Introduction of Al-Hijr
(Revealed before Hijrah)
The consensus of scholarly opinion is that the whole Surah was revealed at Mecca. Abu Hayyan says that this Surah is Meccan without any difference of opinion among the commentators of the Quran (Muhit). It is remarkable that the Surah deals with a question, the importance of which is enhanced by the fact of its having been revealed at Mecca.
In the preceding Surah it was pointed out that the former Prophets possessed no material means, yet they succeeded in their mission because they had the Word of God to guide and help them. So will the Holy Prophet succeed in his mission. The Word of God, the Surah emphatically declares, is a great force before which nothing can stand. The forging of lies against God is no easy thing because an impostor and a forger of lies against God soon meets his deserved end. Thus it is shown that the Quran is the revealed word of God and possesses irrefutable proofs to establish its Divine origin.
The basic theme of the Surah is that no Scripture can approach the Quran in beauty and grandeur. It is a book par excellence. It stands unequalled and unrivalled. Its beauties and excellences are so many and so obvious that even disbelievers on many occasions are forced to admit that they have nothing like the Quran and wish that they too had possessed a book like it. In spite of this confession on the part of disbelievers about the unrivalled superiority of the Quran, they do not see their way to accept it and do not realize that by their hesitancy to accept the Quran, they would become permanently deprived of truth and would draw upon their heads the displeasure and punishment of God. As the Quran has been revealed for the guidance of mankind, its Message is bound to succeed and nothing can stand in its way. Those who hesitate or refuse to accept it will themselves be the sufferers.
The Surah proceeds to say that if the Quran is ridiculed and treated with contempt, it is nothing to be wondered at, for the revelations of previous Prophets also were held up to scorn. But the scoffers do not appreciate this simple and patent fact that it is no easy thing to forge lies against God because to do so is to invite sure destruction. The All-Powerful God sees to it that lies are not forged against Him and that a forgery becomes easily distinguishable from His revealed word. He vouchsafes to His word a special distinction and eminence and creates a favourable atmosphere forits acceptance by right-thinking men and raises those who accept it from a low to a very high level of moral excellence.
The Surah continues to argue that, like the revelations of past Prophets, the Quran is an invaluable treasure of spiritual knowledge, and like them, its ideals and principles are bound to triumph and prevail. Towards the close of the Surah the Holy Prophet is told not to mind the opposition of disbelievers because this opposition is going to recoil upon them. He is further enjoined to distribute the Quranic treasures among the Faithful and to continue his efforts to wean disbelievers from their evil ways and to pray to God, for it is through prayer that the way for the dissemination of Quranic teachings and ideals will open.
یہ سورت مکی ہے اور بسم اللہ سمیت اس کی ایک سو آیات ہیں۔
