Introduction of An-Nahl
(Revealed after Hijrah)
According to some commentators, the whole Surah was revealed at Mecca. But certain other authorities—Ibn ‘Abbas being one of them—make an exception of vv. 96, 97 and 98, which, according to them, were revealed at Medina. Some scholars, however, are of the opinion that the verses revealed at Medina are 127, 128 and 129 while according to others these verses are 111, 127 and 128; yet some others think that they are vv. 2, 3, and 4. But Qatadah holds quite the opposite view. According to him the whole Surah is Medinite with the exception of vv. 2, 3, and 4. Professor Nöldeke believes that the whole Surah was revealed at Mecca with the exception of vv. 44, 112, 120, 121 and 126 and Weil strongly refutes Sale’s view that the last three verses belong to the Medinite period.
The Surah quite appropriately has been given the title of An-Nahl (lit. the Bee) because by a reference to the natural instinct of the bee which has been termed وحی (revelation or inspiration) in the Quran, attention is drawn to the fact that the entire universe depends for its smooth and successful working on وحی (revelation) whether manifest or hidden, direct or indirect. This subject constitutes the pivot or basic theme of the Surah. Moreover, the subject of jihad has been introduced here as an important subject. As jihad was to become the target of attacks from all quarters, it is hinted that, like honey which is protected by the bee from undue interference by its God-given sting, the Quran which is a store-house of spiritual honey shall be protected by the use of force which Muslims will have to employ in self-defence.
The Surah is prefaced with no abbreviated letters. As the subject matter of a Surah is an amplification and expansion of the abbreviated letters placed at its beginning and is governed by them, the subject matter of a Surahwhich has no such abbreviated letters is, in fact, a continuation of the subject matter of the preceding Surah which has abbreviated letters at its beginning, and is thus subject to, and governed by, those abbreviated letters. As the present Surah has no abbreviated letters at its beginning, its subject matter will be considered as a continuation of the subject matter of the preceding Surah (Hijr) and will be taken as governed by the letters Alif Lam Ra, placed at the beginning of that Surah, only the method of approach and treatment of the subject being different. This Surah, like its predecessor, dwells upon the need and importance of Divine revelation and points out that the Word of God possesses an appeal and magnetism which no other book is found to possess, and the Quran being complete and perfect Divine revelation, the force of its appeal and magnetic power is unrivalled and unapproachable. The followers of such a matchless book, therefore, can never fail in their mission.
Another connection of this chapter with that preceding it is that towards the end of the preceding Surahdisbelievers were warned that Divine punishment was about to overtake them. The warning was given in the words: And the Hour is sure to come (15:86) and so by thy Lord We will surely question them all (15:93). The present chapter warns disbelievers that the threatened punishment is about to come. The warning is couched in the words: The decree of Allah is coming (v. 2).
The Surah opens with the subject that the time has arrived for the fulfilment of the prophecies that were made by the Holy Prophet about the downfall of disbelievers. The question of the social status and position of the person to whom this Book has been revealed is immaterial. Does not the fact of the very humble origin of man and the great moral and spiritual heights to which he subsequently rises till he becomes the manifestation of God’s great powers and attributes bring home to critics of the Prophet the absurdity of their objection? If in the physical world they can reconcile themselves to this phenomenon, why does it seem to them preposterous if in the spiritual realm God has bestowed upon a person, apparently of no worldly importance, great distinction; and why do they not consider that there must have been latent in him powers and faculties which had made him deserving of this Divine favour?
The Surah then proceeds to develop the theme of the need of Divine revelation and asks how the Benign and Merciful God Who has arranged to meet all the needs and requirements of man’s travels and journeys in this life could have neglected to meet the needs of his last journey to the Eternal Goal. These requirements could be devised and met neither by man himself nor by the so-called gods of the idolaters. God the Almighty alone could reveal to man the right way which leads to Him and the means which render easy the journey of the spiritual wayfarer to the Eternal Abode. But if man out of his ignorance or perversity, by eschewing the straight path, creates for himself difficulties and impediments, he himself is to blame.
After this the Surah answers an oft-repeated question, viz. if Messengers are sent by God, how dare anyone flout or defy them? God is All-Powerful, so He should have seen to it that His Messengers are not disobeyed. The answer to this question is embodied in the words, And if He had enforced His will He would have guided you all (v. 10), which suggest that as God has given man the freedom and choice to follow the right or the wrong course, He has also revealed to him guidance from time to time which helps him to avoid the wrong path and march to the destined goal. In addition to this logical answer, history is quoted to tell disbelievers how former Prophets were defied and rejected. Why, then, should the plea of the Almightiness of God be advanced in regard to the rejection of the Holy Prophet? Believers are then told that if they wish their kith and kin also to accept the Quran, they should see that their hearts are cleansed because without purity of heart it is impossible to find God. God does not compel anyone to accept the truth, for by compulsion the very purpose of the life after death would be defeated.
Then the Surah enters into a discussion of the life after death and it is stated that even in this world nations are resurrected and given a new life and it is with their "hijrah" (migration) that their resurrection begins. Accordingly, the Holy Prophet also would have to leave his native place and migrate to Medina because it was essential for the spiritual development of his followers that they should be separated from disbelievers. From this the conclusion is drawn that if it is so necessary for the spiritual progress of believers to undergo a "hijrah" in this world, how far more is it necessary for the permanent spiritual advancement of man that he should undergo a spiritual "hijrah," which is another name for death. After this "hijrah" the Faithful and the disbelievers begin to travel on separate paths; the disbelievers go to Hell and the Faithful bask in the sunshine of Divine grace and scale the heights of atonement with God. The subject that great and wholesome results will flow from the Prophet’s Migration, is continued, viz. the disbelievers will be punished and believers will enjoy uninterrupted and uniform progress.
