وَّ مَا ذٰلِکَ عَلَی اللّٰہِ بِعَزِیۡزٍ ﴿۲۱﴾
وَمَا ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ بِعَزِيزٖ
c. 35:18. (close)
a. 35:18. (close)
The verse is intended to remove a very common misconception. While, on the one hand, once a people have fallen low, they lose all hope of regeneration and despair of their future, on the other, those who happen once to achieve greatness and prosperity begin to look upon themselves as incapable of ever falling low. This notion, however, is belied by the hard facts of history as well as our common observation and experience. Nations that had sunk deep into the morass of seemingly irretrievable degradation and were considered as past redemption have risen to great heights of material and spiritual glory, while peoples who have scaled the summits of power and glory and considered themselves beyond the reach of decay and decadence have sometimes fallen into the deepest pit of degradation. The verse means that it is not difficult for God to bring ruin to the powerful and prosperous enemies of His Prophets and make the latter’s weak and down-trodden followers inherit the earth. (close)
وَ بَرَزُوۡا لِلّٰہِ جَمِیۡعًا فَقَالَ الضُّعَفٰٓؤُا لِلَّذِیۡنَ اسۡتَکۡبَرُوۡۤا اِنَّا کُنَّا لَکُمۡ تَبَعًا فَہَلۡ اَنۡتُمۡ مُّغۡنُوۡنَ عَنَّا مِنۡ عَذَابِ اللّٰہِ مِنۡ شَیۡءٍ ؕ قَالُوۡا لَوۡ ہَدٰٮنَا اللّٰہُ لَہَدَیۡنٰکُمۡ ؕ سَوَآءٌ عَلَیۡنَاۤ اَجَزِعۡنَاۤ اَمۡ صَبَرۡنَا مَا لَنَا مِنۡ مَّحِیۡصٍ ﴿٪۲۲﴾
وَبَرَزُواْ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعٗا فَقَالَ ٱلضُّعَفَـٰٓؤُاْ لِلَّذِينَ ٱسۡتَكۡبَرُوٓاْ إِنَّا كُنَّا لَكُمۡ تَبَعٗا فَهَلۡ أَنتُم مُّغۡنُونَ عَنَّا مِنۡ عَذَابِ ٱللَّهِ مِن شَيۡءٖۚ قَالُواْ لَوۡ هَدَىٰنَا ٱللَّهُ لَهَدَيۡنَٰكُمۡۖ سَوَآءٌ عَلَيۡنَآ أَجَزِعۡنَآ أَمۡ صَبَرۡنَا مَا لَنَا مِن مَّحِيصٖ
1463. It is not so much the actual misdeeds of a people that bring about their downfall as the exposure of their weaknesses. With their weaknesses having become exposed, their prestige and reputation which, more than their achievements, are the mainstay of their success, suffer a mortal blow, lowering them in the estimation of rival communities and bringing in their wake their decline and decadence. This is the significance of the verse, 'they shall appear before Allah.' (close)
d. 6:129; 7:39, 40; 28:64; 33:68, 69; 34:32, 33; 40:48, 49. (close)
1464. A people who are destined to perish give way to despair and become readily resigned to their low state. (close)
b. 6:129; 7:39, 40; 28:64; 33:68,69; 34:32, 33; 40:48, 49. (close)
1676. Important Words:
برزوا (they shall appear) is derived from برز which means, he came out in the open country; he appeared before men after being hidden. ابرزالکتاب means, he made the book public; he published it. بارز العدو means, he came out (of his camp etc.) and fought the enemy. تبرز means, he went into the open country to answer the call of nature (Aqrab).
The words, They shall all appear before Allah, embody a great truth about the decline and Fall of nations. It is not so much the actual weaknesses and misdeeds of a people that bring about their downfall as the exposure of their weaknesses. With their weaknesses having become exposed, their prestige and reputation, which more than their achievements are the mainstay of their success, suffer a mortal blow, lowering them in the estimation of rival communities and bringing in their wake decline and decadence. The words quoted above thus mean that God will lift the veil from the iniquities of the sinful and will expose them to public view, because from Him nothing is hidden.