اس سورت کا آغاز الٓـرٰ سے ہوتا ہے اور اس کے بعد اِن مقطعات کو نہیں دہرایا گیا۔ گزشتہ سورت میں مذکور جلالی و جمالی نشانات کے نتیجہ میں بعض اوقات کفار کے دل پر بھی رعب طاری ہو جاتا ہے، اس کا ذکر یوں فرمایا گیا کہ وہ بھی دل ہی دل میں کبھی تو حسرت کرتے ہیں کہ کاش ہم تسلیم کرنے والوں میں سے ہوجاتے۔ لیکن اس کے بعد پھر اپنی پہلی حالت کی طرف لوٹ جاتے ہیں اور رسولوں کے غلبے کا تو انکار کر نہیں سکتے، الزام یہ لگاتے ہیں کہ شاید یہ ہماری آنکھوں پر جادو کردیا گیا ہے۔ اس کے علاوہ اللہ تعالیٰ بڑی تحدی سے یہ اعلان فرماتا ہے کہ دشمن خواہ کچھ بھی کہے یقینا ہم نے ہی اس کتاب کو نازل فرمایا ہے اور آئندہ بھی اس کی حفاظت کرتے چلے جائیں گے۔ اس کے بعد کی آیات میں بروج کا ذکر فرمایا گیا ہے جو سورۃ البروج کی یاد دلاتا ہے اور’’ہم ہی اس کلام کی حفاظت کریں گے‘‘ کے مضمون پر سے پردہ اٹھاتا ہے کہ رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم کی غلامی میں اللہ تعالیٰ کی طرف سے ایسے لوگ مامور ہوتے رہیں گے جو قرآن کریم کی حفاظت کے لئے ہمہ وقت مستعد رہیں گے۔ یہاں بروج میں اس طرف بھی اشارہ ہے کہ جو مجددین رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم کے بعد بارہ برجوں کے طور پر آتے رہے وہ بھی اسی کام پر مامور تھے۔ جس طرح قرآن کریم کے مضامین نہ ختم ہونے والے ہیں اسی طرح بنی نوع انسان کی تمام ضرورتیں پوری کرنے کے لئے اللہ تعالیٰ وقتاً فوقتاً ایسے خزائن عطا فرماتا رہتا ہے جو نہ ختم ہونے والے ہیں۔ چنانچہ ایندھن کا نظام اس کی ایک عظیم مثال ہے۔ کبھی انسان کو فکر تھی کہ لکڑی ختم ہو جائے گی تو کیا کریں گے۔ کبھی یہ فکر لاحق ہوئی کہ کوئلہ ختم ہوجائے گا تو کیا کریں گے۔ کبھی یہ فکر لاحق ہوئی کہ تیل ختم ہوجائے گا تو کیا کریں گے۔ لیکن اس سے پہلے کہ تیل ختم ہو اللہ تعالیٰ نے ایک اور نہ ختم ہونے والی قوت کے ذریعہ کی طرف انسان کی توجہ مبذول فرمادی ہے یعنی ایٹمی توانائی۔ انسان اگر اس توانائی سے پورا استفادہ کرنے کے قابل ہو جائے اور اس کے منفی اثرات سے بچاؤ کی تدبیریں سوچ لے تو یہ وہ توانائی ہے جو قیامت تک کبھی ختم نہیں ہوسکتی۔ پس قرآن کے روحانی خزائن کی طرح انسان کی بقا کے مادی خزائن بھی نہ ختم ہونے والے ہیں۔ اس کے بعد یہ بھی ذکر ہے کہ یہ دونوں قسم کے خزائن جو انسان کے لئے قیامت تک نازل کئے جاتے رہیں گے ان کے نتیجہ میں شیطان وسوسے بھی پیدا کرتا رہے گا اور وساوس کا یہ سلسلہ بھی قیامت تک منقطع نہیں ہوگا۔ اس کے بعد حضرت ابراہیم علیہ الصلوٰۃ والسلام کے علاوہ بعض دیگر انبیاء اور ان کی قوموں کا ذکر ملتا ہے۔ اس سلسلہ میں اصحابُ الْاَیْکَہ اور اصحابُ الْحِجْر قوموں کی مثال بھی دی گئی ہے یہ بتانے کے لئے کہ اسی طرح آئندہ زمانہ میں بھی اللہ تعالیٰ رسولوں کے مخالفوں کو ختم کرتا چلا جائے گا۔ اسی طرح اس میں حضرت ابراہیم علیہ الصلوٰۃ والسلام کو ایک بیٹے کی پیدائش کی خوشخبری کا بھی ذکر ہے۔ اس پیشگوئی میں اگرچہ حضرت اسحاقؑ اور حضرت یعقوبؑ وغیرہ کا بھی ذکر ہے لیکن اوّل طور پر یہ پیشگوئی حضرت اسماعیلؑ پر چسپاں ہوتی ہے جن کی جسمانی اور روحانی ذرّیت میں سے حضرت رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم نے پیدا ہونا تھا۔ پس آنحضور صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم کو یہ تسلی دی گئی ہے کہ تجھ پر جو تمسخر کرتے ہیں اُن سے درگزر کر۔ ہم خود ہی اُن سے نپٹنے والے ہیں اور جب بھی تیرے دل کو ان کی باتوں سے تکلیف پہنچے تو صبر کے ساتھ اپنے ربّ کی حمد کرتا چلا جا۔
بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ﴿۱﴾
بِسۡمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
a. 1:1. (close)
a. 1:1. (close)
See 1:1. (close)
الٓرٰ ۟ تِلۡکَ اٰیٰتُ الۡکِتٰبِ وَ قُرۡاٰنٍ مُّبِیۡنٍ ﴿۲﴾
الٓرۚ تِلۡكَ ءَايَٰتُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ وَقُرۡءَانٖ مُّبِينٖ
b. 10:2; 11:2; 12:2; 13:2; 14:2. (close)
c. 27:2; 31:3. (close)
1476. Only in 27:2 and in the verse under comment do the words, 'Book' and 'Qur’an', occur together but, whereas in the present verse the word 'Book' precedes the word 'Qur’an', in 27:2 the order has been reversed. While the word 'Book' implies a prophecy that the Holy Book of Islam will continue to be written, the word 'Qur’an' points to the prophecy that it will continue to be increasingly read and recited. Moreover, whereas the words 'illuminating Qur’an' have been used in the Qur’an only twice, the words 'illuminating Book' have been used no less than twelve times. This is to hint that a record in writing is much more useful than mere oral transmission. Muslims should, therefore, give more attention to education and to the study of written knowledge. (close)
b. 10:2; 11:2; 12:2; 13:2; 14:2. (close)
c. 27:2; 31:3. (close)
For the abbreviated letters see 2:2.