The Surah proceeds briefly to deal with the question why respite is granted to disbelievers and why they are not forced to accept the truth. This leads to a treatment of the objection that, if the Holy Prophet is a true Messenger of God, why is his teaching at variance with that of earlier Prophets. In answer to this objection it is stated that the real teaching which former Prophets gave to their people greatly differed from the current, adulterated and corrupt teachings attributed to them. In fact, a new Prophet comes only when the former teachings become corrupt and lose their title to Divine protection.
By citing the example of the bee, the Surah draws our attention to the fact that just as, guided by Divine inspiration, the bee collects its food from fruits and flowers and converts it into delicious and wholesome honey, it is in the fitness of things that Divine revelation should be given to man for his moral regeneration and spiritual development and proceeds to say that just as honey varies in quality, so are all men not of equal spiritual development. Like the different colours and flavours of honey, the revelations of various Prophets are not of the same pattern, nor do their followers equally profit by them. Then one more argument is given in favour of the need of Divine revelation. When with the passage of time people become separated from the era of a Prophet and vested interests grow up and become entrenched and privileges flow from father to son and all natural avenues of progress and advancement are closed upon the common man, God raises a new Prophet who wages a relentless war against this tyranny of man against man and the so-called leaders who enjoyed a monopoly of power and benefit are dethroned from their seats of authority and the common men who follow the new Prophet take their place. By their acceptance of the new Divine Message, these common men demonstrate that they were the real leaders and not those mountebanks who traded upon the superstition and fear of ignorant people. The chains of bondage are broken and man begins to breathe in an atmosphere of true freedom. Then it is that false notions of fancied superiority of presumptuous leaders die their natural death.
Another very serious consequence of separation from the era of a Prophet is that people take to idolatrous beliefs and practices which tend to impede their moral and spiritual progress. God cannot allow this state of affairs to continue for long. He sends a new Messenger who infuses a new life into a dead people.
Disbelievers are then warned that great changes which are decreed to be brought about by means of the Quran would take place very soon. The time cries for a change and the New Message possesses all the essential elements and ingredients of a perfect teaching. The followers of this New Teaching will succeed and all power and dominion will pass into their hands. A veritable war will be waged against disbelief and its leaders will be destroyed.
Towards the end of the Surah the Holy Prophet is told that the sphere and scope of his preaching would now widen and would embrace in its orbit Christians and Jews. This would excite a new opposition and Muslims would suffer persecution from all quarters; but the divine cause of Islam would continue to grow and prosper amid opposition and persecution and its enemies would meet with a terrible fate.
یہ مکی سورت ہے اور بسم اللہ سمیت اس کی ایک سو انتیس آیات ہیں۔
گزشتہ سورت کی آخری آیت میں جس یقین کا ذکر فرمایا گیا ہے اس کے ایک معنے موت کے بھی لئے گئے ہیں مگر پہلا معنی بہرحال یقین ہی ہے۔ اس سورت کا آغاز ہی اس امر سے فرمایا گیا ہے کہ جس یقینی امر کا تجھ سے وعدہ کیا گیا تھا وہ آیا ہی چاہتا ہے۔ پس اے منکرو! تم اس کے طلب کرنے میں جلدی نہ کرو اور یقین رکھو کہ آسمان سے اللہ تعالیٰ اپنے بندوں میں سے جس پر چاہے، اپنے فرشتے نازل فرماتا ہے۔ اس کے بعد ہر قسم کے جانوروں کی تخلیق کا ذکر فرمانے کے بعد یہ عظیم الشان پیشگوئی فرمائی گئی ہے کہ اس قسم کی اور سواریاں بھی اللہ تعالیٰ پیدا فرمائے گا جن کا تمہیں اِس وقت کوئی علم نہیں۔ چنانچہ فی زمانہ ایجاد ہونے والی نئی نئی سواریوں کی پیشگوئی اس آیت میں فرما دی گئی ہے۔ اسی طرح ہر قسم کے جانداروں کی بقا کے متعلق فرمایا کہ وہ آسمان سے اُترنے والے پانی ہی کے ذریعہ ہوتی ہے جس سے زمین سے سبزہ اگتا ہے اور ہر قسم کے درخت اور پھل پیدا ہوتے ہیں۔ لیکن آسمانی پانی کا ایک پہلو وہ بھی ہے جسے وہ اَنْعَام نہیں جانتے جو گھاس وغیرہ چرتے تو ہیں لیکن اس کی کُنہ کو نہیں سمجھتے۔ پس روحانی پانی سے جو زندگی اللہ کے رسول پاتے ہیں اور اس فیض کو آگے جاری کرتے ہیں اسے وہ لوگ نہیں سمجھ سکتے جن کی مثال قرآن کریم نے اَنْعام سے دی ہے بلکہ ان کو اَشَرّ قرار دیا ہے کہ ان کا تو جانداروں سے بھی بدتر حال ہے کیونکہ اَنْعام تو اس کو سمجھنے کی بھی اہلیت ہی نہیں رکھتے مگر یہ دین کو بظاہر سمجھنے کے باوجود پھر بھی اس کے فیض سے محروم رہتے ہیں۔
