وَ لَقَدۡ اَرۡسَلۡنَا مُوۡسٰی بِاٰیٰتِنَا وَ سُلۡطٰنٍ مُّبِیۡنٍ ﴿ۙ۹۷﴾
وَلَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مُوسَىٰ بِـَٔايَٰتِنَا وَسُلۡطَٰنٖ مُّبِينٍ
d. 14:6; 40:24. (close)
b. 14:6; 23:46; 40:24. (close)
As already stated, the present Surah discusses the history of only those Prophets whose peoples were ultimately destroyed. The present and the following few verses deal with Moses’ mission to Pharaoh and his people who rejected him and therefore met with destruction. The Surah makes no reference to the Israelites, for the obvious reason that they believed in Moses’ and became heirs to Divine blessings.
Incidentally, it may be noted here that the Biblical account of Moses as given in Exod. chapters 2, 3 & 4, differs from the Quranic description in several points:
1. According to the Bible, Moses was not cast into the river, but was concealed under a basket in the bushes by the side of the river (Exod. 2:3). According to the Quran, however, he was cast into the river (20:40). The name Moses, as explained in Exod. 2:10 supports the Quranic version, for Moses was so called because he "was saved from water." See also note under 2:54.
2. According to the Bible, the Egyptian who died at the hands of Moses was killed by him intentionally (Exod. 2:11,12), while according to the Quran, Moses did not strike the man with the intention of killing him. The man died only accidentally (28:16). Thus the Bible represents Moses as a wilful murderer, while the Quran acquits him of this heinous act.
3. According to the Bible, Moses saw two Hebrews quarrelling with each other (Exod. 2:13,14); while the Quran says that one was a Hebrew and the other an Egyptian (28:19).
4. The Quran differs from the Bible in the details of the incident at the well. The Bible says that there were as many as seven daughters of the priest of Midian at the well. (Exod. 2:16), while according to the Quran there were only two (28:24). Again, according to the Bible, the girls filled their troughs to water their father’s flock, but the shepherds came and drove them away (Exod. 2:16), while according to the Quran the girls kept themselves and their flock away owing to modesty (28:24). Again, the Bible represents Moses as standing up against the shepherds and helping the girls (Exod. 2:17), while according to the Quran, there was no standing up against the shepherds on the part of Moses; he only watered the flock of the girls (28:25).
5. According to the Bible, Moses was bidden to take his people out of Egypt without apprising Pharaoh of their flight. He is, in fact, represented as playing a trick on Pharaoh and deceiving him (Exod. 3:18). But the Quran represents him as being bidden by God to go to Pharaoh and ask him to let the children of Israel go with him (20:48).
6. According to the Bible, Moses bade the Israelite women to borrow from their Egyptian neighbours their ornaments, their gold, their silver and their raiment with a view to robbing them of their valuables (Exod. 3:22). According to the Quran, they were not bidden by God to take the ornaments from the Egyptians; they did so deceitfully and were themselves responsible for the deceit (20:88).
7. The hand of Moses, says the Bible, was white and its whiteness was due to leprosy (Exod. 4:6). According to the Quran his hand was indeed brightly white, but its whiteness was not due to any disease. It constituted a Divine sign (20:23).
8. The Bible represents Aaron not as a real brother of Moses or his brother from the side of his mother, but a brother in the sense that he was a member of the Levite family (Exod. 4:14). The Quran, however, represents him as a real brother of Moses, or at least his brother from the side of his mother (20:95).
9. According to the Bible, Aaron took part with the Israelites in taking the calf for an idol; nay, it even represents him as the very author of the calf-worship (Exod. 32:35). But the Quran exonerates him of this charge (20:91).
It is unnecessary to remark here that both reason and recent research in history agree that of the two versions the Quranic one is correct.
In fact, Christian writers themselves have admitted the inaccuracy of the Biblical account (Enc. Bri. under "Moses"). The writer of this article declares that a great part of the Hamurabi teaching has been incorporated in the Pentateuch. He also considers the Biblical account showing Aaron as having taken part in calf-worship as spurious and a later addition, and infers that there have been other similar interpolations in the Bible.