The word مبین (illuminating), meaning (1) to make plain and (2) to be plain, signifies both that which makes other things plain and that which is plain itself. In 12:2, the word has been used in the first-mentioned sense, while in the verse under comment it has been used in the latter sense, which signifies that the Quran itself bears testimony to its truth.
It is worthy of note that the Word of God sent to the Holy Prophet is spoken of here both as کتاب (that which is written) and قرآن (that which is read), to indicate that it will be preserved both, through writing and reading. And this has in fact been so. For, of all revealed Scriptures, the Quran alone has been preserved by its verses having been committed to writing as soon as they were revealed and also by its having been committed to memory by hundreds of thousands of Muslims during the past fourteen centuries. The practice of committing the Quran to memory has continued among Muslims since the time of the Holy Prophet, and in every age there have been thousands of Muslims who could recite from memory the whole of it—a distinction shared by no other revealed Book. Even if all copies of the Quran were lost, it would not disappear from the face of the earth, for it is indelibly inscribed on the memories of hundreds of thousands of Muslims from one end of the earth to the other. Thus has the Divine promise made in v. 10 below met with wonderful fulfilment.
One more point is worthy of special note here. Only at two places in the Quran do the words کتاب (Book) and قرآن(Quran) occur together viz. in 27:2 and in the verse under comment. In the present verse the word کتاب (Book) precedes the word قرآن (Quran), while in 27:2 the order has been reversed. As stated above the word کتاب (Book), implies a prophecy that the Holy Book of Islam will continue to be written, and the word قرآن (Quran), points to the prophecy that it will continue to be increasingly read and recited. Now whereas in the present verse the word مبین (illuminating) qualifies the word قرآن (Quran), in 27:2 it qualifies the word کتاب. This shows that the subject matter of the present Surah deals more with the attribute implied in the word قرآن (Quran) than with the attribute implied in the word کتاب (Book). But in 27:2 the order has been reversed, because in that Surah greater emphasis is laid on the changes which are to be brought about by the Quran as a کتاب (A written Book).
In the present Surah, accounts of the lives of those Prophets (e.g. Adam, Abraham, Lot, Salih) have been given in whose time the art of writing either had not been invented or was not common, and knowledge was acquired and preserved mostly by oral recitation and verbal transmission; while in the 27th Surah have been given accounts of the lives of those Prophets (e.g. Moses and David) in whose time writing had come into vogue and learning, instead of being acquired by heart, was acquired by means of the written word.
It is also worthy of note that whereas the words قرآن مبین (Illuminating Quran) have been used in the Quran only twice, the words کتاب مبین(Illuminating Book) have been used no less than twelve times. This is to hint that a record in writing is much more useful than mere oral transmission. Muslims should there-fore pay more attention to education and to the study of written knowledge. (close)
رُبَمَا یَوَدُّ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا لَوۡ کَانُوۡا مُسۡلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۳﴾
رُّبَمَا يَوَدُّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ لَوۡ كَانُواْ مُسۡلِمِينَ
1477. It is on record that such a desire was actually expressed by some disbelievers in the time of the Holy Prophet. (close)
1710. Important Words:
ربما (often) is composed of two parts, رب and ما, the former being used both in the accented and non-accented form i.e. as rubba and ruba. ربما is used both in the sense of "sometimes" and "often" as the context may indicate, though the former is more frequent. Similarly, the word may either refer to the past or to the future (Aqrab & Taj).
