وَ لَقَدِ اسۡتُہۡزِیٴَ بِرُسُلٍ مِّنۡ قَبۡلِکَ فَاَمۡلَیۡتُ لِلَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا ثُمَّ اَخَذۡتُہُمۡ ۟ فَکَیۡفَ کَانَ عِقَابِ ﴿۳۳﴾
وَلَقَدِ ٱسۡتُهۡزِئَ بِرُسُلٖ مِّن قَبۡلِكَ فَأَمۡلَيۡتُ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ ثُمَّ أَخَذۡتُهُمۡۖ فَكَيۡفَ كَانَ عِقَابِ
b. 22:45. (close)
a. 36:31. (close)
b. 22:45. (close)
To the repeated objection of the opponents of the Holy Prophet as to why punishment was not sent down upon them immediately, they are told that, as the sending down of punishment is postponed in order that disbelievers may have time to think and accept truth, the respite granted to them was no novel thing. The opponents of all the Prophets were given such respite with the same object in view, and former Prophets were also mocked at because of the delay in punishment, but that in no way injured their cause. The objection would have been justified if disbelievers had escaped punishment altogether; or if, when at last it came, it was not exemplary; or if its delay, during the intervening period, in any way, proved detrimental to the cause of truth. The postponement only served to fulfil its noble object for it afforded those, who were good at heart and were destined to believe, an opportunity to ponder over the truth and accept it. (close)
اَفَمَنۡ ہُوَ قَآئِمٌ عَلٰی کُلِّ نَفۡسٍۭ بِمَا کَسَبَتۡ ۚ وَ جَعَلُوۡا لِلّٰہِ شُرَکَآءَ ؕ قُلۡ سَمُّوۡہُمۡ ؕ اَمۡ تُنَبِّـُٔوۡنَہٗ بِمَا لَا یَعۡلَمُ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ اَمۡ بِظَاہِرٍ مِّنَ الۡقَوۡلِ ؕ بَلۡ زُیِّنَ لِلَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا مَکۡرُہُمۡ وَ صُدُّوۡا عَنِ السَّبِیۡلِ ؕ وَ مَنۡ یُّضۡلِلِ اللّٰہُ فَمَا لَہٗ مِنۡ ہَادٍ ﴿۳۴﴾
أَفَمَنۡ هُوَ قَآئِمٌ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ نَفۡسِۭ بِمَا كَسَبَتۡۗ وَجَعَلُواْ لِلَّهِ شُرَكَآءَ قُلۡ سَمُّوهُمۡۚ أَمۡ تُنَبِّـُٔونَهُۥ بِمَا لَا يَعۡلَمُ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ أَم بِظَٰهِرٖ مِّنَ ٱلۡقَوۡلِۗ بَلۡ زُيِّنَ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مَكۡرُهُمۡ وَصُدُّواْ عَنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِۗ وَمَن يُضۡلِلِ ٱللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُۥ مِنۡ هَادٖ
c. 6:101; 10:67; 13:17. (close)
1445. Idolaters are called upon to state what are the functions which their gods perform. The word 'name' in the verse does not mean personal name but attributive name, for the personal names of some of the gods have been given in the Qur’an itself (71:24); the words, do name them, may also be an expression of contempt, meaning that the gods of the disbelievers are so worthless that even the mention of their names would put them to shame. (close)
1446. It often happens that when a man commits a fraud or imposture in order to gain worldly advantage, he himself gradually falls a victim to his own imposture which gradually appears attractive to him. (close)
a. 17:98; 39:24, 37. (close)
a. 6:101; 10:67; 13:17. (close)
b. 17:98; 39:24, 37. (close)
The words, Who stands over every soul to note what it earns, contain another reason why God delays punishment. The argument is that as God is keeping close watch over every soul and nothing, however remote and secret, is hidden from His knowledge and He is also All-Powerful, He needs no hurry to punish the disbelievers; for if only punishment were the object, He could bring the offenders to book whenever He liked. The postponement of punishment is not therefore a thing to be scoffed or wondered at. The wonder rather is that disbelievers do not ponder over the fact that they are offenders against God’s Kingdom and yet they do not fear His punishment and desire to hasten it.
