۖ ٱللَّهُ أَعۡلَمُ بِمَا فِيٓ أَنفُسِهِمۡ إِنِّيٓ إِذٗا لَّمِنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
b. 6:51. (close)
a. 6:51. (close)
In the first part of this verse Noah answers the objections of his opponents about himself in another form. He says that they taunt him for being a mere human being like themselves. But his claim is not inconsistent with his being a human being. He is only a Prophet, and it was not necessary for a Prophet to be different in kind from those to whom he was sent. On the contrary, it is necessary that he should be one of them and similar to them. If he had ascribed divinity to himself and had said that God had delegated His authority to him, then indeed they could have asked how a human being like them could discharge Divine functions. But he has made no such claim. His only claim is that God had chosen him as an instrument for conveying to men the knowledge which He wishes to disclose to them.
The words, Allah will not bestow any good upon them, contain a further answer to the objections of Noah’s enemies about his followers. Noah says that they taunted his followers with being mean and lowly, but who could say what was going to happen in future or how God intended to bestow on these very poor people the blessings of Heaven and the earth. He further reinforces his argument by saying that truly mean is that person whose heart is corrupt, but the condition of the heart or the mind is known to God alone. They judged his followers by their outward condition while God, Who knew the real condition of their hearts, knew that they were not mean but the noblest of men. This is the significance of the words, Allah knows best whatever is in their minds. (close)
قَالُوۡا یٰنُوۡحُ قَدۡ جٰدَلۡتَنَا فَاَکۡثَرۡتَ جِدَالَنَا فَاۡتِنَا بِمَا تَعِدُنَاۤ اِنۡ کُنۡتَ مِنَ الصّٰدِقِیۡنَ ﴿۳۳﴾
قَالُواْ يَٰنُوحُ قَدۡ جَٰدَلۡتَنَا فَأَكۡثَرۡتَ جِدَٰلَنَا فَأۡتِنَا بِمَا تَعِدُنَآ إِن كُنتَ مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰدِقِينَ
c. 46:23. (close)
a. 46:23. (close)
As in the previous verses Noah had hinted at the future prosperity of his followers and it was evident that they could prosper only if their opponents perished and thus cleared the way for their prosperity, therefore Noah’s enemies realized that the prophecy of the future prosperity of believers implied a prophecy about their own destruction. So they asked him to give up all other discussions and let them know when their threatened destruction would come to pass. (close)
قَالَ اِنَّمَا یَاۡتِیۡکُمۡ بِہِ اللّٰہُ اِنۡ شَآءَ وَ مَاۤ اَنۡتُمۡ بِمُعۡجِزِیۡنَ ﴿۳۴﴾
قَالَ إِنَّمَا يَأۡتِيكُم بِهِ ٱللَّهُ إِن شَآءَ وَمَآ أَنتُم بِمُعۡجِزِينَ
d. 46:24 (close)
1311. The verse embodies three important rules about prophecies of punishment: (a) The time of their actual happening is generally not disclosed. (b) They are conditional and can be deferred or revoked as God may please. (c) Whatever changes may take place in regard to prophecies of punishment, God’s immutable purpose never changes, because disbelievers 'cannot frustrate His purpose.' (close)
a. 46:23-24. (close)
This verse embodies three important rules about prophecies foretelling the punishment of the enemies of God’s Messengers: (1) that the time of their actual happening is generally not disclosed, being known only to God; (2) that they are conditional and can be deferred or revoked as God may desire; and (3) that whatever changes may take place in regard to prophecies of punishment, God’s immutable purpose never changes, for disbelievers "cannot frustrate God’s purpose." (close)
وَ لَا یَنۡفَعُکُمۡ نُصۡحِیۡۤ اِنۡ اَرَدۡتُّ اَنۡ اَنۡصَحَ لَکُمۡ اِنۡ کَانَ اللّٰہُ یُرِیۡدُ اَنۡ یُّغۡوِیَکُمۡ ؕ ہُوَ رَبُّکُمۡ ۟ وَ اِلَیۡہِ تُرۡجَعُوۡنَ ﴿ؕ۳۵﴾
وَلَا يَنفَعُكُمۡ نُصۡحِيٓ إِنۡ أَرَدتُّ أَنۡ أَنصَحَ لَكُمۡ إِن كَانَ ٱللَّهُ يُرِيدُ أَن يُغۡوِيَكُمۡۚ هُوَ رَبُّكُمۡ وَإِلَيۡهِ تُرۡجَعُونَ
1312. The verse removes the wrong notion commonly held that being very angry with his people because they did not believe, Noah prayed for their destruction (71:27, 28), for it shows that Noah had prayed for their destruction not of his own accord but God Himself had desired him to do so. (close)
1416. Important Words:
یغویكم (destroy you). See 7:17.