According to the different meanings of ربما the verse under comment may mean: "It has often or sometimes happened (or it will often or sometimes happen) that disbelievers have desired (or will desire) that they had been Muslims." In the present verse the word has been used in the sense of "often."
The verse applies to disbelievers in two ways. Firstly, it means that when believers attain success, disbelievers will wish they had been Muslims so that they too had shared in it. Secondly, it refers to the good and beneficial teachings of Islam and means that when disbelievers see how greatly Muslims had benefited by the teachings of the Quran, they will feel a desire that they too had been Muslims that they might have similarly benefited by the Quranic teachings. It is on record that such a desire was actually expressed by some disbelievers in the time of the Holy Prophet.
Even among present-day non-Muslims there are some who entertain such a desire, for they are often confronted with problems for which their own religions provide no true solution and they have perforce to adopt the remedies and measures prescribed by the Quran in order to meet them. For instance, when a Christian people have to pass laws permitting divorce for reasons other than adultery, or when they have to enact laws intended to put an end to the evil of drinking alcohol, they must feel how good it would have been if their own religion had given them the same teachings regarding these matters as Islam had done. In India, too, Hindus are adopting some of the social laws of Islam. This adoption of the Islamic laws by non-Muslims constitutes an irrefutable testimony to the truth of the statement made in the verse under comment.
It is also worthy of note that the Quran uses the word یود (wish) and not یقول (say), thus hinting that though disbelievers might not confess to such a desire, yet in their heart of hearts they not unoften wish that their religion had also laid down institutions like those of Islam. The use of the word ربما (often or sometimes) also indicates that owing to their biased mentality disbelievers would not feel such a desire with regard to all the teachings of Islam but only with regard to some of them. (close)
ذَرۡہُمۡ یَاۡکُلُوۡا وَ یَتَمَتَّعُوۡا وَ یُلۡہِہِمُ الۡاَمَلُ فَسَوۡفَ یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۴﴾
ذَرۡهُمۡ يَأۡكُلُواْ وَيَتَمَتَّعُواْ وَيُلۡهِهِمُ ٱلۡأَمَلُۖ فَسَوۡفَ يَعۡلَمُونَ
d. 47:13. (close)
1478. The verse may mean that the wish of disbelievers mentioned in the last verse—that they had been Muslims—is simply a 'vain hope', i.e. a mere passing wish; their real desire being the pursuit of worldly enjoyment and material gains. (close)
a. 47:13. (close)
This verse supplies the answer to the question which naturally arises from the claim made by the Quran in the preceding verse. If, as has been claimed, disbelievers really feel an admiration for the teachings of Islam, what prevents them from accepting it and entering its fold? The answer is that it is only social obligations and the pursuit of materialistic benefits that stand in the way of their accepting Islam. This is what is hinted at in the words, Leave them alone that they may eat and enjoy themselves.
The verse incidentally hints that simple living and curtailment of worldly ambitions materially help a man to understand and accept the truth. The words, Leave them alone that they may eat and enjoy themselves and that vain hope may beguile them, also contain the hint that disbelievers in their struggle against the Holy Prophet would strive to increase their influence with the people by extending to them their hospitality, and by accumulating means of worldly enjoyment as well as by their deep-laid and long drawn-out schemes against Islam, but that all their efforts would prove futile and success would finally come to the Holy Prophet, much to the chagrin of disbelievers.
The verse also suggests that the wish of disbelievers mentioned in the last verse—that they had been Muslims—is simply a "vain hope" i.e. a mere passing wish, their real desire being the pursuit of worldly enjoyment and material gain. Such passing desires could yield no profit. It is only the serious and honest desires of a man that can be of any use to him. (close)
وَ مَاۤ اَہۡلَکۡنَا مِنۡ قَرۡیَۃٍ اِلَّا وَ لَہَا کِتَابٌ مَّعۡلُوۡمٌ ﴿۵﴾
وَمَآ أَهۡلَكۡنَا مِن قَرۡيَةٍ إِلَّا وَلَهَا كِتَابٞ مَّعۡلُومٞ
1479. 'Town' stands for the people to whom a Prophet is sent. The 'town' of the Holy Prophet has been called 'Mother of towns' in the Qur’an (6:93). (close)
1479A. The words, 'known decree,' here signifies the time appointed for the destruction of the opponents of a Prophet as predicted by him. (close)
In this verse the word "town" stands for the people to whom a Prophet is sent. The town of the Holy Prophet is called ام القری (the mother of towns) in the Quran. When the mother is visited by Divine punishment, the other places which are, as it were, its children must also share its fate. This is why in the present age, which has witnessed the advent of Ahmad, the Promised Messiah, calamities and disasters of diverse kinds have visited the world, because like his Master, the Holy Prophet of Islam, he too was raised for the whole of mankind.