The words, they ascribe partners to Allah, mean that if disbelievers pondered over their own beliefs and actions they would readily discover that they were sinning against God by ascribing co-partners to Him and have therefore rightly incurred His displeasure.
The simple words, Say, Name them, embody a mighty argument against shirk. Idolaters are called upon to describe what function their gods perform. The word "name" in the verse does not mean personal name but attributive name, for the personal names of some of the gods have been given in the Quran itself (71:24). The demand that idolaters should name the functions of their gods is such as cannot fail to bring home to them the absurdity of their beliefs. Suppose, for instance, the idolaters say about one of their gods that his function or attribute is that he can or does bestow children. Now the possession of such a power by a god would imply that he has control not only over the birth of children but over numberless other things which have direct or indirect bearing on geniture. Thus, in order to bestow children, the god to whom this attribute is ascribed must have control over diet and medicinal drugs and must have control over even the working of man’s physical system. He must also have knowledge of hidden things so that he may know the genital defects of the parents and also know what medicine will suit the special circumstances of the case. Besides, he must be able to impart the knowledge of hidden things to others. For instance, he must be able to inspire the physician or the patient as to what medicine and what food will remove the defect. In short, until a god possesses an all-comprehensive knowledge and unlimited powers, he will not be able to perform even one single function. On the other hand, if it be supposed that each and every god possesses all the powers required for his special function, then the existence of so many gods would become superfluous, besides being a potential source of discord and disorder; for in that case each one of these gods would be the Supreme Being, a position which is impossible to imagine.
The words, Name them, may also be an expression of contempt, meaning that the gods of the disbelievers are so worthless that even the mention of their names would put them to shame.
The words, Would you inform Him of what He does not know in the earth?, contain yet another powerful argument against shirk. If there had been any other gods, argues the verse, the fact ought to have been made known by God Himself through a Prophet or through angels, or the alleged co-partners of God should themselves have made that announcement, but no such communication or announcement has ever been known to exist. Hence, the verse takes idolaters to task by telling them that by ascribing co-partners to God they presume to inform Him of something of which He Himself has no knowledge.
The expression, or is it a mere empty saying?, means that idolaters say these things only with their tongues and have no real faith in them. The verse asks disbelievers whether they really believe in what they allege. In this way, an appeal has been made to human nature, which often proves a very successful way of bringing home the truth.
It often happens that when a man commits a fraud or imposture in order to procure worldly advantage, he himself gradually falls a prey to his own imposture which, by and by, begins to appear attractive to him. Thus man’s design is made to look fair to him not by God, but by man himself. Some men ascribe divine powers to certain creatures, not because they really believe them to be gods beside Allah, but to impose upon simple-minded people and to cheat them of their possessions. But, as time goes on, their own trick begins to appeal to them, and they become the dupes of their own fraud. This is the significance of the words, Nay, but the design of the disbelievers has been made to appear beautiful in their eyes.
The expression, and they have been kept back from the right way, signifies that when a man severs his connection with God, he becomes involved in shirk, whether hidden or visible. Man cannot remain without a companion. When he leaves God, the inevitable result is that he begins to seek the support of petty things, which gradually gives rise to shirk.