The word Harun (Aaron) has no significance in Hebrew. According to modern scholars, the name is to be found in the languages of North Arabia (Enc. Bri.). This shows that the Hebrews had, till then, some connection with Arabic, their original tongue. (close)
اِلٰی فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَ مَلَا۠ئِہٖ فَاتَّبَعُوۡۤا اَمۡرَ فِرۡعَوۡنَ ۚ وَ مَاۤ اَمۡرُ فِرۡعَوۡنَ بِرَشِیۡدٍ ﴿۹۸﴾
إِلَىٰ فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَمَلَإِيْهِۦ فَٱتَّبَعُوٓاْ أَمۡرَ فِرۡعَوۡنَۖ وَمَآ أَمۡرُ فِرۡعَوۡنَ بِرَشِيدٖ
e. 23:47; 40:25. (close)
a. 23:47; 40:25. (close)
Pharaoh, as already stated, was not the name of any particular monarch (2:50). It was the title of the rulers of Egypt. The ruler of the Nile valley and Alexandria was called Pharaoh. This title was in vogue before the conquest of Egypt by the Romans. As, after the advent of the Romans, the government of the country passed into foreign hands, the title of Pharaohfell into disuse, for the foreign conquerors adopted their own titles.
It also appears that Pharaoh was not the title of the rulers of one dynasty only. Kings of many dynasties which ruled over the valley of the Nile and Alexandria in succession for about four thousand years bore this title. The Pharaoh during whose reign Moses was born was also, like the Israelites, a foreigner in the country, and therefore always feared lest they should multiply and help the original inhabitants of Egypt in expelling him and his people from the land or should rebel against him (Exod. 1:9-10). (close)
یَقۡدُمُ قَوۡمَہٗ یَوۡمَ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ فَاَوۡرَدَہُمُ النَّارَ ؕ وَ بِئۡسَ الۡوِرۡدُ الۡمَوۡرُوۡدُ ﴿۹۹﴾
يَقۡدُمُ قَوۡمَهُۥ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِ فَأَوۡرَدَهُمُ ٱلنَّارَۖ وَبِئۡسَ ٱلۡوِرۡدُ ٱلۡمَوۡرُودُ
1343B. Wird is derived from Warada and means, time; place and turn of watering; people or cattle coming to a watering place (Aqrab). (close)
1479. Important Words:
اوردھم (bring them down). The word اورد as well as الورد (watering-place) and المورود (arrived at) are all derived from ورد. They say وردہ i.e. he (a man or a camel, etc.) came to it, or arrived at it, namely water, whether he entered it or not. ورد علیھا means, he came to or arrived at it (water, town, etc.). اوردہ means, he brought him to the watering-place or he simply brought him or made him come or be present at a certain place. اوردہ الماء means, he made him come or he brought him to the water. اوردہ واصدرہ means, he brought it and (then) took it away. ورد (wird) means, coming to or arriving at water, etc.; water to which one comes to drink; the time or turn of coming to water; a company of men or a number of camels or birds coming to or arriving at water; a portion or share of water; the day or turn of a fever when it attacks the patient intermittently or periodically; a portion of the night in which a man has to pray; a section or division of the Quran portioned out for recitation at a certain time. مورود is the passive participle from ورد (warada) and means a place or person arrived at or visited. وارد which is the active participle means, he who comes or arrives at a place (Lane & Aqrab).
The verse means to say that all that Pharaoh did for his people was to bring them to the verge of Hell and cause them to fall into it. As shown under Important Words, the word اورد (will bring down) is generally used with reference to water but here it has been used in connection with fire in order to point out that instead of obtaining water, which is the source of physical and spiritual life (21:31), these people will land in fire, which is the killer of life. Thus their own efforts which were employed to destroy rather than get spiritual life will appear to them in an embodied form.
