وَ اِنۡ تَعۡجَبۡ فَعَجَبٌ قَوۡلُہُمۡ ءَ اِذَا کُنَّا تُرٰبًا ءَ اِنَّا لَفِیۡ خَلۡقٍ جَدِیۡدٍ ۬ؕ اُولٰٓئِکَ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا بِرَبِّہِمۡ ۚ وَ اُولٰٓئِکَ الۡاَغۡلٰلُ فِیۡۤ اَعۡنَاقِہِمۡ ۚ وَ اُولٰٓئِکَ اَصۡحٰبُ النَّارِ ۚ ہُمۡ فِیۡہَا خٰلِدُوۡنَ ﴿۶﴾
۞وَإِن تَعۡجَبۡ فَعَجَبٞ قَوۡلُهُمۡ أَءِذَا كُنَّا تُرَٰبًا أَءِنَّا لَفِي خَلۡقٖ جَدِيدٍۗ أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ بِرَبِّهِمۡۖ وَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ ٱلۡأَغۡلَٰلُ فِيٓ أَعۡنَاقِهِمۡۖ وَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ أَصۡحَٰبُ ٱلنَّارِۖ هُمۡ فِيهَا خَٰلِدُونَ
a. 27:68; 37:17; 50:4. (close)
b. 36:9; 76:5. (close)
1423. The shackles of false beliefs and evil practices. (close)
a. 27:68; 37:17; 50:4. (close)
b. 36:9; 76:5. (close)
This verse purports to say that it is no matter of wonder that God should have granted such miraculous success to the Holy Prophet and should have brought about moral and spiritual reformation through him. What really would be a subject for wonder would be that the world should become corrupt and God should take no steps to reform it or that disbelievers could not rise to a new life after having fallen spiritually. When the water of life comes, death must depart.
The words, these it is who shall have shackles round their necks, and they shall be the inmates of the Fire, contain a warning that those who despair of the grace of God must burn in the fire of regret and remorse and those who reject and abandon the ways of God in favour of their self-devised plans and schemes, which are like so many shackles round their necks, must come to grief. It is a pity, however, that instead of turning their attention to the propagation of Islam and prayer and spiritual regeneration, present-day Muslims insist on legalizing interest and insurance policies, etc. (close)
وَ یَسۡتَعۡجِلُوۡنَکَ بِالسَّیِّئَۃِ قَبۡلَ الۡحَسَنَۃِ وَ قَدۡ خَلَتۡ مِنۡ قَبۡلِہِمُ الۡمَثُلٰتُ ؕ وَ اِنَّ رَبَّکَ لَذُوۡ مَغۡفِرَۃٍ لِّلنَّاسِ عَلٰی ظُلۡمِہِمۡ ۚ وَ اِنَّ رَبَّکَ لَشَدِیۡدُ الۡعِقَابِ ﴿۷﴾
وَيَسۡتَعۡجِلُونَكَ بِٱلسَّيِّئَةِ قَبۡلَ ٱلۡحَسَنَةِ وَقَدۡ خَلَتۡ مِن قَبۡلِهِمُ ٱلۡمَثُلَٰتُۗ وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَذُو مَغۡفِرَةٖ لِّلنَّاسِ عَلَىٰ ظُلۡمِهِمۡۖ وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَشَدِيدُ ٱلۡعِقَابِ
c. 22:48; 29:54, 55. (close)
d. 41:44; 53:33. (close)
a. 22:48; 29:54-55. (close)
b. 41:44; 53:33. (close)
1618. Important Words:
المثلات (exemplary punishments) is the plural of المثلة which is derived from مثل. They say مثل فلان فلانا i.e. he became like such a one. مثل بفلان means, he punished such a one in an exemplary manner. مثلة means, calamity; punishment serving as a warning to others; punishment which visited past generations and which served as a warning for others (Aqrab).
العقاب (condign punishment) is derived from عاقب which is derived from عقب (‘aqaba). They say عقبه i.e. he struck his heel; he came after him (as though at his heels). عاقبه means, he did a thing with him alternately, each taking his turn; he punished him as denoting consequence or retribution. عقب (‘aqib) means, the heel or the hinder part of the human foot. العقاب means, requital or punishment that is awarded as a result of some offence or sin (Lane & Aqrab). Hence in the text it has rightly been rendered as "condign punishment."