Here the Quran differs from the students of comparative religion. According to the latter, polytheism preceded the belief in one God. According to the Quran the reverse is true, and history supports the Quran. We see that Muslims and Jews were worshippers of one God in the beginning, but afterwards many of them virtually reverted to polytheism and idolatry. The case of Christians is still worse. They were first believers in the Unity of God but took to deifying Jesus afterwards and the whole community became stuck in the quagmire of shirk. Why should we not assume that the same was the case with the peoples of remote antiquity? (close)
لَہُمۡ عَذَابٌ فِی الۡحَیٰوۃِ الدُّنۡیَا وَ لَعَذَابُ الۡاٰخِرَۃِ اَشَقُّ ۚ وَ مَا لَہُمۡ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ مِنۡ وَّاقٍ ﴿۳۵﴾
لَّهُمۡ عَذَابٞ فِي ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَاۖ وَلَعَذَابُ ٱلۡأٓخِرَةِ أَشَقُّۖ وَمَا لَهُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ مِن وَاقٖ
b. 39:27; 68:34. (close)
a. 39:27; 68:34. (close)
مَثَلُ الۡجَنَّۃِ الَّتِیۡ وُعِدَ الۡمُتَّقُوۡنَ ؕ تَجۡرِیۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِہَا الۡاَنۡہٰرُ ؕ اُکُلُہَا دَآئِمٌ وَّ ظِلُّہَا ؕ تِلۡکَ عُقۡبَی الَّذِیۡنَ اتَّقَوۡا ٭ۖ وَّ عُقۡبَی الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ النَّارُ ﴿۳۶﴾
۞مَّثَلُ ٱلۡجَنَّةِ ٱلَّتِي وُعِدَ ٱلۡمُتَّقُونَۖ تَجۡرِي مِن تَحۡتِهَا ٱلۡأَنۡهَٰرُۖ أُكُلُهَا دَآئِمٞ وَظِلُّهَاۚ تِلۡكَ عُقۡبَى ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّقَواْۚ وَّعُقۡبَى ٱلۡكَٰفِرِينَ ٱلنَّارُ
c. 2:26; 4:58; 47:16. (close)
1447. The words, its fruit is everlasting, signify that the fruits of Heaven will see no autumn, no season of decay, nor even of dormancy. Thus, there will be no interruption in the boons and blessings of Paradise. "Fruit" and "shade" stand respectively for inward and outward blessings, and imply that believers will enjoy all kinds of blessings in Heaven, both external and internal. (close)
b. 2:26; 4:58; 47:16. (close)
The idea underlying the word جنة generally rendered as Heaven but literally meaning garden, is not that of a land covered with trees, but of the trees themselves that give shade and cover the land. Thus the sentence تجری من تحت الانھار (through it flow streams) means that streams will flow under the trees of the gardens. This is intended to point not only to the proximity of water but also to the fact that the inmates of Heaven will be the owners and masters of the streams referred to. The word نھر (stream) properly signifies "water running with ease and unrestrictedly," which points to the unhampered and unimpeded progress of believers in Heaven. The word نھر (stream) also symbolizes the vastness of the works of believers, for it is only to water vast areas and not a few acres of land that streams or canals are constructed. Thus the word نھر (stream) implies the fact that the works of believers are and should be wide in their range and the scope of their vision unrestricted. It should be remembered that in the description of Paradise, trees stand for believers’ faith while streams symbolize their works. Just as trees without water become withered and dry, similarly, faith unaccompanied by good works is a dead formality.
The plural form انھار (streams) has been used in order to point to the fact that believers’ good works are of diverse kinds and versatile nature. This is why they will take the form of not one stream but of many. There will be a particular channel of running water representing a corresponding good work of man, reminding the inmates of Heaven that the different streams of Heaven represent their own many good works.
The words, its fruit is everlasting and so is its shade, signify that the fruits of Heaven will see no autumn, no season of decay, nor even of dormancy. Thus there will be no interruption in the boons and blessings of Paradise. "Fruit" and "shade" stand respectively for inward and outward blessings and imply that believers will enjoy all kinds of blessings in Heaven, both external and internal.