اس کے بعد اللہ تعالیٰ کی بے شمار نعمتوں کا ذکر کرتے ہوئے سمندر میں پائی جانے والی نعمتوں اور سمندر میں کھارے پانی میں پلنے والی مچھلیوں وغیرہ کا بھی ذکر فرمادیا جو کھارا پانی پیتی ہیں، اسی میں گزر بسر کرتی ہیں لیکن ان کے گوشت میں کھار کا کوئی ادنیٰ سا بھی نشان نہیں پایا جاتا۔ اور اس طرف بھی توجہ دلائی کہ پانی کے ذریعہ اس بقا کے نظام کا انحصار ان پہاڑوں پر ہے جو بڑی مضبوطی سے زمین میں گڑے ہوتے ہیں۔ اگر یہ پہاڑ نہ ہوتے تو سمندر سے شفاف پانی کے اٹھنے اور اس کے برسنے کا یہ نظام جاری رہ ہی نہیں سکتا تھا۔ قرآن کریم نے سایوں کے زمین پر بچھے ہونے کا ذکر اس رنگ میں فرمایا ہے گویا وہ سجدہ ریز ہیں۔ لیکن دابّۃ اور ملائکہ بھی اللہ کی عظمت کے حضور سجدہ ریز رہتے ہیں۔ دَابَّۃ زمین سے اپنی زندگی کا سامان پانے کے نتیجہ میں زبانِ حال سے ہمیشہ اللہ کے حضور سجدہ ریز رہتے ہیں اور فرشتے آسمان سے اترنے والے پانی کی معرفت حاصل ہونے کی وجہ سے سربسجود رہتے ہیں۔ آیت کریمہ نمبر ۶۲ میں یہ حیرت انگیز مضمون بیان فرمایا گیا ہے کہ اگر اللہ انسانوں کے ہر ظلم پر فوراً گرفت فرمانا شروع کردے تو زمین پر چلنے پھرنے والے جانوروں کی صف لپیٹ دی جائے۔ دراصل انسان کو اس پر غور کرنے کی طرف متوجہ فرمایا گیا ہے کہ اگر دَابَّۃ نہ ہوتے تو انسان کی بقا ممکن ہی نہ تھی۔ اسی لئے پھر معاً بعد یہ فرمایا کہ مویشیوں میں تمہارے لئے بہت بڑا عبرت کا سامان ہے۔ اس کے بعد وحی کی عظمت کا بیان شہد کی مکھی کی مثال دے کر فرمایا گیا۔ کسی دوسرے جانور پر وحی کے نزول کا ذکر نہیں ملتا۔ دیکھا جائے تو شہد کی مکھی اُسی طرح ایک مکھی ہی ہے جیسے عام گندگی پر پلنے والی مکھی ہوتی ہے۔ فرق صرف یہ ہے کہ وحی کے ذریعہ خدا نے اس کو ہر گندگی سے پاک کردیا۔ یہ اپنے گھر بھی پہاڑوں پر اور بلند درختوں پر اور اُن بیلوں پر بناتی ہے جو بلند سہاروں پر چڑھائی جاتی ہیں۔ پھر اس پر وحی کی گئی کہ وہ ہر پھول کا رس چوسے اگرچہ لفظ ثمر استعمال فرمایا ہے مگر اس میں دوہری حکمت یہ ہے کہ مکھی کے اس پھول کو چوسنے کے نتیجہ میں ہی اس میں سے ثمر پیدا ہوتا ہے اور ہر پھل کا عرق اور نچوڑ بھی وہ پھول سے ہی چوستی ہے اور اس کے نتیجہ میں جو شہد بناتی ہے اس میں انسانوں کے لئے ایک عظیم الشان شفا رکھ دی گئی ہے۔ یہاں یَخْرُجُ مِنْ بُطُوْنِھَا فرماکر اس طرف اشارہ فرمادیا گیا کہ شہد صرف پھولوں کے رس سے نہیں بنتا بلکہ شہد کی مکھی کے بطن سے جو لُعاب نکلتا ہے اسے وہ پھولوں کے رس سے ملاکر اور بار بار زبان ہوا میں نکال کر اسے گاڑھا کرکے شہد میں تبدیل کرنے کے بعد چھتوں میں محفوظ کرتی ہے۔ پھر اس کے بعد دو غلاموں کی مثال دی گئی ہے ایک ایسا احمق غلام جس کے کاموں میں کوئی بھی بھلائی نہیں ہوتی اور دوسرا وہ جسے اللہ تعالیٰ رزقِ حسن عطا فرماتا ہے اور پھر وہ اسے آگے بھی بنی نوع انسان کے فائدے کے لئے خرچ کرتا ہے۔ اس کا بھی شہد کی مکھی سے ایک بہت گہرا جوڑ ہے۔ عام مکھی تو ایسے مملوک کی طرح ہے جس کے اندر کوئی فائدہ نہیں اور شہد کی مکھی ایسے مملوک کی طرح ہے جسے رزقِ حسن عطا کیا جاتا ہے اور پھر وہ آگے بھی بنی نوع انسان کے فوائد کے لئے یہ رزق تقسیم کرتی ہے۔ اس کے بعد مختلف قسم کے غلاموں کی مثال کو آگے بڑھاکر انسانوں پر چسپاں فرمایا گیا ہے۔ وہ مملوک جو اللہ کی وحی سے فیضیاب نہیں ہوتا اور اللہ کو گونگا سمجھتا ہے وہ خود ہی اَبْکَمْ یعنی گونگاہے۔ وہ تو ایسا ہی ہے کہ جس کام میں بھی ہاتھ ڈالے گا نقصان ہی کا سودا کرے گا۔ خَسِرَالدُّنْیَا وَالْآخِرَۃ۔ اور دوسرے مملوک خدا کے انبیاء ہوتے ہیں جو بنی نوع انسان کو عدل کی تعلیم دیتے ہیں اور ہمیشہ صراطِ مستقیم پر رواں رہتے ہیں۔ یاد رکھنا چاہئے کہ شہد کی مکھی کے متعلق بھی یہی فرمایا تھا کہ اپنے ربّ کے رستوں پر چل۔ تو انبیاء اس پہلو سے اس پر بہت بڑی فضیلت رکھتے ہیں کہ اُس ایک سیدھے رستے پر چلتے ہیں جو لازماً اللہ تک پہنچا دیتا ہے۔ اس کے بعد اسی سورت میں پرندوں کے متعلق یہ فرمایا گیا کہ یہ جو آسمان پر اڑتے پھرتے ہیں یہ خیال مت کرو کہ محض اتفاقاً اُن کو پَر عطا ہوگئے اور اڑنے کی صلاحیت پیدا ہوگئی۔ صرف پروں کا پیدا ہونا ہی پرندوں میں اڑنے کی صلاحیت پیدا نہیں کرسکتا تھا جب تک اس کی کھوکھلی ہڈیاں، اس کی چھاتی کی خاص بناوٹ اور چھاتی کے دونوں طرف نہایت مضبوط عضلات نہ بنائے جاتے جو بہت بڑا بوجھ اٹھاکر انہیں بلند پروازی کی توفیق بخشتے ہیں۔ یہ ایک ایسا حیرت انگیز کرشمہ ہے کہ انتہائی وزنی مَگھ بھی مسلسل کئی ہزار میل تک اڑتے چلے جاتے ہیں اور اڑتے وقت ان کی جو اندرونی ترکیب ہے وہ اس طرح ہے کہ جیسے جیٹ جہاز کا سامنے کا حصہ ہوا کو منتشر کرتا ہے اسی طرح ہوا کا دباؤ ان پر اس بناوٹ کی وجہ سے کم سے کم پڑتا ہے۔ اور جو مَگھ سب سے زیادہ اس دباؤ کو برداشت کرنے کے لئے دوسروں کے آگے ہوتا ہے، کچھ دیر کے بعد پیچھے سے ایک اَور مَگھ آکر اس کی جگہ لے لیتا ہے۔ پھر یہی پرندے آبی پرندے بھی بنتے ہیں اور ڈوبتے نہیں حالانکہ ان کو اپنے وزن کی وجہ سے ڈوب جانا چاہئے تھا۔ نہ ڈوبنے کی وجہ یہ ہے کہ ان کے جسم کے اوپر چھوٹے چھوٹے پَر ہوا کو سمیٹے ہوئے ہوتے ہیں اور پَروں میں قید ہوا ان کو ڈوبنے سے بچاتی ہے۔ اور یہ خود بخود ہو ہی نہیں سکتا کیونکہ ضروری ہے کہ ان پَروں کے گرد کوئی ایسا چکنا مادہ ہو جو پانی کو پَروں میں جذب ہونے سے روکے۔ آپ دیکھتے ہیں کہ پرندے سارے پَر اپنی چونچوں میں سے گزارتے ہیں۔ یہ عجیب بات ہے کہ اس وقت ان کے جسم میں سے اللہ تعالیٰ گرِیس (Grease) کی طرح کا وہ مادہ نکالتا ہے جسے پَروں پر مَلنا لازمی ہے۔ وہ مادہ کیسے ازخود پیدا ہو ااور ان کے منہ تک کیسے پہنچا اور ان پرندوں کو کیسے شعور ہوا کہ جسم تک پانی کے سرایت کرنے کو روکنا لازمی ہے ورنہ وہ ڈوب جائیں گے؟ آگے قرآنِ کریم کے اس حیرت انگیز معجزے کا ذکر فرمایا گیا ہے کہ ہر چیز کی وہ تفصیل بیان فرما رہا ہے۔ اور دوسری کتابوں پر اس پہلو سے قرآنِ کریم کو جو فضیلت حاصل ہے وہی حضرت رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم کو دیگر انبیاء پر ہے۔ اسی وجہ سے جیسے وہ اپنی قوموں پر شہید تھے، رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم کو خود ان انبیاء پر بھی شہید مقرر فرمایا گیا۔ قرآن کریم کی تعلیم ہر چیز پر حاوی ہے۔ اس کی مثال آیت کریمہ نمبر ۹۱ ہے جو خود تمام اخلاقی اور روحانی تعلیمات کو سمیٹے ہوئے ہے اور ان پر حاوی ہے۔ سب سے پہلے عدل کا ذکر فرمایا گیا جس کے بغیر دنیا میں کوئی اصلاح ممکن نہیں۔ پھر احسان کا ذکر فرمایا گیا جو انسان کو عدل سے ایک بالا مقام عطا کرتا ہے۔ پھر اِیْتَائِ ذِی الْقُرْبٰی فرماکر اس مضمون کو آخری بلندی تک پہنچادیا گیا کہ وہ بنی نوع انسان کی ہمدردی میں اس طرح خرچ کرتے ہیں کہ جیسے ماں اپنے بچوں پر کرتی ہے اور اس کے بدلہ میں کسی خدمت یا صلہ کا واہمہ تک اس کے دل سے نہیں گزرتا۔ اور یہ اعلیٰ ترین مقام آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم کو عطا ہوا تھا کہ آپ ہر قسم کے عوض کے تصور سے پاک رہ کر سارے بنی نوع انسان کو فیض پہنچا رہے تھے۔ اس سورت کے آخری رکوع میں حضرت ابراہیم علیہ الصلوٰۃ والسلام کو جو ایک فرد تھے، پوری امّت کے طور پر پیش کیا گیا ہے کیونکہ آپ ہی سے بہت سی امتوں نے پیدا ہونا تھا اور رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم تک پہنچ کر یہ مضمون اپنے معراج تک پہنچ جاتا ہے۔ پس آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم کو یہی وحی فرمائی گئی کہ اس ابراہیمی سنت پر عمل پیرا ہو۔ اور اس کا خلاصہ یہ پیش فرمادیا گیا کہ اپنے ربّ کی طرف حکمت اور موعظہ حسنہ سے بلاؤ۔ لیکن اس کے لئے ضروری ہے کہ انسان انتہائی صبر سے کام لینے والا ہو۔ لَاتَسْتَعْجِلْ میں جو ارشاد ہے اس میں بھی اس مضمون کی طرف اشارہ ہے۔ عظیم روحانی انقلاب آناً فاناً برپا نہیں ہوا کرتے بلکہ اس کے لئے بے انتہا صبر کی ضرورت ہے۔ پس یہ صبر تو تقویٰ کے بغیر نصیب نہیں ہوسکتا بلکہ اس سے بھی بڑھ کر ان لوگوں کو عطا ہوتا ہے جو احسان کرنے والے ہیں۔
یہاں احسان کا ایک مضمون تو یَأمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْاِحْسَانِ میں بیان فرمادیا گیا ہے اور دوسرا اس کی وہ تشریح ہے جو رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم نے خود بیان فرمائی کہ احسان یہ ہے کہ جب تُو عبادت کے لئے کھڑا ہو تو ایسے کھڑا ہو گویا تُو اللہ کو دیکھ رہا ہے اور احسان کا کم سے کم تقاضا یہ ہے کہ تُو اس طرح باادب کھڑا ہو جیسے وہ تجھے دیکھ رہا ہے۔
بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ﴿۱﴾
بِسۡمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
a. 1:1. (close)
a. See 1:1. (close)
See under 1:1. (close)
اَتٰۤی اَمۡرُ اللّٰہِ فَلَا تَسۡتَعۡجِلُوۡہُ ؕ سُبۡحٰنَہٗ وَ تَعٰلٰی عَمَّا یُشۡرِکُوۡنَ ﴿۲﴾
أَتَىٰٓ أَمۡرُ ٱللَّهِ فَلَا تَسۡتَعۡجِلُوهُۚ سُبۡحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ عَمَّا يُشۡرِكُونَ
b. 5:53. (close)
1528. The words mean that the time of punishment for disbelievers, or the time of the ushering in of the new order has already arrived. (close)
b. 5:53. (close)
The word 'decree' may refer either (1) to the punishment with which disbelievers were threatened in the previous chapter in the words, the hour is sure to come (15:86), or (2) to the promise contained in the words, lower thy wing of mercy for the believers (15:89). The words, the decree of Allah is coming, mean to say (1) that the time of punishment for disbelievers or (2) the time of the ushering in of the new order, has arrived.