The verse also sheds some light on another important principle about the rise and fall of nations. A people who are destined to perish give way to despair and become readily resigned to their low state, as hinted at in the words, it is now equal for us whether we show impatience or remain patient: there is no way of escape for us. On the contrary, a people for whom a bright future waits continue to make ceaseless efforts to improve their condition till all signs of decline and degeneration disappear and their feet are set firmly on the road to success and prosperity. (close)
وَ قَالَ الشَّیۡطٰنُ لَمَّا قُضِیَ الۡاَمۡرُ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ وَعَدَکُمۡ وَعۡدَ الۡحَقِّ وَ وَعَدۡتُّکُمۡ فَاَخۡلَفۡتُکُمۡ ؕ وَ مَا کَانَ لِیَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ مِّنۡ سُلۡطٰنٍ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ دَعَوۡتُکُمۡ فَاسۡتَجَبۡتُمۡ لِیۡ ۚ فَلَا تَلُوۡمُوۡنِیۡ وَ لُوۡمُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَکُمۡ ؕ مَاۤ اَنَا بِمُصۡرِخِکُمۡ وَ مَاۤ اَنۡتُمۡ بِمُصۡرِخِیَّ ؕ اِنِّیۡ کَفَرۡتُ بِمَاۤ اَشۡرَکۡتُمُوۡنِ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ ؕ اِنَّ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ لَہُمۡ عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۳﴾
وَقَالَ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنُ لَمَّا قُضِيَ ٱلۡأَمۡرُ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ وَعَدَكُمۡ وَعۡدَ ٱلۡحَقِّ وَوَعَدتُّكُمۡ فَأَخۡلَفۡتُكُمۡۖ وَمَا كَانَ لِيَ عَلَيۡكُم مِّن سُلۡطَٰنٍ إِلَّآ أَن دَعَوۡتُكُمۡ فَٱسۡتَجَبۡتُمۡ لِيۖ فَلَا تَلُومُونِي وَلُومُوٓاْ أَنفُسَكُمۖ مَّآ أَنَا۠ بِمُصۡرِخِكُمۡ وَمَآ أَنتُم بِمُصۡرِخِيَّ إِنِّي كَفَرۡتُ بِمَآ أَشۡرَكۡتُمُونِ مِن قَبۡلُۗ إِنَّ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ لَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٞ
a. 15:43; 16:100; 17:66. (close)
a. 15:43; 16:100; 17:66. (close)
1677. Important Words:
مصرخکم (succour you) and مصرخی (succour me) are both derived from صرخ which means, he called or called out; or he cried or he cried out vehemently; he called or cried for aid or succour or, transitively, he succoured or aided someone. اصرخ also means, he succoured or aided; he came to the help of. مصرخ means, aiding or succouring; or an aider or succourer (Lane & Aqrab).
By uttering the words, I cannot succour you, Satan disclaims the possession of any power to lead man astray. It is indeed true that Satan has no power over man. He is only an instrument for the manifestation of man’s weaknesses, just as angels are instruments for the manifestation of his good qualities. In reality man is led astray by his own baser self, for, as the verse puts it, Satan only calls and it is man who obeys. The function of Satan is merely to make evil suggestions, just as the function of angels is to make good suggestions. Angels cannot make a man good, nor can Satan make him bad. They only show the way, good or bad, and man does the rest.
It may appear paradoxical on Satan’s part to claim, as he has done in this verse, that he asserted the Unity of God and disclaimed association with Him. In a sense it is true, because he who is conscious of God’s glory and has actually witnessed it cannot be guilty of shirk (setting up equals to God). Shirk comes into being when man accepts Satan’s evil suggestions and disobeys God. Satan may thus be likened to arsenic. So long as arsenic does not enter the system of man in toxic quantity, it is a valuable drug, but when man makes a wrong use of it, it becomes a deadly poison. Similarly, before Satan enters the spiritual system of man he is but a test-question and nothing more. Indeed, Satan is only an agent deputed to expose human weaknesses and frailties.