The term "known decree" here means the time appointed for the destruction of the opponents of a Prophet and predicted by him. To the opponents of a Prophet punishment comes only after it has been foretold by him. (close)
مَا تَسۡبِقُ مِنۡ اُمَّۃٍ اَجَلَہَا وَ مَا یَسۡتَاۡخِرُوۡنَ ﴿۶﴾
مَّا تَسۡبِقُ مِنۡ أُمَّةٍ أَجَلَهَا وَمَا يَسۡتَـٔۡخِرُونَ
a. 7:35; 10:50; 16:62. (close)
a. 7:35; 10:50; 16:62. (close)
وَ قَالُوۡا یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡ نُزِّلَ عَلَیۡہِ الذِّکۡرُ اِنَّکَ لَمَجۡنُوۡنٌ ؕ﴿۷﴾
وَقَالُواْ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِي نُزِّلَ عَلَيۡهِ ٱلذِّكۡرُ إِنَّكَ لَمَجۡنُونٞ
b. 37:37; 44:15; 68:52. (close)
1480. Majnun does not mean 'one possessed by a devil or a jinn' or simply 'possessed', but 'a mad or insane person', or 'one whose intellectual faculties have become very much impaired' (Lane). (close)
b. 37:37; 44:15; 68:52. (close)
1713. Important Words:
الذکر (this Exhortation) is derived from ذکر (dhakara). They say ذکرہ i.e. he remembered it; he preserved it in his memory; he talked of it. ذکر (dhikr) means, remembrance; the presence of a thing in the mind; memory; the mention or relating of a thing; the praise and glorification of God; praise or eulogy of another; dispraise or evil speech; a thing that is current upon the tongue; fame, renown or reputation, as they say له ذکر فی الناس i.e. he has fame among the people; eminence, nobility or honour; a book containing an exposition of religion and an institution of religious laws; any Book of a Prophet and especially the Quran, also the Torah; an exhortation, an admonition or a warning (Lane & Aqrab). See also 2:41, 153, 201 & 6:69.
الذکر i.e. Exhortation or Eminence being one of the names of the Quran (21:51), the verse shows that this name was well-known to disbelievers. The calling of the Quran by the name الذکر also implied a prophecy that it was to prove a means of bringing special eminence to its followers. God says with reference to the Quran, فیه ذکرکم (wherein lies your own honour, 21:11). See Important Words. Disbelievers, however, used this word ironically, as the epithets العزیز (the mighty) and الکریم(the honourable) have been used ironically about them in 44:50.
The words, "madman," contain an allusion to v. 3 wherein it is said that disbelievers will often wish that they had been Muslims. When that verse was revealed, the condition of Muslims was so weak and that of their enemies so strong that, when the latter heard the claim made about them in the above verse, they simply laughed at it and declared that only a madman could make such foolish claims.
Disbelievers used the word الذکر (Exhortation or Eminence) for the Quran with a view to ridiculing the idea of its being a means of honour for Muslims. They knew that they had subjected Muslims to bitter persecution and in their arrogance thought that they would speedily crush them. So in the existing circumstances it was quite natural on their part to say that it was mere madness to say that the Quran would raise Muslims to such eminence that disbelievers themselves would begin to desire that they had been Muslims.