The words, so seek ye not to hasten it, refer to both the aforesaid claims: (1) Disbelievers are told not to be in a hurry to demand punishment, for the time of punishment had already drawn near. (2) Believers are told not to be impatient for the new order which is already at their very doors.
At the end of the previous Surah, the Holy Prophet and the believers were asked to shun disbelievers and give up further reasoning with them (15:86), and confine themselves to the glorification of God (15:99). Now by the words, Holy is He, it is announced that the time has come when the Sanctity and Holiness of God will be established. The Prophet possesses no material resources and has no means while disbelievers possess all sorts of means and resources. So the fact that the Prophet, notwithstanding his weakness and resourcelessness, will have power and dominion over his enemies will constitute clear evidence of the Holiness of God.
The words, The decree of Allah is coming, fulfil the prophecy of punishment implied in the words, the hour is sure to come (15:86), while the words, Holy is He, fulfil the prophecy embodied in the words, glorify thy Lord praising Him(15:99). This beautiful order and continuity of themes disposes of the ignorant criticism that there is no order or arrangement in the Quran.
The words, Exalted above all that which they associate with Him, signify that the associate-gods of disbelievers can never frustrate God’s plans or interfere with His decrees and decisions.
This loud proclamation of the Unity of God and His freedom from associates or partners constitutes a very cogent proof of the Divinesource of the Quran. False claimants always seek to form a powerful party of their supporters, and if they fail to do so, attribute the failure of their mission to this fact. But the True and All-Powerful God proclaims His Oneness as well as His independence of all partisans, associates or supporters. (close)
یُنَزِّلُ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃَ بِالرُّوۡحِ مِنۡ اَمۡرِہٖ عَلٰی مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِہٖۤ اَنۡ اَنۡذِرُوۡۤا اَنَّہٗ لَاۤ اِلٰہَ اِلَّاۤ اَنَا فَاتَّقُوۡنِ ﴿۳﴾
يُنَزِّلُ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓئِكَةَ بِٱلرُّوحِ مِنۡ أَمۡرِهِۦ عَلَىٰ مَن يَشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِهِۦٓ أَنۡ أَنذِرُوٓاْ أَنَّهُۥ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنَا۠ فَٱتَّقُونِ
1529. By Ruh, (which signifies soul or spirit; Divine revelation; the Qur’an; etc.—Lane), is here meant the life-giving Word of God. The word also denotes a Prophet’s Divine Message because of its life-giving qualities. (close)
1804. Important Words:
الروح (revelation) is derived from راح which means, it became cool and pleasant; he was brisk, lively, active, prompt or quick. روح means, soul or spirit; Divine revelation or inspiration; the Quran; angel; joy and happiness; mercy (Lane). See also 4:172.
By الروح (revelation) is here meant the life-giving Word of God. It is also used to denote a Prophet’s Message for its life-giving qualities. The words, warn people, suggest that 'revelation' here means the special revelation which is given to a Divine Messenger. It should be remembered that Divine revelation is generally of two kinds: (a) The revelation which concerns the recipient’s own person. It does not require to be made known and published, though generally there is no special ban on giving it publicity. (b) The revelation which is meant for mankind at large. This latter kind of revelation must be given wide publicity and it amounts to a veritable sin to suppress it. This revelation is technically known as a Prophet’s revelation. The words, by His command, signify:
(1) That angels can bring no revelation of their own accord but do so only at the command of God and carry only God’s own word.
(2) That the revelation referred to here is the one which embodies Divine commands and prohibitions and constitutes the essence of the Divine Message.
(3) That the decree of God implied in the words اتی امر اللّٰه (the decree of Allah is coming) occurring in the preceding verse is general and is fulfilled in the case of every Prophet. In other words, the advent of every Prophet is attended by the punishment of disbelievers and the progress and advance of the cause of truth.
(4) That it is obligatory to believe in a Prophet inasmuch as the message he brings contains the 'commands of God'. Rejection of the Prophet thus amounts to a denial of God Himself.
The expression من عبادہ (of His servants) means the chosen servants of God and not all men, and contains a beautiful hint that prophethood is God’s special gift and it is bestowed only upon His chosen servants. The recipients of this special Divine gift must be true servants of God. The expression also signifies that prophethood is bestowed upon only the devotees of the true God and not upon the devotees of false gods. History fails to record a single instance of a Prophet having risen from among the devotees of false gods.
It may be understood from the words, on whomsoever of His servants He pleases, that it is God’s own prerogative to select a man for the exalted office of a Prophet.
The Arabic expression ینزل (yunazzilu —He sends down) is used to express a gradual sending down and is meant to signify that the word of God is revealed gradually and in pieces and is not sent down all at once and as one complete whole. This is essential because a new revelation is intended to replace the existing order by a new order which is based upon new Divine commands and prohibitions.