But here arises a question. If Satan has no power over man, why will he be punished with Hellfire? This question is answered in 7:13, where Satan is represented as having been created of fire. How can a thing which is created of fire be said to be punished when cast into fire? A burning piece of coal is not tormented when thrown into a furnace. This is why perhaps some of the mystics in Islam have held the view that it is not Satan, but his manifestations and vicegerents that will be punished. Satan, they say, is but an agent meant to try the mettle of man and only performs his functions. (close)
وَ اُدۡخِلَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ جَنّٰتٍ تَجۡرِیۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِہَا الۡاَنۡہٰرُ خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡہَا بِاِذۡنِ رَبِّہِمۡ ؕ تَحِیَّتُہُمۡ فِیۡہَا سَلٰمٌ ﴿۲۴﴾
وَأُدۡخِلَ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَٰتِ جَنَّـٰتٖ تَجۡرِي مِن تَحۡتِهَا ٱلۡأَنۡهَٰرُ خَٰلِدِينَ فِيهَا بِإِذۡنِ رَبِّهِمۡۖ تَحِيَّتُهُمۡ فِيهَا سَلَٰمٌ
b. 10:10; 22:24. (close)
c. 10:11; 15:47; 36:59; 50:35. (close)
b. 10:11; 15:47; 36:59; 50:35. (close)
1678. Important Words:
اذن (command) means, permission; knowledge; will; command, etc. (Aqrab & Taj). See also 2:280.
تحیة (greeting) means, prayer for peace and for long or everlasting life; greeting with such prayer; peace and good and long life; security from all evils. When used about God the word التحیةsignifies الاکرام والاحسانi.e. bestowal of honour and favours by God (Aqrab & Lane). See also 4:87.
Deriving their authority from the words, by the command of their Lord, commentators have generally held the view that man’s going to Heaven depends not on his own good actions but upon the grace of God. This is not a wrong inference, for even the Holy Prophet is reported to have once expressed the same view. To an enquiry of ‘A’ishah whether even in his case good actions would not establish the right of salvation, the Holy Prophet is reported to have replied that even his salvation depended on the grace of God (Bukhari, Kitabut-Tafsir). In fact, the reason why people will go to Heaven, not by dint of their good works, but through the grace of God, is that all the faculties and powers by means of which they are able to perform good works are the free gift of God; hence it is from the grace of God that men’s good works proceed, and therefore whatever they get as a reward of their good works they receive as a favour from God and not as something earned or acquired.
The verse, however, possesses another meaning also. A true believer really needs and seeks after no Paradise; the only desire of his heart is to win God’s pleasure and His nearness. So if he is placed in Paradise, that will be only in obedience to God’s command and His wish. This interpretation is supported by a saying of the Holy Prophet. He is reported to have said that the doers of good works are divided into three classes. Some of them do good works with a desire to enter Heaven, while others do so in order to escape the punishment of Hell. But there is yet another class of people whose good works proceed wholly and solely from a desire to win the pleasure of God, their Lord and Master (Kathir, v. 5, p. 122). For these fortunate lovers of their Creator, Paradise will be but an additional thing and not the object and goal of their life.
The words, Their greeting therein will be "peace," may mean: (a) that they will greet each other with the salutation of "Peace be on you"; or (b) that they will have their perfect peace and be safe from all harm and injury against one another; and (c) that their best gift in Heaven will be "Peace" i.e. they will receive the special favours of God and the angels will stimulate into action all their inherent and latent powers for good. (close)
اَلَمۡ تَرَ کَیۡفَ ضَرَبَ اللّٰہُ مَثَلًا کَلِمَۃً طَیِّبَۃً کَشَجَرَۃٍ طَیِّبَۃٍ اَصۡلُہَا ثَابِتٌ وَّ فَرۡعُہَا فِی السَّمَآءِ ﴿ۙ۲۵﴾
أَلَمۡ تَرَ كَيۡفَ ضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلٗا كَلِمَةٗ طَيِّبَةٗ كَشَجَرَةٖ طَيِّبَةٍ أَصۡلُهَا ثَابِتٞ وَفَرۡعُهَا فِي ٱلسَّمَآءِ
1465. The Word of God has been likened in these verses to a tree which possesses four essential qualities: (a) It is good, meaning it is free from all such teachings as may, in any way, offend against human reason and conscience or against human feelings and susceptibilities. (b) Like a good and deep-rooted fruitful tree it possesses a strong and stable foundation and receives fresh life and sustenance from its Source, and like a strong tree it does not bend before the blasts of objections and adverse criticism but stands firm against all storms. It derives life and sustenance from only One Source and there is therefore no disharmony or discard in its principles and teachings. (c) Its branches reach into heaven, which means that by acting upon it a man can scale the highest summits of spiritual eminence. (d) It yields its fruits in abundance in all seasons which signifies that its blessings are witnessed at all times and it continues to produce in every age men who by acting upon its teaching attain communion with God and by their uprightness and the purity of their conduct tower high above their contemporaries. The Qur’an possesses all these qualities in full measure. (close)
1679. Important Words:
طیبة (good) is derived from طاب which means, it was or became sweet and pleasant, or good and ennobled. طابت النفس بکذاmeans, the soul became pleased, contented and satisfied with that. طاب عیشه means, his life became happy and plentiful. طابت الارض means, the land became abundant in herbage; طیب خاطرہ (tayyaba) means, he put his heart at rest and afforded him peace of mind; he placated or soothed his mind. (Aqrab).