The words, the reward of the disbelievers is Fire, mean that as disbelievers paid no heed to their spiritual or moral welfare and only copied and imitated others and lived, as it were, not for themselves but for others, so they will have fire for their reward, which benefits others but burns itself. (close)
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰتَیۡنٰہُمُ الۡکِتٰبَ یَفۡرَحُوۡنَ بِمَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ اِلَیۡکَ وَ مِنَ الۡاَحۡزَابِ مَنۡ یُّنۡکِرُ بَعۡضَہٗ ؕ قُلۡ اِنَّمَاۤ اُمِرۡتُ اَنۡ اَعۡبُدَ اللّٰہَ وَ لَاۤ اُشۡرِکَ بِہٖ ؕ اِلَیۡہِ اَدۡعُوۡا وَ اِلَیۡہِ مَاٰبِ ﴿۳۷﴾
وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَاتَيۡنَٰهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ يَفۡرَحُونَ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡكَۖ وَمِنَ ٱلۡأَحۡزَابِ مَن يُنكِرُ بَعۡضَهُۥۚ قُلۡ إِنَّمَآ أُمِرۡتُ أَنۡ أَعۡبُدَ ٱللَّهَ وَلَآ أُشۡرِكَ بِهِۦٓۚ إِلَيۡهِ أَدۡعُواْ وَإِلَيۡهِ مَـَٔابِ
d. 28:53. (close)
e. 2:86. (close)
1448. By the word, Ahzab (parties), is meant all those people to whom a Prophet is sent and who do not accept him. (close)
f. 18:111; 39:12; 72:21. (close)
a. 28:53. (close)
b. 2:86. (close)
c. 18:111; 39:12; 72:21. (close)
This verse shows that some of the "People of the Book" had accepted Islam while the Holy Prophet was yet in Mecca. The words, rejoice in what has been revealed to thee, most probably refer to Negus, the Abyssinian King and some of his people who, in their hearts, had become Muslims. But as their faith had not yet become publicly known, the words used about them are not "they believe" but simply "they rejoice."
The words, to whom We have given the Book, may also refer to Muslims, who naturally rejoiced to hear the glad tidings of their final triumph.
By the word احزاب (parties) is meant all those people to whom a Prophet is sent and who do not accept him. In the verse under comment the people referred to are the Jews, Christians and all other disbelievers, as the Holy Prophet has been sent to all the nations of the earth.
The words, a part thereof, have been used because disbelievers denied or disapproved of only those parts of the Quran which disagreed with their own Scriptures or their own beliefs. With regard to the remaining parts, they had no disagreement with them. (close)
وَ کَذٰلِکَ اَنۡزَلۡنٰہُ حُکۡمًا عَرَبِیًّا ؕ وَ لَئِنِ اتَّبَعۡتَ اَہۡوَآءَہُمۡ بَعۡدَ مَا جَآءَکَ مِنَ الۡعِلۡمِ ۙ مَا لَکَ مِنَ اللّٰہِ مِنۡ وَّلِیٍّ وَّ لَا وَاقٍ ﴿٪۳۸﴾
وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَنزَلۡنَٰهُ حُكۡمًا عَرَبِيّٗاۚ وَلَئِنِ ٱتَّبَعۡتَ أَهۡوَآءَهُم بَعۡدَ مَا جَآءَكَ مِنَ ٱلۡعِلۡمِ مَا لَكَ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ مِن وَلِيّٖ وَلَا وَاقٖ
a. 12:3; 20:114; 43:4. (close)
b. 2:121, 146; 42:16. (close)
d. 12:3; 20:114; 43:4. (close)
e. 2:121,146; 42:16. (close)
1648. Important Words:
عربیا (clear). See 12:3.
That the Quran has been revealed in the Arabic tongue is not the idea that is meant to be expressed in this verse, for that language is spoken by the Arabs. The real idea lies in the deeper significance of the word عربیا viz. the Quran has been invested with a vastness of meaning which is beyond human power.