The word مجنون (a madman) has been erroneously rendered by some translators as "possessed by a devil or by a jinn" or simply "possessed." It does not mean that but "a mad or insane person" or "one whose intellectual faculties are impaired" (Lane & Aqrab). (close)
لَوۡ مَا تَاۡتِیۡنَا بِالۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃِ اِنۡ کُنۡتَ مِنَ الصّٰدِقِیۡنَ ﴿۸﴾
لَّوۡمَا تَأۡتِينَا بِٱلۡمَلَـٰٓئِكَةِ إِن كُنتَ مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰدِقِينَ
c. 6:9; 11:13; 25:8. (close)
a. 6:9; 11:13; 25:8. (close)
In the previous Surahs and also in the beginning of the present Surah it has been claimed that the victory of Islam will be brought about through Divine revelation vouchsafed to the Holy Prophet. In answer to this claim, disbelievers dubbed the Holy Prophet a madman, tauntingly saying that, as he claimed that his revelations were brought to him by angels, the latter ought to have been visible to other men also. Since nobody ever saw these angels it was evident that he suffered from hallucinations and that his mind was affected. (close)
مَا نُنَزِّلُ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃَ اِلَّا بِالۡحَقِّ وَ مَا کَانُوۡۤا اِذًا مُّنۡظَرِیۡنَ ﴿۹﴾
مَا نُنَزِّلُ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓئِكَةَ إِلَّا بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَمَا كَانُوٓاْ إِذٗا مُّنظَرِينَ
d. 6:9. (close)
1481. Disbelievers are here told that when in accordance with the requirements of truth, justice and wisdom (Bilhaqq) they will become deserving of Divine punishment, angels will descend upon them and they will be granted no respite. (close)
a. 6:9. (close)
The word حق (due right) here signifies either (1) the True Word of God, or (2) the due right. In the former sense the verse signifies that as angels descend with the true Word of God, therefore they descend only on His chosen Messengers. But as disbelievers who demanded the appearance of angels (see the preceding verse) were neither Divine Messengers nor deserved a Divine Message, angels could not possibly descend on them.
According to the second meaning of the word حق the verse would mean that the only angels who could descend on disbelievers could only be angels of punishment; for angels only descend according to due right i.e. they bring down mercy for the righteous and punishment for the wicked. In this case, when the angels of punishment came, disbelievers would be granted no respite and would be destroyed.
It may also be incidentally noted here that revelation varies in quality according to the spiritual condition of the recipient. Just as there is a great difference between the quality of the revelation received by a Prophet and that received by an ordinary believer, the Word of God revealed to different Prophets also varies in quality according to their respective capacities and the degree of their spiritual status. Hence it is that the Perfect Word of God, viz. the Quran, was revealed to the Holy Prophet, the Greatest and most Perfect of all Divine Messengers. (close)
اِنَّا نَحۡنُ نَزَّلۡنَا الذِّکۡرَ وَ اِنَّا لَہٗ لَحٰفِظُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰﴾
إِنَّا نَحۡنُ نَزَّلۡنَا ٱلذِّكۡرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُۥ لَحَٰفِظُونَ
e. 36:70; 65:11. (close)
1482. The promise about the protection and preservation of the Qur’an made in this verse has been so remarkably fulfilled that even if there had been no other proof, this fact alone would have sufficed to establish its Divine origin. This Surah was revealed at Mecca (Noldeke) when the life of the Holy Prophet and his followers was extremely precarious and the enemy could easily crush the new Faith. It was then that disbelievers were challenged to do their worst to destroy it and were warned that God would frustrate all their designs because He Himself was its Guardian. The challenge was open and unequivocal and the enemy strong and ruthless, and yet the Qur’an remained safe against corruption and interpolation and tampering with and has ever continued to enjoy perfect security. This distinction of the Qur’an is not shared by any other revealed Book. Sir William Muir, the notoriously hostile critic of Islam, says: 'We may, upon the strongest presumption, affirm that every verse in the Qur’an is the genuine and unaltered composition of Mohammad himself… There is otherwise every security, internal and external, that we possess the text which Mohammad himself gave forth and used… To compare their pure text with the various readings of our Scriptures, is to compare things between which there is no analogy' (Introduction to 'The Life of Mohammad'). Prof. Noldeke, the great German Orientalist writes as follows: 'Efforts of European scholars to prove the existence of later interpolations in the Qur’an have failed' (Enc. Brit.). The utter failure of Dr. Mingana, a few years ago, to find fault with the purity of the Quranic text, on the contrary, set the seal on the truth of its claim that among all revealed Scriptures the Qur’an alone has remained completely immune from all interpolation or tampering with it. See "The Larger Edition of the Commentary," pp.1263-1266. (close)
b. 36:70; 65:11. (close)
This verse furnishes a powerful proof of the truth of the Quran and of its Divine origin. In fact, the promise about the preservation of the Quran made in this verse has been so remarkably fulfilled that even if there had been no other proof of the truth of Islam, this alone would have sufficed to establish its Divine origin.