By the words, If Allah desires to destroy you, Noah means to say that though he ardently wishes his people to accept his Message and thus be saved, his love for them cannot exceed God’s love for His creatures; and when God has decreed their destruction, the doom must be accepted as not only inevitable but also justified, and he must submit to His decree.
The verse also explodes the wrong notion commonly held that Noah prayed for the destruction of his people (71:27, 28), for it shows that it was not Noah who had prayed for their destruction but that God Himself had commanded him to do so.
The words, He is your Lord, are intended to hint that God destroys a people only when He finds that their destruction is necessary and is good for others; otherwise, being their Lord and Master, He cannot wish them evil. (close)
اَمۡ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ افۡتَرٰٮہُ ؕ قُلۡ اِنِ افۡتَرَیۡتُہٗ فَعَلَیَّ اِجۡرَامِیۡ وَ اَنَا بَرِیۡٓءٌ مِّمَّا تُجۡرِمُوۡنَ ﴿٪۳۶﴾
أَمۡ يَقُولُونَ ٱفۡتَرَىٰهُۖ قُلۡ إِنِ ٱفۡتَرَيۡتُهُۥ فَعَلَيَّ إِجۡرَامِي وَأَنَا۠ بَرِيٓءٞ مِّمَّا تُجۡرِمُونَ
a. 46:9. (close)
a. 46:9. (close)
The words, Say, If I have forged it, on me be my sin, refer to Noah and not to the Holy Prophet, and mean that God commanded Noah to tell his people that if in what he had said to them he had forged a lie against God, he would certainly be punished for it, so they need not worry about it. But if he was speaking the truth and was a true Messenger of God, then they had committed a great sin by rejecting him and would surely be called to account.
By saying, I am clear of the sins you commit, Noah clears himself of the charge of imposture in another way also. He points to his previous spotless life as proof of his truthfulness, for if he was free from the various sins in which his people were involved, he could not be expected to be so depraved as to forge lies against God, which was the most heinous of all sins. (close)
وَ اُوۡحِیَ اِلٰی نُوۡحٍ اَنَّہٗ لَنۡ یُّؤۡمِنَ مِنۡ قَوۡمِکَ اِلَّا مَنۡ قَدۡ اٰمَنَ فَلَا تَبۡتَئِسۡ بِمَا کَانُوۡا یَفۡعَلُوۡنَ ﴿ۚۖ۳۷﴾
وَأُوحِيَ إِلَىٰ نُوحٍ أَنَّهُۥ لَن يُؤۡمِنَ مِن قَوۡمِكَ إِلَّا مَن قَدۡ ءَامَنَ فَلَا تَبۡتَئِسۡ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَفۡعَلُونَ
1313. The prayer referred to in 71:27, 28 seems to have been uttered after the verse under comment was revealed. According to the verse under comment Noah was informed of God’s decision that no one from among his people would now believe in him. Hence his prayer (71:27, 28) was nothing more than a submission to God’s will and decree. All that the prayer meant was that God might carry out His decree about the destruction of his people. (close)
1418. Important Words:
فلاتبتئس (grieve not therefore). تبتئس is derived from بئس meaning, he was or became in a state of distress, etc. ابتاس منه or ابتاس به means, he was distressed at it; or he grieved at it (Lane). See also 2:178.
This verse throws some light on Noah’s prayer referred to in 71:27, 28. In the verse under comment Noah is told that he would have no more converts from his people but that he should not grieve on that account. This shows that up to the time when this revelation was sent to Noah, he had not despaired of his people and was always worrying over their disbelief. So the prayer referred to in 71:27, 28 must have been offered not prior to, but after, this revelation. In this revelation he was informed of God’s decision that no more persons from among his people would believe in him. All those who deserved to be rightly guided and who sincerely sought after Divine guidance had already been converted. Hence the prayer of Noah was no more than a submission to God’s decree. For, when God Himself had decided to destroy his wicked people, it was meaningless on Noah’s part to pray for their destruction. So all that Noah’s prayer meant was that God might carry out His decree about the destruction of his people, for he was now reconciled to it.
It often happens that a Prophet even after he has come to know of God’s decision to destroy a people, continues to pray for them, hoping that God may alter His decree and the people may yet believe and be saved. Noah also continued to pray for his people until he saw that further postponement of the punishment was prejudicial to the best interests of Faith. He then prayed that God might carry out His decree against his people.
Even if it be admitted that Noah did not merely ask God to carry out His decree but actually prayed for the destruction of his people, such a prayer cannot be held to be inconsistent with the dignity of a Prophet, for a prayer offered under Divine command can in no case be said to be derogatory to his dignity. When the All-Knowing God Himself discloses to a Prophet the perversity of his people and their inevitable doom, then a prayer on his part that such people should remain deprived of Divine guidance is no more than a simple statement of an existing fact. (close)