This and the following verses constitute two of the most important verses of the Quran. They contain the infallible criterion which helps a man to test and realize the truth of a revealed book that claims to meet the needs and requirements of all mankind.
The Word of God has been likened in these verses to a tree which possesses five essential qualities: It is (1) good (طیب), which means that it possesses a good and beautiful form; (2) it has deep roots in the earth (اصلھا ثابت); (3) its branches reach high into the sky (فرعھا فی السماء); (4) it yields its fruits in abundance and in all seasons (تؤتی اکلھا کل حین) and (5) the yielding of its fruits is in conformity with the command and decree of God (باذن ربھا).
The first quality is that it is طیب (good). As given under Important Words, a thing is called طیب (good) when it is free from all defects, is beautiful to look at, possesses an agreeable flavour, is clean and pure and is possessed of all good qualities in abundance. These qualities possessed by a revealed Book would mean that (a) it is free from all such teachings as may in any way offend against human reason and conscience or against human feelings and susceptibilities; (b) the person who acts upon it becomes fully satisfied with it; (c) it is grand and splendid in every way; (d) it is highly pleasing and (e) it surpasses other corrupted revealed Books in all these qualities.
The second essential quality of such a book is (1) that, like a good and deep-rooted fruitful tree, it possesses a strong and stable foundation which means that it ever continues to receive fresh life and sustenance from its source, satisfying all human needs and the depth and vastness of its meaning knowing no end; (2) that, like a strong tree, it does not bend before the blasts of objections and adverse criticism but stands firm against all storms; also that it remains firmly fixed in its place and is not swayed by changes in the views and conditions of man; (3) that, like the tree which has roots deep in the earth, it possesses a very long life and is not subject to change or abrogation; (4) that it continues to possess a community of votaries and followers who, by carrying its teachings into actual practice, set up a very high standard of moral excellence and thus demonstrate by their practical example the excellence and beauty of its teachings; and (5) that it derives life and sustenance from only one source and there is, therefore, no disharmony or discord in its principles and teachings.
The third characteristic of such a book is that its branches reach high into heaven, which means that by acting upon it a man can scale the highest summits of spiritual eminence; that, like a large tree with branches extending over a wide area, it fully meets all the vast and multifarious needs of man, and there is not a question which concerns the material or spiritual welfare of man that it does not answer.
The fourth distinctive feature of such a book is that it yields its fruits in abundance and in all seasons (see the succeeding verse), which means that its blessings are witnessed at all times and that it continues to produce in every age men who by acting upon its teachings attain communion with God and who by their uprightness and the purity of their conduct tower high above their contemporaries.
The fifth characteristic of such a book is that the works of its followers produce not only results in harmony with the physical laws of nature but also a spiritual result which is the pleasure of God.