Verse 8 contains the demand mockingly made by disbelievers that if the Quran were really as grand a Book as it was claimed to be, it ought to have descended under the guardianship of angels. This ridicule of disbelievers has been answered in the present verse, which emphatically says that the Quran is indeed a sublime Book and that God Himself has undertaken to act as its Guardian and that He will always protect it against every kind of corruption and interference. And in order that this promise about the protection of the Quran may gain still more force, particles expressive of special emphasis, such as انا (verily We) and نحن (Ourself) and again انا followed by ل (most surely) have been used in this verse. Thus the claim has been made in the most emphatic and forceful language.
The statement that God Himself is the Guardian of the Quran does not mean that angels do not guard it. They also do so, for when the master himself is guarding a thing, the servants must also be necessarily engaged in that service. By saying, most surely We will be its Guardian, God, however, points to the fact that there are certain peculiarities of the Quran which it is beyond the power of angels to guard and, therefore, God Himself has undertaken to do that work.
This Surah was revealed at Mecca. According to Ibn Hisham, it was revealed in the fourth year of the Holy Prophet’s ministry. Sprenger, Rodwell and Nöldeke all agree that it belongs to the Meccan period. Now it is a well-known fact that during the Meccan period, the life of the Holy Prophet and his followers was extremely precarious. They did not even know how to save themselves or where to hide themselves. For no less than three years the Prophet and his few helpless followers were virtually imprisoned in the Shi‘b (valley) of Abu Talib from where they could not venture out. They were under a ban. Is it not then astonishing that when the very lives of Muslims were in peril and the enemy was so strong that he could easily crush the new Faith, disbelievers were challenged to do all that lay in their power to destroy the Quran, and were told that God would frustrate all their designs because He Himself was its Guardian? The challenge was open and unequivocal and the enemy strong and ruthless. But what was the result? The Prophet and his Companions not only remained safe and sound but thrived and prospered and the number of converts continued to swell and the Quran remained safe against all corruption and has ever continued to enjoy perfect security. This distinctive feature of the Quran has not been shared by any other book revealed to any other Prophet.
Sir William Muir, the well-known critic of Islam, says about the Quran: "We may, upon the strongest presumption, affirm that every verse in the Quran is the genuine and unaltered composition of Mohammad himself." Again, "There is otherwise every security, internal and external, that we possess the text which Mohammad himself gave forth and used." Again, "To compare (as the Muslims are fond of doing) their pure text with the various readings of our Scriptures, is to compare things between which there is no analogy." (Introduction to "The Life of Mahomet"). Prof. Nöldeke, the great German Orientalist writes as follows: "Slight clerical errors there may have been, but the Quran of Othman contains none but genuine elements, though sometimes in very strange order. Efforts of European scholars to prove the existence of later interpolations in the Quran have failed." (Enc. Brit.). Professor Nicholson, says in his "Literary History of the Arabs": "Here (in the Quran) we have materials of unique and incontestable authority for tracing the origin and early development of Islam—such mater-ials as do not exist in the case of Buddhism or Christianity or any other ancient religion."
The importance of this security of the Quranic text is further enhanced when we compare it with other revealed Scriptures. The Quran was revealed among an illiterate people, while most other Scriptures were revealed among peoples who were comparatively more literate and therefore better qualified to preserve the purity of their Scriptures. Yet they failed to do so, while the Quran, the most widely read of all revealed Scriptures, enjoys complete immunity from all sorts of corruption. This miraculous preservation of the Quranic text is no mere accident. It has been brought about by the special providence of God in accordance with an openly declared prophecy of the Quran.
The means adopted to safeguard the purity of the text of the Quran have been briefly referred to in verse 2 in the memorable words الکتاب (the Written Book) and قرآن مبین (the Illuminating Recital) signifying: (a) That every verse of the Quran was committed to writing as soon as it was revealed and this writing was most tenaciously preserved. (b) That it was committed to memory as soon as revealed by a number of Muslims. And this pious practice has increasingly continued so much so that in the past centuries hundreds of thousands of Muslims have had the entire Quran literally on the tips of their tongues. Add to this the fact that from the very beginning of Islam the recital of parts of the Quran in the five daily Prayers was made obligatory.