The verse refers to an evil practice of disbelievers. When they are told that if they do not remove their shackles and do not avail themselves of the guidance of God and if they persist in their wicked ways, they will become like a piece of dry wood, which is thrown into the fire, they hasten to demand where that fire is. So, instead of soliciting God’s mercy these unfortunate people invoke His punishment. The advent of every Prophet of God is attended by both God’s mercy and His punishment but wicked people invariably demand the latter.
The words, verily, thy Lord is full of forgiveness for mankind despite their wrongdoing, set forth the great truth that the purpose of God in sending Prophets is not to destroy men, but to save them. This is why He continues to forgive them, despite their persistence in wrongdoing. But this repeated forgiveness does not mean that the wicked will never be punished. If they do not give up their evil ways, they will not escape God’s punishment. They will indeed be given every opportunity to reform themselves; but if they persistently refuse to do so, Divine punishment will finally descend on them.
The words, thy Lord is strict in condign punishment, do not mean that God makes use of severity in inflicting punishment but that the punishment inflicted by God is severer and more painful than that inflicted by men. (close)
وَ یَقُوۡلُ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا لَوۡ لَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ عَلَیۡہِ اٰیَۃٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّہٖ ؕ اِنَّمَاۤ اَنۡتَ مُنۡذِرٌ وَّ لِکُلِّ قَوۡمٍ ہَادٍ ٪﴿۸﴾
وَيَقُولُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ لَوۡلَآ أُنزِلَ عَلَيۡهِ ءَايَةٞ مِّن رَّبِّهِۦٓۗ إِنَّمَآ أَنتَ مُنذِرٞۖ وَلِكُلِّ قَوۡمٍ هَادٍ
e. 6:38; 10:21. (close)
1424. 'Sign' invariably means, the Sign of punishment unless the context points to some other meaning. (close)
f. 11:13; 35:24. (close)
a. 6:38; 10:21. (close)
b. 11:13; 35:24. (close)
1619. Important Words:
انما (surely) is a compound of ان (inna) and ما (ma) and generally gives the sense of "only." Sometimes it is used in the sense of "verily, certainly or surely" (Taj). See also 6:110.
A study of the Quran makes it clear that whenever disbelievers demand a sign, they invariably mean the sign of punishment, unless the context points to some other meaning. This is why disbelievers are here depicted as saying, Wherefore has not a sign been sent down to him, as if the many signs already shown to them were no signs at all. In reply to this foolish demand they are told that it is clear from the very title of the Prophet—a Warner—that punishment will at last surely overtake disbelievers; but before it comes upon them, they will be given ample opportunities to benefit by the guidance the Prophet has brought because he is also a guide for them. (close)
اَللّٰہُ یَعۡلَمُ مَا تَحۡمِلُ کُلُّ اُنۡثٰی وَ مَا تَغِیۡضُ الۡاَرۡحَامُ وَ مَا تَزۡدَادُ ؕ وَ کُلُّ شَیۡءٍ عِنۡدَہٗ بِمِقۡدَارٍ ﴿۹﴾
ٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُ مَا تَحۡمِلُ كُلُّ أُنثَىٰ وَمَا تَغِيضُ ٱلۡأَرۡحَامُ وَمَا تَزۡدَادُۚ وَكُلُّ شَيۡءٍ عِندَهُۥ بِمِقۡدَارٍ
g. 35:12; 41:48. (close)
1425. In v. 4 we are told that all things in the universe have pairs and that in the spiritual world also some individuals act like males and others like females, the former exercising influence and the latter receiving it. The verse under comment points out that in the person of the Holy Prophet there has appeared one who is spiritually a male and that nobody can attain any spiritual rank without receiving his stamp. It further says that God knows well the natural capacities and aptitudes of the Holy Prophet’s people, whether they will accept Divine or satanic influence, and which influence will grow and which will decline. Those who accept the Holy Prophet and receive his stamp will grow and increase in power, influence and numbers, while his opponents will decline and decrease. (close)
a. 15:22. (close)
a. 35:12; 41:48. (close)
b. 15:22. (close)
1620. Important Words:
تغیض (diminish) is derived from غاض which means, it (water) became scanty and sank into the earth; or it (flow of milk or price of a commodity, etc.) decreased or diminished or became deficient. The Quranic expression ما تغیض الارحام means, the wombs falling short of completion so that the foetus dies. The Arabs say غاض الکرام و فاض اللئام i.e. the generous became few or perished and the mean became many. غاض is also used transitively meaning he made (water, etc.) to become scanty; to decrease or diminish (Lane).