The words, if thou follow their evil desires, after the knowledge that has come to thee, thou shalt have no friend nor defender against Allah, may be taken as addressed either to the reader or to the Holy Prophet. In the latter case, the verse would be taken as expressing the Majesty and Independence of God. The Prophet was only a flute through which the sweet and majestic voice of God was being sounded. Away from the mouth of God it becomes silent and is no better than a piece of wood. (close)
وَ لَقَدۡ اَرۡسَلۡنَا رُسُلًا مِّنۡ قَبۡلِکَ وَ جَعَلۡنَا لَہُمۡ اَزۡوَاجًا وَّ ذُرِّیَّۃً ؕ وَ مَا کَانَ لِرَسُوۡلٍ اَنۡ یَّاۡتِیَ بِاٰیَۃٍ اِلَّا بِاِذۡنِ اللّٰہِ ؕ لِکُلِّ اَجَلٍ کِتَابٌ ﴿۳۹﴾
وَلَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا رُسُلٗا مِّن قَبۡلِكَ وَجَعَلۡنَا لَهُمۡ أَزۡوَٰجٗا وَذُرِّيَّةٗۚ وَمَا كَانَ لِرَسُولٍ أَن يَأۡتِيَ بِـَٔايَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِۗ لِكُلِّ أَجَلٖ كِتَابٞ
c. 14:12; 40:79. (close)
a. 14:12; 40:79. (close)
Disbelievers objected that the Holy Prophet had come without any worldly resources. The verse under comment replies to this objection by stating that earlier Prophets were also without any worldly resources. They, like him, had their physical needs and requirements. They, too, had wives and children whom they had to support and look after and had their duties to perform. Yet in spite of all the impediments and obstacles in their way and in spite of their physical needs and requirements and of the absence of material resources, they succeeded and triumphed. So shall the Holy Prophet.
The verse also makes it clear that signs of punishment are certainly shown to disbelievers but not at the time and in the form in which they demand them. The form and time of signs are determined by God alone, for they are shown only "by the command of Allah."
It may be asked here what, if God raised Messengers for the reformation of man, prevented Him from delegating to these Messengers the power of punishment, particularly when He knew that Signs would be demanded of them by their opponents and also when even earthly governments invest their officials with certain magisterial powers? Again, if God had invested His Prophets with the power to punish the people, it would have at least this advantage that the people would have feared and respected them and dared not oppose them. The Quran answers this question in the words, For every term there is a divine decree, which means that, as it is God Who determines the nature and form of each punishment and the time of its occurrence and He alone, being All-Knowing, knows in what form and at what time the sending down of a certain punishment will prove beneficial to the people, the power of punishing cannot be delegated to any other person. For if that delegation can at all be fair and useful, it must be accompanied by the delegation of many other divine powers, which is simply unthinkable. The infliction of punishment, therefore, could not be entrusted to the Prophets or to anybody else. (close)
یَمۡحُوا اللّٰہُ مَا یَشَآءُ وَ یُثۡبِتُ ۚۖ وَ عِنۡدَہٗۤ اُمُّ الۡکِتٰبِ ﴿۴۰﴾
يَمۡحُواْ ٱللَّهُ مَا يَشَآءُ وَيُثۡبِتُۖ وَعِندَهُۥٓ أُمُّ ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ
d. 42:25. (close)
1449. The verse lays down two laws relating to Divine punishment: (a) God either cancels the punishment wholly or partially; or (b) He lets it stand as decreed. (close)
e. 43:5. (close)
1450. (a) God alone knows the root cause of all commandments or the wisdom underlying them. (b) All the commandments of the Shari‘ah are based on Divine attributes, so the source of the Law lies with God; Umm means, source, basis, origin; stay or support (Lane). (close)
a. 42:25. (close)
b. 13:40. (close)
The verse lays down two laws relating to punishment: (a) God either cancels the punishment partially or wholly; or (b) He lets it stand, as decreed. So punishment never comes unless it is fully deserved, nor is it ever in excess of the offence. It may, however, be less than what it should be or it may be altogether remitted. This dual law is invariably observed in all heavenly punishments.