The following additional factors also very materially contributed to the preservation of the Quran:
(1) God has inspired the Muslims with an extraordinary love for the Quran. They enjoy the reading of the Book even if they do not understand the meaning of the text. This leads to its being preserved in their hearts.
(2) The rhythm of the Quran is so sweet and its language so charming and so easy to learn and the construction of its sentences so beautiful that it can be committed to memory with great ease.
(3) God so ordained that immediately after the Quranic revelation became complete, it spread far and wide, to the remotest corners of the world, among all nations and all peoples, so that it became practically impossible for anyone to tamper with its text.
(4) From the beginning the Quran formed for Muslims the basis of all the sciences and learning they acquired and developed with a view to serving it. Various branches of knowledge such as Grammar, Rhetoric, History, Philosophy and Logic were cultivated and developed by Muslims for the sake of a better understanding of their holy Book.
(5) God has preserved Arabic, the language of the Quran, as a living language, while the languages of all other revealed Books, which were not meant to last forever, have become practically dead.
Again, it is not only the text of the Quran that has been preserved intact by God. He has provided for the preservation of its spirit also. This has been done by raising divinely inspired Reformers among the Muslims from time to time. These Reformers, known in Islamic terminology as Mujaddids, receive revelations from God and interpret and explain the true meaning of the Quranic text. Such Reformers appeared among the followers of other religions also, but that was only for so long as such scriptures served as guides for their followers. After the advent of Islam, however, all other religious systems and their scriptures, which were intended only for specific periods and specific peoples, became abrogated and divinely inspired Reformers ceased to appear among them. Now, therefore, the Quran alone among all revealed Scriptures of the world holds the field as a living Book and hence divinely inspired Reformers now appear only among the followers of Islam. In our own time God has raised Ahmad, the Promised Messiah, Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, to demon-strate the truth and excellence of the Quran in a manner unparalleled in the history of Islam. Ahmad’s present-ation of Islam is not like one praying for a hearing, as was the vogue among the apologetic school of Muslim writers, but as a victor challenging the protagonists of all other religious systems and the so-called Modernists and Higher Critics to find fault with any teaching of Islam; and also as a judge passing his judgement upon them. The appearance of such Reformers in itself constitutes proof of the living power of a religion and its Scripture inasmuch as they are really the fruit of their religion and their appearance proves its efficacy.
The question here arises, if the Scriptures revealed to the previous Prophets have not been preserved in their original purity, what guarantee is there to believe that the Quran would enjoy permanent security? In this connection it should be noted that the promise of protection made by God in this verse mentions the word الذکر (rendered in the text as "this Exhortation") and not the Quran or any other word; and herein lies the answer to the above question. For, to become deserving of the permanent protection of God it is essential that the Divine revelation should be الذکر of which the necessary attributes are: (1) that it should establish a close and permanent relationship between man and his Maker, inspiring in the former constant remembrance of God, the word ذکر meaning remembering; and (2) that it should elevate man to a state where God may also remember him or in other words favour him with His words and with heavenly help, the word ذکر also means eminence. The verse under comment thus purports to mean that God undertakes to protect any Scripture so long as it serves the above two purposes. But when, through changes in the conditions and circumstances of man, any Scripture ceases to perform these functions and God, in His infallible wisdom, deems it necessary to reveal another Scripture, He naturally ceases to extend His protection to earlier revelations. The question as to when any particular Scripture at any particular time ceases to serve the above-mentioned purposes has to be decided on facts. It is a fact beyond doubt that at the present time no religion other than Islam can claim that there is among its followers anyone who fulfils in his person the conditions mentioned above, viz. attainment of such nearness to God that God begins to speak to him and manifests His special powers for his sake. Such a claim can be made only by a follower of the Quran. As stated above Ahmad, the Promised Messiah, has made this claim in our own time and has proved by powerful heavenly signs that his claim is founded on fact and God is helping his cause wonderfully. It is, therefore, natural that Muslims should claim and believe that now the protection of God is a privilege enjoyed by the Quran alone.
As regards the future, our belief based upon promises made in the Quran is that whenever Muslims forget, or fall away from, the teachings of the Quran, God will, by raising heavenly Reformers, restore to them their faith in its pristine purity. The teachings of the Quran will thus remain effective for all time and will ever continue to enjoy Divine help and protection. (close)