In v. 4 we were told that all things in the universe have pairs and that in the spiritual world also some individuals act like males and others like females, the former exercising influence and the latter receiving it. In the verse under comment the Quran intends to point out that in the person of the Holy Prophet there has appeared one who is spiritually a male and that nobody can attain any spiritual rank without receiving his stamp or being influenced by him. The words, Allah knows what every female bears, and what the wombs diminish and what they cause to grow, mean that God knows well the natural capacities and aptitudes of the Holy Prophet’s people, and whether they will accept divine or satanic influence and which influence will grow and which will decline. The verse hints that those who accept the Holy Prophet and receive his stamp will grow and increase in power, influence and numbers, natural capacities and talents, while his opponents will decline and decrease till their physical and spiritual progeny will be destroyed altogether. Taken in the physical sense, the verse means that only God knows what will become of future generations of disbelievers. Their future generations will accept Islam and their females will bear only such children as are destined to become servants of the Holy Prophet. And this proved to be actually the case. By far the greater part of the younger generation of the Meccans, and for that matter of other Arab tribes, accepted the Holy Prophet, to the great chagrin of their fathers whose tyranny and persecution could not prevent them from embracing Islam. (close)
عٰلِمُ الۡغَیۡبِ وَ الشَّہَادَۃِ الۡکَبِیۡرُ الۡمُتَعَالِ ﴿۱۰﴾
عَٰلِمُ ٱلۡغَيۡبِ وَٱلشَّهَٰدَةِ ٱلۡكَبِيرُ ٱلۡمُتَعَالِ
b. 6:74; 9:94; 59:23; 64:19. (close)
a. 6:74; 9:94; 59:23; 64:19. (close)
1621. Important Words:
الکبیر (the Incomparably Great). See 11:4. The difference between الکبیر (the Incomparably Great) and المتعال (the Most High) is that whereas the former word expresses the greatness of God in relation to human beings, the latter expresses His absolute eminence independently of any relationship with human beings.
The verse implies the hint that in order to checkmate and frustrate the plans of the enemy and to achieve success against him it is necessary to know his plans, both open and secret. The adversaries of the Holy Prophet are warned that they have to deal with a Being Who has full knowledge of their plans and Who, being Great, can easily foil and frustrate them. But being also High, His plans to bring about their ruin are hidden from them. How can they then hope to succeed against His Prophet and Messenger? (close)
سَوَآءٌ مِّنۡکُمۡ مَّنۡ اَسَرَّ الۡقَوۡلَ وَ مَنۡ جَہَرَ بِہٖ وَ مَنۡ ہُوَ مُسۡتَخۡفٍۭ بِالَّیۡلِ وَ سَارِبٌۢ بِالنَّہَارِ ﴿۱۱﴾
سَوَآءٞ مِّنكُم مَّنۡ أَسَرَّ ٱلۡقَوۡلَ وَمَن جَهَرَ بِهِۦ وَمَنۡ هُوَ مُسۡتَخۡفِۭ بِٱلَّيۡلِ وَسَارِبُۢ بِٱلنَّهَارِ
1426. The overt or covert plans of the Holy Prophet’s enemies cannot succeed because God, Who knows them all, is his Helper and Protector. (close)
The enemies of the Holy Prophet employed two kinds of plans to bring about his defeat. Sometimes they publicly threatened him with destruction, and at other times they hatched secret plots against him. Sometimes they attacked him in broad daylight and sometimes they attacked him in the darkness of the night. In reply to all these foul attempts the Quran warns the Prophet’s enemies that by offering opposition to him they are really opposing God. Their overt or covert plans against him cannot succeed because God, Who knows all their secret and open designs, is his Helper and Protector. (close)