The Quran possesses all these qualities in full measure. In most beautiful and simple language it has thoroughly dealt with all the intricate and difficult moral and spiritual problems of man. It has satisfied and will continue to satisfy all the multifarious and multitudinous needs of man. Its principles and teachings are practical and practicable in all times. It has produced in all ages in the past (and will also continue to produce in future) men who, by acting upon it, came to establish a real and living contact with their Creator and who drank deep at the fountain of Divine communion. It has never been found wanting whenever tested and tried. The Quranic tree will never wither or decay and will continue to yield delicious and wholesome fruit till the end of time. (close)
تُؤۡتِیۡۤ اُکُلَہَا کُلَّ حِیۡنٍۭ بِاِذۡنِ رَبِّہَا ؕ وَ یَضۡرِبُ اللّٰہُ الۡاَمۡثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّہُمۡ یَتَذَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۲۶﴾
تُؤۡتِيٓ أُكُلَهَا كُلَّ حِينِۭ بِإِذۡنِ رَبِّهَاۗ وَيَضۡرِبُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡأَمۡثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ
a. 13:18; 29:44. (close)
See under the preceding verse. (close)
وَ مَثَلُ کَلِمَۃٍ خَبِیۡثَۃٍ کَشَجَرَۃٍ خَبِیۡثَۃِ ۣاجۡتُثَّتۡ مِنۡ فَوۡقِ الۡاَرۡضِ مَا لَہَا مِنۡ قَرَارٍ ﴿۲۷﴾
وَمَثَلُ كَلِمَةٍ خَبِيثَةٖ كَشَجَرَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ ٱجۡتُثَّتۡ مِن فَوۡقِ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ مَا لَهَا مِن قَرَارٖ
1466. Unlike the good tree a book which is forged by a fabricator is like an evil tree. It does not possess permanence or stability. Its teachings are supported neither by reason nor by the laws of nature. It cannot stand criticism and its principles and ideals keep on changing with the change in human conditions and circumstances. It is a hotchpotch of teachings collected from doubtful sources. It fails to produce men who can claim to have established true and real connection with God. It does not receive fresh life from the Divine Source and is subject to decay and degeneration. (close)
1681. Important Words:
اجتثت (uprooted) is derived from جث. They say جثه i.e. he pulled it (i.e. a plant) out from its very root; he uprooted it; اجتثهalso gives the same meaning. الجثة means, the body or the dead body of a human being (Lane & Aqrab).
Unlike the good tree described in the preceding two verses, a book which is forged by the hand of man is like an evil tree. It possesses no permanence, nor even stability. Its teachings are supported neither by reason nor by the laws of nature. It cannot stand criticism and its principles and ideals keep on changing with the change in human conditions and circumstances. It is a hotchpotch of teachings collected from doubtful sources. It fails to produce men who can claim to have established a true and real connection with God. It receives fresh life from no divine source and is subject to decay and degeneration. Such is the inevitable fate of books forged by pretenders and false prophets. For a detailed and beautiful exposition of v. 25, 26 and 27 the reader is referred to "Tafsir-e-Kabir" by Hadrat Khalifatul Masih II, Second Successor of the Promised Messiah. (close)
یُثَبِّتُ اللّٰہُ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا بِالۡقَوۡلِ الثَّابِتِ فِی الۡحَیٰوۃِ الدُّنۡیَا وَ فِی الۡاٰخِرَۃِ ۚ وَ یُضِلُّ اللّٰہُ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ۟ۙ وَ یَفۡعَلُ اللّٰہُ مَا یَشَآءُ ﴿٪۲۸﴾
يُثَبِّتُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ بِٱلۡقَوۡلِ ٱلثَّابِتِ فِي ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَفِي ٱلۡأٓخِرَةِۖ وَيُضِلُّ ٱللَّهُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَۚ وَيَفۡعَلُ ٱللَّهُ مَا يَشَآءُ
The "firmly established word" is the same which is brought forth by "the good tree" mentioned in v. 25. The verse says that the followers of Islam, which is the good tree mentioned here, will in all ages receive fresh revelation and signs from God which will be a certain means of "strengthening" them. (close)
اَلَمۡ تَرَ اِلَی الَّذِیۡنَ بَدَّلُوۡا نِعۡمَتَ اللّٰہِ کُفۡرًا وَّ اَحَلُّوۡا قَوۡمَہُمۡ دَارَ الۡبَوَارِ ﴿ۙ۲۹﴾
۞أَلَمۡ تَرَ إِلَى ٱلَّذِينَ بَدَّلُواْ نِعۡمَتَ ٱللَّهِ كُفۡرٗا وَأَحَلُّواْ قَوۡمَهُمۡ دَارَ ٱلۡبَوَارِ
a. 2:212. (close)
a. 2:212. (close)
By "Allah’s favour" is here meant Divine revelation, referred to in the previous verse as "a firmly established word." God bestowed this favour upon the people, but the return they made was to become ungrateful and also ruin themselves by denying it. (close)
جَہَنَّمَ ۚ یَصۡلَوۡنَہَا ؕ وَ بِئۡسَ الۡقَرَارُ ﴿۳۰﴾
جَهَنَّمَ يَصۡلَوۡنَهَاۖ وَبِئۡسَ ٱلۡقَرَارُ
The denial of "the good tree" (v. 25) inevitably leads to ruin and into the burning fire, which such people will get in place of a resting place. (close)