The words, with Him is the source of all commandments, mean: (a) God alone knows the root cause of all commandments or the wisdom underlying them, so it is by His guidance alone that the right way may be known. (b) All the commandments of Shari‘ah are based on Divine attributes, so the source of the law lies with God. The latter meaning makes it clear that moral and spiritual perfection is impossible of attainment unless one imitates and imbibes Divine attributes and conforms his conduct to them. Indeed, it is extremely difficult to define good or bad morals by human standards or in the light of human actions. Virtue is nothing but imitation of Divine attributes, and vice its antithesis. This definition is calculated to solve all those difficulties which philosophers of Ethics have to face in defining "virtue" and "vice" or good and bad morals. (c) That God alone knows the purpose of Divine commandments, therefore the punishment for their violation should also lie in His hands. He alone knows who should be punished and who not; for an opponent today may become a staunch supporter tomorrow. (close)
وَ اِنۡ مَّا نُرِیَنَّکَ بَعۡضَ الَّذِیۡ نَعِدُہُمۡ اَوۡ نَتَوَفَّیَنَّکَ فَاِنَّمَا عَلَیۡکَ الۡبَلٰغُ وَ عَلَیۡنَا الۡحِسَابُ ﴿۴۱﴾
وَإِن مَّا نُرِيَنَّكَ بَعۡضَ ٱلَّذِي نَعِدُهُمۡ أَوۡ نَتَوَفَّيَنَّكَ فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيۡكَ ٱلۡبَلَٰغُ وَعَلَيۡنَا ٱلۡحِسَابُ
f. 10:47; 40:78. (close)
g. 3:21; 5:93; 16:83. (close)
a. 10:47; 40:78. (close)
b. 21:45. (close)
The verse purports to say that when the object of signs of punishment is the reformation and reclamation of the people, the postponement or cancellation of some of them cannot reasonably be criticized. The real object of the advent of the Prophets is to deliver the Divine Message to men, and the fulfilment or postponement or revocation of a prophecy is only a secondary thing, being subordinate to this supreme purpose. It should, therefore, occasion no surprise if, in harmony with the fulfilment of this purpose and of the Divine decree, a prophecy is cancelled or revoked, particularly when all people have to appear before God on the Day of Reckoning when the whole truth will come to light. This verse is important inasmuch as it lays down a fundamental divine principle about signs of punishment. To think that as signs of punishment proceed from God they must always happen as foretold is simply absurd and, besides clashing with the Divine attribute of mercy, belies the very purpose for which Prophets of God are raised. (close)
اَوَ لَمۡ یَرَوۡا اَنَّا نَاۡتِی الۡاَرۡضَ نَنۡقُصُہَا مِنۡ اَطۡرَافِہَا ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یَحۡکُمُ لَا مُعَقِّبَ لِحُکۡمِہٖ ؕ وَ ہُوَ سَرِیۡعُ الۡحِسَابِ ﴿۴۲﴾
أَوَلَمۡ يَرَوۡاْ أَنَّا نَأۡتِي ٱلۡأَرۡضَ نَنقُصُهَا مِنۡ أَطۡرَافِهَاۚ وَٱللَّهُ يَحۡكُمُ لَا مُعَقِّبَ لِحُكۡمِهِۦۚ وَهُوَ سَرِيعُ ٱلۡحِسَابِ
a. 21:45. (close)
1451. Atraf meaning good and generous, (and also) low and mean persons, the verse means: 'Do they not see that God is gradually reducing and curtailing the land from its sides?' i.e. Islam is spreading through the length and breadth of Arabia and making inroads into every home and all sections and stations of society—the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the slave and the master. (close)
This verse strongly refutes those critics of the Holy Prophet who allege that he showed no sign.
Do they not see, says the verse, that God is gradually reducing and curtailing the land from its sides? Is not that a sign of the triumph of Islam? It is making inroads into every home and into all sections and stations of society—the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the slave and the master. Is not this a sign sufficient to convince all fair-minded critics? The word الارض (land) may also refer to "the land of Arabia," in which case the verse would mean that Islam is fast spreading throughout the length and breadth of Arabia. As the expression اتی الله according to Arabic usage also means the visitation of God with punishment (see 2:211 & 16:27), the words, We are visiting the land, reducing it, may mean that the punishment of God is already slowly but surely coming down on all sections of the people.
The words, swift at reckoning, do not mean that, God is hasty in punishing disbelievers but that, when He decides to call the offenders to account, He does it quickly and nothing can prevent Him from doing so. (close)