لَہٗ مُعَقِّبٰتٌ مِّنۡۢ بَیۡنِ یَدَیۡہِ وَ مِنۡ خَلۡفِہٖ یَحۡفَظُوۡنَہٗ مِنۡ اَمۡرِ اللّٰہِ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یُغَیِّرُ مَا بِقَوۡمٍ حَتّٰی یُغَیِّرُوۡا مَا بِاَنۡفُسِہِمۡ ؕ وَ اِذَاۤ اَرَادَ اللّٰہُ بِقَوۡمٍ سُوۡٓءًا فَلَا مَرَدَّ لَہٗ ۚ وَ مَا لَہُمۡ مِّنۡ دُوۡنِہٖ مِنۡ وَّالٍ ﴿۱۲﴾
لَهُۥ مُعَقِّبَٰتٞ مِّنۢ بَيۡنِ يَدَيۡهِ وَمِنۡ خَلۡفِهِۦ يَحۡفَظُونَهُۥ مِنۡ أَمۡرِ ٱللَّهِۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوۡمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُواْ مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمۡۗ وَإِذَآ أَرَادَ ٱللَّهُ بِقَوۡمٖ سُوٓءٗا فَلَا مَرَدَّ لَهُۥۚ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن دُونِهِۦ مِن وَالٍ
1427. The word Al-Mu‘aqqibat signifies, the angels of the night and the day because they succeed each other by turns. The plural feminine form is used because of the frequency of their doing so, since in Arabic the feminine form is sometimes employed to impart emphasis and frequency. The word, rendered here as 'a succession of angels,' may refer to the celestial beings in Heaven; or to the devoted Companions of the Holy Prophet who guarded him risking their lives. (close)
a. 8:54. (close)
a. 8:54. (close)
1623. Important Words:
معقبات (a succession of angels) is the plural of معقب which is derived from عقب (‘aqaba). They say عقبه i.e. he came after him, as though at his heels; or he followed him closely or he succeeded him. عقب بغزاة بعد غزاة (‘aqqaba) means, he followed up one expedition with another. عقب فی الامر means, he went repeatedly to and fro; or he made repeated efforts to accomplish the affair: striving or exerting himself. معقب means, he who or that which comes after another. ملك معقب means, an angel that follows another. المعقبات means, the angels of the night and the day because they succeed one another by turns (the feminine form is used because of the frequency of their doing so, since in Arabic the feminine form is sometimes employed to impart emphasis and frequency as in علامة); utterance of سبحان الله and الحمد لله and الله اکبر repeated after Prayers. معقب also signifies one who makes warring expeditions repeatedly and does not stay with his family after his return; one who seeks after a thing repeatedly, striving or exerting himself; one who puts off or repels the payment of what is due from him (Lane).
The pronoun "him" in the words "for him" in the beginning of the verse refers to the Holy Prophet and the verse means that, like worldly kings, God has appointed body-guards for the Holy Prophet. This meaning is supported by the several unsuccessful attempts that were made on his life and the protection that God vouchsafed to him amidst the many mortal dangers which surrounded him. His life was constantly in danger, both at Mecca and Medina, but he remained safe because he enjoyed Divine protection, being guarded by angels and his own devoted Companions. The word معقباتrendered here as "a succession of angles" may refer both to the celestial beings in heaven and to the devoted Companions of the Holy Prophet who so eagerly guarded him with their lives.
The pronoun "him" may also have a wider application, meaning, every person. In this case, the verse would mean that God has appointed guardian angels for the protection of every person. He is exposed every moment to various kinds of dangers; for instance, innumerable harmful germs enter his body with every breath but God has provided the antidote in his very system and the germs very often fail to do him any harm. In diverse other ways also, man is providentially protected from dangers that assail him without his ever knowing of them.
If applied to disbelievers, the verse would imply a warning to them that if they did not desist from their evil ways, God would withdraw His protection from them and they would perish.