This replacement of the old order by a new one can only be possible if these commandments and prohib-itions are given gradually and in stages so that people may be able to assimilate them and adopt them in their daily lives. All Divine Laws were revealed gradually and piecemeal and their revelation was spread over a long period of time. Christian critics of Islam conveniently forget this patent characteristic of the Quranic revelation when finding fault with it on the basis of its having been sent down to the Holy Prophet in stages. The objection that this gradual revelation of the Quran shows it to be the Prophet’s own composition exposes only their own ignorance of the Divine Law in this respect.
The words, So take Me alone for your protector, contain the essence of all religious teaching. The teachings of different Prophets have differed in detail but they are one in proclaiming the Oneness of God because it forms the basis and kernel of all religious teaching. (close)
خَلَقَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضَ بِالۡحَقِّ ؕ تَعٰلٰی عَمَّا یُشۡرِکُوۡنَ ﴿۴﴾
خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ بِٱلۡحَقِّۚ تَعَٰلَىٰ عَمَّا يُشۡرِكُونَ
c. 3:192; 14:20; 15:86; 29:45; 39:6; 64:4. (close)
1530. The expression 'with the requirements of wisdom' may mean that heavens and earth have their allotted tasks in the spiritual regeneration of man so that both jointly produce the desired result. Or it may mean that God has created the heavens and the earth so that they may serve to turn man’s attention to God, and man may see that nothing is perfect by itself except Him. The heavens stand in need of earth for the performance of their work and likewise the earth is dependent on heavens and both are subject to the Will of God. So the purpose of the creation of the heavens and the earth is to demonstrate to man the fact that nothing is perfect in itself except God. (close)
a. 3:192; 14:20; 15:86; 29:45; 39:6; 64:4. (close)
The expression بالحق (with the requirements of wisdom) may mean that heavens and earth have their allotted tasks in the spiritual regeneration of man so that both jointly produce the desired result. Or it may mean that God has created the heavens and the earth so that they may serve to turn man’s attention to God, and he may see that nothing is perfect by itself except God. The heavens stand in need of the earth for the performance of their work, and likewise the earth is dependent on heavens and both are subject to the will of God. So the purpose of the creation of the heavens and the earth is to demonstrate to man the fact that nothing is perfect in itself except God.
The words, Exalted is He above all that they associate with Him, mean to say that he who does not believe that the heavens and the earth have been created with a definite purpose will necessarily fall a victim to the sin of setting up equals with God. No wise man can say that God has created this universe without purpose. If it has been created by God, it must have a purpose. If it be supposed to have no purpose, it would mean that it has not been created by God but is self-existent, which is tantamount to saying that every atom in this universe is equal to God for it is deemed to be self-existent or co-existent with God.
Another meaning of the expression بالحق is that the matter of which the heavens and the earth were made was created by God and therefore He has the right of control and interference. The reference here is to the view wrongly held in some quarters that God is not the Creator of matter or of soul though He is the author of their combination. Read in this sense the verse would signify that God’s creation of the heavens and the earth was not an arbitrary act of power but something He had every right to perform, being the Creator of the primordial matter of which they were made. (close)
خَلَقَ الۡاِنۡسَانَ مِنۡ نُّطۡفَۃٍ فَاِذَا ہُوَ خَصِیۡمٌ مُّبِیۡنٌ ﴿۵﴾
خَلَقَ ٱلۡإِنسَٰنَ مِن نُّطۡفَةٖ فَإِذَا هُوَ خَصِيمٞ مُّبِينٞ
a. 18:38; 22:6; 23:13, 14; 35:12; 36:78; 40:68. (close)
1531. After God had created the heavens and the earth according to a definite system of laws, He created man and sent down His revelation for his guidance. But notwithstanding the fact that after having created man from an apparently contemptible seed God endowed him with the highest faculties, he, instead of acting upon the guidance vouchsafed to him by God, starts questioning His powers and prerogatives. (close)
a. 18:38; 22:6; 23:13-14; 35:12; 36:78; 40:68. (close)
1806. Important Words:
نطفة (drop of fluid) is noun-infinitive from نطف. نطف الماء means, the water flowed little by little. نطفة means, the sperm of a man or [ovum of] a woman; clear water whether much or little; (Lane & Aqrab).
The verse means to say that after God had created the heavens and the earth according to a definite system of laws, He created man and sent down His revelation for his guidance. But notwithstanding the fact that after having created man from an apparently contemptible seed, God endowed him with highest faculties, yet he, instead of acting upon the guidance vouchsafed to him by God, begins to question His powers and prerogatives. Some men are so presumptuous as to say that God could not bring the universe into existence from non-existence and that it had come into existence by itself. Others say that God did not create matter, but has only arbitrarily subjected it to His control. Yet others object that God has no right to impose a law upon man and that man is a free agent and can frame a law for his own use. In this way these people begin to deny the favours of God and declare themselves independent of Him. The verse supplies an answer to all these objections.
The verse also implies the beautiful hint that while on the one hand man, in spite of being created from an apparently contemptible substance, begins to arrogate to himself such greatness as even to presume to dispute God’s authority; on the other he refuses to admit that God Who created him from a mere sperm and endowed him with such noble qualities has the power to raise an apparently lowly and humble man to the rank of a Prophet.
The verse may also suggest that it certainly could not be the object of the creation of the universe that only a disobedient and sinful man should have come into being. God’s purpose in creating the universe must have been quite different and much higher and nobler. If such is the case, then why should men wonder when there appears in the world a noble personage who fulfils the real object and purpose of God’s creation?