The expression may also contain an allusion to the fact that the descent of the people of Pharaoh into Hell will be like the repairing of a thirsty man to a place of water, i.e. corrupt as they are, it will prove the means of satisfying their peculiar thirst. The fire will purify them of their sins and thus, through it, they will at last succeed in satisfying their spiritual thirst. (close)
وَ اُتۡبِعُوۡا فِیۡ ہٰذِہٖ لَعۡنَۃً وَّ یَوۡمَ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ ؕ بِئۡسَ الرِّفۡدُ الۡمَرۡفُوۡدُ ﴿۱۰۰﴾
وَأُتۡبِعُواْ فِي هَٰذِهِۦ لَعۡنَةٗ وَيَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِۚ بِئۡسَ ٱلرِّفۡدُ ٱلۡمَرۡفُودُ
a. 28:43. (close)
1344. Rifd meaning a gift or support or aid (Lane), the verse may signify that Pharaoh, whom his people regarded as their support against God will prove an evil support for them on the Day of Resurrection, for he not only will land them into Hell, but himself will go into it with them. (close)
a. 28:43. (close)
1480. Important Words:
رفد (gift) and المرفود (which will be given them) are both derived from رفد (rafada). They say رفدہ i.e. he gave him, or he gave him a gift; he aided, helped or assisted him; he aided or assisted him by a gift or by a good saying or by some other thing. رفد الحائط means, he propped up or supported the wall. رفد means, a gift or a gratuity; aid, help or assistance by a gift, etc.; a lot, share or portion. رافد means, giver of a gift; aider or helper. مرفود which is the passive participle from this root, means, he who is given a gift, etc.; or that which is given as a gift, etc. (Lane & Aqrab).
The word لعنة (curse) is not used here as a term of abuse, but in its original sense of "driving away" or "casting away by way of punishment" (Mufradat). The verse would therefore mean that, as these people remained away from God in the present life, so, as a punishment, they will be kept away from Him in the life to come. The moral of the verse is that by following in the footsteps of a wicked man, one is disgraced both in this life and the next.
The word رفد (lit. gift or support or aid) may also refer to Pharaoh. In this case the verse would mean that Pharaoh whom his people took as their means of support against God proved an evil support for them; for he not only landed them into Hell, but himself went into the Fire with them. (close)
ذٰلِکَ مِنۡ اَنۡۢبَآءِ الۡقُرٰی نَقُصُّہٗ عَلَیۡکَ مِنۡہَا قَآئِمٌ وَّ حَصِیۡدٌ ﴿۱۰۱﴾
ذَٰلِكَ مِنۡ أَنۢبَآءِ ٱلۡقُرَىٰ نَقُصُّهُۥ عَلَيۡكَۖ مِنۡهَا قَآئِمٞ وَحَصِيدٞ
b. 20:100. (close)
a. 20:100. (close)
1481. Important Words:
قری (cities) is the plural of قریة and means, (1) the people of the towns; or (2) the towns themselves (Aqrab).
حصید (mown down like the harvest) is derived from حصد. They say حصد الزرع i.e. he reaped or cut the harvest with a scythe. حصد القوم بالسیف means, he mowed down the people with the sword. The proverb من زرع الشر حصد الندامة means, he who sows evil reaps remorse. حصید means, reaped seed-produce; mown down with the sword like reaped seed-produce; an harvest that is cut or mown down; also the lower part of the harvest which remains after the latter is cut down (Lane & Aqrab). See also 6:142.
In the first mentioned sense of the word قری the word قائم (standing) would mean that the progeny of these peoples lived after them and thus, as it were, continued to stand; and in the latter sense it would mean that the remains of some of these towns are still to be found while others have become totally extinct. Similarly, in this sense the word حصید (mown down like the harvest) would mean "a people who have become totally or nearly extinct." If, however, the word قری is taken in the sense of "towns," the word حصید would signify, "towns whose traces have become wholly or nearly extinct."