The words, Allah changes not the condition of a people until they change that which is in their hearts, do not mean that God shows no mercy or favour to the sinful and the wicked. It only means that He does not change His attitude of kindness and benignity to those of His servants who have earned His favour by good works, unless they effect a change in themselves and forsake the path of virtue and take to evil. The verse thus hints that when a people are visited with successive afflictions which drive them to ruin and destruction, that is a sure sign that they have become morally and spiritually degenerate. (close)
ہُوَ الَّذِیۡ یُرِیۡکُمُ الۡبَرۡقَ خَوۡفًا وَّ طَمَعًا وَّ یُنۡشِیٴُ السَّحَابَ الثِّقَالَ ﴿ۚ۱۳﴾
هُوَ ٱلَّذِي يُرِيكُمُ ٱلۡبَرۡقَ خَوۡفٗا وَطَمَعٗا وَيُنشِئُ ٱلسَّحَابَ ٱلثِّقَالَ
b. 30:25. (close)
1428. Lightning inspires both fear and hope. It inspires fear because sometimes men die of it and embryos, and certain plants get adversely affected. It also brings hope to men, for it heralds fertilizing rain and also helps to destroy germs of different diseases and thus serves to put an end to epidemics. (close)
a. 30:25. (close)
Lightning inspires people both with fear and hope. It inspires fear because sometimes men die of it and embryos and certain plants get hurt. It also brings hope to men, for it heralds fertilizing rain. It also helps to destroy germs of different diseases and thus serves to put an end to epidemics. Similarly, heavy clouds serve a twofold purpose. Very often they come as a mercy, because they bring much-needed rain. But they also cause floods resulting in death and destruction. Disbelievers are told in this verse that they should not feel proud of their possessions and power or of their kith and kin for, like lightning and heavy rain, these things cut both ways. While they are the source of happiness and honour for some, they cause the spiritual undoing of others. The similitude of heavy rain and lightning points to the supreme moral lesson that the primary thing is goodness of heart and not the possession of worldly riches and material prosperity; for, without goodness of heart these things may, instead of proving useful to the people who possess them, prove their ruin. (close)
وَ یُسَبِّحُ الرَّعۡدُ بِحَمۡدِہٖ وَ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃُ مِنۡ خِیۡفَتِہٖ ۚ وَ یُرۡسِلُ الصَّوَاعِقَ فَیُصِیۡبُ بِہَا مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ وَ ہُمۡ یُجَادِلُوۡنَ فِی اللّٰہِ ۚ وَ ہُوَ شَدِیۡدُ الۡمِحَالِ ﴿ؕ۱۴﴾
وَيُسَبِّحُ ٱلرَّعۡدُ بِحَمۡدِهِۦ وَٱلۡمَلَـٰٓئِكَةُ مِنۡ خِيفَتِهِۦ وَيُرۡسِلُ ٱلصَّوَٰعِقَ فَيُصِيبُ بِهَا مَن يَشَآءُ وَهُمۡ يُجَٰدِلُونَ فِي ٱللَّهِ وَهُوَ شَدِيدُ ٱلۡمِحَالِ
c. 16:51; 42:6. (close)
d. 24:44. (close)
a. 16:51; 42:6. (close)
b. 24:44. (close)
1625. Important Words:
محال (punishment) is derived from ماحل which is again derived from محل. They say محل البلد i.e. the town had no rain and became affected with drought and dearth. ماحله means, he devised a plan or hatched a plot against him; he showed enmity towards him, the other doing the same in return. محال means, plan or device; power or might; quarrel or disputation; enmity; punishment or torment; severity; destruction (Aqrab).
Disbelievers are here told that they should give up hugging the fond hope that the present afflictions and trials of Muslims (hinted at in the words "thunders" and "thunderbolts") would bring about the latter’s ruin. Not all lightning is destructive nor are all clouds the source of unmixed good. Their afflictions cannot bring about the ruin of believers. On the contrary, they will bring about their moral and spiritual advancement, for they bring into play their hidden faculties and bring them nearer to God. Thunder and lightning are after all the creation of God and are meant to glorify Him. They cannot therefore, cause the destruction of God’s faithful servants, whom He has promised to protect, for that would be against His glory-fication. So existing thunders and the dark clouds of temporary miseries and tribulations only contribute to the progress and prosperity of the Faithful.