The verse also implies a reply to an objection raised by the opponents of the Prophets. They look down upon them and regard them as contemptible persons unworthy of such distinction. The opponents of the Holy Prophet held similar views with regard to him, as is apparent from 43:32. The verse draws the attention of disbelievers to man’s humble and lowly beginning to point the moral that when from such humble beginnings men can rise to great eminence and glory, why is it impossible that God should raise to spiritual eminence a man who appears contemptible and humble in their eyes? (close)
وَ الۡاَنۡعَامَ خَلَقَہَا ۚ لَکُمۡ فِیۡہَا دِفۡءٌ وَّ مَنَافِعُ وَ مِنۡہَا تَاۡکُلُوۡنَ ﴿۪۶﴾
وَٱلۡأَنۡعَٰمَ خَلَقَهَاۖ لَكُمۡ فِيهَا دِفۡءٞ وَمَنَٰفِعُ وَمِنۡهَا تَأۡكُلُونَ
b. 6:143; 23:22; 36:72, 74; 40:80, 81. (close)
a. 6:143; 23:22; 36:72-74; 40:80-81. (close)
This verse contains a crushing reply to man’s arrogance referred to in the previous verse. It purports to say that though he has been created by God, yet he claims to be independent of Him. As regards himself, however, he exercises control over things which he has not created and freely subjects them to his service. Nay, he does not even hesitate to take their life, asserting that, as he is superior to all creation, it is permissible for him to slaughter animals for his own use. If it is true that lower life can be sacrificed for the higher one and if it is permissible for man to exact service from animals, then with what justification can he object to God’s rule over him or to the authority of His Messenger? Why does he cavil and carp when he sees in his own case the same law enforced which he himself enforces in the case of others?
The verse may have another interpretation. In the previous verse the objections of those who found fault with God for His sending down the angels with His word upon whomsoever of His servants He pleases were answered. Disbelievers objected to God’s selection of a person of humble origin for His revelation. The answer given was that when God had bestowed His favours upon them, although they had been created from such humble and paltry matter as seminal fluid, they could not possibly object to His bestowing His favours upon a Prophet whom they regarded as humble. (close)
وَ لَکُمۡ فِیۡہَا جَمَالٌ حِیۡنَ تُرِیۡحُوۡنَ وَ حِیۡنَ تَسۡرَحُوۡنَ ﴿۪۷﴾
وَلَكُمۡ فِيهَا جَمَالٌ حِينَ تُرِيحُونَ وَحِينَ تَسۡرَحُونَ
Another benefit which man derives from cattle is that their possession redounds to his glory. Man takes pride in the abundance of his material possessions in the form of buffaloes, cows, horses, camels, sheep, etc. It is strange that while in his own case he regards the possession of things of which he is not the creator as a source of legitimate pride and glory, in the case of God he thinks that after having brought him into existence He should have left him to himself, so that, instead of glorifying Him and extolling His praise, he should find fault with His works and become a source of mischief in the world. Why should man not think that God, Who is the Creator of all, would also like His creatures to become a source of beauty and glory for Him? i.e. to become possessed of high morals and reflect in their persons Divine attributes so as to bring home to doubters and disbelievers the nobility and dignity of God’s servants.
It is noteworthy that cattle are spoken of as "being driven" to pasture in the morning, and "returning" (not "being driven") in the evening. The use of two different expressions viz. تریحون (you bring them home in the evening) andتسرحون (you drive them forth to pasture in the morning) points to the fact that the young ones of the cattle are left behind when they are driven to pasture in the morning, and therefore the return of the cattle to their young in the evening is spontaneous without needing any driving. Also, contrary to the natural order, the coming home of cattle is here mentioned before their being driven to pasture in the morning. This is because there is more beauty and pride for the owner in a herd of cattle coming home in the evening well-fed, hale and strong, than when they go out to pasture weak and hungry in the morning with the added fear that all of them may not return home safe. (close)
وَ تَحۡمِلُ اَثۡقَالَکُمۡ اِلٰی بَلَدٍ لَّمۡ تَکُوۡنُوۡا بٰلِغِیۡہِ اِلَّا بِشِقِّ الۡاَنۡفُسِ ؕ اِنَّ رَبَّکُمۡ لَرَءُوۡفٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ۙ﴿۸﴾
وَتَحۡمِلُ أَثۡقَالَكُمۡ إِلَىٰ بَلَدٖ لَّمۡ تَكُونُواْ بَٰلِغِيهِ إِلَّا بِشِقِّ ٱلۡأَنفُسِۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكُمۡ لَرَءُوفٞ رَّحِيمٞ
c. 6:143; 36:73; 40:81. (close)
a. 6:143; 36:73; 40:81. (close)
When God has provided so many facilities for the physical journeys of man, how can He fail to provide similar facilities for his spiritual journey? To say that God is too exalted a Being to have such regard for the welfare of man as to provide for his spiritual needs is only a puerile pretext to deny Divine revelation. If God is Exalted, the verse seems to say, He is also Kind and Merciful to His creatures and therefore His solicitude for the spiritual wellbeing of man is not at all inconsistent with His Dignity and Majesty, and instead of detracting anything from His Glory, it rather enhances it. This Divinesolicitude for man’s welfare may metaphorically be called God’s carrying man’s burden for him.
The use of the word رءوف translated here as 'Compassionate' is intended to express that feeling of sympathy and love which one feels at seeing a person in trouble and distress. The verse means to say that as God is رءوف (Compassionate) He cannot bear to see man in distress. (close)
وَّ الۡخَیۡلَ وَ الۡبِغَالَ وَ الۡحَمِیۡرَ لِتَرۡکَبُوۡہَا وَ زِیۡنَۃً ؕ وَ یَخۡلُقُ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۹﴾
وَٱلۡخَيۡلَ وَٱلۡبِغَالَ وَٱلۡحَمِيرَ لِتَرۡكَبُوهَا وَزِينَةٗۚ وَيَخۡلُقُ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ
d. 36:73; 40:81; 43:13. (close)
1532. When God has taken so much care to provide for the physical and material needs of man, the idea cannot be entertained for a single moment that He should have neglected to make a similar provision for his spiritual needs. (close)
1532A. The words may mean that God will bring into existence new means of transport which were yet unknown to man. The prophecy has been wonderfully fulfilled in the form of railway trains, steamships, motor cars, aeroplanes, etc. God alone knows what new means of transport are yet to be invented. (close)
b. 36:73; 40:81; 43:13. (close)
The word زینة (as a source of beauty) literally meaning ornament, is here used in the sense of splendour and pomp. This meaning is in keeping with the significance of the words, that you ride them, thus hinting that their beauty lies in their being used as a means of conveyance. The animals mentioned in this verse are those that are used in warfare and serve to show the power and might of a people in opposition to the enemy.