The verse means that the remains of some of the towns mentioned are still extant, while others have become wholly or nearly obliterated. Consequently, if the ruins of some of the towns mentioned in this Surah cannot be found, the truth of the Quranic narratives cannot be called into question, because the Quran itself uses the word حصید (mown down) with regard to them. If, however, in some future time, archaeologists succeed in discovering the ruins of some towns now extinct, the Quranic account would still be beyond doubt, for the word حصید (mown down) is also used with regard to a harvest that has been cut down with a scythe, the lower part of which still remains visible. See also 10:25. (close)
وَ مَا ظَلَمۡنٰہُمۡ وَ لٰکِنۡ ظَلَمُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَہُمۡ فَمَاۤ اَغۡنَتۡ عَنۡہُمۡ اٰلِہَتُہُمُ الَّتِیۡ یَدۡعُوۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ مِنۡ شَیۡءٍ لَّمَّا جَآءَ اَمۡرُ رَبِّکَ ؕ وَ مَا زَادُوۡہُمۡ غَیۡرَ تَتۡبِیۡبٍ ﴿۱۰۲﴾
وَمَا ظَلَمۡنَٰهُمۡ وَلَٰكِن ظَلَمُوٓاْ أَنفُسَهُمۡۖ فَمَآ أَغۡنَتۡ عَنۡهُمۡ ءَالِهَتُهُمُ ٱلَّتِي يَدۡعُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ مِن شَيۡءٖ لَّمَّا جَآءَ أَمۡرُ رَبِّكَۖ وَمَا زَادُوهُمۡ غَيۡرَ تَتۡبِيبٖ
c. 3:118; 16:34. (close)
1345. The Qur’an repeatedly emphasizes the fact that God never punishes a people unjustly and that it is their own misdeeds that bring down punishment upon them. It denies the theory of predestination or of man’s being the victim of a blind fate. It also contradicts the view that God makes nations rise and fall arbitrarily, without a just or real cause. This is why, wherever it speaks of punishment, it does not fail to add that punishment or reward is the result of man’s own doings. (close)
a. 3:118; 16:34. (close)
The Quran repeatedly emphasizes the fact that God never punishes a people unjustly and that it is their own misdeeds that bring down punishment upon them. It denies the theory of predestination or of man’s being the victim of a blind fate. It also contradicts the view that God makes nations rise and fall arbitrarily, without just or real cause. This is why, wherever the Quran speaks of punishment, it does not fail to add that punishments or rewards are the results of men’s own doing. This is what is hinted at in the words, And We did not wrong them but they wronged themselves.
The verse also points out that of all things it is their idols that are of absolutely no use to idolaters. All other things in nature such as fire, snakes, poisons, etc. have their uses. The swords of disbelievers were also of some service to them, because with them they killed some Muslims, but what proved of entirely no use to the idolaters were their gods, upon whom they had staked their whole future.
The words, and they added to them naught but perdition, do not contradict the well-known Quranic dictum that idols can do disbelievers neither good nor evil, for where the Quran denies that idols can do harm, it is intentional harm that is meant; but where it says that idols do serious harm to their votaries, as in the present verse, it means involuntary or unintentional harm, for what greater sin there can be than committing shirk, (idol-worship) of which idols are the unconscious cause.
The words "but perdition" also point to the moral that shirk generally renders idolaters lax in their efforts to better their condition and thus is indirectly instrumental in bringing about their eventual destruction. When at the Fall of Mecca, some of the idolaters who, on account of their most atrocious crimes against Muslims were proscribed from the general amnesty, took shelter in the Ka‘bah, thinking that the idols therein would protect them, they were ordered by the Holy Prophet to be slain. Had they known that their idols could render them no help whatsoever, they would have sought safety in flight. Thus the words "but perdition" hint that شرك (idol-worship) renders its votaries lax and negligent. (close)
وَ کَذٰلِکَ اَخۡذُ رَبِّکَ اِذَاۤ اَخَذَ الۡقُرٰی وَ ہِیَ ظَالِمَۃٌ ؕ اِنَّ اَخۡذَہٗۤ اَلِیۡمٌ شَدِیۡدٌ ﴿۱۰۳﴾
وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَخۡذُ رَبِّكَ إِذَآ أَخَذَ ٱلۡقُرَىٰ وَهِيَ ظَٰلِمَةٌۚ إِنَّ أَخۡذَهُۥٓ أَلِيمٞ شَدِيدٌ
a. 54:43; 85:13. (close)
This verse gives the reason why all the foregoing events—the destruction of the people of Noah down to Moses have been related. The reason is that when the punishment of God overtakes a people, they are simply annihilated. The enemies of the Holy Prophet are told by implication that they should take warning from the fate of the opponents of former Prophets.