The verse further points out that thunder and clouds are under the control of God’s angels, who are the first cause, and have been created to serve and advance the cause of God’s Messengers. Why then, should the believers fear the thunder and clouds of adversity that are now bursting upon them? They would only destroy those who seek to frustrate the purpose of God. The words, they dispute concerning Allah, are intended to point out that it is no law of nature that is being discussed here but a prophecy of punishment for disbelievers.
The words شدید المحال (severe in punishing) may also be rendered as "strong in planning" thus hinting that God is not only severe in punishing but it is also impossible to frustrate His plans. (close)
لَہٗ دَعۡوَۃُ الۡحَقِّ ؕ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ یَدۡعُوۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِہٖ لَا یَسۡتَجِیۡبُوۡنَ لَہُمۡ بِشَیۡءٍ اِلَّا کَبَاسِطِ کَفَّیۡہِ اِلَی الۡمَآءِ لِیَبۡلُغَ فَاہُ وَ مَا ہُوَ بِبَالِغِہٖ ؕ وَ مَا دُعَآءُ الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ اِلَّا فِیۡ ضَلٰلٍ ﴿۱۵﴾
لَهُۥ دَعۡوَةُ ٱلۡحَقِّۚ وَٱلَّذِينَ يَدۡعُونَ مِن دُونِهِۦ لَا يَسۡتَجِيبُونَ لَهُم بِشَيۡءٍ إِلَّا كَبَٰسِطِ كَفَّيۡهِ إِلَى ٱلۡمَآءِ لِيَبۡلُغَ فَاهُ وَمَا هُوَ بِبَٰلِغِهِۦۚ وَمَا دُعَآءُ ٱلۡكَٰفِرِينَ إِلَّا فِي ضَلَٰلٖ
1429. The expression may be translated as: (1) God alone is worthy of worship; (2) it is praying to God alone that can be useful or beneficial for man; (3) the Voice of God alone rises in support of truth; and (4) the Voice of God alone must prevail. (close)
e. 35:14; 40:21. (close)
1430. The right way to succeed in life is to place all things in their proper places—to give God the status which is His due and to create things the position which they rightly possess. That alone is the way to success and true happiness. (close)
a. 40:51. (close)
a. 35:14; 40:21. (close)
b. 40:51. (close)
The Quranic expression له دعوة الحق rendered in the text as, Unto Him is the true prayer, may be translated in several ways (1) God alone is worthy of worship; (2) it is praying to God alone that can be useful or beneficial for man; (3) the voice of God alone rises in support of truth i.e. the teaching which is really true and useful for man and is free from defects and untruths can come from God alone; (4) the Voice of God alone must prevail i.e. no one can frustrate God’s purpose and stand in His way; for the word حق (true) also means, that which prevails and becomes established.
The words, except as he is answered who stretches forth his two hands toward water that it may reach his mouth, but it reaches it not, embody a great principle. Just as he who ascribes lower status to a higher thing remains deprived of its higher benefits, similarly, he who ascribes higher status to a lower thing deprives himself of its true benefits. The man who looks upon a spurious coin as a genuine one will practically suffer as much as he who unwittingly treats a genuine coin as a spurious one. Idolaters think that their gods will answer their prayers and come to their help, but they can never do so.
In like manner, those who ascribe divine powers to things created by God deprive themselves of even their limited uses. How can those who look upon fire and water as gods think of bringing them under their control? And how can those who look upon Prophets as gods derive from them the real good which they could derive from them by following them as heavenly Messengers?
The verse thus says that the right way to succeed in life is to put all things in their proper places, to give God the status which is His due and to stars, rivers and mountains the position which they rightly possess. Whereas we should worship God, pray to Him and seek His blessings, we should subject created things to our service and derive those benefits from them which the Wise God has placed in them. That alone is the way of success and true happiness.
The words, the prayer of the disbelievers is but a thing wasted, mean that all prayers of disbelievers addressed to false deities will prove fruitless. (close)