In this and the preceding three verses, the Quran speaks of two kinds of things created for the good of man: (1) those that are of use to him in his private life; (2) those that serve his political ends. These things have been created to serve the following six purposes; (a) to protect man from the inclemency of weather; (b) to provide him with food; (c) to bring him honour and glory; (d) to carry his burdens; (e) to be used as a means of personal conveyance; and (f) to serve as a source of strength and power for him.
The verse purports to say that when God has taken so much care to provide for the above six physical and material needs of man, the idea cannot be entertained for a single moment that He should have neglected to make a similar provision for his spiritual needs. The verse also hints that although man exacts work from other creatures in spite of the fact that he is not their creator, he denies God (Who does not derive any benefit from him) the right to reform and guide him to a stage where he should constitute an evidence of His Holiness and Sanctity and a means of His glorification.
The expression, And He will create what you do not yet know, embodies a prophecy that God will bring into existence new means of conveyance which were yet unknown to man. This prophecy has been wonderfully fulfilled by the discovery of comfortable and ever-increasing means of conveyance such as railway trains, steamships, motor cars, aeroplanes, etc. God only knows what new means of conveyance are yet to be discovered by man.
As against the six physical objects enumerated above, the six spiritual characteristics that the word of God must possess are the following:
(1) It should protect man from the evil effects of heat and cold, i.e. it should guard him against extremes in everything. Absence of the love of God may be called cold in religious terminology and abusing or persecuting in the name of religion those who differ from us in their views and compelling them to subscribe to our views against their will may represent heat. The word of God inspires man with His love on the one hand and on the other enjoins its followers to be tolerant towards those who hold views different from theirs.
(2) It should serve the purpose of spiritual food, i.e. it should contain all those elements which develop and strengthen the spiritual faculties of man. It should inculcate teachings which tend to suppress and subdue his evil inclinations and propensities and inspire him with spiritual strength and vigour.
(3) It should be a source of beauty and glory i.e. those who act upon it should appear beautiful and dignified in the eyes of others. Their compatriots should feel and admit that the word of God has worked a great revolution in their lives.
(4) It should bear man’s burdens, i.e. it should make him realize his duties and responsibilities and, by freeing him from the shackles of superstitious customs and usages, should enable him to achieve true liberty.
(5) It should serve as a means of conveyance, i.e. it should help man speedily to attain nearness to his Creator by understanding and realizing His attributes, and should save him from a long and fatiguing spiritual journey.
(6) It should impart vigour and strength to man, i.e. by acting upon it, its followers should lead a respectable and honourable life in both worlds, their organization should become strong, and they should win the esteem and regard of nations by living up to their ideals and teachings.
These are the six essential qualities which the word of God must possess and without which it forfeits the title of being called Divine. (close)
وَ عَلَی اللّٰہِ قَصۡدُ السَّبِیۡلِ وَ مِنۡہَا جَآئِرٌ ؕ وَ لَوۡ شَآءَ لَہَدٰٮکُمۡ اَجۡمَعِیۡنَ ﴿٪۱۰﴾
وَعَلَى ٱللَّهِ قَصۡدُ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَمِنۡهَا جَآئِرٞۚ وَلَوۡ شَآءَ لَهَدَىٰكُمۡ أَجۡمَعِينَ
a. 6:150; 10:100; 11:119. (close)
a. 6:150; 10:100; 11:119. (close)
1811. Important Words:
قصد (qasdun—right) is derived from قصد (qasada) which means, he betook himself to it; he aimed at or sought after it. قصد فی الامر means, he pursued a right or direct course in the affair; he followed the middle and most just way in the affair; he kept within due bounds in the affair. قصد (qasd) therefore means, aim or course of a person or thing that is right; conforming or conformable to the just mean. They say, ھو علی قصد, i.e. he is following a right way or course (Lane & Aqrab).
The words, And upon Allah rests the showing of the right way, mean that God has made it incumbent upon Himself that He should show man the right way; or that God has taken upon Himself that He would show man the right way by following which he may attain to Him. This idea has also been expressed in 92:13 which says, Verily it is for Us to guide. The verse under comment means to say that God alone can show the way which is characterized by moderation and is free from excesses or extremes. Man, unaided by God, cannot devise such a way for himself.
This verse further tells us that, excepting those who enjoy special protection of God, every person has his prejudices and predilections. It is impossible for man to be quite free from bias or favouritism. Man-made laws therefore suffer from the defect that they tend to incline to one extreme or the other and deny some their just rights and give others more than their due. Hence a Law which has equal regard for the rights of all and which gives everyone his due, neither more nor less, can be devised and promulgated by God alone. On the contrary, as man is a slave of his sentiments, laws made by him can have regard only for his own sentiments and susceptibilities and can reflect only his own feelings to the exclusion of the feelings of other people. Only that Law can have due regard for all sorts of temperaments and dispositions and conditions and circumstances which is devised by that Being Who has created all men and Who has full knowledge of their temperaments and circumstances. He alone can maintain the right balance between men of different sentiments and ideas.
It further appears from this verse that when God has arranged to satisfy the physical needs of man, it follows as a corollary that His word should satisfy his spiritual needs also.
The words, And if He had enforced His will, He would have guided you all, suggest that if God had not undertaken to provide guidance for mankind, the only other alternative for Him would have been to make human nature such that man could not pursue a wrong course or deviate from the right path. But God in His infallible wisdom has not chosen to do so. So when He gave man the freedom and the choice to follow the right or the wrong course, He should have also revealed to him His guidance from time to time and should have helped him to avoid the wrong path in his march to the destined goal. (close)