The word ظالمة (doing wrong) is used here in the sense of مشرکة (those who associate gods with God). The word ظلم (wrong) has been used in the sense of شرك (idol-worship) at several places in the Quran. What is meant to be conveyed here is that the punishment which overtakes a people when they become idolaters and lose faith in the Unity of God is most destructive and generally extirpatory, while the ruin which comes upon a people from natural causes is gradual. (close)
اِنَّ فِیۡ ذٰلِکَ لَاٰیَۃً لِّمَنۡ خَافَ عَذَابَ الۡاٰخِرَۃِ ؕ ذٰلِکَ یَوۡمٌ مَّجۡمُوۡعٌ ۙ لَّہُ النَّاسُ وَ ذٰلِکَ یَوۡمٌ مَّشۡہُوۡدٌ ﴿۱۰۴﴾
إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَأٓيَةٗ لِّمَنۡ خَافَ عَذَابَ ٱلۡأٓخِرَةِۚ ذَٰلِكَ يَوۡمٞ مَّجۡمُوعٞ لَّهُ ٱلنَّاسُ وَذَٰلِكَ يَوۡمٞ مَّشۡهُودٞ
b. 14:15. (close)
1346. 'sign' means, 'a lesson.' (close)
1347. Man is not wholly independent. He is influenced by his environment, education and heredity; so in order to judge rightly a particular action of his it is necessary to take into consideration all the conditions and circumstances which lead to and influence it. Hence, for the full realization of the true nature of man’s actions and to show that the seemingly unfair and inexplicable determination in dealing out different punishments and rewards to different persons by God is not capricious or arbitrary but perfectly just and fair, being based on the extent to which the individual is independent or free in his actions, it was necessary that there should have been fixed a certain day when all men should assemble, attended by all conditions and circumstances under which they worked and the various causes and reasons that led to their actions, so that these circumstances and causes may be jointly considered while determining the nature of their rewards and punishments. (close)
The word "sign" is not used here in the sense of "proof" of the Day of Judgement but in the sense of "a lesson." The verse thus means that those who believe in the punishment of the future life can alone learn a lesson from the events related above. When such people witness heavenly visitations in this life, they are naturally reminded of the punishment of the life to come and, being actuated by Divine fear, they begin to strive more earnestly for the future life.
The words, for which all mankind shall be gathered together, signify that a day fixed for holding judgement is necessary for the moral and spiritual development and perfection of man. It is not therefore a means to an end but an end in itself. The assembling of men on that day is not accidental. It is deliberate and serves a definite and useful purpose.
In fact, as it appears from the Quran, human actions are not quite independent, but are influenced by environment and heredity; and, in order to judge a particular action rightly, it is necessary to take into consideration all the conditions and circumstances which lead to and influence it. So, for the full realization of the true nature of a man’s actions and to show that the seemingly unfair and inexplicable discrimination in dealing out different punishments and rewards to different persons is not capricious and arbitrary but perfectly just and fair, being based on the extent to which the individual is independent and free in his actions, it is necessary that there should be fixed a certain day when all men should assemble with all the conditions and circumstances under which they worked and the various causes and reasons that led to their actions, so that these circumstances and causes may be jointly considered while determining the nature of their rewards and punishments. Thus it may become apparent to all that no injustice or unfairness was observed in meting out those punishments and rewards. (close)
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)